The Ultimate Guide to Recovering Your Life - Part Two
Welcome back to the Ultimate Guide to Recovering Your Life. The first phase of recovering your life is all about self-discovery. In the second phase, we focus on self-care. Much like a car, humans require regular maintenance in order to run efficiently.
What is self-care?
Experts at the University of Kentucky define it like this:
Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Good self care is a challenge for many people and it can be especially challenging for survivors of interpersonal violence and abuse. It can also be an important part of the healing process. Self care is unique for everyone.
A few years ago, everything in my life seemed great. I had a beautiful wife and a little boy who was almost a year old. I owned a successful photography business and had a career as a sign language interpreter. I had been serving as a youth pastor and worship leader for nearly a decade. I looked healthy and happy, but shame was choking the life out of me. I became convinced my only escape was suicide.
Even before I tried to kill myself, I wasn’t living. I had hurts and fears and bitterness and resentment and mess that nearly killed me. I believed my life was pitiful and I was nothing but the sum of all my miserable mistakes and secrets. I’d spent hours - decades - begging God to change me. But each time I said “amen”, I picked up that load of shame again. I was certain that in my inadequacy, I was beyond all hope and unworthy of love or belonging.
On September 20, 2012, I was finishing up an out-of-town assignment for work. That night I went back to my hotel room and ingested as much medication as I possibly could. Twelve hours later, I didn’t show up for a shift. My clients became concerned and called the hotel. Hotel security soon discovered my body in a scene so gruesome they believed I had been murdered. They called 911; I was rushed to the ER and transferred to the ICU. I eventually spent time in a psych ward for severe depression. The day I arrived in the ward was the day my life began to change.
Self-Care & a Second Chance
Since that September day nearly five years ago, I have been recovering from a suicide attempt, childhood sexual abuse, church hurts, and addiction. I have learned that self-care is about digging. About finding. And about facing realities. It’s been a long, hard process. But I have gained wisdom from leaning into my pain and learning to fight back.
Self-care means more sweeping things under the rug. No more ignoring pain and hoping for the best. No more keeping up appearances. Recovering my life has forced me to peel back layers of shame and secrets and find the abundant life underneath. Healing has come by learning it’s actually healthy to consider my own feelings. To be compassionate to myself. To know my own limits. Because giving up is no longer an option.
Thanks to a second chance, I have found a life I didn’t even know I could have. There’s no medical reason for me to be here. But I am. It is because of the grace of God, plus self-care, a strong support system, following the doctor's orders, and doing the hard work of recovery.
If you have ever felt hopeless, if you have ever believed that all the bad things in your life were beyond redemption, if you have ever felt unworthy of being loved or accepted, if you have ever feared what would happen if people found out whatever it is that haunts you - I get it. No matter what your starting point is, self-care will help you begin to answer the question, “Now what?”
True recovery leaves no stone unturned. From the brokenness of my marriage, to learning to create strong boundaries with toxic family members, self-care has saved my life. My free Self-Care Challenge is a guide full of helpful, practical content for readers from all walks of life.
Many authors of these types of journals have extensive educational backgrounds, which cause them to discuss tough topics like these from an overly-sophisticated standpoint. The good news? I’m different because I refuse to skirt around the details of my story. I’m a real guy who has walked through a living hell and has come out on the other side with a vulnerable and courageous story of hope for others.
Recovering your life and learning to create a lifestyle of good self-care is possible, because I have hit rock bottom and lived to tell about it. I believe my story will motivate you to seek the help you need. Self-care is a necessary part of your daily life. If you’re ready to take your life back, Join the Self-Care Challenge today. Start discovering the tools you need to cultivate a life of focused emotional health and clarity. You can recover your life. Self-care can help.