Recovery Updates: Finding My Way Forward

I’ve said this many times, and I’ll say it again. Recovery is a process, with ups and downs. It’s a messy process.

I’ve had huge jumps forward lately. I’m finally getting out of my apartment more, trying to meet more people. I’m finally starting to be more stable in my finances, and fix holes in my budget (and wardrobe) that have needed fixing in years. I’m finally starting to want to be more attractive again, and not like in university, where since I was raped, I kept myself steadily thinking I’m fine with combination of being drunk when I go out, or being too exhausted and too busy the rest of the time. It’s a process though. Since I started getting depressed the may-june of 2012 after finally admitting myself what happened, I’ve done a whole circle around.

For most things I’m going better, but when it comes to my body issues I go back and forth. While I was depressed I started wearing simple things. Then I gained weight, I started wearing darker things and going out very little. I spend a lot of time wishing I could go back to the weight I had, and planning the clothes I was going to wear when I could afford them.

But I’m not the same person anymore. It’s ridiculous to think I can go from wearing sweaters, sneakers and wide pants to short skirts, high heels and so on. I’m not the same. There is no moving forward until I see that. And I have never really been the short skirt type that much, but I was just starting to warm up to the idea of more attractive and sexy clothes- right before I had a breakdown.

Most of the time I feel older than I am. Most of the times, I’m only hoping to one day go back to who I was. But I am not the same person.

And with everything I’ve learned, I think, when I finally get through this I’ll be better than before. But as far as clothes go, I’m taking it a step at a time. Ballet flats, that are nicer than sneakers, but not that far out of my comfort zone. More tight clothes that still make me feel like myself, just better. Dark blue or red blouse rather than the black stuff I’ve been wearing for a while. Black chunky heels, not very high, but still heels. Just enough out of my comfort zone to push me forward, but give me chance to figure out who I’d like to be.

Anyway, at least, with that, I’m doing steps forward.

And then there are the other things.

The panic attacks, which are far from over, although more rare now. Discovering I apparently have social anxiety, and that on some level I’ve always had. Panicking in the middle of getting through a huge crowd at some political elections promotion, and then sitting on the bench for 20 min, not quite sure how to get up. Writing this post now with my head spinning and so exhausted from trying to get anything from how I feel out, that I have trouble staying awake, let alone writing eloquently.

That book about recovery, with exercises, which I’m trying to do for a year now. A book which was spot on about how I feel about things connected to my rape. I decided the other day I’d start going the exercises, slowly, without hurrying, thinking that was enough to help me do it. Yet when I start reading it, the pages start blurring and my mind starts spinning, and I want to run until I have no breath or scratch my skin until it bleeds. I read, and I try…and then I freeze and I spend an afternoon trying to get back to work. I lay in a bathtub, and let my head fall under water, having my face out just enough to breathe, and I look at the ceiling. And then I get back to the book. I am yet to finish the exercises from chapter 1.

But I keep trying, and that’s the best help in recovery I know. It’s dirty, messy, hard, impossible process, but I have to get through it if I want better life. And that’s all there is to it. There will be crying, panicking, flashbacks, and so on. There will be laughs and hope and thinking you’re done with the bad part until it sneaks up on you again.

The only thing to do is to keep going.

I may not believe that I can ever truly be FULLY okay, but I know this:

I have to try. Also, my life is a lot better this year, than it was last, and that’s something. That’s important.

So it’s not about whether I’ll recover fully- it’s about having better year next year than I’m having this one. So I have to get through the bad moments and enjoy the good ones.

And keep  going.

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