This is the truth of my recovery: sometimes I miss being ill. Sometimes I miss being sad. The kind of sad that takes over everything and wraps itself around you like an oversized dressing gown. The kind of sad that makes you unable to feel much of anything, apart from a constant ache for the better days that you don't feel you deserve. I miss that constant. Oh, I miss that ache. Being ill, I sacrificed the human experience for the ache; it seemed safer to hide behind that self-imposed pain than it was to risk feeling something worse at the hands of somebody else. I couldn't feel anything emotionally, good or bad, because of that ache. I've taken off my suit of armour and although that suit of armour was lined with barbed wire, it felt safe and stable.
I wake up each morning and I panic, without knowing what exactly I'm afraid of. Am I afraid that the new day will bring good or bad? Am I afraid of being alone or the feeling of not being alone? I'm terrified, for those first few minutes, of either and any eventuality. I can't move. Frozen. Stuck in an early morning paralysis, where being well is as terrifying as being ill.
Of course, I'm scared of being on solid ground in a completely different way to how I'm scared of falling off the cliff edge all over again. The solidity is terrifying for its predictability and stability. It's new and it's its own sacrifice. It's a risk. Every day that I wake up and decide that I can take this on, I can manage without the armour, I risk feeling all manner of things that could potentially be bad, in a different way to the badness of being mentally ill.
Sometimes, I wonder where it all went. Sometimes, it's too quiet. Those voices I begged and pleaded with, the visions, the black dog that prowled all around me... where did it all go? How will I survive without the voices telling me I don't deserve the silence of death? Sometimes, it really is too quiet. Sometimes, it's too lonely. I lost my friends down to being ill, so I made new friends, friends who were also ill. Friends I seem to have lost since I got more well. Sometimes, I don't seem to belong anywhere and sometimes it's really bloody lonely.
But I romantise my own illness at these times. I forget. I forget that the sadness wasn't just wrapped around my torso, but also around my neck. I forget that the pain was worse than anything anybody else could do to me now that I'm stronger. I forget that it didn't all get easier because of luck, it got easier because I worked my arse off to make it this way.