Last week I published two posts at Health Central (here and here), describing the beliefs and attitudes I needed before I could begin to recover. That meant finding a mindset for recovery, but it wasn’t just a change in thinking. It went a lot deeper to the basic expectation about the kind of future I could have.
This mindset evolved gradually after several breakthrough experiences. Each one happened after long struggle marked by a lot of backsliding and discouragement at each new episode of depression. As I’ve mentioned in several earlier posts, like this one, I wanted to do more than spend the rest of my life managing symptoms – though that was a necessary step, and a triumph in itself.
I wanted to recover completely and permanently so that I could focus on getting back the life I’d only been half-living. Once I had that goal in mind, I found that the treatments I’d been using unsuccessfully for some time became more effective. They helped me keep depression in check so that I could be at least partly functional. While this was a big change for me, partly functional didn’t look so great to my family or anyone else. It was essential that I keep moving ahead.
Unfortunately, most of the therapists I worked with focused not on long-term restoration of health but on short-term alleviation of symptoms. The new recovery model in the mental health professions is a belated recognition that full recovery to a meaningful life is a far more empowering concept for a person living with any mental illness.
The two Health Central posts tell this story of the changes that helped me get this far. I hope you’ll check them out and then let us know what your expectations about recovery are as you deal with depression. As you know, any and every movement toward hope is a great achievement.