#mentalhealthmonday – when am I cured?

I’ve taken my medication. I’ve been to therapy (a couple of times). I’m trying to become more resilient, and I have many loving and supportive relationships in my life. That means I’m cured, right?! Wrong.

(As per usual, this post is entirely made up of my own opinions. There are people out there who have pretty much cured their mental ill health, and never experience another bout of depression or anxiety again. And that is fantastic – what a brilliant achievement! However, I am not one of those people.) I personally think that mental ill health can be treated – sometimes to such an extent that there are few or no symptoms. But I’m not so sure whether it can be cured, right now at least.

I’ve had to come to the realisation that mental ill health, for me, is a chronic illness. I have good days and bad days, and periods of stability and instability. For example, I had been doing really well for about a month, and then about a week ago I had a bit of a breakdown – with new symptoms that I had never experienced before. I’m doing much better now, but it made me realise more than ever that so far, for me, a complete cure is not in reach at the moment. Much like sexuality, my mental health is on a spectrum.

And you know what? That’s been a really affirming thought. Before, I thought of my SSRIs in particular as something to take until I got better – continually wondering why I wasn’t getting better quickly enough for me to stop taking them.Β I think it is also a potentially dangerous idea to think yourself cured. SSRIs are not like antibiotics – finish a course of them, and then you’re (probably) cured! I’ve known a couple of people who have fallen into this idea of thinking: they stabilised because of the SSRIs, and then went off them as quickly as possible, only to relapse into anxiety and depression.

Also, finally accepting my mental health as a chronic condition has made me realise that I should get help in different areas of my life. I’ve told my employers about it (they were lovely), and I mentioned it in my application to my Masters programme. So if I go through a rough time in the next year, my new university will be able to help me quicker.

Finally, I think that it is a really good sign that I am now able to find the positives in my mental illness. I’ve always found positive thinking difficult, but these thoughts came to me quite naturally. I’m cautiously optimistic for the future – and I know that should I have another tough time, good things will be right around the corner.

 

 

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9 thoughts on “#mentalhealthmonday – when am I cured?

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve had a similar realization about my own mental illness–I’ve always thought of it as something that could be “cured” but have slowly realized that this isn’t the case. It’s hard to realize, but it also makes things easier because (hopefully) I won’t make the same mistakes I have in the past, like stopping my meds or dropping out of therapy.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Absolutely agreed – I think now that I’ve come to this realisation I’m going to try therapy again. I’ve dropped out a couple times, and I think that actually finishing a course would probably help. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. christine @ the story salve says:

    I’m so glad you talked about this topic! And I’m so sorry that you’ve been going through shit again 😦

    For me, it’s a bit of a balancing act: I accept that my depression isn’t going to be magically cured, that this is part of me; and I acknowledge my agency and my ability to get help when I need to. Sometimes focusing on its incurability just makes me…well, more depressed. But it also doesn’t do me any good to convince myself that going through a (relatively) good time means I’m okay again.

    It really means a lot to see some of my thoughts reflected back in your posts. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has periods of stability, and that it doesn’t mean I’m “faking it” (because there’s a little voice in my head that’s been telling me that lately).

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    • whatthelog says:

      As I’ve said before, this is the real reason that I write mental health mondays – to make sure people know that they aren’t alone πŸ™‚ I get the faking it thoughts too, and the thoughts that I have it so much better than some people, so I should just ‘get over it’. I guess being aware of these thoughts is the first step to beating them πŸ™‚ I actually think that this could be a really good post all on its own! Do you think you’d be happy to do a Q&A with me about it/other mental health stuff? Only if you’re comfortable of course xxx

      I totally get that about finding it depressing, especially when you’re in a stable spell. I often find myself ruining my happy moments because I think to myself ‘well, this isn’t going to last long’. I’m really trying hard to change that thought now.

      Yeah, it’s been a bit of a shit time but I’m having a lot of support from my boyfriend and my colleagues, and I know that I’m going to get through it okay πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • christine @ the story salve says:

        I would totally love to do a Q&A with you! It’s funny because I don’t really talk about mental health stuff offline, except with my one friend who’s a psychologist. I’ve gotten so many bad reactions when I talk about my depression, so finding other people who have similar experiences is one of the things that keeps me from losing hope. ❀

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  3. Valerie @ Valerie's Musings says:

    I’m glad you’ve brought this topic up and are reaching out for more help! I live with 5 mental illnesses everyday and you’re right, it’s like a spectrum. Some days I go from one end to the other all in one day!

    I’m also glad you’ve decided not to see your SSRI’s as something just to take until you get better. When people ask, I always compare them to insulin or high blood pressure meds. Yeah, there’s a chance you’ll get to the point where you don’t need them, but probably not.

    You’re brave for speaking up. It’s not easy talking about this stuff but I’m really glad you are! πŸ™‚

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    • whatthelog says:

      I’m glad that it resonated with you πŸ™‚ I always worry about talking about personal stuff like this in case it is just me who feels this way.

      That’s a really good way of thinking about SSRIs, I’m definitely going to take that on board! Thank you πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Vijayalakshmi Harish says:

    True! One always has to watch out for signs of a relapse . That in a way adds to the stress. I hope you get the support you need. Please do take care!

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  5. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews says:

    I relate to this post so much! I’ve accepted that my mental illness is a chronic, ongoing condition too. For a long time I really wanted this to be a thing that could be ‘cured’ within a few months or whatever (probably doesn’t help that I compare myself a lot to others, haha), but realising it’s ongoing has actually really helped me for a lot of the reasons you mentioned.

    I wish more people would understand that MI isn’t something that can be instantly cured and that people can have period of good patches, but still be dealing with it.

    Like

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