Piece by Piece
Like everything in this massive universe, we are made up of a million different pieces; physically, spiritually, emotionally, the internal and external, the spoken and unspoken. One thing I have come to realize is that in order to live in a recovery mindset, you must, at different times in your life, put a special focus on each of those pieces. Depending on what is happening in your life at any given time, each piece must be nurtured and cared for in various and unique ways. But you must also find balance in that journey, which has not always been easy for me.
I’ve spent the last six months focusing on my mind more than anything. As I returned to school after a hiatus of over a decade, I realized how much my brain needed that nurturing and I dove in full force with a dedication that surprised even myself. Maybe it was the mind-numbing isolation of COVID or the long break I had been on, but I was like a suction sucking up everything which came my way. And I not only wanted to just work towards that ever-allusive degree, I wanted to dive in to the journey and actually do well on every quiz and every assignment. Not ever before had I researched for essays as I have done this last while; it was incredible and exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.
While I was exercising my brain, it is important to note that I let a lot of other things go. Now, some of that was because you only have so much time and energy during the day, but another part of it was my addictive personality and how I focus in on things too much and lose the balance I need to keep me mentally healthy. So here I sit now, back to writing (which I am so happy about!) but also a few pounds heavier, a little sorer in spots, and a whole lot more tired than I have been for a while. Did I nurture each piece of me throughout this journey? Absolutely not! And that is hard to accept, however important it is to do so.
While I strive to regain that balance and once again focus on different pieces, such as creativity through my writing and exercise for my body, I do take comfort in the fact that I am working towards the end of a journey that began over thirteen years ago. After the death of my father, who was such a strong supporter of my return to school and pursuing my degree, the emotional parts of me could not bring myself to continue. Financially I needed time as well to get on a more solid footing. So, while it has taken a lot of time, I am comforted by the fact that I used those years to build a foundation, through every little piece of me, that was strong enough to return to the path of growth and learning. I could spend a lot of time blaming COVID as well for creating an environment where it was hard to achieve balance, but this would be wrong. Yes, it had an effect on me as it did on everyone, but I made choices along the way that were not in my best interest. I own it.
Self-reflection and acknowledging where you have derailed is a big part of recovery. Let me be clear, I am not back in a dark place and my emotional health continues to be on solid footing. But, I know that in order for this to continue, I need to re-evaluate where my time is spent. I am reminded by this new awareness that I am a million pieces and while I cannot focus on them all at one time, I must find balance to ensure those that are most important are always nurtured in some way. It is what will keep me whole and healthy. I wish the same for you.