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Picking the stitches

I think about sanity as being a piece of fabric and insanity is the stitching that holds it together. I wonder how something so fragile can be so strong. Insanity would not be used by professionals to describe me but I choose to use it because at times I have not been completely sane, my episodes that are void of sanity are entwined with it's opposite, which to me is insanity. Woven like stitches through the soul of my mind. If we stay with this analogy, my therapy and DBT skills are the needle and cotton reel. As my mind faces the darkness and the voices call out to me, I can reach for the needle and cotton to stitch my fabric back together again. This won't make the darkness disappear nor will it silence the tormenting voices, it just hides it from immediate view and muffles the noise. However, if I don't strengthen my stitches in time I lose both choice and control. Most of the time this thought terrifies me. Most of the time. There are tiny moments, little pockets of time when I turn round and the darkness surprises me as I come face to face with it. I hear a voice and I know it's not real, I'm not listening to it but I can hear it. I have missed all the warning signs, I frantically go back, where did I go wrong to get to this stage? I stopped paying attention, I got tired, missed a few meds, dropped a skill or two out of my day, didn't eat right or drink enough water. I got lazy and I got too comfortable. Recovery only works if you keep juggling all of the balls. In these tiny moments, I start picking at my own stitches. The stitching comes undone with self loathing. Being critical and judgemental of myself helps it along as does the disgust at my own self pity and weakness. If I get ill again it will be my own fault this time. I put my earphones in and play music loudly to drown out the voice. I force myself to look in a mirror, I focus on my eyes and look through them as if they are a window. I can see the darkness within and I face it. It knows what I want because it resides in my very soul and it offers me the tantalising gift of freedom and silence, the only gift I truly desire. I am stuck in this moment, at a crossroads. I know I need to fight but I am tired and sleep doesn't always bring me peace. I tell myself this is just a limbo period I am in and at the end of recovery these blips are expected. Like some vindictive test we are put through to make sure we can cope alone. I have to pass the test. These few months are my test, there will be something for me to do and I can be happy. I don't believe this, but I want to believe it so that's a start I will take for now. Wanting to believe is enough to spark my resolve, it hisses and flickers wanting to fire up. The voice is quieter now but I can hear laughter and I know exactly what it's laughing at, I hear it say "you want to believe in Father Christmas but wanting won't make it real, just like it won't make your life worth living real". I put my earphones back in. I am in the final stages of my recovery and if I have survived this long and through so much then surely I can make it over the finish line and into remission. I must strengthen my cotton and stop picking the stitches. Written by and shared on behalf of Steph Grainger (@TattySoul) | Twitter Cover image provided by Steph Grainger, created by @Stevo78EFC

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