In the Belly of the Beast: I’m Coping With a Mental Health Relapse

Aymes Sarah
6 min readNov 27, 2020

How to recognize and cope with a mental health relapse

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

As I have discussed in my previous articles, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder after the birth of my first child. I have also struggled with what I thought was anxiety for most of my adult life.

My healthcare team has recently confirmed what I’ve known for a while: That I have had OCD instead of anxiety all along.

When things get out of control, I get very upset. If there isn't a plan, I can’t cope. I need structure and I have to know what is happening or my symptoms will resurface.

Now that the second wave of COVID has hit our province, I am really struggling.

What Does a Mental Health Relapse Look Like?

This will vary from one person to another, but it is usually a resurgence of symptoms of your mental illness. A relapse in mental health will present differently for every person.

Some symptoms of a mental health relapse can include:

  • Too much or too little sleep.
  • Stopping your medication or not taking it regularly.
  • Social withdrawal or isolation (not going to work).
  • Increase in paranoia, hallucinations, or hearing voices.
  • Confusing or nonsensical speech.
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Loneliness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of unease, not being able to relax
  • Feeling tense or irritable
  • Lack of attention to appearance and personal hygiene
  • Inability to concentrate, forgetfulness
  • Unexplained pains and aches (for depression).
  • Increase in risk-taking behaviors (spending money, using alcohol/drugs).¹

In my case, I knew my OCD was coming back when I started to “check” constantly and make lists.

I check websites for COVID updates and read and reread the same Facebook comments under virus-related posts on Facebook, looking for answers. And relentlessly obsess over…

Aymes Sarah

Wife, mother, and researcher of a myriad of subjects. I love to write about anything and everything! Writer for The Startup, Better Marketing, & The Ascent👊