BringChange2Mind

February 18, 2011

Returning

Filed under: Story — Tags: , , , , , , — Linea @ 6:12 pm

The topic of today’s blog is about returning. Many of you may have noticed that I have disappeared from the world of computers, Facebook, and blogs. For health reasons I have needed to step back and take care of myself. But now I am back. Now it is time to talk about that very tricky act of returning after a mental health leave.

The act of returning is a mixed feeling, one of excitement, one of hesitation, one of “am I ready?” and sometimes one of pride. Returning to the world, whether it is the world of work or the world of friends is something fragile, scary, and intimidating. Though sharing our story of ill health after this leave may not be necessary, taking our time and energy to reemerge  into a past existence and those necessary life responsibilities is many times essential

So how do we do this you ask? How do we re-enter the world after it has crumbled at our feet? Do you tell your story or not? Co-workers, families, and friends may have missed you, become worried, become mad. How do you take care of yourself when you are so far behind in your responsibilities but have to catch up? I don’t have the universal answer to these questions but I do have my own experience. Perhaps sharing some of my own story will inspire you to reconnect yourself. Perhaps some of it will spark your own ideas about returning that you will hopefully share in our comments section.

So here is my path…I have disappeared for almost three months due to a severe depression and eating disorder. These are things that I’ve dealt with before but still remain difficult. This disclosure is not something that everyone should have to share and when asked, a mere, “I was dealing with some health issues that I would rather not discuss, but I am slowly getting better” will suffice. This has often times been my answer, but with close family and friends it is different. For them I tell the truth. However, even your closest friends may not fully grasp your struggles. For them I simply ask for support of my decisions. They may not agree, but it is my struggle and if they care they will stand beside my choices and intelligent attempt to seek what’s best for me.

The second struggle I am experiencing is getting back to my old responsibilities and work load while simultaneously taking care of my needs. This is something I have yet to master. How do I reemerge into such a busy life? How do I step back into relationships? Even the small things, like using Facebook feel overwhelming and exhausting. This is something I have to take one step at a time. I remember years ago when I was really sick for the first time someone told me to take things one step at a time. My wise grandma clarified however, saying some days you have to take minute by minute, but some days you have to take second by second. When getting out of bed in the morning feels like a second by second job, Facebook becomes minute by minute.

I am taking my time. Returning takes a lot of breaks and lots of time to breathe, sit and meditate. Re-emerging is like stepping out of a cave into the sun. Stunning yet blinding. But slowly I am adjusting, slowing I am emerging.

How do you return after a health crisis? What tricks have you or a loved one learned?

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8 Comments »

  1. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your courage.

    Comment by Judy — February 18, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  2. Please know that whatever you need to do to get yourself to a place that feels comfortable is fine. Don’t worry about the world, people out there or even friends. Anyone who has read and learned about depression knows that this can be a battle that is bigger than any thing else. Take your time and come back to us when you are ready.
    Love Karen Gordon

    Comment by Karen J Gordon — February 18, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  3. Your sharing inspired me to reflect and reply so here goes. . .When I desire to move forward and feel anxious, scared, hesitant, overwhelmed, I need routine, simple routine, small goals, daily, hourly, minute by minute, that I can strive to improve on as I move forward knowing that next time I will do whatever it is a tad more gracefully, efficiently, better, securely, more confidently, stronger. As I take that next right step and take care of me, body, mind, spirit, relationship, my path unfolds, the next place to land always appears and my life gets better, one action at a time.

    Comment by Heidi — February 18, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  4. Thank you for sharing. I walk this journey with my teenage son (diagnosed bipolar last summer) and I too battle depression and anxiety. Your grandma is a smart lady! One step at a time and only what you feel you can handle. No need to overload. Prayers to you and getting back into your swing of things.

    Comment by Melissa T. — February 18, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  5. I reach out to friends and family. I pray. I cry. I try to do at least one or two tasks – no matter how menial – just so I can show some measure of accomplishment and ease my worries by saying “well, at least I did….” \

    You are so right about feeling like your world is crumbling while the busyness of the world takes no respite. You feel like you have to jump on to a moving train to get back on board. I like your analogy of coming out of a cave -both bright and blinding.

    I am sitting here in my pjs in the middle of the afternoon before going to work. It doesn’t help knowing other’s experience a similar pain. My heart breaks for you and anyone who has to fight off these festering feelings of depression that seem to settle in our soul like a bad cold.
    It does help to know you feel better. These storms do pass and the only choice we do have is to ride them out as best we can. And, of course, support one another.

    Thank you for sharing. May you continue to get well and know that your honesty, your words and your intention to be of help to others has great value.

    Comment by Pam Curley — February 19, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  6. Thank you Linea, for your strength and eloquence. You give me courage to not only pull through those difficult times but to not feel shame when caught in the midst of symptoms. I know it’s not easy to talk about all we go through. You are an inspiration to me.

    Comment by Jessie Close — February 19, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  7. This is something I struggle with as well. Though emotionally I am doing much better than I was when I made my initial post on this site, I was in such a negative loop of activity for so long basic “everyday” tasks seem foreign and daunting. Just the act of patterning a “typical” day is an alien concept. I still struggle everyday with the disconnect between who I am and what I feel; lately this has been the domination challenge in my life.

    The environment I was in when I first started sinking is so drastically different than the environment I currently live in, the “fake it until you make it” tricks I had learned to band aid over my internal struggles no longer work (not that they really ever did). Just over a decade ago when my life started to fall apart I was still in school and though I had no internalized healthy structure (what I think of as an emotional skeleton) to survive on, the rigid community of schooling worked as an exoskeleton to hold me together just enough to survive. Without that exoskeleton scaffolding, depending on me to make structure out of something as abstract as time or living, I collapsed.

    Through the help of therapy and medication I have a much better understanding of myself and what it is I need to survive and flourish. But, I am still learning and there are easier moments and harder moments, I accept and understand that this is a small part of what it is to be me. Though therapy and medication have helped tremendously, but there is a lot of work I need to do to realize the person I want to be.

    I feel a truly kindred bond when I read “[the]…struggle I am experiencing is getting back to my old responsibilities and work load while simultaneously taking care of my needs.” When I read that there is an immediate recognition within myself. One thing I think I have learned is that I don’t want to struggle to be who I was anymore. I don’t want to keep disappointing myself for not being an impossible recreation of my former self. I don’t like looking back at who I was and striving to be the model of my past perfections because under more objective scrutiny that person was flawed and the precursor of who I was at my deepest moments. It is almost like rewinding a recording and expecting a new ending because this time “I am going to do it right.” I am learning rather than scramble to catch up to the past I need to work on the present to become a new unknown version of myself that is hopefully stronger and healthier than anyone I once was.

    I wish us both luck!

    Comment by Erica — February 19, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

  8. I know the struggle almost exactly. The issue is like the struggle between actualizing and living toward ideals. Would you rather believe in the Gods and be wrong if they do not exist, or live a miserable life without hope of more? In my life, my eating disorder has grown and shaped almost everything. I war against what drives me to be that person and struggle to own what that life is and does. It pushes me to do unhealthy things and attach to worlds or dimensions unreal for solutions. It is in itself addiction run amuck. Where I am though is being the guy who must go through this. That is all I know right now. Remember that you are resillient but that mankind as a species is but a breath, a blade of grass… as such… why worry about anything? God Bless YOU!

    Comment by Patrick J Ciminera — February 23, 2011 @ 11:31 pm


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