There is no cure for mental illness. Recovery doesn’t mean you are cured and will never struggle or fall down that hole again. Recovery means, with medication and coping techniques, you can manage your illness well enough that you can live your life and find happiness. What happens when you begin to fall backwards into the wrath of your illness? There will be times when your illness gets the best of you, and you begin to struggle harder than usual.

Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re losing control of your illness. It’s unfortunately part of the process. I have put together a plan on what to do if I feel like I’m falling out of recovery. Here is my plan.

  • Step one. Take note of your symptoms. You should know the signs of when you’re losing control of your illness. Write down your symptoms: Are you canceling plans with friends? Are you calling off work a lot? Are you struggling to get out of bed? Are you thinking about hurting yourself? Are you having frequent crying spells? Are you so depressed you can’t function? Are your thoughts racing out of control?
  • Step two. Tell someone about your feelings. This is a good time to lean on your support system. Talk to the friends and family you have chosen as a support team. That’s what they are there for. You can’t fight this illness alone.
  • Step three. Try using the coping techniques you have learned to help you deal with this rough time. Coping techniques can be: doing a craft, listing the positives, journaling, breathing exercises, going for a walk, writing your negative thoughts down and changing them into positive.
  • Step four. If you’re not in therapy, then find a therapist. There are some state programs that can get you therapy at low cost or no cost if you don’t have insurance. Do some research to find the right therapist for you. If you’re in therapy, make sure you show your therapist a list of your symptoms and how you are feeling. Discuss with him or her about what the next steps you need to take.
  • Step five. Talk to your psychiatrist. This is another good time to use your list of symptoms. Tell your psychiatrist everything and be throrogh. He or she may need to adjust your medication or change it. Knowing what your symptoms are will help the psychiatrist to decide how to help you. If you don’t have a psychiatrist, I suggest you look into finding one. The proper medication can help with many of your symptoms and make it easier to fight your way back to recovery. Family doctors can prescribe you antidepressants, but a psychiatrist can prescribe you stronger ones and ones that will help you the best.
  • Step six. If you have a helpline or crisis line in your area and you’re feeling bad, call them. They are there to help you and steer you to the right help. If you feel suicidal, call them. Keep the number for the help line or crisis line where you can find it, like on your refrigerator. Add it into your cell phone.
  • Step seven. This is a last resort step. If everything you’re doing isn’t helping you, you feel like you’re a danger to yourself and others, and you are seriously thinking about suicide, then it’s time to check into inpatient care. You can talk to your therapist or psychiatrist about helping you find the right hospital. You can ask someone from your support team to go with you to an emergency room to be admitted.
  • The most important step: Fight with all you have in you to pull yourself back up. Remember how you got yourself out of this darkness before and use it to help you climb out of the hole. You reached recovery once and you can do it again. FIGHT!!!

Falling backwards can happen to anyone. Sometimes life throws us down and we lose grip on the light of recovery. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault you’re falling out of recovery. You can only manage your illness; you can’t control it. It has a mind of its own and it can rear its ugly head during the rough times in your life when you are the weakest. The good news is there is always a path back to recovery. Create your own plan for when you feel like you’re falling out of recovery. Make sure you share your plan with your support team, so they know what to do.

There have been times in my life I felt like I was falling backwards. I turned to my plan to help me get onto the right path. My support team has also been vital in helping me when I feel like I’m losing the battle. Having a plan has helped me stay within the light of recovery. I stand in the light of recovery knowing my plan will always help me find my way back if I fall down that hole again.


    • Amy,
      It’s important to keep track of my symptoms and have a plan just in case I need help. I’m glad you were finally able to comment again


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