It’s been . . . one year since

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’ve been sitting on this one for a few days, reflecting on what I learned and what I’ve learned since.

It’s been just over a year since I came home from the Trauma Unit.

I am so glad I went,

I didn’t stay long, my intrusive suicidal thoughts and severe trauma reaction had been controlled by the time I got there.

But that 2 weeks was probably one of the most influential times in my life when it comes to mental illness.

(The other majorly influential time was the year I spent in DBT).

And the funny thing is, I only really learned two new overall skills while I was there, and I was reminded of a few others.

I’m not going to go into specifics about the skills, but if you’re curious, please ask and I’ll share them in the comments.

I’ve been better able to put all of my skills to use since I’ve left there, even ones I learned years ago.

I just feel,

stable.

As far as I can remember, I’ve felt stable this entire year. Intrusive suicidal thoughts haven’t gotten strong enough to be a risk, and when they do start, I’m able to both let them float by, and remind myself that it’s a thought that doesn’t need to have any power. I’ve stopped actively trying to make them go away in most cases. I just recognize that the thought was there, and then stop giving it attention.

The amount of meditation and mindfulness I’ve practiced since the trauma unit has been surprising. It’s not even that they spent that much time talking about it in the unit, it was covered much more in DBT. But the trauma unit made me ready to use it, and to see how important it was. I spent a significant part of each day alone with my thoughts, while also being encouraged to think about how much power they really needed to have.

I’m not always trying to escape my thoughts, I’m not fighting them, I’m just not giving them the power I used to.

I feel like a much stronger person now.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

And that’s bullshit.

The ways that you can grow after going through a trauma is what makes you stronger.

The work I’ve put into this has made me stronger.

And that’s always been a choice, a choice to continually work at being better than the day before.

It’s not perfect and it never will be. Growth isn’t linear, lessons circle around and come back again and again as you learn them. It takes time, continual practice, and being gentle with myself when I trip.

I do still have a long way to go, I don’t feel like this growth is a process that ever stops. But I have tools,

and I’m continually looking for even more.

I’m really hopeful that TMS works. It might be one more stepping stone, a step upwards emotionally, and it will help me go even further.

It’s been a year since I came home from the trauma unit.

It made a huge difference for my mental health.

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