Pulling Through a Depression Relapse

Pulling Through a Depression Relapse

Hello and welcome to Arien Inspires, a
weekly online TV show that’s transforming the personal development
field and making it more inclusive for those of us living with a mental illness!
It is terrifying when, out of the blue, the symptoms of our mental illness come
rushing back. When we’re feeling great one week and then the next we’re feeling
super depressed. Any resurgence of symptoms of any mental illness is tough
and overwhelming. So how do we handle this downward spiral when one hits? How
do we stay afloat when our mental illness comes back with a vengeance? It can honestly be really scary when our
mental illness and the symptoms come back with a ferocity. It can overwhelm us
and it can frighten us and it can catch us off guard. So, the most important thing
to do during this time is to try to find a sense of safety. Try to find a sense of
trusting in yourself and trusting that you can get through this, that you can
survive this, and that you are not a bad person for having these symptoms come
back. I’ve been here before many, many times. My PTSD will usually wane for a
couple weeks at a time, where I’ll feel good, I’ll feel engaged, and I’ll really
feel like the trauma doesn’t really impact me as much. The symptoms kind of
fall to the side, but then, after about two or three weeks, they start to come
back and sometimes they come back really hard. And this hurts. And it scares me
and initially I wanted to run away and push it away and really reject these
symptoms coming back. So I started working on acceptance and this really
helped it really transformed the periods of time when my symptoms were flaring up.
I told myself, “You know what? The flashbacks and the panic are here again.
They’ve come back and they may be here for a couple months, but you know what? I
can get through this and this isn’t a reflection on me not ‘healing right’ or
anything like that.” Symptom relapses are the most painful
when we shame ourselves for them, when we tell ourselves that we’re bad or that we
did something bad to have our symptoms come back up. But, this isn’t true. You’re
not a bad person and you didn’t do anything bad if your mental illness just
naturally grows in intensity. It happens and it is totally okay and you can get
through this. It is so so normal for symptoms to come and go. It happens to me,
it happens to you, it happens to your peers, towards your friends. It happens to
people who are 10 years into their recovery and people who have just
realized that they have a mental illness. So let this shame go. Start to release
that sense of you having done something bad to cause these symptoms to come back.
It is natural and it is an okay and valid thing that sometimes just happens.
When we hold on to this shame, we hurt ourselves with that too and it makes
these cycles a lot more painful and difficult. But when we work on releasing
that, then we’re starting to bring some acceptance and love and compassion
towards ourself and this makes even the most intense symptoms easier to handle.
The key to all of this is to know that you are incredibly resilient. That you
can handle this no matter how intense the symptoms get.
You are being of more intensity, of more power, than the symptoms have over
you. You are larger than your mental illness and you are larger than your
symptoms. But just knowing this, just hearing this, doesn’t instantly make us
feel safe, like we can necessarily handle this particular relapse or resurgence of
symptoms. So what techniques do we actually use? Which things can we
actually apply to our life to bring this safety and this comfort towards us
during these really difficult times? The first and most important thing is to
practice self forgiveness. Tell yourself that it is okay to be where you’re at
and that it’s okay to be experiencing these symptoms. We can try to make them
budge, we can try to cope with them and that is highly encouraged, but when they
don’t move and when we are struggling, try to be with yourself there. Stand with
yourself and say, “You know what? I’m accepting that this is happening right
now. I’m accepting that this is my reality and I’m safe here and I’m okay
here.” Essentially, make sure that you are not abandoning yourself in your time of
greatest need. This technique alone can increase your sense of safety, but there
are ways to build it even more. One of them is to start to practice self trust
and a great way that we can do this is to start to curiously explore our
emotions when they’re being experienced. Sometimes they can be a little intense
so start small, but basically ask the emotion, you know, “What color would I give
this emotion? What texture would I give this emotion? What does this really feel
like? Where does it sit in my body?” When you’re observing it like this, you’re
becoming larger than your emotion and, when you do this, you’re instantly able
to trust yourself a little bit more. You’re able to trust that you can handle
it and that you’re totally okay even when the emotion is really intense. This
exercise of curiously exploring your emotion helps to show you that it is
just a feeling, that it is something that exists within you, but it won’t consume
you. Remember that this relapse, this resurgence of symptoms is temporary. That
you can get through it and that your only job is to tell yourself, “I’m okay
and I can do this.” Remember that this relapse, this resurgence, is temporary. Our
bodies and minds can’t sustain it forever and it will pass. So your only
job during this period is to tell yourself, “I can get through this.” I have a
phrase that you can recite to yourself as soon as your symptoms start coming
back, something that will bring some self love and self trust into your life and
help to ground you whenever you need it. Here is what I encourage you to tell
yourself: So let’s get some beautiful and wonderful solidarity together in the
comments below. What is the scariest part of having your symptoms come back and
what would you like to tell someone else who is experiencing this right now?
What reminder would you like to give them that will help them get through
this? I really encourage you to leave a comment below and also to share this
blog. If you know how painful and stressful and scary it can be to have
your symptoms come back, then I’m sure that you know another person who could
really benefit from this message. If this video helped you, please be sure to share
it with someone that you care about as well. You could change a life, you could
even save a life with this simple action. Now, I want to look right at you and tell
you that you can get through this. That I believe in you and I know that you can
survive this tidal wave of emotion and symptoms and stress that is coming over
you, and it is okay. You will survive this and this is something that I believe
with every single fiber in my heart.

One thought on “Pulling Through a Depression Relapse”

  1. was spiralling so hard into depression, since yesterday was going to hurt myself but saw your video, I feel really better now.thank you

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