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21 Apr 2022 , by Rhys

Coping with relapses

I was diagnosed with depression on September 2021. The first four months were horrendous.

Every day was a struggle. I felt low most of the time, if I didn’t feel low, I felt nothing. Those “zero-days” were the worst.

I had a breakdown one morning. There was no single overarching contributing factor. In fact, there were multiple contributing factors, each seemingly benign, but combined together to create the perfect storm. Work, Covid, bereavements, family life, finances, voluntary work and social life.

All of a sudden, one sunny September day I had a terribly painful migraine. I was walking to work and the pain was so unbearable that I had to turn back.

It took an age to get home, but I did. I was worried that my head might explode under the pressure.

I reluctantly rang the GP and she signed me off work. She told me to forget work, drop as many things as I reasonably could and rest.

I did this and after about four months – alongside anti-depressants, CBT and counselling I started to improve. I had a month or two of fairly good times. Having the occasional down day, but they would pass quite quickly.

Two weeks ago I suffered my first proper relapse.

On the Sunday evening I started feeling awfully low. I didn’t start feeling better again until the following Friday, almost a week of feeling utterly rubbish. I was so upset, I expected down days to continue.

But those five days felt like torture. Showing no signs of recovering I worried that it had taken me four months to resurface. Luckily, it was only five days. Two to three days later I relapsed again. This time it knocked me down for two days. Both those days were awful. The second day I barely left my bed. Again, it passed.

That’s what I wanted to write and explain. It will pass.

I felt so low and frustrated, suicidal thoughts returned after a lengthy absence from my mind. I felt miserable and I lacked hope. But there is hope.

Maybe my next relapse will knock me down for 10 days. Maybe 20.

My experience now tells me that I’ve had two relapses and I have recovered from both of them.

The only thing I have left to learn, is what caused them to start and crucially what made them leave.

I hope this short post is helpful to someone.

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