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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Giving Myself Credit

Trigger Warning: Mentions of self-harm

Everything we do, we do to the best of our ability given what we have available to us in that given moment. Recovery is not about a destination, it’s a journey; there will be good days and harder days, good moments and darker ones, and we do our best to get through the darker ones so that we get to see the rainbows, unicorns, and sunlight again. Because they will come. Whether it’s in minutes, hours, days, or months—they always come.
Recovery is essentially about progress, not perfection. We are flawed and imperfect human beings. Those of us who choose recovery choose to take the path of wellness and healthier behavior every chance we get, no matter how exhausted we may feel. And we will feel exhausted some days. We will slip up. Sometimes, we will fall back into old behaviors. Recovery is a continuous choice over the duration of multiple events to choose a healthy action over an unhealthy one. And if recovery is about progress and not perfection, then it’s time to give ourselves credit for everything we do right. 

I, for one, have been able to keep myself stable for eight months and counting. It’s not that I’ve been pain-free for that duration of time, but that despite the challenges, I’ve been able to stay as safe as I can. I’ve been eight months without the hospital. Eight months without scratching, and a few hours from scalp picking and hair pulling. Only once did I lapse into self-harm back in June, and I promptly told my treatment coordinator about it at program and handed over the method I used to my parents. In all of those eight months, I’ve had near crises and actual crises that I’ve handled.
And although I went a year and a half without going to the Counseling Center and a year without calling hotlines, that doesn’t mean it was always the best thing for me or the healthiest decision. 

Getting help when I need it should never be seen as a weakness, rather an immense strength. Needing help, more help than what I can feasibly manage on my own, is not a source of failure but of success. To recognize that I can’t, and don’t have to, go through something alone is so absolutely amazing.
So, when I found myself struggling with burnout in the first week of October, I recognized while filling out my DBT-Intensive homework that I needed to put down my pride, a difficult task, to call a hotline because I needed more support than what I could muster by myself.

And I tried one, and the wait was a little long so I tried another. And another, and another, and unfortunately, it blossomed into a full-blown crisis. A crisis so severe, something I hadn’t had in a very, very long time, that I didn’t know how to handle it on my own 

So, I didn’t.
I got extra help by crying my way over to one of those blue Public Safety columns and pushing the red button. You see, I knew I needed to get myself to the Counseling Center on campus, but I wasn’t certain I could get there by myself, safely enough. And maybe that was because of all the OCD-intrusive images of harm and death, the catastrophizing of the future, and the consequences of acting on the thoughts (I had an exam the week after that I couldn’t miss), the trauma of previous hospital stays and having to walk back through those Counseling Center doors. It was a lot… a lot.
So I pushed the button because I felt that I needed to. And to put this into perspective: three years ago I would never have considered an active suicidal plan and method available to me as an emergency. A year ago, I only ever imagined pushing the button as I was actively suicidal with a method available.
While in hindsight, I may have done things differently, it ultimately got me safely where I needed to be: on emergency in the Counseling Center. I got to challenge thoughts about feeling like a failure for needing help by writing this article dedicated to remembering that the messages I represent in my articles apply to my own experiences, too, and that I do genuinely believe in those messages.
I also learned about giving myself more credit for my accomplishments. I learned more about self-care, I learned more grounding techniques, challenging myself to look on the bright side, I learned more about mindfulness and paying attention to my positive triggers, what situations bring me joy and happiness, and how can I incorporate more of these into my daily life (positive psychology principles).

It wasn’t wrong; it was what I thought I needed at the time. And I survived, and survived well.