Depression Recovery Report Card? Is there such a thing? Well there is now and I am going to share mine with you.
A depression recovery report card helps us measure progress, even if that progress is backwards. Being aware and staying vigilante are key to handling mental illness.
I am sharing my own depression recovery report card because I have also shared, several weeks ago, that I hit a really low patch of depression in 'Help, I'm Hitting a Brick Wall'. If you read the downside, you deserve to read the upside.
My first order of business every time my mood crashes is to cancel everything and lay low. Get as much rest and solitude as I can. Just doing that alone can often bring the low mood up a notch. This time I thought I would do the depression review again and see if there is anything I had missed.
In this latest series 'Depression Review with Eight Keywords' we have discussed eight things worth examining if you are wanting to measure your progress. These keywords can also help you get started on the road to depression recovery.
Keyword #1, Diagnosis
For me this has not changed. I received the right diagnosis, Bipolar II, in 2008. So there was no need to revisit this.
Keyword #2, Medication
I have struggled with most medications. They either didn't work or the side effects were worse than the depression. But when I really hit bottom again, as I did recently, I couldn't resist trying something new. (I am either brave or stupid!) I read about low dose lithium and thought it might be worth a try. After only one week, I had a killer headache and was seriously constipated. So changing medication was not an option, as usual.
*Keyword #3, Therapy*
I have tried therapy a few times with little success. I didn't stick it out. This time however I decided that if I could find a therapist I actually liked, I would stay with it for awhile. And I did! And I believe it has been helpful. The therapist explained to me that talking about your 'stuff', whatever that may be, gives it less power over you. Hearing yourself talk about things can bring perspective. And simply talking, talk therapy, has huge value. Personally I do not enjoy reliving my heartaches which is why I have resisted therapy all this time. However, I am glad I have persevered and will continue to go as long as it seems helpful. Surely this therapy has reduced my stress levels and therefore helped me back to the road of recovery.
Keyword #4, Research
No change here. I think I have oversaturated myself in research about my particular disorder. So further research wasn't necessary this time.
*Keyword #5, Lifestyle Changes*
One of my big challenges is sleep. I average 5 hours a night, which means some nights I get less than that. This is not helpful to depression. So my doctor gave me a mild sleeping pill. I checked it out with the pharmacist who said that it is safe to use 2 or 3 times a week. I keep records so I don't go over that because it is apparently addictive. But guess what? It has really helped to get a good sleep now and then. And that good sleep seems to have broken the cycle of poor sleep and sometimes I actually sleep well without any sleeping pill at all.
Keyword #6, Strategies
This time I did not come up with any new coping strategies. However, I still stick to my old ones, walking daily, eating well (most of the time!), not overdoing socializing or other activities, staying away from stressful situations and making sure I get enough alone time. Being an introvert, I need a lot of that.
Keyword #7, Recovery
No change here. But each time my mood crashes I remind myself that this Bipolar II is a chronic disorder. Recovery is sometimes temporary. And if I recovered before I will recover again. I tell myself this when I can remember to do so.
Keyword #8, Relapse
With each crash I remind myself that I have relapsed before and will probably relapse again.
So my depression recovery report card would say this: Wendy has successfully completed the 'Depression Review with Eight Keywords'. There was no changes necessary in diagnosis, medication, research, strategies, recovery or relapse so that gives her a recovery mark of 6 out of 8. However, the changes made in lifestyle (sleep) and therapy, have produced favourable results and so this review has helped a lot.
I have recovered from a relapse! This is great news!
I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. Don't give up, there is hope for depression. I am praying for you right now:
Thank you for hearing all of my prayers for all of the people who read this blog. Please help, heal and comfort each one. And even right this minute Lord, a reader is desperate for help. Take them in your loving arms and give them hope.