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[THREAD] After talking about recoveries, it seems fitting to talk about relapses. They are the other side of the coin, the one we don’t like to think about or talk about much. But it is very much part of the recovery process. In fact, when we look at graphs of recoveries,
mental health differs from physical health. For the most part, in physical health, recovery is linear unless it is for chronic conditions. For mental health, it is almost always up and down but the trend is still upwards. However, at any point during our recovery process, we run
the risk of relapsing. These can be due to many factors from new stressors, new trauma, or it can happen for no outward apparent reason at all. When it comes to recovery, there a few stages. Precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and relapse. This model
was first designed for recoveries when it comes to substance abuse and addictions, to normalize the fact that relapses are part of the journey and it is only fitting that it can also be used when it comes to our mental health. The fact that we don’t talk about it often is a sign
of stigma because we are expected to go for treatment, recover and live happily ever after. We tend to see those who relapse as people who perhaps didn’t follow the treatment plan or weren’t strong enough to hang on to their recoveries. However, relapses are common. A big part of
that is also due to the fact that our mental health is very cyclical (think economy). There are periods of high recoveries and there are periods of dips. Sometimes, recoveries coincide with a natural upward trend and we assign the recovery to treatment but then the dip happens
like it would have eventually. Sometimes, it is because as soon as we start getting better, we go back to the behaviours that used to burn us out and therefore we relapse. However, as mentioned above, a lot of those relapses have no specific reasons. And it is important to
acknowledge and normalize that because it is part of the journey for recovery. When I look at all my clients I ever had since I started my career three years ago, there is about 34% relapse rate out of approximately 300~ clients. This is a very significant number. Many of them
felt bad or thought something was wrong with them because they couldn’t hang on to their recoveries. This just goes to show that recoveries can be messy with relapses in between. It doesn’t mean that you will always relapse or that you will never be able to sustain it. Sometimes,
we need two rounds of therapy, sometimes more. We are all so different when it comes to how our mental health manifests that it is hard to put an individual timeline for recovery. If you have ever relapsed, please don’t feel bad about going back to therapy or treatment, or to
think that you did something wrong. It may take a bit longer but you will absolutely recover! 😊💚
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