Just like in the grieving process, we recover from depression in leaps and bursts. We’re sure we’re never going to get better. We have good days, and bad days. We have good moments and bad moments. Depression, by its very nature, flings us all over the emotional spectrum; It’s part of the process of healing. It’s never a straight shot from point “A”, to point “B”. It’s almost always a roller coaster ride. Eventually, it normalizes to a smoother ride.
Moods are seldom stable even when we’re not depressed. It’s a rare person whose moods stay even-keeled on a consistent basis. Also, we sometimes ascribe the word “stable” to people whose personality just naturally lends itself to a kind of outward calmness. People can be very “noisy” on the inside, even though they’re very quiet out the outside. We assume too much about a person by their outward behavior.
For example, my husband is very stable and his personality is more low-keyed. His moods don’t look too different even when he’s feeling “down”. It’s very different for me. My personality is more like the energizer bunny so if I’m feeling down, it’s more obvious although I was often able to fool most people. I functioned quite normally on my job and when around other people but when I came home and could let my guard down, I was very different. It’s called a “smiling depression”.
Depression looks different on different people.
No matter where you are in your recovery, take heart by knowing that the roller coaster ride you’re on doesn’t mean your recovery is in jeopardy. You’re just experiencing normal fluctuations on your journey to health.
When we’re having a “roller-coaster” kind of day though, it does get discouraging. On these kinds of days, it pays to look back and try to find some cause and effect. And there is always a reason for our depression. Your moods aren’t all over the place for no reason.
So let me ask you, how has your day been? Has it been up and down? Can you pinpoint any causes? We can’t always find a reason but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one, only that you can’t find it. Don’t despair if you can’t. Just start monitoring your days (it’s not as self-absorbing as it sounds) and when your mood starts to fall even a little, stop and take a quick assessment.
- What have you been thinking about?
- What kind of words have you been using? (Our spiraling moods often begin with our thoughts and words.)
- Did someone say something that made your heart lurch?
- Did you feel threatened by someone’s behavior?
- Are you tired?
- Are you thirsty?
- How much coffee have you been drinking?
- How much sugar have you been eating?
These questions might sound ridiculous but they’re not. Depression starts from a simple place. It’s get’s complicated when it gets out of control. Just the act of asking some questions can help bring everything into focus.
I’ll tell you more about me when I post again but what I want you to know is that I am a depression survivor. My depression began in childhood and manifested itself as anxiety. Anxiety was eventually accompanied by depression and after years of periodic episodes, I decided to get off the ride. That was over twelve years ago now. I slowly quit taking my medication and starting facing who I am, what I wanted from life, and how I contributed to my own spiraling moods. I worked hard. I changed the way I talked, thought, acted, etc. I learned what trusting God really means. I have been depression free ever since. Sure I have some bad days, even some bad weeks but nothing I can’t handle with the strategies I learned in the recovery process.
I hope this post encourages you.
*A huge thank you goes out to Rebecca http://depressionsgfit.com for writing this post. Not only does she have her own blog but she will now be writing for Youth Of A Nation as well!