Monday, 10 July 2017

Mental Health Mondays #6 : Development and Progress

After a two week mental health related hiatus Mental Health Monday is back and this week I'm going to share my thoughts on what the words 'development' and 'progress' mean in regards to a mental illness.
As always these are just my thoughts based on my experiences and I don't claim to really know anything other than what goes on in my head so please don't take my words as fact!


When you've been struggling mental health issues for several years with little break or time where you are almost completely 'symptom free', as I have, it can be incredibly difficult to see that you have made any progress or seen any change in your life in that time. I've seen several people go through mental health related problems and come out of the other side during the time that I've been ill and I'll admit that it can be difficult to watch someone get better while you yourself feel as though you're going nowhere.
It occurred to me recently that the issues I now face are in someways different to that which I was facing at the beginning of my illness, you might say that my condition has developed but whether that is for better or for worse I'm unsure. For example, within the last two or so weeks I've found a lot of things really difficult and I've been suffering with quite intense anxiety about things which previously have been something I felt 'okay' about (please appreciate that I don't want to give specific examples at the current time).
At the same time as this I have seen progress in areas which I have previously found unmanageable e.g. I can now make phone calls to people other than parents or close friends, I pick up the phone when people call me without texting first, often without even thinking about the fear I used to experience so intensely every time.
It seems to me that I've improved in some areas but not others but does that mark a step to recovery? Or is that just a change in circumstance while remaining at the same level of illness, if you will.

It's really difficult to tell if I am now worse or better off than I was two or so years ago. I have developed as a person but at the same time my mental health problems appear to be doing the same. I've made progress but I've also seen myself regress into things which were a problem a long time ago or which haven't bothered me before. Can I be closer to 'recovered' than I have been before when there's no denying that my issues still get in the way of me living a successful life on a semi-regular basis?

I suppose what I should be focussing on more is that despite my evolving problems I am still here which in itself shows some degree of strength regardless of whether or not I have officially made "progress". I think it's important to try your hardest to celebrate the little bits of progress which you do make, even if the thing you cope with better is replaced by a new enemy. You've still successfully stuck your middle finger up at the former thing and said it's not going to beat you. Perhaps it is that which shows your progress and your development because it may not feel like you're keeping that far ahead of your illness but you are still continuing to refuse to let it win and I suppose that that is all you can do.

What are your thoughts on progress and development? Do you feel similarly to me or are your views completely different? Drop me a comment below!

P.s. I've created a shiny new Question Box form for you to submit anonymous questions in the hope that I can write posts answering them in the future! I'll write some more elaborating on this sometime soon but basically if you have any questions at all about mental health issues or you want some advice (kind of like a mentally unwell agony aunt) then click the link here, drop your question in the box and I'll answer it! 

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