So if you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I’ve been having a bit of a tough time lately. Even though I’ve had an amazing year so far, for the most part, I’ve felt my mental health declining slowly and steadily for a number of months now.
As a result, I’ve decided to go back to therapy. I’ve booked an appointment with my old therapist for a couple of days after I get back from Spain. And you know what, I cannot bloody wait.
I guess it would be really easy to be a little confused by my decision to go back to therapy though. I run an Instagram account which preaches and teaches self love and self care. And maybe my content suggests that those things are enough to create and maintain good mental health. If it does, that’s something I need to address.
The truth is that self care isn’t always enough. Cultivating and maintaining a holistic self care practice can do so much for your mental health. If can be the difference between being mentally health, and mentally ill. But, it can’t work miracles.
Sometimes, you just need help and I know that I need some help right now. I’ve no doubt that my self care practice has helped me in the past few months, and if I didn’t know how to practice self care the way I do, I would be in a much worse state than I am now. But all it’s doing is slowing down the decline of my health, not stopping it altogether.
This has been a tough realization to come to. I think that after my major depressed episode and my time on medication and in therapy, I believed that I had learned and developed all the skills I needed to make sure I never ended up back down that black hole again. I thought for sure that I could be my own therapist and that I was pretty safe from another slip into depression.
Now I’m forced to admit that that’s just not true. Given my history of mental illness, I think that maybe I’ll always be prone to another episode. I talked about this on my Instagram stories, about how recovery from depression is just like recovery from alcoholism; you’re always recovering, never fully cured.
Honestly, it doesn’t bother me that I need to go back to therapy. I don’t feel any of the shame that I felt the first time. In fact, I feel really good about it. I think it’s going to be awesome and I can’t wait to get stuck into some self-analysis with the help of my therapist by my side.
And I can’t wait to feel good again. I’m ready for this bout of sadness, anxiety and insecurity to come to an end now please.
In the end, I think it comes down to this; self care can slow mental illness but it can’t bring it to a halt. This doesn’t impact my faith in self care as a mental health tool. But it highlights just how important it is to get help when you need it.
I hope that mt Instagram account teaches people the self care skills that can prevent mental health decline. But I hope that it also teaches them that, sometimes self care just isn’t enough. Mental health isn’t something any of us can afford to fuck around with, so when you get to that point where you know you need help, there’s only one thing to do – get help.
This year has been an amazing year for me in so many ways. But I can feel myself slipping back into the beginnings of depression. And while I’m certainly not in any danger or in need of medication (thanks to my self care practice), I’d rather address it now and get myself back to full health than wait and see.