Like in any good action movie there is usually an epic battle scene and the ‘hero’ always wins and that’s the way I like to think of the battle with the black dog. But what comes with a good movie sometimes...a sequel...and with the black dog this is the worse thing imaginable and not something that needs an even bigger and better battle scene.
Just when you think you are invincible and you’ve left that black dog in the rear view mirror, it starts to take little steps towards you, it’s that glimmer of a low mood that lasts longer than it did last time, shedding a few tears for no apparent reason and wanting to stay under that safe duvet a little bit longer. You can try and ignore it, you can put on the smile around others but you can guarantee who will be waiting for you at the end of the day.
It’s frustrating, you’ve already dealt with this before so why is it happening again?! The thing about mental health is that everyone has it, some will have more struggles in life than others and that’s ok, we learn to manage the symptoms because there is no miracle cure.
When a low day strikes, it feels like the weight of the world on your shoulders and I can be frustrating to others around me because I do tend to close off from everyone rather than reach out, it’s that anxiety of being a burden on everyone and it takes over. It’s that feeling of failure, like you’ve let it happen again (which completely isn’t the case!!), you should have been stronger and should have fought harder but you can’t help how you feel and sometimes those feelings need to be felt.
Some use the more professional term ‘Relapse’, personally I think it sounds a tad aggressive but like someone once said to me ‘Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.’ There’s always going to be highs and lows in life, sometimes it may feel like more lows and that’s ok, take a step back and look after you. There is no easy fix that comes along with the black dog or any mental health struggles, it’s a journey, there will be things that work for you such as mindfulness, being outside, spending times with friends/family, exercise, therapy and it’s all about finding something to help you along the way.
Be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can and that’s enough.
Sophie Collumbell is a regular writer for the Counsellors Café Magazine. In Sophie's words: "I don’t take life too seriously, always joking and making people laugh! Family and friends mean the world to me, and my little cat tiggs! Music is my life, I spend most time with my headphones on listening to anything and everything, I believe ‘When words fail music speaks’! I am more creative than anything, I love writing and knowing that hopefully, writing my struggles can help other people is just the best feeling ever! I cannot wait for the future so I can train to be a counsellor and hopefully help someone the way my counsellor has helped me!'