Your Help Should Be Tailored to You
Many cases end up with an inpatient hospital admission because the signs and symptoms are surpassed to the point that someone needs to be kept safe and that’s the primary objective of the health professionals.
That’s what happened to me recently. There were signs I was becoming ill but after my medication problems were exacerbated and the symptoms hit me quickly, I needed an immediate response.
Thankfully the crisis team responded quickly alongside my community psychiatric nurse, and my family kept me safe until a bed became available in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s obvious to me now how the support network dovetailed to keep me protected and well.
Key Factors of Relapse Prevention
The key areas of relapse prevention are listening to yourself, speaking up, listening to those around us, taking action and being listened to by the health professionals. We need to be part of a system that takes us seriously and can swoop in and help us make changes when we lose insight. The harder it becomes to look after ourselves the further we go towards relapse.
In terms of our responsibility we need to take steps as soon as we feel little signs, and at times make people listen. It’s important families and friends take you seriously and when necessary, assist you in reaching out, e.g. phoning your health professionals.
On one occasion I was in the early stages of depression and made numerous calls to medical services that were not listened to. My family and friends could do no more. They were supportive but they were not able to tweak my medication nor provide therapy or other professional support.
In previous years I would have been driven towards self-harm or other negative coping strategies, but do you know what I did? I found the contact details and wrote a letter to the chief executive of our local medical services and asked for help, detailing the number of times I had been in contact.
It sounds a very intricate act needing lots of organization and concentration but it didn’t take long and I did it quickly. I thought I would use my last burst of energy for something positive and my body answered my need. Interestingly I was given an appointment with a psychiatrist within one week.
Sometimes it’s using our coping strategies positively and getting the big guns out to trigger change that is what we ultimately need. There are always others around us that need help but we must, at times, put ourselves first to prevent a crisis, and that is what I did.
I got what I needed and my psychiatrist was able to speak with me and adjust my medication, which lifted me and avoided the dreaded darkness of depression.
So there we have it.
Relapse prevention is about an integrated support network that you are the driving force behind. It’s about being aware, speaking up, listening to others, taking action and making sure you’re listened to.
You are worth looking after and crisis should always be prevented where possible.
1-800-334-HELP – 24-hour crisis hotline in the U.S.A.
1-800-273-TALK – 24-hour crisis hotline in the U.S.A.