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Two years ago on St. Patrick’s Day I went to bed with a knife on my nightstand.
I know what you’re thinking – dramatic much?
Well yes, actually, I am.
Why you ask? Well, I can tell you it wasn’t in case I decided to chop some cucumbers at 2 a.m. and I wanted to avoid hunting for a knife in the dark. And, no, it wasn’t for self-defense either (and, for the record, keeping a knife exposed by your bed is not a good self-defense plan). – It was there for comfort.
And no, not the type of comfort you get from a Teddy Bear or a childhood blanket – it was for the comfort of knowing that if I woke up and just couldn’t handle the pain of life anymore, then I wouldn’t have to. I could end it – without even needing to get up out of bed.
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(Actually, for the sake of keeping this ‘factual’ I was sleeping on the couch – I find when I’m having a ‘dark day’ the couch seems a better option than bed. The knife was on the coffee table – but this is beside the point.)
I had forgotten about my little ‘knife incident’, until it conveniently resurfaced in my memory late last night. How convenient when you are trying to sleep. I was minding my own business, going about my ‘try to fall asleep’ routine (you know, counting sheep and all that) and suddenly there it was – the knife sitting on the coffee table at my old apartment – my eyes shot open – WHAT THE!?!?!
And that’s when I remembered – it was true. It did happen.
I fell asleep shortly after that.
I woke up this morning, went to my weekly counseling session, and then on the drive home there it was again – the image of the knife in my head – Oh boy…
I’m not sure how one simply ‘forgets’ such details, but I had. It wasn’t like typical psychological repression where you forget in the moments right after it happens – I remembered The Knife for the first few months or maybe even year after it happened, but then, I suppose, one day the memory simply faded.
When I got home I texted my cousin (whom I’d been living with at the time of The Knife):
“Did you know that two years ago on St. Patrick’s day I slept on our couch with a knife on the coffee table next to me?”
Her response: “Praise the Lord for progress!”
And that’s when it hit me – she was right. When memories like this resurface you aren’t supposed to freak out, relive them in terror, or wallow in depression and/or regret (though these responses are understandable). You are supposed to thank God for progress and keep moving forward.
See, that’s what recovery is about – moving forward. Looking forward. And looking back only to see where you’ve been and how far you’ve come – And that is something to get excited about!
I remember something my therapist told me – we were discussing my recent progress in recovery and she said, “And no one can take that away from you.” And that’s the truth:
Nobody can take your progress away from you.
Two years ago (almost to this day) I went to bed with a Knife – and now here I am, still breathing, and, most importantly, I’m alive (in all aspects of the word!) Now THAT is something to celebrate!
I found a reason to live. Even in my darkest hour, I found a reason to wake up, get up off the couch, put the knife back in the drawer and go seek help. (read more in my post: “On Suicide (why I chose To Be)“)
This post, however, is not about finding a reason to live, though I hope you will/have (read the post linked above if this is the message you are seeking). This post is about encouraging you in your recovery to own your progress – and to celebrate it!
In recovery you will have flashbacks, memories will resurface that you wish you could forget, and you may even get images of knives – and I want to encourage you in these moments to respond how my cousin did, and thank God for your progress!
There is hope in these flashbacks – you just have to look at them the right way.
As Christina Aguilera says, (and I’ve mentioned this in a previous post):
“Every morning that I wake I look back at yesterday, and I’m OK…”
Memories of your eating disorder or your depression or addiction, on the surface, are not typically something you would choose to celebrate – but if you use them to contrast where you are now, you will see how far you’ve come: You’re OK – be excited about that!
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The opinions and information shared in this article may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process.