Let’s speak hypothetically for a moment. Say you sprained your ankle. Maybe doing something really hardcore, like rollerskating down a mountainside in the middle of a herd of stampeding elephants. Or, you know, slipping in the shower while trying to balance the water temperature between glacial ice melt and magma.
Naturally, you’d go easy on said ankle for a while, wouldn’t you? Avoid putting too much weight on it until it’s better? Same story with a broken arm; we’d put a cast on it, so that it can heal without further damage disrupting the process.
Now, what if we apply this same principal to mental illness? Say you have OCD. If your mind is in a sensitive state, be careful about how much mental stress you take on. Don’t think of it as being weak or incapable; think of it as giving your mind time to heal, like a sprained ankle.
While the confrontation of my triggers is one of the pillars of my fight against OCD, I’ve learned that the best way to do this is in a very gradual manner. Taking on too much at once is more likely to set me back than build me up.
It’s okay to slow down, to take things a step at a time. People learning to walk again after a physical injury don’t sign up for marathons before they’re fully healed.
If you ask me, we could learn a lot from treating mental illness more like physical illness.