In a blog post earlier this week I discussed what are some of the signs that you might be relapsing.My focus in that blog post was more about ways to prevent by noticing the signs. Today a question arose in my comments for that blog post. What can you do when you have relapsed into your mental health?
I will discuss my own methods.
What Can You Do When You Have Relapsed in Your Mental Health?
For the most part, I write my blog’s from the position of my experience. Relapse is inevitable in my life. I often find myself right back in a depression or manic episode at some point in a year. A year is 365 days, and there is no way for me to escape the forces that conspire to make me relapse. So what can you do when you have relapsed?
The first thing that I do when I realize that I am relapsing with my mental health is I take a step back and figure out where I at in that moment. Take my last relapse around Christmas last year. It was a combination of things. The holidays. The fact that my depression gets worse during the winter months. Along with a long year of overworking myself became my relapse into my depression.
The first day, I noticed that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was laying there and I knew that my depression was winning. It was Christmas Eve and it was the last day of a long semester. I was looking at the prospect of a few weeks off and my depression was salvaging at the mouth. I let it win and I stayed in bed all that day.
Sometimes you have to let something like depression win temporarily. It is your body telling you that you need to slow down. I am not saying stay in bed all day, but give yourself a break. I let the depression take over me for a few days. I watched Netflix and I rested a lot. I tried to sleep and when I did it made me feel a bit normal.
Then after two days, I got out of bed for a few hours. I wrote some blog posts and proofread a couple of chapters in my memoir. I ate a decent meal in the morning, afternoon, and in the evening. Then when I hit my limit, I went back to bed. The next day it was a little easier and I got more done. I gave into depression knowing that I need to stay focused on getting better in the following days.
The biggest thing is not letting depression win. It‘s a war. You’re going to lose some battles. Think big picture.
For me, writing brought me back to life. I made sure to gradually work towards my goals. That’s the other thing. Your goals can be a major way to get you through a relapse. It wasn’t all writing that helped me get through all the depression.
I listened to a lot of music. I read a book. I left my house for a few hours to my favorite coffee shop and hung out with my book to read. Other days I wrote non-stop until my depression, my familiar companion, left me again. When things became good I was always in a flow and that came from staying focused.
There is no right way to get through a relapse in your mental illness. Every mental illness is different. I have written so many pieces about others lives in the mental illness community. I have learned that there are ways that we get through the worst parts of our illness that are special to each one of us.
For me, it’s writing every day which helps me get through anything. That may not work for you. Find a hobby. Look for the one thing that makes you smile. I love to sit in coffee shops and read or write. It feels amazing to find what get’s you through a relapse.
It wasn’t always that way for me. It took years of experience of letting my relapses go for weeks, months, and yes years. I finally could understand how to get out of a relapse and I have used my experience to my advantage.
It’s a bit different for my relapses into mania. I do still have manic episodes but I learned long ago what helps me with my relapses into mania. I find it easier to deal with because my manic episodes don’t last as long as a depression cycle. My experience limits me to say what works exactly. My relapses are usually excessive spending sprees. I get extreme levels of irritability and euphoria. I become reckless. My eventual relapse is going back into depression. Which I can deal with because I can figure out what is making me angry and I always run out of money.
My point is a simple one. Relapses happen in our lives. Learn what works for you and do some trial and error. It won’t be perfect. What works for me has limited my depression cycles to a few days or a week instead of months. Learn from your past, so that you don’t continue to relapse. Eventually, you can recognize the signs and get to a point that you prevent relapses. Still, relapses happen, so give yourself a break. Life with a mental illness is already too short. Don’t let relapse get you down.
As always. Always Keep Fighting.