This is part one of a two part follow up to my series Finding #Fearless.
Names and locations have been changed to protect identities.
After only seeing my therapist twice in two months, I walked in to my appointment in September feeling different about being there. He asked me, “How are things going, let’s get an update on the past month?”
I took a moment, and that’s when I told him: “I don’t know, I just don’t feel like I need to be here today.”
That’s actually pretty freaking huge.
About a month ago my therapist declared me recovered from emetophobia. It was a very odd transition, because I had literally just started getting back to a normal state of mind. And, not soon after that, I started to have anxiety flare ups again that made me start to question if I could really be recovered.
Did he speak too soon, or did I bite the bait too quickly? What if I wasn’t ready to be deemed recovered and there’s more work to be done to make things better?
That’s when I remembered though, that anxiety and worry are normal human emotions. What I was feeling wasn’t necessarily more than I could handle, but it was a stark contrast to what I had been feeling anxiety wise for the past month: which was nothing.
Being “recovered” is such a new path to walk, seeing as though I’ve struggled with mental health every moment of every day for about 22 years. And, if I’m being quite honest, it’s kind of scary to be recovered.
The world becomes essentially yours; everything that once held you back doesn’t anymore. You are exploring worry free, have new experiences that you never encountered before, and it means that you’ll like run in to new situations that cause panic that maybe didn’t before.
Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve had a couple people ask me what I would define as being “recovered.” There are plenty of theories for what recovered means, and I think that some people may state that with mental health, it’s not so much recovered, but recovery – an ongoing journey to maintain your mental health and remain stable.
For me, being recovered is defined by the little moments, and absolutely is something that is attainable outside the journey of making your life better.
Recovery is those times when I don’t feel like therapy is necessary, and when something that usually sends me into a 5 day obsession fest is barely even thought about in the moment. It’s those times where I get anxious but I can rationalize with the irrationality, and it’s the self awareness I have when I start to feel overwhelmed or emotionally exhausted.
Being recovered doesn’t mean I still don’t struggle with little moments of emetophobia here and there, it just means that now I am able to rationalize completely and effectively. It means that I can hear those worries circulating in my mind, but not give them any extra time or energy in my brain.
Emetophobia, though, is only part of my battle. I still have some ways to go before I’m fully recovered from my other phobia, and until then, I know I’ll sometimes still struggle with small emetophobia flare ups.
So what’s the future look like for me?
It’s wide open, and that’s actually kind of terrifying. It’s scary to go from knowing exactly what you can and cannot do from a mental health stand point, to realizing that you can actually do whatever you want.
You also kind of go through this identity crisis of not knowing who it is you are now that you have no limits and no boundaries. I feel like, in my mental health journey I’ve had several moments of identity crisis. My life has not been short of moments where I questioned who I was, and what I would do with my freedom. At every major turning point in my recovery, I had a moment like that.
I’m beginning to start really heavily considering being a mom, after years of putting it on the wayside because I was too terrified of making that happen. I’m not sure if that time is now, but it’s no longer something that I worry about like before.
Most of all, I think it’s important to remember that getting to the point of recovered is a journey, and it might take time to get there. There is no set time frame for when it has to be done, or how long it will take. Your journey will be starkly different than mine, and mine will be starkly different than another’s.
The most important part is just taking that step, and just keep walking forward; even when it seems like you keep falling back. When life was trying to push me down, I got back up. It might have taken me a few days to do it, but I always got back up. The moment you stop pressuring yourself to be something you aren’t, and accept yourself for where you are, you can truly make progress.
Will there be another follow up? Perhaps a part three to my epilogue? Maybe. But, until then, you have this, the grand follow up to my Finding #Fearless series. Sure, it may not be the most gripping tale, but I think I like these stories the best, because they show where I’ve come, and where I hope to go.
So, until part three comes, I leave you with this: go out and fearlessly tackle the problems that are holding you back. It’ll be hard, and it might be quite the journey, but you will never, ever regret making your life better.
If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.