I’ve talked many times about how recovery is an ongoing process – there’s ups and downs, and the only consistent part about my mental illness is that it’s inconsistent. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to forget that I have a mental illness, but there are still many reminders along the way. I think most people, myself included, get so caught up with our lives, our responsibilities, our obligations that we begin to forget how to take care of ourselves. We don’t allow ourselves those necessary moments where we slow down and take in the day. I always like to push myself harder than I sometimes should, commit to more than I should, and use my stubborn determination to remove the word “no” from my vocabulary. I asked myself why I do it. Why do I put myself through so much when it’s clearly a bad idea? Why can’t I cut myself a bit of slack and take a moment to just do nothing? I’m not sure I have an answer, but I think it has something to do with wanting to be in every moment, and not miss out on anything. In the worst of my mental health struggles, I felt myself slipping away and missing out on some of the best times of my life. I don’t want to slip away.
I visited the Aga Khan Museum the other day, and was amazed by the peace and stillness of the park. I didn’t have to be running around doing a bunch of things; I could just be. It was a feeling I’ve felt guilty for wanting but it was something I desperately needed. Sometimes you need a break from the craziness of every day life and the struggles that come with it.
I’m certainly not very educated when it comes to art, and though I appreciate museums and exhibits, I’m hardly ever impacted by pieces. Then, I saw one piece that I couldn’t stop admiring. In one of the exhibits is a small mirror. I didn’t think much of it, assuming it was one of those overrated and meaningless pieces that I didn’t quite understand. I moved closer to the mirror, and when I stood in the mirror staring at my reflection I noticed four words etched into the glass.
You Are Still Here.
Seeing those words over my reflection in the mirror hit me harder than I expected, and forced me to stop and remember that I’m still here. I’m here. I’ve been through hell and back, but I’m still here. The blurb next to the mirror spoke of the piece’s commentary on struggle and loss, and the idea that no matter what there can still be hope.
So for anyone struggling with their mental health, or feeling like they’re slipping away and becoming invisible like I feel all too often, never forget that you’re still here.
Keep Surviving by Living.