I stopped putting pressure on myself to be a ‘recovery warrior’ some time back, when I realised the pressure and the shaming involved in that, was too great a burden to carry.
I see how people with mental health issues, are shamed continually. This includes being compared to the ‘recovery success’ stories, those who claim to be healed etc. The poster children for recovery continually projected onto us all.
I see clearly how this ‘black & white’ thinking (cognitive distortion) of how trauma survivors ‘should’ be in their journey, is actually harmful to many. The pressure to be continually healing/progressing, and so ‘strong’ all the time… is an inappropriate demand/expectation, that harms and shames.
This journey can be steps forward, steps backwards. It is not a linear process and that needs to be understood and accepted. And there is no shame in this. It is normal for the healing journey.
I battle my health issues – both physical and mental health issues, every day. I do my best and that is always good enough. No matter how it looks to anyone else.
I have okay days, I have bad days and I have downright ugly days. And I never give up, I never quit, I keep at it. And that takes courage and strength and I am now absolutely okay with this.
There has been healing along my 3 year healing journey. I’ve learned many coping strategies and got better at them. I’ve processed a considerable amount of horrific trauma. I’ve come to have to accept the truth about the depth and severity of the abuse I endured in the first 20 years of my life…. and that is trauma in itself… to deal with reality and truth of sexual exploitation, my mother and step father being complicit in it all etc.
It has taken considerable courage to face and deal with all this.
I have had the deeply profound and complex issues of complex trauma to deal with, as well as the ongoing PTSD and Complex PTSD to deal with. And each day I deal with it.
I am okay I am not a ‘recovery success story’ …. of the type demanded by society and the mental health industry.
‘Success’ in society is a huge issue. In any area of life, people are only considered worthy when they are a ‘success’ and considered unworthy when they are not. It is a huge ‘shaming’ issue that many in society embrace. Sadly.
“There is a fine line between inspiring/encouraging people and shaming people.
Sadly too many cross that line and that is not okay.”
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
I may never fully recover, but I keep moving forward to a better quality of life and healing all the many wounds. I have hope and I try to give hope to others, in a far more empathic and non judgmental/opinionated way than many I see.
I may never be considered worthy of being TED speaker, or a motivational speaker, because I am not the ‘success story’ society demands and only considers worthy. And I’m okay with that.
But, I am a success in my own journey. Of surviving all I have, never giving up, and working as much as I am capable on my wounds and my health.
And when I realised the stigmatising issues and further shaming that goes on with having to be seen to always be a ‘recovery warrior’, and how many journey’s are not an elevator ride up to being recovered….. I actually started to move forward in my journey more. Removing the pressure, was a relief and a much needed act of self compassion.
This is a message I hope others take to heart.
Don’t compare or allow yourself to be compared. Other people’s journey’s are not the same as yours. There are many factors that affects journey’s and this needs to be validated and empathy shown.
Don’t allow anyone to shame you with their continual expectations and black and white opinions about recovery. That is their take on a journey after trauma and it does not have to be your reality.
We can only ever be doing our best and that is always good enough.
And when we take inappropriate and shaming expectations and demands off people… is when they invariably respond better.
No-one did this for me….. so I did it for myself. I hope others can too ❤
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Update….. I am so thankful this has been received so well, by so many and is shared many time on social media. Including by mental health professionals. I’m glad it challenges people to ‘think’.
It certainly challenges the current ‘black and white recovery focus’ of the mental health profession and I am glad for that. Often people cross the line from inspiring/encouraging people, into shaming people. And that is not okay.
I realise it courageous to put this view out there. As has been noted many times. Including again today (17th Oct 2015).
An example of a mental health professional, supporting this blog post (18/10/15)