When I have a cold, it’s obvious I’m sick. And when it goes away, it’s obvious it’s gone.

When I have depression, it’s not obvious to anyone – even me. And when it goes away, how am I going to know?

It was clear as a summer’s day when my depression hit rock bottom. I was fatigued, despondent, without hope, alienated, withdrawn, fragile, anxious, starving myself, self-harming and lacking self-care. I am not in that place any more, something for which I am eternally grateful.

But it is a long road from rock bottom to fully recovered.

I don’t know what fully recovered looks like and I actually have no idea how far I’ve travelled down the road.

Some days I still feel fatigue – not as much as I used to, but still more than I should.

I have occasional days of feeling despondent and hopeless, but it is no longer relentless and perpetual.

I don’t feel alienated and withdrawn. I reached out and continue to do so. I am writing, talking and sharing as much as I can. Even when I can’t bear to do it.

I still feel incredibly fragile and anxious. The slightest error or conflict and I’m panicking, teary and wanting to run away, hide under a rock and never emerge. I don’t like being so precious – I want to feel more resilient and emotionally stronger.

I have stopped starving myself – everyone else seems very happy about this. I am now binging and purging instead. I don’t think anyone is happy about that – myself included.

My self-harm is very rare and my self-care is pretty jolly good.

So at what point can I say I’m no longer depressed?

When am I recovered from depression? Is it when I stop medication and feel no different? Is it when I no longer experience anxiety? When I feel stronger? If I overcome my eating disorder? How do I tell?

Perpetual happiness is as unnatural as perpetual sadness. Relentless energy is as unnatural as relentless fatigue. Yet somewhere there is a middle ground of healthy and balanced. And it is that midway point I would like to find

Recovery – as everyone keeps mentioning – is not linear. It’s a shame. But it’s true.

Responses

Share Your Opinion

  1. rob2605

    This is a question I’ve posed to myself lots over the years. I only felt like I made real progress with my anxiety and depression when I accepted that maybe there is no such thing as being fully recovered.

    I think those conditions will probably always be part of me but I can now manage them so they do not regularly impact my day to day life.

    The biggest sign that you are feeling better with you mental health is when you stop asking this question and realise you haven’t even thought about your conditions for a period of time.

  2. myms2016

    Such a good point to address. Recovery is not linear, which makes it all the more to appreciate on ‘good days.’ It IS a constant twisty climb to the top. Wishing you the best and easier climbing ahead 🙂