Step 3: The Road To Recovery

This is Step 3 in the series on depression and therapy. Click here to read Step 1 and here to read Step 2

A few weeks into therapy is when you will start to see subtle changes in yourself. Of course, you won’t immediately go back to your normal functioning, productive self. You will, however, notice the return of energy to your body required to do little things such as brush your hair before you leave your house or taking yourself out for a morning walk.

If your illness is rooted in biological reasons alone, you will find that the medication will stabilize you over time. However, if your Psychiatrist recommends that you consult a Psychologist as well, there is a lot more you will have to give in to feel like yourself again. Either way, if you expected therapy to quickly “fix” you within the first few days and enable you to go back to your old life, you’re mistaken. Like any other life changing process, therapy works slowly and without absolute participation from you, there is not much your doctor can do to help you.

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There will be no ‘Eureka’ moment in your sessions.

Progress happens gradually, and it is important to realize that your therapist does not hold the cheat sheet to the answers of life. It can be easy to go in expecting answers, but this is not what your sessions are about. Your sessions will be about your therapist empowering you with tools and coping mechanisms to deal with things life throws your way. They require thorough self-reflection and absolute honesty with yourself and your therapist, which is as daunting and challenging as it sounds. But the more you give to the process, the easier it gets. The deeper you dig into untapped areas of your mind, into boxed memories and long forgotten incidents; you’ll find yourself able to think objectively and with clarity.

Is it realistic to expect a few sessions, with a stranger to have profound effects on your life in the long term? The answer to this lies in realising that you are central to your treatment. Your therapist will help you think, navigate your past, present and future and help you gain new insights and perspectives. But you will have to put yourself through this process. This sometimes mean dealing with discomfort and anxiety. This sometimes means taking a leap of faith and in between your sessions, religiously sticking to your therapist’s advice. This sometimes means overpowering your social anxiety and making it to that brunch with friends you haven’t seen in months because your therapist said you must put yourself out there. It means ignoring the self-doubt and make it to that interview you managed to secure after months.

You will not have a series of good days just because you are now in the process of recovery.

You will experience highs and lows, and sometimes life will seem just as daunting as before you decided to get help. Remember to be gentle to yourself on those days and remind yourself that you’re a work in progress. Make a habit of documenting your thoughts and feelings, so you can accurately relay them to your therapist when you see them. Your therapist can only work with the information you provide to them. It is easy to expect them to be intuitive and read your mind, but remember this will only set you back. Give the communication your all, and engage with them as freely as you can, with as few inhibitions as possible. Welcome their inputs, perspectives and advice. Incorporate what you learn into your life and you will find yourself on the road to recovery.

-P

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