Self-Care After Relapse
Just because you’ve relapsed doesn’t mean that you’ve failed and that everything is lost. You can still get back on track if you know how to take care of yourself.
What Does it Mean to Relapse?
You’ve probably heard the term used in the context of drug addiction; a user might go back to taking drugs after a period of staying ‘clean’. However, relapse can refer to one’s mental health too and means that you experience a worsening of symptoms.
For example, a person who suffers from depression might become unable to take care of themselves and withdraw from their social life. Similarly, a person who used to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with setbacks might start self-harming when they’re under a lot of stress.
What to Do When You Relapse
Relapse can feel a lot like a failure but it doesn’t have to hinder your recovery. Here’s how to take care of yourself when your symptoms worsen:
1. Be kind to yourself
When you relapse, it’s natural to feel disappointed and guilty but treating yourself with kindness is the key to overcoming it. Take a few days off to rest and do something you enjoy, then think of some healthy ways to cope with your negative emotions, such as talking to a loved one when you’re upset or taking deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed.
2. Understand the recovery process
It’s important to remember that progress isn’t linear; even though you’re improving it’s normal to have to take a step back once in a while. You’re also not alone. Many people relapse when something significant happens in their lives but it doesn’t mean that the time they’d spent working on their mental health was a waste.
3. Talk to your loved ones
Relapsing also means that you’re at your most vulnerable and it would be a good idea to confide in a friend or a family member. When you feel supported, you’re less likely to beat yourself up and rely on unhealthy coping skills. Alternatively, you can join Facebook groups and talk to people who struggle with similar problems to see how they overcame their relapse.
4. Reach out for help
It’s important to contact a mental health professional when your symptoms worsen. They can also help you identify the causes of your relapse and help you get back on track.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat