When recovering from an illness of most descriptions, there is always the possibility of a relapse. By definition, a relapse can only happen after a period of improvement and that’s what happened to me. I’d like to tell you about that to begin with.
For those of you following my journey, you’ll have seen I’ve been struggling with my depression and anxiety since around August 2016. During the first four months I experienced quite a sharp crash that resulted in me turning to self-harm in order to cope. Well, since then I’ve been making significant progress along the road to recovery.
Back in May I started having my medication changed because the one I was on wasn’t doing what it should. While it was great that the doctors took my views on-board and started to make the necessary changes for me, it’s been a bit of a tough slog while being weaned off the old medication and put onto the new one.
Needless to say: I’ve relapsed.
Near the end of May, I found myself back in old familiar places. Namely sitting on the bathroom floor with a blade in my hand. While it was unpleasant to be back there, I should point out that it was a possibility from the start. Changing someone’s medication does run the risk of a relapse.
What do I do?
Have you relapsed recently? Was it a speed-bump in the road or was it a big crash like mine? If you’re like me, perhaps you feel ashamed of it. Perhaps you wish you had been stronger. Maybe you’re struggling with how to deal with this?
Honestly: it’s OK.
Relapsing feels like failure, as we were doing so well at getting better but then suddenly we weren’t, but let me tell you that’s not the case. The road to recovery is not meant to be plain sailing or easy. Unfortunately that’s why it’s recovery, because it’s plagued with pitfalls and potholes and problems. Still, there is no shame in slipping into one.
The important part is what you do with it.
If I’m honest, I really hate the “get back on the horse” adage but it’s fitting here. In my attempts to avoid it, however, let me give you a quote from Batman Begins instead:
“Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Thomas Wayne, Batman Begins (2005)
Relapsing is a way of teaching us how to cope with depression or anxiety or any other mental health problem. No day will be perfect, no one will have a completely smooth recovery. There will be days where you slip or backslide or fall. If that happens though, try to be nice to yourself and please try not to beat yourself up over it.
More important than anything else, you tried. You’re making the effort to get yourself better, you’re trying to recover and that is the best thing you can do. Trying to get better will always run the risk of a relapse but persist with it. It’s a blip on the radar, you will get through.
I’m proud of you. Even if I don’t know you too well, I’m proud of you. You’re trying to get better. You’re on the road to recovery. No, it won’t be easy but you’re still trying with it.
Let me encourage you today: persist with your walk along that road. You may not see it now but things will one day get better. Even when they’re going swimmingly, you may have bad days like I have but you will make it through.
You will make it through!
Why? Because we’re all in this together. We are a community and we will support each other and together we can face any challenges as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky.
Keep holding on. Remember you have a purpose and you are not alone. No matter how dark the night gets, no matter how bad the days get, you are not alone. Reach out to us if you’re struggling or even if you want to talk and we will support you.
Take care, guys. Stay strong!
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