How Do you Recover?

We’re about… 2.5ish months into recovery from the latest psychotic break. Although, that word has so many connotations as to render it relatively meaningless if you think about it. But there was a question in the Psychosis Recovery group that made me think, and I thought I may as well share my thoughts.

How do you recover from Psychosis?

(I’d contend you can just say how do you recover?) First, you have define what recovery means, which is subjective and personal. Nobody should make that definition for you, as others defining your notion of self, progress, success, happiness, etc. is really what got you into this mess in the first place. However, in a broad sense, I would say recovery means “learning to trust”, just like a broken leg needs time to trust the leg can hold you, recovery can be learning to trust yourself again. Learning to trust yourself means learning to listen to yourself and choose to act in your own best interest again. Whether it is psychosis, drugs, you name it – there was a time you were not acting in your own best interest and it caused suffering.

The 10 things that have helped me:

  1. Do what you can, when you can, how you can
  2. Would you talk to your best friend like that? If no, knock that shit off
  3. It’s okay if you feel like your interests and personality even are changing, shifting, or fluid
  4. Losing everything is a great time to find yourself
  5. Journaling, Meditation, Gratitude are critical practices
  6. Music makes everything better
  7. You don’t need to worry about the big picture or the past. You’ve done this plenty already and here you are in recovery. Try just focusing on now.
  8. Stay small in time and steps. Baby steps make a lot more progress than whipping yourself
  9. Do the thing you keep saying you’re going to do
  10. Volunteering just means helping people, so do what you can, when you can, how you can. Helping others does help you.

Here’s the deal. The pronoun you is the operative word because for everyone it is different. What works for me may or may not work for you. The problem for so many of us is rooted in: we don’t know how to trust ourselves. If I were to answer this question as TL;DR as possible, I would say: do the thing you keep saying you can’t/won’t/should. The real thing. Not your toilets, not overtime, not exercise even. Is it writing? painting? singing? selling feet pics? Doesn’t matter, we all know the thing in the back of our mind that we have a million excuses not to do. Whatever that thing is, just start there. What do you have to lose when you already lost everything? That’s the joy of recovery. That’s the blessing of recovery. Right? That’s not toxic positivity bullshit, it’s just the truth. The blessing of rock bottom can be at least you have firm footing to start from. I’m not saying it is swell – I don’t really like the feeling that I’ve lost my very concept of my being, but whatever. I gotta start somewhere, sometime, somehow. Recovery can really just be a time of Fuck Around and Find Out. So that’s where I start. Besides, let’s be honest:

You never know where your lows will lead you to because how low you sink is merely a reflection of how high you can soar.

Time gives the illusion that there are determined periods I should/could do shit, but there are days I give a lot of shits about 1 thing and days I give lots of shit about others. There are days I have no shits and I sleep all day. I know everyone wants to talk about consistency and routine, but guess what – we have consistently and routinely stayed alive, so check. Everything else is ours to build, create, remodel, and revamp. When mind and body have been through massive amounts of trauma, there IS only so much anyone can do, really. The best thing you can do is pull a Sinatra and do it “My Way” (the my being yours, not mine. Hmm. You get what I’m saying)

Given the fact that I am in recovery, there is clearly a time where I could say I all my shits were dedicated to dying or, I guess, not living, right? At a minimum, I can say I was not acting in my own best interest because I was doing things that actively hurt me. So if one thing is giving me movement towards living, that is progress. Starting is starting. The problem with too much linear and rigid thinking is that it doesn’t align with nature. Only man builds in straight lines and 45 degree angles. I can’t think or operate that way. I don’t know how what I do on this day connects to another, but I do know that if I’m doing more than wishing I was dead, it’s progress. I do know that trusting myself and creating an actual healthy relationship with myself will do way more than all the shit I’ve been doing for the last 40 damn years. I also know that nature loves spirals and it is natural to come back to issues you thought were resolved and see how you’re doing. That’s not a set back, that’s progress.

In short: nature and recovery do not do straight lines.

Trusting myself means making my own definitions, expectations, etc. which isn’t necessarily easy because my scales don’t really balance quite right. So, I have to learn that, it is a process, and as with everything, little steps make big differences.

The thing I have been thinking about a lot is how do I trust myself? I’ve screwed my life up so many times…etc. But is that actually true? Everything has always been me using someone else’s metrics and definitions. Trusting yourself is listening to yourself in little and big ways. Trust can start with accepting that you are where you are. We get into such fits about changing or fixing ourselves, but is that actually helpful or is it continuing the very war that brought you to recovery in the first place? What if it is truly just okay to not be or feel okay, and you go with that?

I’ll leave you with this thought:

An acorn is equally capable of becoming an oak tree or squirrel food under the right conditions.

Are your thoughts and actions making you more likely to be an oak or a treat?

The right conditions for an oak tree are soil, sun, and water. So if you feel like you are hibernating, if you’re getting into nature, and you’re drinking some water, you’re not doing too shabby, really. That’s nature’s recipe for growth. Maybe I’ll write more tomorrow, we shall see. Let me know if you want a deeper dive on any of these points.

Nothing More – Valhalla (Too Young to See)

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