I’ve had basically the last month off. A month of self-reflection, of exploration of my wants and needs and a month of trying to do nothing (not my forte).
It‘s been truly wonderful.
I feel refreshed, relaxed, excited for everything that’s coming in my life and armoured with a new optimistic outlook on life itself.
It hasn’t been an easy month. I’ve been feeling a whole spectrum of emotions. From guilt for not writing for my blog, to fear of no longer having a purpose, to euphoria as I finished another chapter in my new novel. To even pride as I went to my first few full time job interviews.
In the space of a month I’ve gone from felling hopeless, terrified and useless to feeling a little more hopeful, a little less scared of my future and a little more valuable in society.
I‘m not better per se. I don’t think I will be for a long time, but I feel relieved. I feel like I’ve taken my first proper step towards recovery. Towards actually getting better.
I feel good for trying.
I got a job too. A “real” one. A full time employment opportunity in Sales, with a full time wage and full time hours. It feels like progress.
Having somewhere that I have to be for 40 hours a week feels good. It feels like I’m achieving something. Plus, having an actual weekend off is such a heavenly thought after four years of hospitality.
In the past month I've had to make some changes. A lot of them weren't easy or simple to do. I had to explain my situation to people I was terrified would criticise me for it. I had to open up to my mother about my emotions and my trauma. I had to face up to my decisions and stand my ground. I had to force myself to not run away from my problems.
I’ve let go of people in the last month as well. Distanced myself from people that I was once really close to and in doing so I know I’ve hurt people.
I didn't intend to hurt anyone. It was a separation I needed. I’ve always ranked myself based on other people’s perceptions of me. I've never asked myself how I truly felt about me, never considered the type of person I am when I’m alone because I’ve always been so caught up on the person I am when I’m around others.
So I needed to be alone, I still do. I need to force myself to be around myself and only myself until I can look safely in a mirror and feel satisfied and proud of the reflection looking back at me.
To do that I have to stop putting other people’s opinions of me on a pedestal. For me that meant distancing myself from those whose opinions of me I valued the most.
It felt similar to weening myself off a drug. I spent the first week or so desperate for the praise still, looking for any opportunity to get it. I was looking for the fix to make it all okay again.
I’m trying so hard to not need it.
To be able to go to the gym without watching everyone else, wondering what they think about my squat form or how fast I’m running.
I catch myself looking around at the grocery store to see if anyone’s noticing the food I’m putting in my cart. Caught up thinking about whether they think my choices are healthy or not.
Wondering if they would like me more if I bought organic instead of processed.
It’s an obsession and it’s so hard to move on from it.
But I’m trying. I can be satisfied with that for now.
I’ve been writing. Properly writing again, making notes and plans, drafting a character and weaving a story-line that I love. It’s been central to my process of recovery. I missed it, missed how it made me feel and how it made me think.
I missed the getting caught up in an idea and disappearing into my head for two hours.
I missed the satisfaction of another thousand words that drift easily from my brain to my computer.
It’s not great right now. But it also doesn’t have to be and that’s OK to me too.
In conclusion, things are looking up. The sun is shining just that little bit brighter and I’m feeling just fine, perfectly, simply fine.
And that’s more than enough for now.
I’ll hopefully be writing a new opinion piece sometime this coming week, but I also might not, either way works well for me.