Things are great when you’re feeling great. This means that things in life are going how you want and your mood is relatively stable, but having a mental illness means that a fear of having a relapse will be lingering in the back of your mind, reminding you that it might not stay this good for long.

It’s been a year and a half since my first relapse, but the fear of relapsing always haunts me. In order to take preventative measures, I have become very aware of when I am feeling slightly down for more than a day, and automatically become concerned, fearing that another relapse is on its way. Yes, I can be a bit overly concerned, but it’s better to be over prepared and take action early on than it is to be under-prepared, in my opinion.

How do I prepare? I think the most important thing is to have self-awareness, which is to be able to notice when something about you is a little off. For example, I am very sensitive and regularly cry, but if all of a sudden, I am crying every single night then I know something is up. Then, I try to identify the source of my change in behaviour, and do things to counteract it. If I’m feeling really down and lethargic I push myself to head over to the gym, because I know I will feel better from working out. I sometimes do let myself have those days where I do nothing and just let it be for a day or two, but I try to not exceed that. If things are lasting a little longer, and I’m having trouble counteracting it then I will talk with a professional for advice.

I have had one relapse and am currently weaning off my medication with the intention of being fully off them in a couple months, so that is a risky combination for a relapse, which is why the idea of relapse has come to my attention recently. I just need to remain positive and remain on the lookout for large mood changes and warning signs of anything stirring up in my mind.

About Elena B.

Elena is a 21 year-old college student, sales associate, and volunteer living with depression and generalized & social anxiety. Formally diagnosed with social anxiety in high school, Elena has struggled with it for the majority of her life. During her first year of university she experienced high levels of anxiety and had her first major depressive episode, which was followed by another the following year. Since then she has been recovered and focuses on her recovery daily. She currently runs a tumblr blog, where she shares inspirational quotes, images, and tips to help others with their recovery. Follow Elena’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog.

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