So, I've been thinking. (Rut roh.) No, seriously, I've been reflecting for a while now on what constitutes "recovery".
I've known many people addicted to some form of substance or destructive behavior. Some I count amongst my closest friends. Traditionally, it seems, a recovery date is defined as they day, upon which, someone chooses to stop partaking or engaging in that which has harmed them. It can usually be clearly delineated, "I stopped drinking, drugging, cutting, shoplifting, compulsively overeating, gambling, etc., on such and such date.". But, how does one "recover" from a mental illness? Specifically, how could I "recover" from depression?
The answer is, I can't, any more than an alcoholic, now sober, can cease to be an alcoholic. The key is to recovery is not simply or necessarily the cessation of a behavior but the decision to actively choose to rise above one's condition and behave accordingly.
Talk about an "aha moment" (with all due respect to Oprah). I will NEVER stop being a person living with depression. There is no remission, no cure. But, there IS recovery. I realize now that mine began on August 21, 2012, the day I decided that I would no longer be defined by my depression. It wasn't until today that I truly realized how much my life began to change on that very day.
Do I still feel depressed? You bet your ass, I do. Do I sometimes feel hopeless, like I'm tempted to cash it all in? Sadly, absolutely. But, I haven't and I won't because I realized, on that day and every day since, that I am worth MORE. It struck me, for the very first time, that my depression does not have to be the focal point of my life. It was, in many ways, the first day I realized that it was not only okay to love myself but necessary.
So, let it be known, from this day forward, that I, Kari Murphy, am in recovery and I am sure as hell not looking back.