A relapse, simply put, is a terrifying experience. One moment you’re riding a high – you’re feeling better than ever. The next, you feel like you’re falling headfirst into a pit of snakes. There are many different types of relapses that people experience. Most people are most familiar with drug relapses. Sadly, however, that isn’t the only type of relapse. My personal experience with relapse involved my recurrent depression.
When I first got my official diagnosis, I wasn’t particularly surprised to learn that I was depressed. I already knew that I showed various symptoms of depression since I was a teenager. What I didn’t recognize prior to my diagnosis, however, was just how bad I had it. My doctor was genuinely stunned with the severity of my symptoms. I could hear the urgency in her voice as she quickly prescribed me a few rounds of generic Prozac. I almost felt a little guilty – was it really that bad? had gotten so used to my symptoms that I figured it was normal for most people to think the way I did.
The medication eventually helped me. After a painful first month of strange side effects, such as a loss of appetite (which made me lose several pounds), I finally started to feel better. I actually felt good getting out of bed. I started to appreciate the little things more. I got back into hobbies that I had long-since abandoned – I was finally feeling something positive. Overall, I was doing a lot better.
However, somewhat recently, a feeling began to creep up on me. I was hitting a relapse. My negative symptoms were returning with even more intensity than before I had gotten treatment. I would stay in bed and cry under my blanket. I would isolate myself. I wouldn’t have the energy to talk to anybody – not even those I love. I barely ate at all. I wasn’t sure what caused the relapse in the first place – it could’ve been stress, or even a side effect of the medication.
Relapses are tough. They are made even worse by the comparison to how you felt just mere days ago. Whereas I used to think my depression symptoms were normal, I was now acutely aware that there was something wrong with me, and that made it harder to bear. By being actively communicative with my doctors and loved ones, I managed to get by. I’m feeling a bit better again. If you are experiencing a relapse, of any type, take my word for it and seek out help as soon as you can. You’re not imagining it – your feelings are real and likely have a cause. You can do it.