Mental illness can come back just as a rose can regrow. It’s odd, to compare something so horrific to something so beautiful, isn’t it? But it’s true.
We need to normalise that mental illness does not easily go away, and that for most people, it will not go away. This isn’t dark. It isn’t accepting defeat.
It’s being realistic. It’s realising the harsh truths. Harsh truths that, once acknowledged, will help you.
I don’t think there is a getting better; but there is a learning to cope. To say you’re getting better is, often, to kid yourself, because if you fall again you’ll only fall harder. If you ignore the signs that those evils lurking in your head are returning because you’ve, “Gotten better!” you won’t be able to help yourself.
Instead, you’ll hate yourself. You’ll hate yourself for being weak enough to let it return.
And you are not weak.
It is not your fault your mental illness came back.
Accepting beforehand that it can return will help you when— for if— it does.
It isn’t accepting defeat. It’s being realistic. It’s helping yourself.
That acceptance will help you come to terms with it more quickly; you’ll learn how to cope with it, rather than ignoring it and letting it fester like a weed, or an ant problem. A problem that, once it fully takes hold, is difficult to be rid of. But, if you see the shoot of the weed early on, or an ant of two scuttling around your kitchen, and you accept the problem then, and begin to deal with it then, it’ll be a whole lot easier.
Not to mention, ignoring that you may suffer a relapse in your mental illness can actually cause the relapse. As wrote by Neel Burton in Psychology Today, a common cause of a relapse is ‘poor understanding of your mental disorder in general, and of the symptoms of a relapse in particular’. Hence, ignoring the issue can lead to you ignoring ‘the symptoms of a relapse’.
So, accept that mental illness can return. Accept it, so you know what you are facing, how to face it, and how to help yourself.
Look after yourself; especially your mind.