The truth is that relapses or setbacks happen to all of us who struggle with mental health issues. We can be fooled into complacency. We can stop doing the work because perhaps we feel like we don’t need to do anymore because we feel good, “we’ve got a handle on things”. If I have learned anything it’s that complacency is the enemy of mental health. Never stop your mental health plan, or treatment unless you have discussed it with your Doctors first, and you both feel you are in a good spot to do so.
I need to make it completely clear that you may go through a remission period where you are feeling great, and life is looking up, but that does not necessarily mean you will never struggle with mental illness again. In fact, chances are you will. I don’t mean to sound negative; I just want you to know that it’s common to relapse. I myself go through these periods.
Here are some things to help you find your way back:
Take some time off:
If possible, take a day off, or a few. Your mind has become overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings and the best way to unstuck yourself is to get away from the offending stimuli, be it work, or someone toxic, you deserve to take a break.
Surround yourself with the right people:
If you have a support system, leverage it. Friends, family, partners and mental health professionals are there to pick you up when you’re down. If you don’t have a support system in place…
Seek professional help:
Be it a therapist or a psychiatrist, they will help you so much, as long as you find one that fits your personality and needs. There are plenty of resources online, support groups, helplines and even friendships waiting to happen. Just because you don’t feel valuable to someone, it doesn’t mean that you’re not valuable to anyone.
Get back on medication:
If you stopped taking meds, and you’re starting to feel worse, get back on them ASAP. Mental illnesses are serious, and the medication used for them should always be taken according to the prescription. If you’re already on meds, talk to your doctor and let them know about your symptoms.
Take care of yourself:
I know, this is the most difficult part, but DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. Don’t spend too much time alone, try to eat something, try to sleep, take a shower… these little things will make you feel so much better. Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself (like getting up at 5:00 a.m. and going to the gym), remember, you’re suffering from a real, tangible illness, one that will limit you from time to time.
Whatever you do, don’t give in to the temptation of wallowing in self-pity. You’re stronger than you think, and you’ve made it this far. This is a temporary condition and things will get better over time.
Karen is a great listener and a solid shoulder to lean on. She has a degree in History and English and a diploma in Counselling Skills. She struggles with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. She understands the importance of having someone to talk to about your struggles. She loves singing, researching her genealogy, cheering for her favorite hockey teams, swimming, hiking and spending time with friends.
You can follow Karen on Twitter.