January 3, 2012


Dealing with emotions and thoughts is really hard and takes a lot of courage. I was sitting today and suddenly had a self-harm thought that I immediately pushed away and bashed on the head for existing. I basically told myself that I was doing bad for still having thoughts like that. But then I realized that just having the thought did absolutely nothing to hurt me. I didn't do anything. I didn't listen to the thought. There was no need to go one step further and start blaming myself for having the thought and being afraid of what having that thought meant for my recovery. All I have to do is notice that I have the thought, figure out where the thought originated from and then sit and deal with whatever feeling caused the thought. I just made that sound really easy. But it's really not. There is so much courage involved in allowing yourself to have thoughts, especially when they're scary, and allowing yourself to have feelings and know that you're going to be okay despite them. So I decided to try and not be scared of the thought and I reminded myself that I was okay and that nothing bad had happened and that's one more step in the right direction! I think that is an excellent example of what courage can mean. Even small things like that can be huge feats of bravery.

Early on at the partial program (from which I was discharged today!!) we had a writing therapy group (sorry this isn't an art post).  The prompt was to write about what "courage" means to you and to describe a time when you were courageous. I'm not at all in the same place as I was when I wrote this so maybe I'll rewrite it at some point. I know now that I have A LOT of courage, enough to get through recovery and more, but I want to share this anyway because it helps me see just how far I've come. This is what I wrote 6 weeks ago:

Reaching out for help is something that takes a lot of courage for me. Just setting up initial appointments with anyone takes courage. I feel like this shows just how hard this whole process of recovery is. I have a lot of trouble knowing how much strength I have. People tell me I have a lot, but I don't know if I have enough. I don't know if I'm courageous enough to find out. I don't know if I'm courageous enough to face and manage all of my fears.

My courage comes from within. I've always had to be strong, and fighting these demons since I was 11, when I started feeling depressed, has taken a lot of courage. No one was there to help me through most of it. Now I don't know if I've run out of courage. Or maybe I just need a little more to get past this rather than just living with it. It's tiring to use so much of my resources just to be brave, just to sit with my emotions. I hate how hard it is. It's a constant battle. But I do think the battle creates courage in some ways. Once I reached out for support, I gained courage and strength from those people. I just need to find ways to hold onto that and keep it with me. Even that takes courage.

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