The Impossible State Of Recovery

It is hard to think that I can recover from depression when my mental health issues consume so much of my life. Depression seems so deeply woven in with my personality, and what makes me ‘me’. It makes it impossible to think of what I was like before I got depressed. I have happy memories of when I was a child, but am I just happy in those memories, or was I more happy in general? It’s this sense that perhaps things have always been this way that makes the idea of recovering almost impossible because I don’t know what I’m striving towards. Is being recovered from depression means I become generally a lot happier as a person, or is it something a lot more complex?

The longer my depression continues, the more I feel myself becoming more withdrawn and scared to open up. I have complained and cried so many times as a result of my depression, that I am terrified that the people I turn to for help are fed up of me. Secretly thinking that I should just ‘get over it’ because they feel my problems aren’t worth being upset about. This fear is reinforced by the fact that people have left my life, friendships have drifted or splintered. Often, ironically, as a result of being terrified, that they are going to hate me. I become fixated on it so much that I end up driving them away.

It’s hard to battle social anxiety when you’re doing it alone because there’s this misconception that social anxiety only happens when I’m needing to interact with people. However that’s not the case, being withdrawn and isolated is anxiety inducing in its own right. What if my friends forget about me? What if they’re not messaging me because they hate me? Being socially anxious is high maintenance.

It is hard to battle social anxiety when you are doing it alone, I feel like I am walking a tightrope over a canyon and there is nothing there to protect me if I slip. I push people away because I do not want to bother them, then I get distressed at the fact there is nobody there to help me. Mental health issues are a fickle thing, a battle between different states. Depression for me is not just one mood, I have often felt it is a series of moods, all incompatible with each other. The end result being this ‘depressive’ state.

Recovery feels almost elusive like the end goal is constantly shifting and evolving. I often feel like I’m making progress, then the goal shifts and I’m back at square one. Maybe it’s a case of I’m trying to base my recovery on other people. What I think a ‘normal’ person should be like. Yet how can I base recovery on what I was like before I got depression when I don’t even remember what I was like then?

Recovery feels almost elusive like the end goal is constantly shifting and evolving before my eyes. I often feel like I am making progress, finally getting closer to that end stage, then it shifts again and I am back at square one. Maybe it is due to me basing recovery on other people. I look at them, and the way they present themselves to the world, and try and strive for that. Then I see a new person, who seems more popular, more outgoing or funny, and I decide ‘that’ is what recovery is. I feel like I can not base recovery on myself because I do not know what is me and what is my depression.

Am I ever going to be like the happy child I see in my memories? If once we stop being depressed, but are largely changed and deeply affected by it, then are we truly recovered? Perhaps recovery is not the end state but the journey itself. I will let you know for sure if I ever reach there.

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3 thoughts on “The Impossible State Of Recovery

  1. I don’t think that anyone will truly ‘recover’ from depression, unfortunately. What has happened in my experience is that I have become so hardened and used to it consuming my life that I just accept that it’s me, and that’s fine, because now I have started to be a lot more appreciative of little things that make me not feel completely empty, and pretty much try to structure my life in a way that maximises the opportunity for those things to happen. It’s not perfect but it’s working at the moment.

    Unlike depression, I believe social anxiety CAN be overcome, throughout my teenage years I barely left the house other than for school, I was scared of going outside. This was fucking awful because I absolutely loved hanging out with friends and also travelling, I am a youngest sibling and I got to the age where I was too old for ‘family holidays’, so I did no travelling. It just got to the point where I decided to do planned ‘leaps of faith’, I noted the things I was scared of – not being able to get home was one, as was possible conflict with people I didn’t know (I live in a rough town so this was pretty common for me as a child/teen), I basically planned a day out with friends, where they would drive me to and from wherever we went. I remember the first place we went to was a cinema, reallistically no one’s gonna start a fight in a cinema, and we also went during a Thursday afternoon, when it was at it’s emptiest. Over the next few weeks we’d just go to slightly more daunting places such as bowling and a shopping mall or something, but still going during the quietest times.

    Basically I just kept doing that until I was where I am now, granted I still hate crowds, but that’s not really an anxiety thing, I mean who *really* likes crowds of people? Now I leave the house every day to go somewhere different to do some work, I’ve travelled abroad on my own a load of times, including living on my own for a whole year in a college in New York, which ended up being incredible. (You can read about my first trip abroad alone here http://alexrichardsweb.co.uk/blog/merthyr-tydfil-to-nairobi/ – I promise this comment wasn’t a ruse just for me to plug my blog).

    So yeah, that’s my advice, but of course, people are different, so I hope you find something that works for you 🙂

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it. Perhaps it is impossible to recover from depression, although I do live in hope that I’ll at the very least be able to manage and minimise my symptoms. I too have worked on my confidence, and although I am still a long way off I have felt myself drastically improve. I engage with people on social media more, I am willing to admit my mental health issues, I am making friends online and meeting them offline. It will be a struggle for quite some time, I still have bouts of horrible anxiety in relation to social situations, some which I know is something unrealistic to be anxious about. At the very least I am not admitting defeat to my mental health issue, just letting it continue to ruin my life, fighting it is still worthwhile even if recovery isn’t possible.

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      1. You should take a lot of pride in the fact that you’re actively taking steps to try and minimise the effect it has on your life, because obviously when you’re depressed you lose motivation to do anything at all, it’s one of the reasons that so many people don’t see a doctor about it. I think reducing anxiety is a lot of trial and error if you take the same approach as I did; I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been ridiculously anxious about going somewhere, and when I’m there it’s totally fine, and vice versa, the mind is very annoying and difficult to please, as we know all too well.. I’m sure with time and continued effort you’ll see a lot more improvement, once I ‘got over’ (hate that term) severe social anxiety I realised it helped a lot with depression too, I wasn’t exactly ‘happy’ but I felt a lot more free and in control of myself, the fact that you’re making friends online and then actually meeting them is fantastic.

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