Resurfacing and Rewriting? What do those verbs have in common? They define the processes of recovering from mental illness: striving to get out of the depths of despair and reassessing your life. Reconnecting with the world and reclaiming your story. Because your life is a story and you can change it; you can create a new story.
Stories are not set in stone. They are retold and adapted. They are expanded and edited. Years of mental illness (anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder) convinced me that my story was a tragedy. I thought I would die before I turned 30 and I believed that I would never achieve anything. Guess what? I turned 31 last month and I have done many things that I thought were impossible for me – learning to drive, earning a degree, getting a short story published.
I don’t want to over-simplify my continuing recovery. It has taken me years of medication and talking therapies to get to the point where I can help myself. However, a major part of the recovery process is learning about the power of the stories you tell about yourself. You can’t change your past, but you can edit it. You can choose to pay more attention to some parts of your story than others. You can pick the main characters, who will have the most influence on your future. You have to decide what you want your story to be – and then start to create your story.
Hence Resurfacing and Rewriting. I want this blog to inspire and encourage you to own your story. To show you that you are not alone; that recovery from mental illness is neither linear nor logical, but it can be fun and fulfilling. I want to help break down the stigma which still surrounds mental health issues and rewrite the story, telling everyone that people with mental illnesses are valuable and should be valued. Most of all, I want to prove that recovery is possible. I have no idea if I will succeed and I’m terrified, but I want my story to be about a woman who overcomes mental illness and learns to be happy. And who kicks some arse along the way!