5 Ways I Knew I Was Recovering from Depression
Recovering from depression is tricky because depression is a chronic illness that can't be fully cured, so sometimes it's hard to tell whether you're getting better or not. There are countless articles detailing the signs that you have depression, but I wanted to create an article explaining the signs that you're recovering from depression. This is what recovery has looked like for me so far.
Recovering from Depression Is Messy
Before I jump into the signs of my depression recovery, I just want to point out that recovery is a messy process. It will definitely involve mistakes, backslides, and relapses, and that's okay. In my recovery process, I have ignored good advice, refused to use good coping mechanisms, overidentified with my depression, and so much more. But I've also come such a long way from the deep, dark place I was in before I started my journey toward recovery.
And I've realized something recently: the messiness isn't because I'm bad at recovery; the messiness is a necessary part of recovery.
Making a mess of things is just part of the process, so if you're in recovery from depression or any other mental illness, and you find that you keep messing things up, I hope you feel encouraged. Messing up means you're trying, which means you're doing something right.
5 Signs That Meant I Was Finally Recovering from Depression
- My depressive episodes got shorter. The first sign I noticed that my depression was starting to get better is that my episodes are generally shorter now. They used to last months with only a few good days sprinkled in, but now they might only be a week, or sometimes even shorter.
- My depression comes with feelings now instead of numbness. In recovery, I've noticed that my depressive episodes are actually quite emotional, whereas, in the past, they have involved more numbness. I'm painfully sad, lonely, and hopeless, and even though it hurts a lot, part of me is relieved that the numb feeling is so much rarer now.
- It's at least a little bit easier to use healthy coping mechanisms than it used to be. Like I said before, sometimes I actively choose not to use a healthy coping mechanism. But I choose healthy coping mechanisms so much more often now than I used to. Plus, I have way more healthy options now than I did when I started my recovery journey.
- I feel more comfortable reaching out for support. This is a big sign that my recovery is going well for me, personally. I usually have such a hard time reaching out to others because I don't want to be a burden, but lately, I've found it much easier to reach out. I think it's because I'm finally accepting my struggle with depression as a real struggle worthy of love and support.
- My functioning got worse, but my self-acceptance got better. Unfortunately, when I first started recovering from depression, my day-to-day functioning got a lot worse. I found it hard to communicate with others, and I was unable to do the things around the house that I was used to doing. That's because I was finally addressing all of the pain in my mind and learning to accept it and myself. This decrease in functioning has been an essential step in my recovery, and even though it's inconvenient, I know it's so important.
Recovery Is Different for Everyone
Finally, I just want to point out that recovering from depression is going to look different for everyone. I wanted to share my recovery story because I know there are other people like me, and their recovery will look a lot like this. But if your recovery looks different from mine, that doesn't mean you aren't recovering. It just means we're different people, going through a different healing process.
So how about you? What does recovery look like to you? Let me know in the comments below.
Griffith, M. (2021, March 9). 5 Ways I Knew I Was Recovering from Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, November 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2021/3/5-ways-i-knew-i-was-recovering-from-depression
Author: Megan Griffith
This is such an important thing for anyone familiar with depression to read, whether they themselves are living with it or a loved one is. As you said, there are countless articles that talk about signs of having it but few on what recovery looks like. It's wonderful that you point out a couple of areas (like feelings being present and functionality temporarily decreasing) because these could so easily otherwise be confused as signs of regression, rather than progress. Beautifully written.
Thank you so much Lizanne, your support on my articles makes me so happy and I'm so thrilled that you like this one in particular! Thanks again!