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more insight into my relapse

Posted by bluebutterfly , 05 July 2013 · 168 views

I'm feeling better again today. My mood has been more up and down lately, which is a positive sign since a couple of weeks ago it was all down. I made it to the gym yesterday and also accomplished the small goals I'd set for the day. Getting myself into my workout clothes and out of my home was the hardest part--once I was at the gym I felt better. But I'm realizing that every time I accomplish an ordinary task when I'm depressed, I have to congratulate myself and give myself major kudos.

That is, if I want to keep getting better. I think part of the reason it's so hard for me to pull out of a depressive episode is that I don't give myself credit for steps forward. I'll go to the gym, which yesterday was basically the equivalent of climbing a mountain. Not Mount Everest, but at least Mount Kilimanjaro. Then I discount the accomplishment, saying that it's nothing and there are so many other things that I have to do.

Susanna and zinhle helped me understand this with their comments on my last entry. On a bad day, I have to set realistic goals and give myself credit for any steps forward I am able to take.

I also thought I was right back at the beginning of my healing process with this relapse, but being on this site and keeping this blog is helping me to realize just how much progress I've made. I'm not back at the beginning at all.

Maybe this relapse can help me consider what I need to work on--one of the biggest issues is boundaries. I think part of the reason I relapsed is because I was not being protective enough of my new depression-free and medication-free life.

I was on medication for over five years--the most intense part of my healing process. I'm not convinced that I still need to be on medication. I made the right decision in taking Celexa--at the time I was having intense flashbacks and while the medication did not stop the flashbacks they somehow made them more manageable. My therapist and somatic coach had been teaching me techniques for managing flashbacks and regrounding but I was so overwhelmed that the techniques weren't really helping. Once I was on Celexa, I was still suffering a lot but the medication seemed to make me calmer and I was able to use the strategies I had been taught for handling the memories when they arose.

Even though I relapsed and became depressed again after the anniversary of the trauma on June 11th, I actually have not had any flashbacks. I just felt a lot of grief about the trauma and lost both interest in my current life and hope for the future. That means that my brain has processed a lot of what it needed to process about the trauma--and as awful as the grief feels, the sadness is a sign that my brain has already integrated the trauma and accepted that it happened. What I'm struggling with now is more emotional acceptance. I just feel so sad that such a terrible thing would happen to any child, and the fact that it happened to me and has had such devastating effects on me is feeling like something I just can't bear.

As painful as this is to go through, I can recognize that it is an advanced stage of healing. It's so odd to think of it that way, but I can see I'm at a much healthier place than I was five years ago. And I do know I can have a good life--I had a full, even happy life before I relapsed a month ago. I will figure out how to emerge from this episode and have a full life again.

It's possible that I just needed to take a break from my life and grieve some more.

You express so many of my feelings in this post. It's awesome that you went to the gym despite how challenging it was for you.

It's important that you give yourself credit for moving forward. I need to do that too. Especially on bad days. In the past I've thought I would make a list for what's acceptable on bad days. I need to be more forgiving of myself and remember that this is a lifelong healing process. We have to love ourselves to heal!

June 2016

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