In the Belly of the Beast: I’m Coping With a Mental Health Relapse
How to recognize and cope with a mental health relapse
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
- 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…