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Relapses happen: You just have to move forward
by TeenHelp March 12th 2021, 05:16 AM

This article has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of self harm. The contents of this article might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.


Relapses happen: You just have to move forward
By Anonymous

2020 was a rough year for everyone and it was one of the roughest years I have had in quite some time. I think the one thing I have learned is that relapses happen and that's okay. You have to accept them, learn from them and work on moving forward.

2019 was a good year for me. I got hired at my dream job and I work with people who have mental illness. I wanted this job for quite some time and I applied and interviewed back in 2018. Unfortunately, I did not get hired. I was sad but I had been hired for another job so I moved on. I accomplished my first goal of getting hired with a company I dreamed of being employed with since I was 18. It felt like everything was perfect in 2019. I had my dream job, my boyfriend proposed and we were planning a wedding, and I made the decision to start school.

2020 began and I heard bits and pieces about COVID, but everyone kept telling me it would be fine and my fears were unwarranted. March of 2020 hit and we eventually had to 'postpone' our wedding. Due to my high risk status I got stuck working from home. Initially it was fine, but then it dragged. I did not get much human interaction; that was the thing I loved about my job and I missed it terribly. I also started feeling bored with my work.

My mental health was progressively deteriorating and my thoughts of self harm were increasing. I was thinking about all the severe ways I could harm myself and it was worrying me but I thought I could make it through. Then, in August of 2020, I talked to my supervisor about a promotion and she said no. Her reasoning was not right given the circumstances with COVID. I should have fought her on it but I want to work with this employer for many years and advance my career so I stayed quiet.

This was devastating because I am not just good at my job, I am phenomenal at my job. I need to gain more confidence, but a lot of that comes from wanting to do the right thing and avoid inadvertently harming people. Everyone was telling me that I was being denied a promotion and it was wrong. My old supervisor told me that she promoted someone who was having the same issues. When I told her there were no negative marks on my evaluation she said it made no sense. She encouraged me to go to the union but I was too scared to screw up the job that I loved.

This pushed me over the edge and I self harmed for the first time in almost 5 years. The scary part was that I wanted to keep doing it. I knew that the only way to stop the cycle was holding myself accountable. I showed my husband the wound and asked him if he thought I should go to the ER. He said I did and I went to the ER. The ER decided to place me on a hold which was unnecessary. I told them I came in to stop the cycle but they did not listen. My treatment team didn't agree with the decision either.

While I was in the psychiatric hospital I had time to think and, at first, I was angry with myself but then I had a few epiphanies. The first one being I had gone almost five years without self harm which was longer than last time. It made me realize that I can try and go longer the next time around. I also realized that getting angry with myself would lead to triggering myself and could lead to more self harm. The last epiphany I had was that I will always have to deal with the mental illness and self harm. No matter how great life is, the mental illness will be in the background and will flare up during high stress times. The best thing I can do is find the appropriate coping skills.

Reading is my coping skill because I get to escape into another world. I have found some other coping skills this year such as playing my Nintendo Switch Lite and listening to audiobooks.

I am still struggling. I had a relapse with self harm a few weeks back. It was not a severe relapse which I am thankful for. I made sure I didn't have access to the tools I needed to do severe self harm and it prevented another incident. I am also relapsing in my eating disorder and I am struggling with medication compliance. I am still compliant with the important medications but there's a huge part of me that does not want to be. I am also struggling with severe insomnia which makes life and work difficult.

What I know is that life was good once and it can get good again. I am working closely with a treatment team to get to a better place with my recovery. I am going in and working with clients a few days a week. I am working on trying to recover and while things are difficult right now, I have hope.I have hope in a better tomorrow and hope that I'll get to a place where I can prolong the time between relapses. I always talk to my clients about hope and resiliency and right now those are the two things that are keeping me going.
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