Recovery is not linear, it will have wobbles and so will you

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When people are recovering from mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety, it is natural to breathe a sigh of relief, and be pleased we are out of the woods.  Sometimes, recovery is straightforward, with gains in mood and well-being happening smoothly over a period of time, with symptoms gracefully retreating.

Often, though, recovery is just not like that.  Often it is back and forth, bumpy, messy and at times really wobbly.  A good day may be followed by a bad day, then two good days then a terrible day, and so on.  It ia normal for one symptom to abate and another to pop up, as if layers of experience are being worked through.  

Sometimes, despite a strong desire to feel better or 'normal' (a phrase often heard but hard to define), there is also a fear about change, and moving away from what you know.  Symptoms may be terrible, but they are also familiar, and that familiarity can be comforting and even feel safe.

The critical thing about recovery is not to judge yourself or your recovery.  Not to monitor each tiny change and search for its meaning and the pattern it may reveal or reflect.  Reflecting on patterns  over time and what is helping and what is getting in the way is valuable, its essential.  Pausing to consider how experience is changing from time to time can be really helpful, but its about noticing trends, not thinking over each small variation.

Your mental health symptoms most likely did not suddenly appear one day.  They built up over time, until they got to a threshold where you noticed them.  Recovery is similar. It accumulates, sometimes it builds so slowly it takes a while to notice it. 

Oftentimes good advice is to build a support and self care plan that you believe will enable you, and then to do it, day in, day out, week in, week out.  Trust that doing self-caring and self-loving things will help, and managing what you put in rather than measuring what you get out all the time will take you further and faster.

To prompt or consolidate your mental health recovery, or to look at preventing relapses in the future, get in touch.

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Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

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