After therapy, there is a temptation to think that you have finally been ‘cured’ of mental health issues. You have a spring in your step and see the world clearly. However, as soon as the stresses and strains of everyday life come back, there is a risk of having a setback.
The setback might come when you least expect it: life seems to be fine, you might be working a bit harder than usual, perhaps sleeping less, worrying about the bills, about your family, about your relationship. The worries may seem small but when they are piled one on top of another they begin to escalate.
Then bam, the tears start to fall, your mind becomes foggy, your walking becomes a lot slower. You are at risk of another depressive episode. What do you do?
Recognise the Signs
If you have had therapy you’ll recognise your irrational thinking patterns and you’ll be aware of them. If you haven’t you may wish to read Your Thoughts Are Not You and also How My Weird Brain Works for some ideas about what irrational thinking patterns actually are.
Write Down Your Worries
Write down a list of what is worrying you at the moment and then do some CBT so that you’re able to put your worries into perspective.
Take Time Out
Every Friday I take my daughters to a piano lesson. During this time I spend an hour in a cafe round the corner from their lesson where I do my CBT exercises. It’s an opportunity for me to look after my mental-health.
Do Exercise and Get Fresh Air
Even a ten minute walk outside every day is good for you.
Get Enough Sleep
My mental health suffers a great deal when I’m tired. Having enough sleep is vital for good mental health.
These are some of the ways we can deal with setbacks and preserve our sanity. If you are still feeling low, please don’t hesitate to see a professional, who will be able to help you further.