Let’s say you’re suffering with severe anxiety and part of this anxiety is your fear of being social with people. So in order to get better and challenge this you start to make changes in your life.
You call your friends and family members just to have a chat, when people invite you to events you do attend, even just for an hour and you find that you enjoy being social and realise this activity makes you happy.
But then, your mood depletes, you become afraid again; you avoid answering the door and your phone. You stop making plans with others. You don’t attend events that you said you would. Now you think that you are ‘back to square one’ that ‘maybe you’re supposed to be anxious and alone forever’ and ‘maybe you simply cannot do it’.
It can feel as though you have gone backwards. In recovery there is no such thing as backwards. You are not in the same position as before; you are far more in touch with your emotions, much more knowledgeable about how to challenge them, you have not gone backwards because you are not in the exact same situation as before.
You have moved forward. You’ve just hit a wall and need to work to move around it.
Recovery isn’t smooth.
It isn’t easy.
It is like riding a bike.
It is trial and error.
But it isn’t impossible for anyone and you should never think that of yourself.
The hardest part of recovery,something that happens to many people, is relapse. But it is simply all part of the process. A difficult part. But a part nonetheless.
Everything we do is trial and error, whether you’re suffering mentally or not, all of our life choices are trial and error. Things will go wrong, but also remind yourself that things will go right.
A difficulty in relapse is having the critical voice creep back in. You beat yourself up for having a relapse but it is not choice of your own. Something I find very helpful is sitting back and imagining that someone you love is in front of you telling you about their relapse. Would you call them an idiot and say that they’re supposed to be miserable forever? No. So it doesn’t apply to you either. End of. It is that simple.
Part of this battle is revaluating. Thinking ‘this method of thinking didn’t work for me. Why?’ Then consider the options, maybe you did too much too fast, you thought you were ready but you were not. Okay. Then what can you do to make sure that next time to try and be more successful. Move slower. Give yourself a task for each month rather than each week.
I understand that it isn’t this black and white.
But first accept that relapse happens.
Then move onto challenging yourself again.
That could take a week or months.
Just focus on the goal