Integration has been a concept I thought I knew, and am only now coming to understand. It isn’t the moments I take a deep breath and realize I just “deep breathed”, or maybe it is. But what I’ve found it is, on a greater level, is the moments I realize I’m safe and it’s because of the actions I took that day, without even trying. It’s the weeks that pass by without any significant events occurring that are so significant, because that’s normal. I’ve consistently been in awe of the experience of myself and my life, as I watch the way I go through my days in ways I forgot or, maybe, never knew.
The time that has elapsed since I discharged from residential is the same amount of time it took me to relapse between my prior discharge in January and my readmission in March. That baffles me. I’ve lived a lot of my adolescence into young adult life on the edge of my seat. There’s been constant changes, moves, transitions, and experiences that have caused (or been the cause of) chaos at best, catastrophes at worst. Yet, these past couple of months have been comparatively still.
It’s not that nothing’s happened. If I think about it, I stepped into life, I went on a trip to California, I moved into school, I visited NYC, and I’ve gotten involved in clubs and activities here at BC. However, it feels like not much has really occurred in comparison to the days and weeks that seemed endless throughout my relapse. And what’s even more is, in reality, I wasn’t actually doing much at all in those moments, except destroying myself. It was simply the pain that kept me brutally aware of my existence and the ways in which I defied it.
As a result, my days that I can’t always distinguish from one another- the ones that often fly by, that are sometimes filled with adventure, and other times filled with work, that are fascinatingly boring and easy and new- leave me in awe. The awe of my now manifests in two ways: awful and awesome.
Sometimes, I feel low. It isn’t easy to push against fears. I didn’t leave treatment on a perfect platform and my track record isn’t great. But, what’s been scarier is of how little I’m afraid. I get nervous when I realize how normal I am sometimes, and I get nervous when I realize I’m nervous, because it reminds me that there’s still things I’m working on. I overthink frequently, and am consistently working on being an observer of my thoughts, rather than becoming immersed in an attempt to control them. I feel drained often, and am still learning to trust myself. There are days where I feel truly uncomfortable in my skin, and there are moments where I think I can’t do this at all. These are the awfuls.
But, they end. As soon as I want them to. As soon as I integrate. As soon as I decide what I want, and how long I want to suffer. I ask myself, “Do I want to live a life where the choice to live is a horrible one, or a one of joy?” Because I’m choosing to live, so I’m trying to live well. I can’t always help the initial thought or reaction, but I can choose for how long I dwell in the darkness.
Then, there’s the frequent moments I hear myself exclaiming, “Isn’t that cool!” It’s the weird, little things. That I can plan to study abroad. That I can say yes to dinner invitations on a whim. That I can be a consistent “yes,” if I want to, or say “no” when I don’t. That I can visit friends in a different state at the last minute and actually be present for it. That I can stay up late watching movies over popcorn or go and get pizza at midnight, just because. That I can join the ultimate frisbee team, and make new friends, and be a friend. That I can try all 49 flavors of Jelly Belly’s (seriously amazing, I recommend to all…except black licorice, avoid those). That I can feel proud and safe, and accept others feeling the same towards me. These are the awesomes. They are filled with connection, simplicity, peace, stability, spontaneity, and fun. They are the little moments that compile a big life. They are the things I’m recovering to that I couldn’t have planned for and didn’t realize I was missing. They are the side effects of agreeing to the basics. They are the extras.
So, I continue. I, even on the days when I don’t want to, continue to agree. I agree to the simple, extraordinary days of my life. I agree to the moments of awful for the moments of awesome. I stay in awe.