endometriosis surgery recovery + mental health: a journal
I have been working on 3 new blog posts. Yes, three! I have been working on three vulnerable posts about health and illness. I want to take a break before finishing those posts. I want to dive back into a topic that was the very reason this site became a part of me.
If you have followed my story, or read my [about] page, you may not be a stranger to the fact that I have suffered, and still do, from anxiety and depression. In 2016 I was very sick, and hospitalized to ensure my safety.
I then became a writer, an advocate, a healer, a fighter, a survivor. When it was all so new, scary, and each day felt as though the next day wouldn’t get any better, it was all I would write about. My blog has grown through the years from strictly being a “mental health blog”, to being a blog about personal growth in all of its forms. This is also due to the fact that I have been doing well. Really well. I have been stable, I have support, I have the tools to cope. I still struggle with anxiety and depression. I think I always will, but I have more good days/weeks and that’s all I can hope for. Every day is a chance for me to grow and heal the darkness inside, the traumas of my past, piece by piece.
I was not going to write this journal, and even now as I type I am unsure how this will come together. I have been struggling. In a way I haven’t been for a long time. My surgery was a huge turning point in my healing, but it also addressed trapped wounds. Healing is not linear. It is not just about post-surgery pain, or restrictions anymore. Emotionally I am also recovering.
There are many factors that could be contributing to this emotional shift. I could be experiencing post-op depression and hormonal changes after my recent endometriosis surgery. My thyroid levels could be off. It could be that going back to school and work while still recovering physically and emotionally was a lot harder than I had expected. It could be many factors, including a week where everything seemed to go wrong, and triggers rose to surface. It all became too much to handle. I found myself journaling dark emotions. These emotions scared me to be thinking and feeling in the first place. I found myself connecting with 2016 Haley all over again. But I pushed back. I resisted. I could see things going that way, and I was scared. I was scared to be in my own skin. I have been feeling as though I am in a fog. I have a warped idea of how people really see me, and how I see myself.
Today, I type this post in the beautiful island of St. John, but last week, I spent 7 hours in an emergency room awaiting a psychiatrist’s assessment. I am not where I was in 2016, but I recognized the warning signs. I was able to get the support I needed. I was discharged, thanking the sky that I was able to go home. I realized that just as in the past, if I was admitted, it would have been what I needed. What I needed now was to be assessed and stabilized, connected to resources, and left to go home to my own bed.
Let me say though, it was terrifying to find myself there again. Though I was not at first, I’m glad I went to the hospital, and I will go back if I need to. This past week, since that night, I have been a new level of exhausted. My pain has been higher, which I’m sure has an emotional component. I didn’t go to class, work, my internship, nothing. I slept, I wrote, I let emotions be heard and felt, I worked on slowly getting my appetite back. I let a small few know what was happening. The worst part though, was that I was feeling utterly, completely alone.
I found myself in a familiar feeling of shame for reaching out to people I trusted over a mental health crisis. I did not do anything wrong, and that shame is what I need to address. That shame brought me to start this blog several years ago because I did not want anyone else to feel shame around needing help for their mental health. I needed to remind myself as well.
I write this now, acknowledging that I am still in this funk. I am taking it day by day until I start to feel more like myself again. I have been away for a little while on a family vacation, which is likely what I need right now. Some Vitamin D and the people I love. It was hard to say yes to this trip. Since my surgery, I missed a chunk of time from my classes, I am behind on my internship hours, and I worry far too much that people won’t understand. That I need to be the same student I was before recovery. Before I got sick. But- I did say yes to this trip. I am giving myself this time to sit back, reflect, and relax before I jump back in. Recovery comes in waves, as does healing. My body has been doing a great job telling me to pay attention, and to take care of my mind.
I am healing my mind, and taking care of myself by writing again. This is the first of a few more posts to come. I am ready to share my journey, once again.