What happens when your mental illness comes back? You’ve been working with a therapist for a long time, have found positive coping mechanisms to help you through challenges, and have been fine for a while. But now suddenly you are slipping into old patterns and your mental illness is coming back. This may be classified as a relapse, or something else is at play that is preventing you from sticking to the coping mechanisms that worked before.

Winter depression - seasonal affective disorder mental health

The truth is, you don’t ever really get rid of mental illness. I know I have heavily stressed that you can overcome any challenge, including mental illness, to the point that it seems like you no longer have any problems. This is true, but maintenance must be made in order to keep the results you’ve had. Over time, you learn ways of properly coping with your problems, which allows you to be in a healthier, more positive mindset which makes it easier for you to deal with your mental problems. But, even the most positive person will have bad days. It’s not just about bad days, or a temporary relapse, but rather when everything seems like it’s coming back.

What you dealt with as a child and how you grew up will always be a part of you. There will always be these ideas and negative thoughts and coping mechanisms that will haunt you, which is why you learned how to properly cope with it to overcome it. But now, it’s coming back, so what do you do?

Circular arrows

One of the first places to begin is to realize that life, your mood, and situations come in cycles. Imagine if you lived your early life in misery, then found happiness and lived a happy successful life, and now things are coming back in. Think of it like a scale, where one side is overly balanced, and then it has to even out. You may go through a rough patch in your life for a period of time, whether that be days, weeks, months, or even years. But life is trying to teach you something.

Differentiate situational setbacks from long-term setbacks. All struggles in life start off as situational events, meaning they formed due to a recent event. However, when they continue to cause problems in your life for a long time after the event, then it’s chronic. So, when chronic thought patterns and coping mechanisms are coming back from long ago, it could mean that your current ways of dealing with these struggles are no longer working. So, find some other ways of bringing yourself joy and happiness. Our interests change over time, so what worked before may not work now. Find new tactics.

Struggles of Life

And lastly, since your relapse may have been brought on by a recent event, it was likely a negative situation that lowered your vibration, making you more easily susceptible to negative energy around you. When you have been brought down and are no longer in a positive space, you will more easily attract negativity that will send you back down the long road you traveled to get to a positive space. Never underestimate how your own negative thoughts and ideas impact your overall health, because it makes a huge difference. This is why it’s so important to let go of negativity and bring positivity into yourself.

By finding some new coping mechanisms and staying strong during rough patches, you can and will more easily pick yourself up when things start to turn negative. When the past comes back to haunt you, reflect back on the journey you took to get to the positive place you were and continue that journey. Learn what you need during the time of regression to be even stronger.

Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!

Additional Info

As someone who has been through many ups and downs, I realize what is situational and chronic. Some things from my past continue to appear in my life, causing me problems, but I now know how to more efficiently manage them. Negative situations will still come up, and I’ll get suspicious and paranoid, likely unable to fully get rid of it, but I can more easily differentiate between what is real and what isn’t.


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