A setback in your mental health recovery can feel very frightening

Most of us struggle with our mental health but many won’t admit that. Some of us are further along with our mental health recovery than others. Not a judgment just a realization and a truth. But what happens to you when you have what you feel is a setback in your mental health recovery?

First of all, you have to realize that this will happen. Things like this are often three steps forward, two steps back.

Having a set back does not invalidate all your positive work.

It also doesn’t erase it. It just means you have to stop, regroup and get started again.Setbacks happen to all of us, even me. We’re all human. An important lesson we learn in DBT is that everyone is doing their best and must be treated accordingly. That means you need to treat yourself that way, too.

If you mess up in a fit of anger…

So if you mess up and lash out at someone in a fit of anger, don’t beat up on yourself and think you are a bad person. You’re not. You are a person who has dropped the ball. Bend down, pick it up and get going again.I had an incident where I dropped my DBT ball. At my next appointment with my therapist I told her that I felt like a DBT failure. She pointed out to me the judgmental language I was using against myself. I  had been so upset, I hadn’t even noticed it.

What it means to have a setback

We are all products of our past and things happen, we get triggered and it’s not always possible to use STOP, the all-important DBT distress tolerance skill. Not being able to utilize that skill will often make things worse, but it’s still not the end of the world. Remember, you are a work in progress. You are not perfect. You are allowed to mess up from time to time. As long as you don’t let that derail you completely, you will be okay.