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About illness, Mental health

Climbing mountains

I spent the last week in Wellington. It was incredible – not just the city and the food (haha) and the amazing, wonderful people I met – but the fact that I could do it at all. I’m actually making progress -a thought that is both thrilling and terrifying. 

I’m very lucky to have the people around me that I do, and seeing so many of you in Wellington was so great. I think I met about 100 new people – which, for an introvert who has been in hibernation now for almost a year, was pretty overwhelming!

I really want to brag about each of you individually but there’s just too many and I’m terrible afraid I’d miss someone. So I just have to say thank you to everyone. Thank you to those who made my trip possible. Thank you to everyone who took the time to meet me and make me welcome. Thank for you the conversations and the food and the massive amounts of encouragement that got me out of the house every day and continue to do so.

It’s hard to see progress when it’s your own journey. But I just have to compare now to a few months ago – physically and mentally. Then, I would not have been able to go. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to traipse all over the city, and up the hills at Wellington Zoo, and meet so many new people and do new things every day! I wouldn’t have even contemplated it. It’s hard to believe that it was just December that I was in Respite, because it seems like years ago. Now, I don’t wake up every day wanting to die. I wake up with hope. I’m still an emotional seesaw, don’t get me wrong, and I’m still in pretty much constant pain. I still have to have my cane, I still suffer from nightmares and insomnia, I’m still a mess of anxiety. But I have so much hope. I didn’t have any before.

I don’t really know what’s next for me. For a long time I was so focused on trying to “get back” – trying to regain what I’d lost. Now, I just look forward. There won’t be any going back. I can’t have that life, and I don’t want it.

My friend Jem talks about recovery like it’s climbing a mountain. I really did go pretty far down into the valley, so I’ve got a way to get back up. And you can have a tendency to keep only looking up and seeing how far it is to the top and lamenting that. So this is a pause, I guess, to admire the view. To rest my legs. To have a long look out and see that, yes, there might be a few hundred more metres to the summit, but I already got this far and that valley looks pretty far away now.

I’m getting all silly and emotional, so I’ll just say it again: thank you. If you’re reading this, you’re part of my journey. And that is really, really important.

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About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@_writehanded_) or read more of her writing at writehanded.org

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