Mental Health and Wellbeing Matters: unexpected falls

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What happens when you’re making progress, and then you suddenly slip back? A few thoughts, in our weekly mental health chat.

Hello and a warm welcome to the spot on the Film Stories site where we stop for a bit to chat about mental health, wellbeing, and things that may be affecting you or people you know.

This is a weekly thing we do, and not everything that we run is going to be of use to everyone. The idea is that over the course of these articles, there’s something in there that’s useful somewhere along the line. It might not be this one, but hopefully there’s something in the archive.

Many of the chats we’ve had about mental health in particular over the years have touched on the fact that things can come out of nowhere, and it’s hard to be primed for them.

Perhaps the toughest thing to deal with, and there are many candidates, are those moments when you feel that you’ve taken two steps forward, and then you find that you – unexpectedly – suddenly take two steps back. That you feel you’ve got over a mental health fall (my language here is deliberately vague), and you think you’re on the up. Then it feels like the trap door is pulled form underneath your feet again.

These tend to be the moments when you have to call upon and/or find reserves of strength or endurance or both. Oftentimes, it feels like those reserves don’t exist either. That it’s taken so much energy to clamber back up the first time, you end up battling a lack of energy and outright frustration (putting it mildly) at the point you need to somehow get going all over again.

No easy answers either. But this is the bit in life when any support around you can be particularly vital. Someone to communicate with. Someone to reach out too. It’s not always straightforward – and support groups, and organisations such as the Samaritans are golden and well worth reaching out to – yet repeating the exact same tactic to try and move forward again doesn’t tend to improve matters.

Just this thought, really: if you need to effectively retrace the steps you’ve been taking, it’s worth altering your approach just slightly. Don’t walk back to the exact place that metaphorical trap door was before.

There’s no guarantee you won’t slip back again, and there’s no magic answer. But give yourself space, Externalise things if you can, find space for walks, for distractions, for other things. And then find, somehow, some fresh reserves from somewhere.

Don’t forget: chat below in the comments if that helps. We’re all humans here. Even if it doesn’t always appear that way…!

Thanks for reading. This column will return next week…

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