Mental Health: Fear to relapse

Miedo a las recaídas

Illustration © Mireia Azorin

My name is Inma. I’m 47 years old. When I was 19 years of age more or less, I began to have the first symptoms of mental health problems. I comment my age and when I began to have what my family calls my disease so that everyone can understand the great fears that have lately harassed me.

Before my problems, my parents always told me that if the house collapsed, I would not be caught inside. I loved being playing in the street and to be relate to everyone, I was a very outgoing person. The memory that my friends had of me was that I always smiled. To the point that a friend of mine called me smile. Likewise, I was always fixing my wardrobe, my room,  I loved everything to be in its place.

Later, I have the memory of a few years that, for various reasons, I consider sweet years. I became a mother and, when my daughter was a baby, I felt like I had never felt before. It was a very hard job to have her, and I was very excited about motherhood because I had convinced myself that I could never have a child, due to my psychiatric medication and my own disorder. The difficulty was that not only I needed to leave the medication so that the baby did not have long term damages, but also needed a special professional attention to be able to manage the pregnancy. Before leaving the hospital with my newborn daughter, I had already talked to the psychiatrist and had agreed to retake the medication. I had to medicate myself again, trying to not interfere with being able to raise my daughter,taking into account  that you sleep when the baby wants you to sleep. Timetables and schedules disappear, especially the first few months. Four years after my daughter was born, I had a relapse and an involuntary admission in the hospital. Two years after this, I had another one. At this time, I was not physically and mentally able to get on the basic tasks of my house. I did not know how to clean the house, I did not know how to do it. I had even forgotten to dance, which I used to like so much before. I became aware that I could no longer do what everyone did, what was considered normal for everyone.

I became a messy person, I lost the coordination of my body. They were hard years. I took about thirteen pills a day on average: antipsychotics, antidepressants, medication to stop my impulsivity…etc. To the point that I stopped smiling, I was like a zombie. When I danced I was like a robot and I could not concentrate on it. If something in my house was messed up, I was unable to put it in order.  I did not know how to do it!!! Four years after the second admission, I began to reduce the medication, always with the corresponding professional advice. It was a process of more than two years. Then I realized that I regained my capacities. I was able to do home tasks, to dance, to have memory, to be the one I was before. With recovery, fears appeared, including panic attacks and other types of symptoms that I do not want to remember. Where did my fears come from? From the experience of losing control of my body, my memory, my common sense and the control of my life. And from thinking that I have a 10 year gap in my life. I look back and remember almost nothing of that time (and the little I remember, I would rather prefer not to do it). I am afraid that my head fails me again, that discourages me to the point of not finding exits. I am afraid if it does not give me time to solve the problems. I feel that I cannot afford to be discouraged, so that the people around me do not say, “What, again, the same?” Fear of being treated like a person who is not worthy. I’ll tell you something. People who have mental health problems are also people, and we would like to be treated like an equal. Because working or not, there are other activities that we can do, for example as a volunteer, where people are also required.  And without the fact that for being diagnosed with a mental disorder, we are forced to accept that we have absurd labels. The only thing we ask from society is respect.

Inma Arriaga

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