SMALL STEPS IN RECOVERY

     Do you want to reach recovery from depression? I mean, do you seriously want to climb out of the dark hole and bathe in the light of recovery? If you genuinely want to get better, then you must take steps towards the light. You can’t do that by sitting at the bottom of your hole dwelling on the sadness that has blanketed your soul. To start the climb towards the light of recovery, you must start out small and in time these steps will grow. But first let’s start with small steps.

     When I was struggling with depression, I took many small steps that helped me on my journey to recovery. The small steps are very important to the recovery process and need to be taken seriously. Below is a list of small steps that helped me reach recovery.

  1. Pick a set time to get up in the morning. If I didn’t set my alarm clock for ten A.M. when I was depressed, I would sleep all day. I had to force myself to get out of bed; by doing this it kept me from using sleep to escape my inner sadness. It was much easier to sleep all day than deal with my inner anguish. Pick a time in the morning to get up. Set an alarm clock and make sure you get out of bed. If it helps, plan an activity to do when you get up. That would give you a reason to get out of bed.
  2. Set a reasonable time to go to bed at night and use relaxation techniques to help you sleep. For me nights were the worst. That’s when my worrying thoughts raced through my head. I would stay up late watching television or reading to avoid going to bed. By morning I was even more exhausted and more likely to stay in bed. I started setting a certain time to go to bed. I listened to relaxing music and tried relaxation techniques. When I still couldn’t sleep, I talked to my psychiatrist and he put me on medication that helped me sleep. With a good night’s rest, I had more energy to get up in the morning. So, pick a time each night to go to bed. If relaxation techniques don’t help calm your mind and body, then talk to your psychiatrist about medications that can help you get a restful night’s sleep.
  3. Find an activity or craft to do to keep you busy. When I was depressed, I stopped writing for a while. I lost faith in my writing. So instead of writing, I did crafts like cross-stitching and woodburning. Keeping myself busy helped keep my mind from racing. My family got many of my crafts as gifts for holidays and birthdays. Find something you like to do that will keep your mind busy like crafts, reading, exercise, crossword puzzles and so on.
  4. Take time to take care of your personal hygiene. When I was depressed, I stopped showering regularly and combing my hair. I looked the way I felt, awful. My hair became an oily mess. It stuck up in places and looked unkempt. I was just too lazy to shower regularly. When I made an effort to shower every day and brush my hair, I started to feel better. Feeling better on the outside helped me feel better on the inside. Take the time to take care of your hygiene. It will help you feel better.
  5. Keep appointments with your psychiatrist and therapist. I tried hard to keep my appointments, but at times I felt like going was hopeless, so I would cancel. I wasn’t helping myself at all by not going. Without my therapist to talk to, I kept many of my feelings deep inside me and they ate at me. By missing my psychiatric appointments, I was making it hard for my psychiatrist to find the right medication for me. These two appointments are the most important to help you reach recovery. Make sure you keep these appointments unless you have a good reason to cancel like you have the flu.
  6. Keep track of when you need to take your medication and make sure you take it. I often forgot to take my medication and sometimes when I had to take it at a certain time I’d forget. One time I went several days without my antidepressants and I had a major break down. I smacked my sister-in-law, and I cried and screamed. It made the symptoms of my depression worse. Once I got back on my medicine, I was able to handle the symptoms of my illness better. When I forgot to take my medicine at night, I would be up all-night trying to sleep. Make sure you take your medicine each day and at the times of day you’re told to take it. Get pill boxes that have days of the week and ones with day and night on them. Set an alarm in your phone to remind you when to take them. If they are not helping, don’t stop taking them without your psychiatrist’s instructions.

Use these small steps to help you start your climb out of the hole of your depression. Recovery is possible, but it is not an easy journey to make. Start with small steps; in time when you feel stronger start taking larger steps. Keep reaching higher and higher until you are above the hole standing in the light.

     I used these steps to help me reach recovery. Because I started small and I took my time I am now standing in the light of recovery smiling.

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