Mental Illness, Stress...And Relapse
Oh...This is hard. I don't think I have ever slept this much in a very long time. I can sleep 20 hours a day. I can drag my ass out of bed to complete important articles, walk the dog and feed the cats and...fall back into bed. And by accident! I just cannot stay awake. My bed and I have become best friends. The books on my night-table keep me company and I try to eat. My life, pretty good just a month ago, has bloody well crumbled and I cannot even find the pieces to put it back together.
I wrote in my book: This is The Land of Depression and I Have Finally arrived. Dammit, I have.
The Impact of Stress on Mental Illness
I might (will?) blabber on about myself in this post. Depressing people are depressing. They are narcissistic and irritating. Even if the sun shines, it appears black to them. And black it is. But the focus of the blog is stress and mental illness and so forgive me for using my own life as an example right now. I could spew out some research on the topic and both of us might fall asleep. I could fall asleep if a herd of elephants ran into my bedroom door.
I moved into a beautiful new home three months ago! I picked the paint colors and the carpet and promised myself "This Would Be My Home" and nobody could take it away from me. Just me and my pets and all the money I saved to have it. After being an addict for so long, being so sick, how wonderful it felt to feel safe. How glorious!
And then things slowly crumble. Money does not come in like it once did. Writing can be a crap career. You can work 24 hours a day and still it is not enough. You can have a degree and still...it is not enough. But I live with bipolar disorder and though I have had jobs outside of my home, I moved to a small town near my family, with no work opportunities--unless I learn how to log trees or herd cows. But writing was enough. And now, now...my house will no longer be mine.
I have to move. Again. I have to find somewhere else and work out mortgages and things that confuse me. I look at the pretty light green paint that will no longer be mine soon and I cry and I sleep and...I'm suddenly not doing very well.
Stress impacts our mental health. Stress can cause relapse. Perhaps I am not in a position to give you advice, perhaps I should shut my lips and stop typing, go back to bed where nothing will change while everything changes. But I can't. When life changes happen, we need to learn some essential skills. We need to learn them before we sink or...Well, try to swim.
Essential Skills When Recovering From Mental Illness
I can't tell you it is easy for me to be writing at this moment. I get up early every day. I'm pretty great at self-motivating. I make my own schedule and stick to it. But not right now. Yesterday, somehow, I woke up at 4 p.m. and was absolutely disgusted with myself. I had no idea how such a thing could happen. I panicked. All the work I could have done! The dog who will have a late walk! The day that was wasted but why would I want to be awake?
I set two alarms this morning. Put the phone beside my head and asked my partner to call me at 7 a.m. I woke up at 11 a.m. My god, what is going on? How could I sleep through that?
Depression. Depression. Depression.
I start to think about the advice I give on self-care, the advice some of you may have read within these blogs and realize it's damn near time I employ it.
Here's the plan (just having one makes things feel a little better):
- Make an appointment with my doctor.
- Find a way to get the hell up. I live alone so this might require, oh, I don't know...eighty-five alarms? If you have any advice, please share.
- Try not to use words like "hell" and other expletives I cannot share with you.
- Talk to people even though I would rather put bars on all of my windows and add five more locks to my doors. Adopt 20 dogs who growl at the smallest noise. Someone walking by; a commercial.
- Eat. Eat more than fruit and yogurt and chocolate.
- Tell those in my inner circle I'm not feeling so great. But they already know this. They always do. If I reach out, let them in, they will help me.
- Do not self-medicate! This is tough for a recovering addict, let me tell you, it's really hard.
- Limit additional stress.
And on and on. It's part of living with a chronic mental illness. Relapse. But if you, I, catch it early enough we can recover. I can recover. When life becomes rocky employ your mental illlness self-care practices.That's the plan.
Champagne, N. (2012, October 29). Mental Illness, Stress...And Relapse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2012/10/mental-illness-stress-and-relapse
Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne
Well, I guess there is a need...for a connection when you are so alone in the depths of despair, yet, logically you already know the steps to take to get out of your misery... But you can't seem to do it this time. If you are like me, I have been battling co-existing disorders for over 25 years. I have used the tools , like you have suggested plus many more including the 12 steps for the addiction and managed a pretty make a pretty good life. Not what I dreamed, but for me no hospital, no jail, no death defines a pretty good life. Yet, 2 years ago a tradegy happened and the stress and grief slowly pulled me under the waves of depression again. I have isolated myself from everything and my bed and iPad are my main companions. I am just treading water right now with no will to really live but no desire to die. At least I have the motto, "don't pick up alcohol / drugs no matter what"... But I have already been down that relapse path before and I know it doesn't work. So what does at this point? Reading blogs like you provided to remind me I am NOT alone. Thank you for your honesty.
Mixed states are so scary. I have had enough of them myself to know this...Thanks for the positive encouragement!:)
I come from a similar place as you, I feel your pain. Sometimes it seems as if no matter how hard we try, no matter how well we nay be doing, it all crumbles apart again eventually. I truly am a positive thinking person, don't get the wrong impression. I too have lost homes (2) at different times, and marriages (2) also at separate times, lol..I'm Bipolar not a bigomist. ;p..Each day we must view as a new one to be great. One day at a time. I work at home now as virtual agent. It's easier to manage for me. Tomorrow is another day, I'm hoping a good one for us both.
when I'm depressed and can't wake I set 3 alarms. One in my bedroom, one in the hall, and one in the kitchen next to the coffee, I feel tired, but usually works. And then I go to swim, otherwise I return to bed. After I swim I usually don't feel as bad as before. There's something magical in the water (at least for me).
Thank you for sharing with us! Wow, I am 55 years old and a grandmother. I can so relate to this. I have only recently disovered that my relapses are caused by external stresses that I then internalize. If I become angry about the stress, the relapse is even worse. I'm working on expressing myself in healthy ways so as to lessen the relapse times.
Always learning and growing,
Sorry to hear you are in a similar place. Sometimes self-care is nearly impossible. When I am in bed and trying to figure out how to move each leg over and get up...it's damn near impossible to remember to eat. But we need to try. Let's hang in there, we'll make it.
Yes, I am a "loner" by nature. I like it like that but know I need to be around people as much as I would rather not! And yes, David, I wish us both the best!
Thank you for reading and commenting. It's hard putting my tough times out there and it helps knowing I am not alone. Hang in there.