The idea of a relapse is terrifying. I’m certain I’m not the only one with this fear rattling around in my head constantly, so the first thing I want to say is that if you’re worrying about this right now – you’re not the only one.
I sometimes have something called a Pseudo Fit. It looks like an Epileptic fit, but it’s actually just my brain shutting down after being overloaded by emotion or information. I’ll tell you a bit about those in another post. But for now, the important thing for you to know is that after months without, I had two last week.
The only thing I could think about was relapsing. I was convinced that I would have to drop out of university again, give up writing and confine myself to the cocoon of my double duvet for the rest of my life. But that wouldn’t have helped. I’ve done this before, and it only spurred on the Personality Disorder living in my brain, to develop into full-scale craziness. By giving in to the fear of relapse I allowed the BPD to gain control.
So that leads on to the second thing I want to tell you…
You are stronger than you think! Instead of giving in to that fear, live your life. Enjoy all the little moments: the colour of the leaves in Autumn, the sound of a bird singing, the warmth of a hot bath. Appreciate all your achievements, however small: managing to get out of bed, managing to write a page of notes, managing to make yourself dinner. All of these things help to keep the relapse at bay because you’re not giving in when things are too difficult – instead you’re working harder and taking more notice. In doing this, you’re maintaining control.
There’s another thing too. Taking a breath is important! If you’re finding it too hard to do something, don’t do it. Keeping yourself safe is the most important thing and if slowing your life down a little is what you need to do in order to accomplish this, it’s more than worth it. I’m not saying stop doing the things you normally would, I’m simply saying to do a little less if that’s what you need to do.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health problem and you think you’re on your way to a relapse, it’s important to speak to your doctor, CPN, or care coordinator. They’ll help you to manage your brain’s misbehaviour and stay on track. If you reach crisis point, call your local crisis team or try Samaritans. Stay safe! Together we can do this. There’s some more useful information about Early Warning Signs here.
What if you’re not unwell? Would you like to know what this fear is like?
It’s like living your life on a tightrope. You know what it was like before you got to where you are now. The world was a darker place, frightening and dangerous. Even leaving the house was terrifying and you felt like a prisoner in your own brain. The idea of falling off the tightrope and going back to that place is paralysing, it grips you and prevents you from living your life. You grasp at the tiny glimmers of hope that lie in your coping mechanisms, but you can’t quite catch them. You’re losing control. Slowly but surely, your illness is reaching icy fingers into your brain and colonising it for its own dark intentions. You are crippled by fear.