What do you think of when you hear the word ‘progress’ when it comes to your mental health? Do you think of a straight line, from your current point to your end goal? Or do you think of a rollercoaster with twists and turns, some Loop-the-Loops and elements of fast and slow?

Chances are, you are unlikely to think the latter. Rarely does progress feel like a lovely, smooth, linear journey. Most of the time, it can feel very messy. I already had an idea of how non-linear it could be, but working in suicide bereavement has shown me just how much of a rollercoaster progress can feel/be. Some days, people say they feel they’re making huge steps towards their goal of moving forwards, but other days believe they’re going backwards. Some say they compare their journey to the journey of others and become disappointed when they’re not at the same level.

When grieving, people often refer to the so-called 5 stages of grief. These stages tend to be seen as part of the linear process, and that you move from one stage to the next as time goes on. Sure, it may work for some people that way, but many others may experience several of the stages at once or hop around the different stages at different times. There is no set process of grief nor progress. It is an individual journey, and it is important to remember that we all experience things differently.

Progress is not just about advancing towards our goal, but also the journey we go on and how we grow whilst progressing. It will involve exploring new situations/surroundings, challenging older ways of thinking/doing/behaving, and adapting to the new experiences whilst gaining new knowledge.

It may feel scary at times. Lots of things are new and you’re learning to adapt whilst trying to get to your goal. I’ve heard some people describe it as failing. You are absolutely not failing. And in the process, you never go backwards. You gain so much knowledge and experience that it is impossible to go backwards.

Progress is a learning curve.

Please don’t feel you have to rush the process. Take your time and make sure you look after yourself in your journey. One of our support workers highlighted the importance of self-care within an earlier blog post (, and I couldn’t agree more with her. In times of distress and grief, self-care is so important. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small, in your journey with something you like to do, and use them as a reminder that you can recover.

You can get through this, and we’re here to help.