It’s time for some tough love and hard truth pills. Here’s the reality of the situation: Your support system isn’t your therapist; your therapist isn’t Superman.
We all know recovery isn’t linear and there are ups and downs, twists and turns, and even resting places on this journey. There will be days when we are not only our own worst enemy, but are a fire-breathing dragon to our friends and support system who may never tell us we are because they love us and want to protect us.
This week has been difficult for a variety of reasons. I’ve struggled with the temptation to self-harm. I’m having to force myself to attempt to process my hard-to-identify emotions, while dealing with my spiked symptoms and destructive behavior, along with depression and anxiety. This is not an easy task. Part of the reason why this is so hard is because of stress. It is also partly due to the fact that my “dark night of the soul” times happen at night when none of my support system is available because they’re sleeping or busy. So, I’m on my own here, which could either be scary or motivating, but that depends on me.
Take Responsibility for Your Mental Health
I don’t mean to sound invalidating but truth of the matter is that your recovery process is your process and your responsibility, no one else’s. I think that’s a pillar missing in the mental health community. Everyone emphasizes having a support system and reaching out to a friend or therapist when you’re in need—and yes, having community and a safe place to take your mask off is important—but what happens when your go-to friend isn’t available to talk you down off the ledge and/or your therapist leaves the office to go home and decompress from his clients? What then? Are you going to let anxiety and depression whisper sweet lies in your ear as you struggle to sleep?
Your friends don’t really care about you; they only tolerate you to be nice. You need to be stronger. You don’t want to be the ‘suicidal friend’ forever, do you? If you tell anyone what you’re thinking/feeling, they’ll hospitalize you and it’ll be all your fault. You’re a burden. Stop whining, you’re making everyone around you uncomfortable. You’re so selfish.
Here’s the Truth of the Matter
Your best friend may be the greatest listener of all time, giving you empathy and compassion galore, but she will, at some point, have to take care of herself and her needs. Likewise, your therapist, despite his caring, gentle nature, may grow calloused of going around the same mountain with you repeatedly. They can’t save you.
Sometimes, you have to walk this journey alone. Learn to sit with your emotions and actually feel them. Color, draw, jam out to music or cook a meal. Avoid your triggers and desensitization. Change your thoughts (I know that’s a hard one). You are going to be okay, with or without a support system.