Behind Natalia's Mind

 
     For most of my life I have been struggling with OCD, depression and anxiety and I'm currently in recovery from an eating disorder. 
 
Now, a few years into my treatment, I’m coming more and more to terms with my struggles, and instead of judgment, I strive to practice acceptance and compassion to my mental issues. It’s part of my humanity, it’s part of my biochemistry, it’s part of how the combination of circumstances and biological predisposition caused my brain neurons fire in a certain pattern and urges to behave in a certain way developed out of safety and self-preservation. 
 

I wish there was a neat and simple happy ending to my mental health journey. I wish I could tell you that all of my issues got resolved, and I’m recovered and here’s how you can, too. But, for better or for worse, it’s called chronic illness for a reason. As I continue with therapy, as I try different methods and coping tools, I do not hold out a hope for an instantaneous miraculous cure, and that’s a blessing and a curse. I won’t set myself up for unrealistic expectations, but at the same time a somber reality sinks in: I will always have to deal with my mental health challenges, to some extent. I have good and bad days, days when I’m filled with angry tears at a triggering comment, days when I feel like I’m worthless and days when I completely lose perspective and get stuck in very narrow thinking patterns. But what I learned most on those days, days when I’m hurting is to not hurt myself. Not to turn my pain against myself.

There are no jazz hands at the end of recovery, as one of my eating disorder facilitators used to say. Yes, I’ve made progress and achieved my goal which deserved to be celebrated, but there’s no finish line. Recovery for me meant making daily choices and shifts, daily effort not to engage with messages which conflict with my values. Daily adjustment and realignment. Ruthless audit of my habits. Recovery is not a goal, it’s a way of living. 

 

Natalia S.

Toronto, ON

Instagram: @solveitbywalking

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