The Process of Recovery

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Often times I wonder if recovery is actually real or if we just become accustomed to the torment we endure.

In any self-help book you read or any recovery program you attend, the first thing that is mentioned is to admit you have a problem. So here is goes….

I’m Michelle Sabato and I am attempting to recover from anxiety and depression. And it has not been easy. And sometimes I want to give up.

I will admit that life has been relatively good recently. I have made the decision to pursue a marketing career, researched organizations and revamped my resume. I have been training in my side gig and making good head way. I’ve been doing a ton of voice over acting work. Things have been busy and there has been a glimmer of hope for a change in the future.

But then something will happen. I will have a bad day and I’m kicked down from my high. And the fall makes me wonder if it’s even worth attempting to be happy. It’s the reminder that happiness is not a constant. That you can have happiness and lose it again. And that notion is completely depressing to me.

Look, I’m almost 32 years old, so I’m fully aware that life is not rainbows and butterflies at all times. But to drag yourself out of the hole of darkness (which is no easy task), to attempt to gain some peace, just to lose it again…it’s one messed up roller coaster ride. And at some point, you think, “why bother getting on this roller coaster?!”

Recovery is a process. No matter what it is you are recovering from, it will be a specific process that you have to make work for you. And the key word in that sentence is WORK. It’s not always easy to make changes. It’s really hard to try and reprogram your brain out of old habits. The self-analysis can be exhausting and the admittance of faults can be soul crushing. But it has to be done. For as hard as it is to wallow in the hurt and pain, it’s even harder to make the decision to change.

With change comes responsibility and it can be a heavy load to bear. In those instances, it’s imperative to ask this question, “this pain is heavy. The recovery is heavy. You know what the pain causes, but you don’t know what the recovery can offer yet. What weight do I want to carry?” No matter what, you have to carry something. And the choice is up to you.

I can say that I see I am gaining more self-confidence in choosing to make changes in my life. I’m proving to myself that I am capable and that it’s helping to make the load I’m carrying not feel so heavy. I’m trusting the process, I suppose. The biggest work for me comes from changing my internal self-talk. One day I looked in the mirror and said all the things that were going through my mind – “you’re ugly, you’re not worth of love, you’re fat, you’re worthless”. Yes, I genuinely thought that of myself (and on certain days I still do). But when I actually verbalized them, I was in shock. I would never speak to another person that way, so why the hell was I speaking to myself that way?

It was a moment where I held myself accountable in my own misery. I knew things felt horrible and I had no self-worth, in part, because I was telling myself those things. I play the biggest part in my happiness or sadness and I was actively choosing to keep myself in misery. But then I made the decision to attempt to change. Attempt to recover from it all.

Recovery, for all intents and purposes, is like learning to walk again. You are standing for the first time and wobbling around, trying to plant your feet firmly and move forward.

I learned how to walk once and I can do it again. We all can. And we might wobble, but maybe we’ll just pass it off as an interpretive form of life twerking!



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Michelle Sabato

Michelle is an actor and writer who was born and raised in Cleveland's Little Italy. Some of Michelle's hobbies include: reading, writing, film and carrying conversations solely made up of movie quotes.

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