According to LinkedIn, my post about returning to work after my year-long mental health leave of absence has attracted nearly 1.5 million views. It’s an astonishing figure and one that’s hard to wrap my head around.
Dozens of people, nearly all of whom I have never met, have privately messaged me about it. A theme has emerged among some of the notes. Even though I explicitly stated that I am on a journey rather than at a destination, people are asking me how I came to be “cured” of my depression and OCD. My answer is not one they want to hear. I’m not “cured” of anything.
I recognize the place from which they are coming. Having hope that things can improve because you see someone else whose story resonates with your own is powerful. It breeds optimism. And, at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily feel like enough. The fear of relapse is real. It’s scary. I’ve been asked how I know that I’ll “never go back” to where I was. Again, my response is painfully unsatisfying. I don’t.
I know that I have a degree of in-the-moment self-awareness that I have never had before. I know that I have resources and support available to me and I do not hesitate to call upon them. I know that although things are currently sunny, at some point it will rain. And, I know that the rain is temporary and the sun will come out again. That does not mean that I will welcome the rain or that the rain will make me feel good. (Please hang on, this tortured analogy is almost done.). It means that I know that I have the perseverance and the resilience to live through the rain with the hope and optimism that the sun will shine again.
It isn’t a cure. It’s my truth.