the twists and turns of recovery

Recovery: now there’s a word we all want to become more intimately familiar with. We want to recover from that which is currently pushing us down, or that which is currently holding us back. We want to recover from a broken leg, a sprained wrist, a hurting heart, a hole in the lungs. We want to recover from a long national nightmare of wtf are we doing to ourselves and to each other? We want to wake up and spend one day, one hour, free of the nagging voices and terrible whispers in the backs of our minds.

In my case, it’s pretty much a grab-bag of things. I’ve been laid low by what is now looking more and more like the flu, which is still lingering in the form of a nasty cough, which is only going to exacerbate the wound in my lungs, but that’s how it goes. I’ve been laid low by loneliness and the sense of having to take another day’s step forward, and then another, and then another. People talk about the healing power of touch, and they’re right, in the sense that I felt worse precisely because there was no one around to hold on to. (Not that I would have wanted that person to linger, for fear of catching what I had, but I personally know how helpful a brief hand-clasp might be.) I’ve been laid low by a sense of personal dejection, in the sense of I’m wondering if I’m just not losing my identity again because I’m functioning to help others and doing very precious little to assert my own self.

Last week, as it turns out, a senator in my country filed the Mental Health Bill. I suppose it contains provisions for helping out those who already have some kind of mental illness, and that it would provide for educational and support resources, and a lot of other necessary and needed things.

The problem is that no one in this country even wants to acknowledge the fact that there is mental illness all around. Or, if these people do know about mental illness, they think of it as — a joke or some kind of punchline, a cheap gag to drop in a cheap comedy act. People also think of mental illness as immediately equivalent to being socially different, in a culture where conformity is king and queen and the entire damned court. To be mentally ill is to be immediately labeled as violent, or aberrant, or disruptive, and I honestly don’t know which is worse: be a disruptive influence, or be invisible?

There are many days when I really can’t get up in terms of my mental health — so my body gets up, takes the stress, possibly gets sick or rebels or reacts in some other way, and then it’s back to the feeling despondent and feeling so tired I want to throw up or just not wake up any more.

But there are days, too, of wanting to get up and wanting to do things like cook and go to the movies and read a book. Most of the time, though, I just take it out in terms of listening to my music. I have a pretty big playlist — it’s at least four hours long, end to end, and it’s actually missing some of the other tracks I’ve collected over the years, so I have to get started on recovering those, too. The music is my companion when I’m working and when I’m trying to write, and some days, it’s also my outlet for my emotions. I should get into more detail about the playlist and its genesis and its very reason for being, maybe in the next entry.

But, hi. This is to say, I’m still alive, and I’m recovering, and there’re things in this world that need to be done and need to be enjoyed and need to be experienced, and — I’m doing my best.


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