6 Useful Things To Remember During Recovery

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When I talk about ‘Recovery’ I’m on about the process one goes through when trying to ‘recover’ from a mental illness. I wrote a blog post a while back now about my thoughts on what recovery is which you can read HERE. During recovery there are going to many times when you feel like your slipping back or are struggling, it’s not going to be a pain sailing journey. I thought I’d write a few bullet points of things I think its important to remember, do or tell yourself during recovery.

Remember we all have bad days. You’re human and that means you will have bad days/weeks, where the problem you are/have recovered from will rear its ugly head again. Try to be ok with this, you are the one whose in control of that problem now, so remember what you learn’t to get rid of that problem and keep it in check.

If during your recovery process you do slip back for longer than you’d like, remember how strong you are. You have over come this problem so you can do it again. Pick yourself and the little broken pieces up, put yourself back together and regain control. You are so strong.

When you feel like giving into something that your recovering from e.g self harm, OCD rituals, avoiding anxious situations whatever it may be, remind yourself of how far you have come. Really take yourself back to how you used to feel when you used to do these things. Think about how you’re going to feel after giving in, will it be worse than not giving in, in the first place? You’ve gone so long without doing this thing that made you feel broken, keep going.

When you’re struggling and feel like giving up because recovery is too hard. Think about how far you could be this time next year if you keep going. Imagine how much easier recovery will feel this time next year, what you might be doing, what you might have achieved and don’t lose sight of it.

This applies both to giving into old habits and having bad days. Remember feelings pass. Just because today you’ve felt depressed or extremely anxious, doesn’t mean its going to last forever, feelings come and go, keep reminding yourself this and keep going until they pass. The same for wanting to perform a ritual or self harm for example, try to put it off, hours or a day later that feeling may not still be there. Its worth being temporarily uncomfortable, if it means an even bigger step to recovering further.

Help someone else who is in the mist of their struggle. Helping others and talking to people who are suffering like you once were makes you feel good. Talking about it can also be a great reminder of how far you’ve come, of what you’ve been taught and a help to someone else.

I hope this is useful to someone.

Stay Strong,

Anna

The Controversial Topic Of ‘Attention Seekers’

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Its come to my attention (no pun intended) that some people have the view that anyone who self harms, makes a suicide threat or tries and fails to commit suicide is an attention seeker. I guess sometimes that can be the case and some people do these things because they want any attention. I don’t think that makes them a bad person, believe it or not there are reasons some people do these things in a non direct way of ‘attention seeking’  I don’t even like using that word to describe it.  It’s hard to understand unless you have been through it yourself. One thing I need to clear up is I am not saying everyone who does self harm or attempts suicide does it for attention, there are many reason why someone might self harm such as: self hate, a way of seeing the pain they feel inside on the outside, a release,  a coping mechanism or despair, there are so many reasons.

I am not saying that its okay and a good idea to do these things because you have a reason, I want people to realise sometimes people go to such lengths to show people how bad they really feel. If someone is doing it purely for attention then they must be lacking attention in an area of their life, so again I think saying their an attention seeker is a strong statement that’s of course in SOME cases, they are still struggling. Most people who self harm hide their scars, but eventually someone will see them and find out, or some times someone might want people to see them because of reasons I will be giving below but then when they do feel embarrassed and wish they hadn’t! Which I’m not going to deny I have experienced before, kind of wanting to tell or slyly show someone but being scared and then if it happens hating it and feeling stupid. Often its mixture of  a cry for help and one of the above reasons e.g release. Sometimes people are looking for someone to care.

I DO NOT condone someone showing off and promoting self harm, there’s a difference.

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Sometimes when you feel so much pain on the inside, self harming is a way of showing the pain on the outside not necessarily displaying your scars to everyone but unfortunately a lot of people don’t realise how bad someone can be feeling mentally because of a lack of understanding. People understand physical pain and hurt a lot easier, than mental pain. A person can feel so low and so alone and like no one understands how bad they feel so they don’t get the help they desperately need. But they know if someone accidentally or purposely sees or finds out they want to or do hurt themselves they seem to take more notice of the problem. I wouldn’t call them an attention seeker I’d say they are desperate for help because they can’t take how they feel for much longer! Ironic that people will call someone an attention seeker if they don’t understand a mental illness yet, when people around them fail to recognise how bad that person feels, they go to such lengths to make people realise but then they are again an attention seeker!

I have often heard people say ‘if someone wanted to die, they could have easily committed suicide properly’ and I think that’s the bit people don’t understand, I have been there, felt so low where all sorts of things go through your mind. When I think deeply about those thoughts and feelings I  was experiencing I didn’t want to die and be gone from the world and everyone I love forever, I just wanted the pain inside to stop. People are willing to attempt suicide to stop how they feel there and then, others yes may genuinely want to die, but I think a lot of the time its despair, because I do think its true if you really wanted to be gone you could do it. But I don’t think a lot of people suffering genuinely want that, they wan’t to be heard, understood, helped and to get rid of what emotions they are feeling.

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At the end of the day calling someone who is clearly struggling with an internal battle whether it be for ‘attention’ or another reason an attention seeker is unfair and helps nor you or that person, take it seriously. There will be a reason behind what they are doing and one day that cry for help won’t be a cry for help, they will take the self harm too far or succeed with their next suicide attempt, don’t let the person get that far. I was worried about writing about this subject as I know it’s a very sensitive and controversial topic and I didn’t want to give out the wrong message. I wanted people to see that ‘attention seeking’ doesn’t always mean someone’s not suffering.  I do hope someone out there related to what I wrote about, if you have ever been called an attention seeker yourself or just found this  informative and helped you understand this topic more.

Stay Strong,

Anna