Dealing with a mental illness of any kind truly sucks balls. You can go months or even years without experiencing symptoms, and then, BAM! You are right back in it.
As someone who has struggled with major depressive disorder and panic disorder over the years, the last few months have been the best for my mental health in a long time. I finally felt that I was in a good place. My medications felt right. I spaced out my therapy appointments to every three weeks for the first time in over six years. I felt good, and life seemed balanced.
That was the part I forgot about though. To everything, there is a balance. For the good in life, eventually bad will come along to balance it out. Without sharing too much detail, my family had a scare over an immediate family member’s health. Work went into overdrive for two weeks. My love life and social life struggled as well.
As a result, I had a flare of fibromyalgia due to the stress (Yay!). So the little free time I had I used to rest my body. I could not engage in my usual coping skills. Over the course of a week or two, old habits set in. I ate shitty fast food when out and about. I found myself cancelling clients’ appointments to stay in bed. I would not respond to my friends or family members when they called or texted. I felt myself going through the bare minimum motions at work. No heart or feeling was being put into my work. I scoured dating sites looking for women to hook up with since that was my old go to stress reliever. It was the beginning of a downward spiral
This all went on for the last two weeks. Boy, talk about feeling internally conflicted. I was falling into a depressive episode. Part of me knew I needed to pull myself out of it. The other part of me felt complacent. That was what I knew for the majority of my life. It worked for me up until this point. Why should I have to change? You know why? Because you are better than that.
I was talking to my friend about my depression. I started throwing out the old guilt-ridden phrases like “I will leave you be” and “I don’t want to be a burden.” Then, in the middle of my rant, I literally typed the words, “I am spiraling.” I metaphorically gave myself a bitch slap. I could not have been prouder of my metaphorical pimp hand. Years ago I would have just let it happen. The feelings of anxiety and depression would consume me, leaving a shell of my former self. I snapped out of it at that moment. I literally sat back and compared myself at that moment to when I first started my mental health recovery.
I could literally draw a line from when I started my recovery to any point afterwards and say that the line is higher than when I first started. Some points are obviously much higher and good times. Other times are rougher.
Recovery is not an overnight process. It is a lifelong roller coast ride. You have to expect there to be hiccups along the way. Speed bumps will rise up, trying to knock you off your path. When you feel derailed, you need to pick up the pieces and get back on track.
-The Caring Counselor