Mental illnesses are not the best. Well, you probably knew that, but I felt like repeating it. I’ve seen a lot of social media activity advising people to just think positively and get out of bed. I think that is great advice, but not entirely possible for some.
My Twitter is filled with the mental health community. Bloggers, advocates, and people personally dealing with a wide scale of mental illnesses. Oftentimes the term “mental illness relapse” occurs on my timeline. I had never heard that phrase used before and was honestly a bit confused. When I go through a hard time of a heightened sense of depression I had never thought of it as a relapse. To me, it was simply just my brain acting up, similar to when allergies can kind of pop up randomly. Maybe that isn’t quite the best metaphor, but it is one that has always made sense in my head.
Mental illnesses are permanent. Brain chemistry tends not to change naturally, but with the help of outside sources such as medication. Coping skills and therapy can play a huge role in helping to control it, but it never truly goes away.
After some research about my doubts, I have read most articles agreeing to my view. It is not a relapse, but simply a return of symptoms. This is natural for all mental disorders and extremely common. Basic daily functions can become difficult, but this doesn’t mean a mental illness has just popped back up into your life.
Accepting a mental illness is no easy task. It took me years to accept I had to try harder to have basic functions happen. I believe that the root cause of the term mental illness relapse occurred because some had a difficult time accepting that their way of life would be forever impacted by something out of their control.
Just because symptoms pop back up doesn’t mean you have failed, but merely had a bit of a setback. This is normal for everyone, but with other experiences or events.
There is so much false information spread about mental health. I would like to contribute to the end of that. The stigma around so many disorders is causing us to fail those suffering. The shame around mental illness is overwhelming and unnecessary to all of those dealing with it.
Along with misjudgments and views of certain symptoms I believe those in the mental health community should continue research around the term relapse for mental health. It is not accurate and only spreads false information that can cause negative feelings towards symptoms.
Experiencing the hard parts of mental illness is not simple and using the term relapse just imposes a sense of failure. Together we must not express failure, but resilience. There is no sense of failure when experiencing a mental illness, but should be taken on as a challenge like other things in life.
I hope you all join me in going against the term relapse, but rather using other descriptive ways of describing the events of hard times occurring. Personally, I say I’ve hit a bit of a low when my depression creeps back up. There are many other ways of describing negative symptoms and they can be more accurate about what is going on.
Stay strong through the lows and live out the highs. We must take mental illness for what it is, accept it, and take it on with strength. It is easier said than done, trust me I know, but the mindset change can work wonders. We are resilient and we will not let our differences take control of the life we want to live.