Elements Of Recovery: A Simplified Diagram
What works for you now?
Yes it’s true that I have not been depressed for a long time. Yes it’s true that I have repeatedly posted that Cognitive Behavior was the main factor in my Depression, and that CBT was the main vehicle that drove me out of it.
But I did not simply snap my fingers after a few sessions of CBT ten years ago and become a whole, functioning, happy person.
EFFORT & PERSISTENCE
I deliberately start with this. Some might scream “Matt! The first thing the person needs is to go seek professional help!!!” I won’t argue that, but: you really need to be willing to be helped in order to be helped. In my case, I actually had to be convinced I needed help. So yes, seeking professional help is of the utmost importance. However, nobody can really help you if you’re working against them.
For example, I went through approximately five therapists, each time allowing the ‘cloud’ to overtake me, and subsequently there was no progress. Or, progress followed by regress. Only the last time, when I was fully committed to the process, did lasting healing and growth occur.
So it doesn’t work without some effort on your part, and there are going to be setbacks. You might drink a little too much, or do some drugs, or not take your medication, or your medication has side effects, or your therapist might not be the right one for you, or a new personal situation arises, or all of those things. It’s a grind, and so I say ‘persistence’ is a key element to recovery.
You’re probably going to need this too. I have a hard time thinking of a mental illness that would not require seeking some form of professional help. NAMI is a good website for resources.
There’s just something a professional can offer you that you can’t get elsewhere. A certain level of objectivity, perspective, and experience. It could be a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Social Worker, Peer-to-Peer Group Session, or something else. Of course if you need medication, you will need to see a Psychiatrist, but personally I found my 1-on-1 sessions with Psychologists the most helpful. Group Therapy was also very effective when I was at my most unstable, lowest point.
FAMILY & FRIENDS
Here’s the good news: we have the internet now. I’m not kidding.
Look, I am truly, blessed because I have a close-knit, supportive family and group of friends. But I know that you might not.
I read stories everyday from other bloggers who are alone. They ask their parents for help, and the reply is ‘Just shake it off.’ Anxiety attacks are not knee-scrapes.
You need to keep reaching out, even though the people around you might be afraid. That’s really what it boils down to: some people, for various reasons, are afraid to deal with mental illness. That is their issue.
You have your own issue for now, which comes first. Keep reaching out, even if you have to find support in an online community. I believe that the cost of multiple rejections is worth the reward of finding one true friend, in spades.