When we think of recovery from a mental illness, we think that we aren’t supposed to relapse or have bad days. Well, I am here to tell you that we do relapse and we do have bad days, and it’s okay. Some days I feel sad. Some days I think about self-harming again whenever the smallest inconvenience happens to me. Some days I want to go to sleep and never wake up again. Some days I get irritable. Some days I forget to take my medicine. And some days I think about killing myself. I have these thoughts and emotions, and I think I’m not supposed to, and that I’m possibly going down that dark road again. I’ll be doing so well for weeks and then something small or big happens to me that I don’t like, and I feel like relapsing into the old person I used to be. I get scared of myself sometimes because I’m afraid that I’m not strong enough to not act upon those feelings. I just assumed that I’m supposed to have nothing but good days throughout my road to recovery when in fact, I’m supposed to have bad days, so I can appreciate and recognize the good ones.
Having a moment of relapse into your old ways doesn’t make you weak or invalidate all the progress you’ve made thus far. It doesn’t mean you stop trying to become better just because you had a moment of darkness. I used to beat myself up if I relapsed by self-harming, or going off on everyone who came near me because I was irritable because I didn’t take my medicine because I saw that as all my hard work going down the drain, and I saw myself never getting better because I had one minor setback.
These last few months, for example, have been extremely hard for me for various reasons, big and small. I get into arguments with different family members, and it leaves me so angry that I wanted to die. Now, that doesn’t mean that I actually wanted to hurt myself or die because I am doing better, and I am not the same suicidal person I was months ago. I am having a minor setback, yes minor. Some days I get so mad because I argue with them over little stuff and I take it hard and I think I’m failing, but I am actually happier, than I have been in the past four years, because I am getting better, and these past few months don’t define my whole recovery and treatment process.
If you have relapsed in any way while in the process of getting healthy and happy again, I am here to let you know that that means absolutely nothing. Relapse means recovery, and you can’t heal and become a better version of you if you don’t have something to compare the good days to. If all you see is good days and no bad days, then the good days aren’t going to feel as rewarding. I promise it is okay to feel not okay sometimes. It is all a part of our healing process, and that is something I have to remind myself of every single day.
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