How to win the battle of depression when you have a setback.

Up to this point, I’ve offered hope and encouragement. Up to this point, I’ve said things you can probably agree with. You’re thinking, “Hey, this is easy.”

Well, here comes the hard truth.

Some days this will be an uphill battle. Most things worth having do require a struggle anyway.

I didn’t get better overnight. As I wrote earlier, depression is like a roller coaster. Some days you feel you’re on the top of the ride, other days you feel like you’re at the bottom. But it just feels that way. It’s not an indicator of how well you are progressing over all.

Let’s say you buy some stock at ten dollars a share and the next week they soar to twenty dollars per share but a few weeks later they’re back down to twelve. They never hit the lowest value of ten dollars; they dipped from twenty to twelve, not twenty to ten. You’re still better off than you were. That’s why stock brokers tell their clients to not pay any attention to the ups and downs and hang in for the long-term.

So when your mood drops it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve dropped to your lowest point, only to a lower point from the high you were feeling. That’s an important distinction.

I’ve talked with dozens of people over the years and I can guarantee that those who chose to work on their recovery made it. Those who were resistant to acknowledge their own responsibility for their depression didn’t. They’re right back where I found them.

Let’s just get it out of the way. Overcoming depression is just plain hard work, especially in the beginning. Like any challenge we’re excited. We can do this! But then the weeks turn into months and we realize that this isn’t a follow steps one through ten and we’re healed. It’s more like following steps one through ten the rest of your life.

But after a while, your action plan becomes such a part of your thinking, your behavior, your attitude, that it comes quite naturally. And eventually those dips only drop to eighteen or so and you know what to do to get back up to twenty again.

Here’s what I wrote a few years ago:

This weekend I suffered a minor setback and had to work to regain my equilibrium. I'd had a viral infection and virus's can often trigger a mild dip in one's mood. I didn't use the term "depression" because I didn't want to confuse depression with a few bad days. How you label things, the words you use, make a crucial difference.

Had I called it depression, I might have felt overwhelmed. Calling it a few bad days was something I could handle.

So when your mood drops after having a good run of feeling emotionally healthy, don’t panic. You are still on the path to health.

God bless and have a good day.


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