So it's been just over a year since I was first officially diagnosed with depression and I'm about to talk about a word that I've been too scared to broach until now - Recovery. One thing that nobody really talked about when they diagnosed me with depression was just how long it would be until recovery - we talked about it happening, about how I would have to take my medication for six months even after I feel as though I'm better, we talked about the fact it's highly likely that I may have to go back on medication at a later point in my life - but nobody told me that recovery wouldn't be a straight road, or that it would take this long.
I'm not naive, I knew that I wasn't going to wake up one day and my mental illness would be gone, but nor did I think that it would take a late night trip sobbing and coming home to my parents, leaving a job, a crisis team meeting, two uppings of one medication and one change to my medication to even get to the point where I feel like I'm functioning. I know that living with depression is taking the good days as they come and hoping that they come more frequently than the awful days, but I also didn't think that nearly a year later I would still be struggling to the extent that I am.
Having said that, I'm getting there. I'm brushing my teeth most days, washing my hair, even just moving from bed which some months this year I would have considered a miracle. I'm learning to be patient with myself, I'm learning to let myself be taken care of, I'm learning that recovery isn't a straight road and nor one that I can make alone. I'm learning that I don't have to hurt myself, or others, or push people away in order to make it through hard times, I'm learning that the people in my life aren't going to leave if I say the things I'm finding it hard to admit - I'm learning that it's hard to recover, and it sometimes can feel like one step forwards and five back, but I'm learning that it's worth it.
I don't want to sound cliched, but maybe recovery isn't coming off my medication as I first thought; maybe it's being able to leave the house to go to the shops more nights that I feel trapped, maybe it's being able to sit and talk with my mum and dad without feeling overwhelmed, maybe it's being able to laugh with Katy and her flatmates. I've missed out on so much of my younger life through depression and everything that came with it before I was diagnosed and the one thing I've come to learn about recovery is that I deserve it; we all do.
So here's to a year working towards recovery, and hey maybe I'm not there yet, but I'm a hell of a lot closer.