Today I want to talk about slip-ups. People don’t like to talk about slip-ups. We want our attention to be looking forward, which is hard to do when you’re caught in a backslide. And I totally get it, it is frustrating whenever you are faced with battles you thought were over. When I’m not in a depressive state, the darkness and the demons that torment me, the lethargy that I feel, it all seems like a bad dream, barely memorable. But of course it is all too real, and I am frustrated with myself when I fall back into a depression, even though I know that that is the normal course my mental illness takes. The point of this rambling intro is that slip-ups are annoying. But they definitely aren’t the result of a weakness.
Slip-ups are annoying, but they are normal. Recovery isn’t a linear line, and sometimes, whether it is depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or some other battle, it is normal to have a few backslides.
And while they aren’t the result of any personal weakness, it is something that happens. And something that must be dealt with. And while we may not have a choice in our mental illness, we do have a choice in how we respond to these slip-ups. Rather than focusing on the frustration, we can instead choose to focus on bouncing back from the slip-up to the point where we are as strong as we were before.
Moreover, focusing on the good days when we are experiencing a slip-up can be a strong motivating factor in recovery from the darkness. And allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your network of supporters can strengthen that network as well, providing an even stronger tool for you as you continue your journey towards recovery.
But for Pete’s sake, can we stop saying and thinking of them as weaknesses, because slip-ups definitely aren’t weaknesses.