The Problem With Recovering
The problem with recovering, is nobody believes you’re actually recovering.
I’ve made fantastic progress in my mission to erase this shadow from my life. Usually I can stop myself between the negative thought and the actions that follow it, but sometimes I speak before I think and the words come through. I still know I’m wrong. I feel wrong saying it, and a voice in my head calls me stupid for having said it at all. That voice was never there before. The feeling of being wrong, of knowing I’m wrong, is new to me. That’s amazing progress.
Yet I’m the only one who sees this. The people I talk to and interact with on a daily basis can’t see my thoughts. They don’t see me fighting against the negativity that surfaces in my brain, nor can they feel the shadow in my heart slowly diminishing. All they see is the negativity slipping through. They don’t see how I’m improving. They can’t feel it the way I can.
The biggest issue comes when people judge me based off my past. Let’s say someone invited me to go out one night, and I declined because I had other things I had to do. This person will assume that I’m not in fact busy, but depressed and don’t want to say so. They base this assumption off what they know of my past. Instead of accepting that I do in fact have other things I need to do, this person will dedicate their night to figuring out what’s bothering me so they can help me. In reality, there is nothing bothering me and they’re just going to frustrate themselves trying to figure it out.
It’s like if you strained a muscle somehow, but decided to play some football/soccer with your friends anyways. You’d get hurt and worry your friends. After a couple weeks of resting and all other things that come with repairing a strained muscle, you feel great and are ready to play again. But your friends, recalling the last time, assume you’re still hurt and refuse to play with you. You know you’re better, it’s your body, but your friends don’t believe you.
I can tell my friends are losing their patience with me. Were I to say something like, “nobody wants me here anyways,” a statement I’d know is wrong as I said it, they wouldn’t respond with “that’s not true, we do want you here.” Instead, I will get “that’s right, we hate you, you murderous kitten-drowner.” A few months ago, the former would do nothing and the latter would make me angry. Now, the former would completely shut me up and make me smile, whereas the latter just makes me feel stupid and childish.
Sarcasm has a time and a place. Speaking to me while I’m recovering from depression is not the time or place. It makes me feel miserable, but no matter how many times I explain this to my friends, it doesn’t seem to sink in. They keeping doing it.
I guess other people could say the same to me; no matter how many times they encourage or correct me, it didn’t seem to sink in. But guess what… It’s sinking in. I know I’m loved. I know people care for me. I know I have friends. I’m not a terrible person. I can accept my mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes I am down and this knowledge feels alien to me, but I never forget it. It’s engraved in my brain now, and hearing from an external source only bolsters it.
One day at a time, I’m changing my perception of the world. Maybe it’s time you changed your perception of me, too?