Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Therapy Notes: Forecast Some Backsliding

From my therapy notebook:

The path to mental health is an uneven process: for every two steps forward, you move one and a half back. But if you know this before you start walking, you’ll be less tempted to throw up your arms at the first relapse and say “to hell with it!”

My psychiatrist had to remind me of this lesson every session for about a year, until I reached a stable place.

I’d march into her office cheerful one week—ecstatic to be working again and laughing with my kids–and then, boom! It felt like I was as depressed and anxious as I was back in the psych ward.


I wasn’t.

It just felt that way since it happened after two weeks of feeling good, in the same way that 50 degrees feels like summer in January and winter in June.
In one session, Dr. Smith drew a zigzag line to illustrate the typical path of recovery to help me understand that I wasn’t pedaling in reverse. I was merely getting comfortable as a driver, and that recovering from severe depression, or making any kind of progress towards good health, is never perfectly symmetrical.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mike

    Therese I can’t believe you suffer very similar thoughts to me – you look like a well adjusted happy individual – it makes me more accepting of my condition knowing others out there are coping

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nina

    Today’s post is so appropriate for me. Although I am in recovery there are days where I feel like I might tip into that black hole. The severity of my acute illness is still to close for complete comfort and stability. Fear is still too fresh in my mind to be stable each day.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jan

    Therese, I’m so happy to have come across your blog. I have major depression, worse in the winter (the midwest has horrible winters). I’m able to somewhat hide my agony when I’m at work and out with friends, but at home alone it’s just unbearable. My insurance doesn’t pay for a counselor, so I have nobody to talk to. I’ve tried every SSRI under the sun, as well as SNRI Cymbalta. Nothing helps. I feel more hopeful now that I’ve watched several of your video blogs and relate to each of them! I feel more hopeful. Soon the cold weather and rain here will be over, and I’ll get outside on warm sunny days. I’m raising a teenager on my own, and he is all about himself, totally oppositional to me, which makes my depression even worse. I know that I have it much better than lots of others do, but it still sucks to be so down. Thank you for caring about the rest of us enough to start your own blog. :)

  • Amanda Scocozzo, C.P.C.

    I am a certified life coach and happiness teacher. I have been on the outside of dealing with depression most of my life, raised in a household where my mother was hospitalized off and on since I was 5. I have become fascinated through the years of tools that can help those with depression. I recently became a Happiness Teacher, and has been one of the most fulfilling decision I ever made. I am able to share with people simple tools to reframe the mind, and take things into a new viewpoint that shift the mindset. I offer a virtual 4 week program through Hapacus, that invites a discussion around these topics: Feel free to take a look:… It is great for people of all ages.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sherita

    I read this blog on a regular basis, and I had to read this entry again. I’m in the middle of working towards overcoming a horrible bout of severe depression. I was hospitalized earlier this year, my job is on thin ice, and my marriage…well, is a sham. After three months of treatment I went back to work and just crumbled. I’ve relapsed and I’m trying to pick up the few pieces I can to start over…hour by hour. I have a lot of challenges right now, but I have a grain of hope, and I’ll hold tight to it. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Susan Garbett

    Thank you for reminding me!
    I remember a psych nurse coming to my room after a weekend pass that was not the best 48 hours of my life. She said, “OK you were on the train heading up the hill; you fell off. You do not have to go all the way down the hill to the station and wait for the next train. You can just get back on where you were when you fell off. That helped me then and it is helping me now; I was trudging back to the station and contemplating sweet release. Your writing has reminded me that it is a zigzag line we walk; but it points up not down. Thank you!

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