What is a relapse prevention plan? To quote Wikipedia Relapse Prevention is a cognitive-behavioural approach with the goal of identifying and preventing high-risk situations like depression. I have also linked the Wikipedia description for cognitive-behavioural for those wanting further reading.
The morning of my discharge a social worker/psychologist (I can't remember which) spent some time discussing what my 'relapse prevention plan' will be. This involved recognising who was in my support team. My support team includes my husband, Mum, my psych nurse (who usually visits me at home weekly), my psychiatrist (who I mostly see about fortnightly) and of course my friends.
We also looked at what my early warning signs are:
- irritable and fighting with my husband (my poor husband)
- lack of personal hygene (as shaming as this is to admit)
- cognitive distortions
And daily I have to track how I am feeling and rate it accordingly. The scale my social worker/psychologist suggested is 0 - good, 1 - average and 2 - severe.
I have also stumbled across the most amazing website Ontrack which provides online programs and support; all self paced, to help you recognise triggers, deal with them and so much more. It has an interactive diary and mood mapper (you can print a graph out with the mood mapper) and best of all it is totally free. I am only through the first program and at this stage will think about where I am for a few days before I move on. That is the beauty about it being self-paced; you do it as it suits you.
I plan on daily writing in the diary and using the mood mapper and this will be a huge part of my Relapse Prevention Plan. I will also make an effort to shower daily, be more open and available and talk about my feelings with my husband. I will also call on my other supports and remember they are there for me not just for there good looks (haha).
Day 2 and 3 have been very quiet days hanging out the house and enjoying some quality time with the family. Just the tonic I needed. I have felt mostly calm but discovered I will escalate from 0 to 100 in flat second. I need to work on this and find a way to stabilise my moods. I guess being aware is step 1.