Freedigitalphotos.net/Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan. A lapse need not be a relapse.
When I recently got discharged from hospital after an episode of severe depression, for some time things in my life were going very smoothly. I was taking my medication when I was supposed to, following a very rough kind of a routine, and engaging in behaviours that were positive.
However, like a whirlwind that hits a city that is never affected by turbulent weather, things suddenly have gotten out of control.
Upon an argument with a close friend and after a day of feeling particularly sore and over-tired, I began sleeping in excessively, stopped engaging in healthy behaviours, and feel like I am once again about to topple off an emotional tight-rope.
Much like the story of the Bauldeville orphans in a “Series of Unfortunate Events” I feel most of my life has been unpredictable. Like their lives, just as it is regaining predictability and routineness, I feel scared that something could happen to cause it to become unstable once again.
However, all is not lost. I lapse is not the same thing as a relapse. I see a lapse as a temporary step to the side, not a step back. A relapse is more a permanent and conscious decision to remain in the same unhelpful, non-proactive way of life.
I can, and now choose, from this moment on to:
1. To start getting up not at midday but at a reasonable time.
2. To start exercising again.
3. To start eating healthily again.
4. To start talking to other friends. So, I had a fight with a friend. I’m upset and can not go back. There are other people to socialise with.
5. Definitely keep up my writing. It is my passion and my purpose.
6. Not over-do it or under-do it – we all need a challenge, but if we think work is a substitute of some kind of problem, then all the articles or success in the world won’t change what’s really bothering us.
7. Keep contributing to the community in some way. I felt I did not fit in an op-shop I tried working in not long ago – I can keep my eyes open for something else.
8. Not beat myself up for this lapse.
9 Start my morning with daily prayer. This is followed by notes in my gratitude journal where I write what I am appreciative about in my current life.
Because I have let these things slip, is it little wonder that I have figuratively slipped off the tracks? Probably not!
Also important is a little planning and organisation - self-care, engagements, spiritual time, food in the fridge, and enough money for it.
Most importantly, not let myself get in a state where I am likely to let a lapse occur again –when I am over-tired, in pain, or stressed. Listen to my body, mind and emotions – my intuition. Also important is a little planning and organisation - self-care, engagements, spiritual time, food in the fridge, and enough money for it.
Kudos for being so open and up-front about this. I only recently 'came out' to my family about a long-hidden struggle with depression. Not everyone will understand, but our most important source of support comes from within. you're an inspiration.
I really loved your article. I could relate to so much of it personally and admire you greatly for putting yourself out there. It was really timely for me too as I am also trying to re evaluate and better organise my own life after a very stressful time. Your tips on how you are going to start working forward were really great. I've been having some similar ideas but you also gave me some more so thankyou so much. :)