Am I healed because I am happy? Well, let’s examine this question. The principal behavioural pattern for the majority of my life was and still is: get the help I need, get to a happy place, think I no longer need help, and then get overtaken by the irrational voice that speaks so loudly. At times, I get fooled into thinking that I’m still in charge. This is, of course, the voice of mental illness, the one who makes it its mission to ensure that I remain in a state of fear and anxiousness. Then all the tools that I have accumulated from the professionals seem to get misplaced from time to time. And without them, the ills that are held at bay by those same tools, end up having free rein over my headspace, wreaking havoc in every facet of my life.
The reason for losing these tools are many but is mostly due to an accumulation of life’s not so enjoyable happenings tragedies, etc. Some are lost because of my memory while others are rendered ineffective by the mounting everyday troubles life likes to heap upon me. Yet others fade into the background during the better times because they are seldom used. Whatever the reasons, I have slipped into a state of debilitation on more than one occasion.
I have worked on trying to figure out where my defences are the weakest, how my mental disposition shifts to the side of illness. The common denominator for my slips into the darkness, as far as I can tell, seems to correlate with backing off from professional supports when I feel better and letting their therapeutic strategies fade – very similar to those who stop taking their medications when they start to feel better. Because, even in the happiest days of my life, the dreaded negative voice looms, so I must continue to seek help to keep the tools that I have been given by mental health professionals sharp and ready to defend my happy. I must always be ready to do battle.
What can act as a deterrent to getting help is the speed at which both the system itself and the therapeutic process can take. I have at times been my own worst enemy by justifying my absence from the system by saying “I am better. I would only be taking up a spot that is needed by someone worse off than I am.” Finally, I think I’ve learned my lesson. This lesson has come to me now, later in life, because I have taken the time to face my demons and have gotten to know myself a lot better. In doing so, I now know that the anxiety and depression, the symptoms of PTSD are ever waiting to cloak me in their symptoms and minimize my happiness, thus making it necessary to seek help continuously, even in the good times.
It’s clear that I have had many battles with my illnesses and as a result, I have won some of them and have lived happily for periods. What’s equally clear is that I should never give up my supports and I definitely shouldn’t fool myself into thinking that I am completely healed because I have definitely lost some of those battles too and still do. Learning that I need to seek out help even in the good times, is something I must not forget, lose, or let fade into the background. I will keep my weapons at the ready and continue to rely on professional support and remain vigilant in times of mental peace.
If you are seeing a similar scenario playing out with you and have yet to identify its cause, perhaps seeking the help of a mental health professional is what you need to get you back on the road to happiness. You can get back on track and you can live with more good times than bad if you actively seek out solutions. I am rooting for you!
You may also like: After A Good Run: The ups and downs of mental illness
Since you’re here, check out my friend’s blog at Abbeys Chronicles