“Recovery is a process and you cannot expect to get better over night. It is all about the little victories”
Recovery is a bit like a diet. Weight can take years to put on so you cannot expect to lose it over night. It is the same with mental health. It usually takes years for someone to get to the point of admitting they need help, which means there is a lot of time and issues to work through to find the root of your problems. Like an onion you will have had to peel off many layers to get to the core.
After all my hospital admissions no one quite made it clear how hard and slow the recovery period is. Like when you are going through the worst times, recovery is filled with its ups and downs and is not the straight line upwards that you would expect. There are many bumps in the road. Some people will say to you “just snap out of it” that is easy for them to say but is impossible to do.
The best piece of advice I was given was that whatever your expectations are lower them dramatically. Do not worry about being excited about doing things, just do them and by doing things more often slowly the excitement will come. This is much, much easier said than done. I found it so frustrating not being able to do things at my old pace, and unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way by experiencing a huge crash that threw me right back to where I started.
It is really important to remember the people around you. Friends and family love you, and all they want to do is be there to help to aid your recovery.
Here are a few tools and tips I was given to help me to recovery
• Knowing your triggers and symptoms before they escalate too big
• Keep a journal or a mood diary
• If you don’t have a job put some form of structure in your days – time to get up, have lunch. Go for a walk, or anything you need to or enjoy doing.
• Try the ACE method (this is my personal favourite!)
Everyday try to:
A- Achieve something
C- Challenge yourself
E – Do something you enjoy
• Try the Traffic light system to monitor your moods and keep track of changes to help prevent you from hitting that “fuck it” button”
• Some form of exercise that suits you, walking, yoga, running (whatever fits your lifestyle (always check with your doctor first though)
• Push yourself a little every day find 1 or 2 people you can confide in and talk to about any of your thoughts and feelings
• Try to if recognize if you are hitting a relapse to try to avoid hitting that “Fuck It Button”
Don’t rush it's not a race
Take it one breath at a time
Listen to your body
Recovery will never be linear