Recovery is a big deal for me personally, as not only have I been up and down the river of depression and anxiety more times than I’ve been on dry land, but my physical health is also often a big stress on my life. Asthma, insomnia, hypersomnia, back pain, chest and bladder infections, you name it, I’ve probably had it, and it ain’t fun.
To me, there are two types of recovery; the first being the utter destruction of the illness or toxic relationship in question, it’s gone forever and it’s never coming back. The second I feel is more common, and it consists of accepting the incurable as a part of your life. I believe it’s often a healthier form of recovery to believe in, because let’s face it, not every illness, condition, or painful event can go away entirely.
Mental illness is often permanent, the death of a loved one never really becomes “just a memory,” and chronic illness is just that, chronic. We can deal with the symptoms, medicate the pain, use therapy to give us coping strategies, talk to our friends and family to ease the discomfort, but recovery is complicated, and often misunderstood.
That’s not to say you can’t beat an eating disorder or watch depression fade away, of course that’s possible, but recovery doesn’t wipe the slate clean like it never happened. There’s upkeep, check-ins, check-ups, thought exercises, and many more aspects of – let’s call it recovery of stability – that many neurotypicals just don’t appreciate about how hard we have to work just to feel safe and happy. It’s not a choice, and we’re not pretending that it isn’t. It’s chemistry.
Cyberrriot has a wide array of art this July that centres around both concepts of recovery; poetry about loss, identity, abuse, short stories about gender, monologues about eating disorders, and paintings that I’ll leave open to your interpretation!
So I hope while reading this Summer’s zine that you think about how far you’ve come in your own recoveries, because I guarantee that even if it feels like you haven’t gone far, you’ve gone further than you can ever imagine.
~ Stephanie Watson, co-EIC of Fembot & Founder of Cyberrriot
P.S. Trigger warning for eating disorders, self harm, death, and abuse.