Mental Health

How Are You? (being honest in recovery)

How Are You? (being honest in recovery) | Libero Magazine

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Pride can be a sneaky thing when you are recovering. I’ve learnt this quite recently. Over the course of my recovery, people have been very supportive and understanding. Over time, with their encouragement, I grow more self-assured and more confident.

But I’ve found myself in an interesting place of late. When I look back on the last five months, at where I am now and where I was, it is like day and night. I’ve made a lot of progress and this is great. What is interesting though, is I’ve found I am now pressuring myself to “feel good.”

As the dark days slowly recede, I find it difficult to admit to myself and to others I may be feeling not so great on any particular day.

Why is it difficult to be honest with myself and others when I am down? I suppose there is a feeling of shame. What if they are disappointed or start getting worried about me, what if I am not really getting better?

Perhaps if I don’t say the words, “I am not doing so well today” it will make them not true. But it doesn’t.

How Are You? | Libero

I struggle with this a lot. I want to be well so badly, but recovery is a long journey and that’s okay.

Maybe you are familiar with this situation:

Friend: “Hey, Seb. How are you?”
Me: Should I tell her I am not doing so well today? Or should I just lie and say, “I’m fine”… Er…
“Um… yeah, well… Actually I am not doing great today.”
Friend: Oh….Sorry to hear that…um…So…Hey, it was nice seeing you, I’ve got to run though! Bye!

Perhaps it is the awkwardness of trying to explain what it feels like to other people. These situations are real, and they aren’t really helpful either but–and it is a big but–I’ve found it is so important to be honest about where I am in my recovery. It is most important to be honest with myself first, then my therapist, and finally with my close friends.

There is a time and place for vulnerability.

Obviously, if you’ve just run into Stacey on the street during rush hour commute, you aren’t necessarily going to pour your heart out then and there. But if the circumstance arises and you are with close friends and you are torn between being honest or putting on a brave face, be honest.

The other night I opened up to a group of friends who I am very close to. I don’t usually struggle to be vulnerable but I am beginning to see the reason for that–I control what I am vulnerable about. I am great at sharing my struggles with anxiety, and speaking about what anxiety is and feels like, but if I need to admit my weakness, my confusion, or the fact I don’t really know how I feel, admitting those things is a lot harder but so valuable.

I don’t think there is much else in this life as healing as being vulnerable and weak with somebody you love and being loved back anyway.

What is important to note however, is when you are honest with yourself, this isn’t the same as self-judgement. You need to learn to be honest with where you are, but you also need to be okay with what you find.

If you pause and look inside right now, where are you? What is your soul feeling today? Maybe you feel tired, wounded, or afraid? Maybe you don’t want to admit this because if you do it means you are failing?

But it doesn’t. Where ever you find your inner world right now, is okay. You are okay. Really.

By being honest with yourself, you are one step closer to being fully recovered.

If you try to distract yourself from what you are feeling and never take the opportunity to be open with yourself and others, you will find it very difficult to progress.

I saw my spiritual director recently (yes I have a spiritual director, you should get one). She had some advice for me which I found quite helpful. She asked me to think of the people in my life who I could be most myself with. Who are the people in your life who allow you to be you? The people you feel the most free to say anything to or talk to about whatever is on your heart? Maybe there is only one person, perhaps a handful. Whatever the case, you need to try to spend time with those people because those are the people who will lift you up and support you and who will love you as you are.

Allow yourself to be. There is no standard for recovery.

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Sebastian is learning life by living it. Born in Zimbabwe, High Schooled in Zambia, and living in Cape Town, he isn’t really sure what to say when people ask, “Where are you from?” Seb went to Film School in Cape Town and has worked as a video editor for the last four years. He has battled with anxiety his whole life and has been through two severe episodes, experiencing intrusive thoughts and depression. He is on the road of recovery and has found that peace and a life free of fear is possible.


SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site 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. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.