Does Recovery Ever Take a Day Off?

I’ve often wondered this question.
More so here lately.
And I don’t think I have a clear answer yet.

Does recovery take a day off?
I’m not talking about relapsing, I don’t think.
But is there ever a day when I don’t drive myself crazy striving for this imaginary goal of “recovery”?

What even is recovery?
Is it a certain number of days, that once I reach, I’m recovered or all better?
If that’s the case, then what is that number?
Is it 200 days?
Well if so, then I’m recovered, right?
Is it 300 days?
A year?
When can I look back on all of this and say, “Yes. I’m recovered. I no longer struggle with this.”?

Or is the saying true, “Once a cutter, always a cutter.”?

I haven’t cut in 224 days.
Does that mean, I’m not one anymore?
Or is the simple fact that I once did, I always will be?

When did recovery become about everyone else?
Not wanting to let people down or disappoint them.
And how do I make it not about them?

I’ve often thought that painting on a smile and letting everyone think I was okay was the easiest thing to do.
And it still is.

It’s much easier to just suck up what’s going on right now and carry on with my life.
Summer is over.
And so is the simplicity behind it.

Most people assume that I’m alright, so I might as well just let them keep thinking that.
There’s entirely too much going on to bother correcting them.
So assume it is.

But you know what they say about assuming, right?
Yeah, so do I.

National Suicide Prevention Week 2013

This week is very near and dear to my heart for several reasons.

1. Talking about suicide is such a taboo thing to do. So much so that no one seems to want to talk about it.
This has to change. It must.

2. I attempted and thankfully survived a suicide attempt in 2006.

In order for number one to ever happen, people have to be willing to talk about it. It’s almost like people are afraid to even say the word ‘suicide’, as if by saying it, it will make it happen. That’s nonsense. People don’t talk about it because it’s scary. But because people don’t talk about, there are thousands of people that suffer silently with suicidal thoughts, that unfortunately end up taking their own lives. This has to stop.
People need to know that they can be open and honest about these struggles.
They aren’t pretty thoughts to have in the first place.
But they are absolutely terrifying to have alone.

Having attempted suicide myself, I know how scary those thoughts can be and how overwhelming they can become.

On February 27, 2006, at 17 years old, I decided that my life was no longer worth living. That I could in fact, be replaced.
I found myself at the mercy of my addiction to self harm. To the point that I would cut as often and as much as I could.
I hated absolutely everything that I had become. I hated the way I felt. And oftentimes, I cut simply so I could feel. To remind myself that I wasn’t dead.
Dealing with the fact that I was still dealing with a relationship that had ended terribly three months prior in an extremely volatile manner had become entirely too much to deal with.
Dealing with the fact that my dad had been gone for almost four years had become too much to deal with.
The pressure that I put on myself to excel in school and in my youth group had become too much to deal with.
To the point that I think I was simply just living for other people and not myself.
And I decided that night that if I wasn’t living for myself, then what was the point?
Why keep hurting?
Why keep hurting myself to remind myself that I was unfortunately still breathing?

So I decided that I was done.
I was done trying to impress people.
I was done living up to their impossible standards.
I was done living, period.

I wanted to cut everything bad out.
And if that meant I lost my life in the process, so be it.

I found the biggest knife that was in my parents kitchen and I locked myself in my bathroom.
I began to write out a note to my friends and family apologizing for the mess that I had become and for the mess I was leaving behind.
And I sat in my bathroom floor and I sobbed.
To the point that I think I may have run out of tears.
And I started to cut.
And I was careless. Extremely careless.
And I remember thinking in the back of my mind, “I don’t think I really want to die.”
But at that point, I didn’t know how to go back.
So I continued.
And I remember there being so much blood.
And I freaked out. I mean, I was absolutely terrified.

I began crying out to God saying that if there was a reason for me to stay, to show me.
And then a commercial came on my radio that I had never heard before and have never heard since that simply said, “You matter. Your story is not finished.”

Talk about giving me a reason.

I wish that I could say that my story became this peachy storybook, but it’s been far from that.
I am still recovering from self harm.
And if I’m being honest, there are still moments when those ugly thoughts of suicide try to creep in.

But that’s why I’ve brought people along for this journey.
I don’t have to do it alone anymore.
I have an incredible group of friends, who are more like family, that have willingly come alongside me and walked this journey with me.
And for them, I am forever grateful.

But for every story of survival, there are too many stories of death.
And this has to change.
People have to know that they are loved and that they matter and that they cannot be replaced.

So this week I encourage you to get involved in some way.
Check out To Write Love On Her Arms on Twitter.
Search #NSPW13 or #WSPD13 or #YouCannotBeReplaced to find ways to break the stigma.
Wear yellow and orange this week in some fashion on Tuesday for World Suicide Prevention Day.
If you know someone that is struggling or has struggled, send them some love this week.
Call them. Text, tweet, Facebook, whatever. Remind them that they cannot be replaced.

And remember that YOU cannot be replaced.
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel that you can.
You’re story is far from finished.

Stay safe && stay strong.