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Chicken Licken's Guide to Relapse

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When I was a tiny tot I used to love the story of Chicken Licken. I mean I L.O.V.E.D. that fluffy little lad. Every night before bed Chicken Licken was requested and my poor long-suffering Mam and Dad would once again reel off the story, bravely resisting the urge to try to skip a page or 5...

For those who weren't as obsessed with the fellow as I, let me re-cap. Chicken Licken was having a grand old time strolling around the woods, (as young chicks do) when a great stonking acorn fell on the poor fellow's head. Chicken Licken being a pragmatic soul deduced from this that the sky was falling down- and off he shot to tell the King.

He had a social-conscience on him did our young Chicken Licken, so as he met his assorted feathered friends also off for a jaunt in the woods, (Hen-Len, Goose-Loose Duck-Luck, you know the usual gang of lads) he warned them all gravely against heading that way,urging them to come see the King with him instead and help break the bad news of imminent sky-fall.

As often happens when young chicks tell tales, mass hysteria ensued and the news spread like wildfire. All feathers were ruffled, the fear grew and grew and everyone go very upset and caught up in the drama. At the point of fever-pitch who should pop up but Mr Fox. Usually the birds were wary of foxes (especially this scoundrel) but damned if Mr Fox upon hearing the news didn't offered to take all the feathered chums directly to the king and far away from the scary sky-less woods. Hurray! And lead them he did..straight to his fox hole where he promptly fed the poor little buggers to his family.

BAD. LAD.

When you've been unwell for years. When life has been hard and scary but you've manage by some miracle to move on from it and into a place of wellness, there is always that fear that it will all come back. That you will relapse and have to go through this hell on earth all over again. It's a fear so big it's like the fear is having you. The nameless, formless terror that wakes you up in the night. It finds you when you are alone and at your most vulnerable and tears you apart inside. No one can give you any guarantees. Life happens. Relapse does happen. But relapses can be stopped in their tracks at many stages. They can be overcome. Often the fear of relapse is far more scary than the physical occurrence itself. (Believe me, I know. I spent my mid-to-late twenties housebound and disabled, then my early 30's terrified of it happening again)

Fear destroys. It corrodes. It massively hinders judgement. It turns acorns into full-blown Armageddon. Would Chicken Licken have gone near a flipping fox had he not been blinded by fear? I think not. Who trusts a fox? And besides Chicken Licken knew the way to the king. He'd been there before. He knew how to ask for help and where to seek it. He was just so caught up in the fear of fear itself that he gave his power to someone else. And that fear ate him up. Literally and metaphorically, then there was no more sky for him at all.

It is entirely possible to get through to the other side of a relapse back to health. Feeling vulnerable to the idea of relapse is also easy to treat. No one should be fearful of their own bodies or trapped in a prison their own anxiety. There are so many ways to get well. So many ways to overcome the fear. If you got well once you can get well again-and you don't have to do it alone. Just make sure the people you seek help from don't add to your hysteria band-wagon. That you seek guidance from the right source. Someone who helped you get well last time. Or at the very least believes that your recovery is possible.

Avoid the foxes. Go straight to the King. And the acorns? They can only scare you if you don't see them for what they are. Just a tiny bump in this continual journey. A journey that you get to choose the destination of. And if you truly know deep inside that the sky is the limit for you, you'll be looking up there anyway and see those acorns coming a mile off.