My co-worker and I were recently discussing our work. We often see more pain then we do progress. We witness addiction and co-occurring tearing families apart, making people feel as if they are less than others, stripping away hope, and convincing people that recovery is hopeless. Sometimes I go home, cry, and wonder if I really want to, or am able to do this work.
But I continue.
I continue because I have the unique opportunity to see the good in people that most of society has written off. I continue because I constantly am able to help people see the strength in themselves. I continue because although difficult at times, it is also incredibly rewarding and inspiring to see how people can overcome seemingly endless despair to find happiness and maybe even peace.
I recently shared my experience with an eating disorder to someone. The decision to have the conversation was triggering and the quality of the conversation was extremely triggering. After the conversation, I learned that she took the conversation a completely different way than as an attempt to open up and connect and I was very hurt and mad. Instead of viewing the conversation as a gift and something to learn from , this person viewed it as a personal attack.
But I continue.
I continue to share my experience in hope that people be more aware when making jokes about eating disorders or mental health. I continue to be proud of how I can use my lived experience as a way to empathize with other people who struggle. I continue to use this experience as a way to further understand the difficulty, and ultimate strength, that it takes for someone to share their mental health struggles openly.
There are days that I feel like I’m a failure. Every single day I have to consistently maintain the level of balance that I have found to be beneficial to me-not too much focusing on food but not too little, not too much exercise but not too little, not too lax about the kind of food I eat, but not too strict either. It’s exhausting and frustrating. A client of mine once said some that resonated with me. She stated, “I’m tired of being in recovery. I want to be recovered”. I feel ya sister.
But I Continue
I continue to combat these irrational thoughts tirelessly because I know that every day that I combat them, it gets a tiny bit easier. I continue to work to maintain my balance and celebrate those days because I know that those days are little successes. I continue because although I sometimes get tired of being in recovery, one day I will be recovered.