photo of man touching his head in confusion/depression recoveryDEPRESSION

We recover from depression in leaps and bursts.

We recover from depression in leaps and bursts, very much like the grieving process.

The ups and downs of depression

time lapse photography of curved road with vehicles passing

One minute, we feel we’re never going to get better. The next minute we’re back in the pits.

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 line.  It’s almost always a winding road of healing.  Eventually, however, it rventually straightens out and things become clearer.

Moods are unstable.

Moods, in general, are seldom very stable. It’s a rare person whose moods remain even on a consistent basis.  And generally, it’s a matter of personality and background not necessarily successful coping skills. There are some people who are just naturally more of the “even-keel” type of personality. My husband is one of these.  He’s the most stable person I know and yet he, too, has struggled with depression.

What doesn’t matter

Personality makes no difference.

It’s easy to assume that certain personalities suffer more mood swings than other people.  It’s simply not true.  Just off the top of my head, I could personally name ten people who have struggled with depression and their personalities couldn’t be more different. Two or three are total extroverts, a few are introverts and the rest are somewhere in between. They are also very diverse in income and education levels. Their individual circumstances are unique as well. Some are married. Some divorced. Some widowed.

Circumstances make no difference

I think one of the concepts that was the hardest for me to accept was the fact that even when everything was good, I could suffer a depressive episode. But depression doesn’t know everything is good. It only knows what you are thinking.

While depression is more common in the older generation, it can strike any age.  Either sex, too, can experience depression although women experience depression twice as much as men.  No need to elaborate here as every woman reading this knows why, It’s hormonal fluctuations.

So no matter where you are in your recovery, take heart by knowing that the roller coaster ride you’re on doesn’t mean you’re recovery is in jeopardy.  If you’re working on your depression, you are getting better and you just have to believe that. Depression would have you think otherwise. Remember, just like the title of my book:

picture of book/Depression

your voice has to be louder.

Cause and effect

Discouraging and confusing days

 When we’re having a “roller-coaster” kind of day, it’s discouraging and confusing. On these kinds of days, it pays to look over our day and try to see some cause and effect.  And there always is a cause and effect. Your moods aren’t all over the place for no reason. Just don’t give up. 

A question

So let me ask you, how has your day been? Has it been up and down?  Can you pinpoint any causes? Don’t worry if you can right away. But keep thinking about it. I can almost guarantee you something you’ve been thinking has jumpstarted your low mood. Think about interactions you have had over the past few days. It can be something someone casually said in passing that triggered some negative emotions.

It could even be a word. For me, it’s the word “should”. “Could” I like. “Should”, never. I always feel judged when someone uses the word and I’ll bet that’s true for many of you.

Remember, depression is totally treatable. There is no reason to suffer. But also remember that once you get better, there is work to do if you don’t want to continue to struggle.

Memorize this verse. I love this verse becaude it tells me I need parameters in my life. I need to pay attention to the road I’m on, the habits and activities of my day. They all affect our moods.

“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road you take.” Jeremiah 21:31

God bless you and don’t give up.

PS This is national suicide prevention week. If you are feeling desperate, reach to your local hotline, a doctor, a friend, a pastor, etc. I’ve been there. I know the desperation and fear.