Recovery Is Not a Straight Line – Thoughts From Therapy

Recovery is not a straight line - thoughts from therapy

When I started working on this blog, I was in a really bad place. Over the winter I had no energy, and getting through every day was a fight.

Luckily, I’m better now.

I haven’t missed a class in a while, I workout semi-regularly and the distance between smiles is getting shorter.

Thoughts from therapy: Thoughhts from Therapy is a series where I talk honestly about my struggle with and recovery from depression and anxiety. My hope is to promote mental health awareness and to let anyone else struggling know they’re not alone. Read previous posts.

But. There is a but.

I still struggle to get up in the morning. I get nauseous as a side effect of my medicine. I have frequent tension headaches. I’m behind when it comes to studying, and we are not even going to talk about my diet.

I’ve thought about writing a mental health update for a while, yet I just didn’t know what to tell you. There’s nothing special happening. The main feeling I’ve had lately is ‘meh‘.

It’s like I’m stuck in an awkward phase between sick and recovered.

+ I’m not sick enough to stay at home all day, I want to do things!
I’m not well enough to have appointments two days in a row, I need to recharge

+ I’m not sick enough to take a break from uni
I’m not well enough to study and handle the pressure from exams

+ I’m not sick enough to cancel all social get-togethers
I’m not well enough to go to them without being anxious days in advance

+ I’m well enough meet with my Team (classmates) and have a great time
I’m sick enough to just start crying when I get home because I’m so overwhelmed

+ The people around me have been very supportive
I can’t help but feel at some point they can’t understand why I’m still sick and start getting frustrated and impatient

The last past is especially true, because that’s how I feel – about myself. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I find it hard to accept my limitations.

It’s possible I’m projecting my feelings onto the people around me. That they’re trying to be super supportive, but I’m avoiding them and acting distant; because if I can’t stand to be around me, why would they? (You’re actually being kind of a bully Anne, and that’s not okay).

You’re not going to be happy all the time. No one ever is. Sometimes you’re just going to sort of exist, and that’s okay.
Learn to be satisfied with ‘content’ and ‘calm’ and ‘not sad’.

Not sad is good.

Not sad is great.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is, recovery is not a straight line: There will always be good days and bad days. Recovering means the bad days will get fewer and the good days will take the lead. It means learning to cope with bad days, because having a bad day is not the same as having a bad life.

I want to learn to accept the bad days.

I want to learn to accept my limitations.

I think that’s a very important skill to possess.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Gif that says lots of love, Anne xx

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Recovery Is Not a Straight Line - Thoughts From Therapy
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  1. says: Rob

    I still struggle as well. The medication helps, but I still have good and bad days. I just keep hoping for more good than bad.

    1. says: Anne

      They come with time and practice! And then it gets easier to accept the bad days as well, and they won’t feel as bad 🙂 Sending you hugs!

  2. says: Grace

    Love this! I deal with similar feelings about thinking I should “fixed” somehow. But there’s no such thing as fixed – we’re all just journeying along doing the best we can with what we’ve got in all sorts of different situations.

  3. Hi! I stumbled upon this on Pinterest and it’s just what I needed. I hit rock bottom little over a month ago. I got really sick, and after that, panic attacks started. I was fine one moment, and the next I was struggling to breathe and wishing it would all end. I’m better now. But I still get panic attacks (I had one yesterday after almost ten days without any) and I just don’t get why they keep coming. Somedays I feel my loved ones are going to get tired of me. But I struggle to tell myself that that won’t happen. I get soooo tired from small things like going to the farmers market or just from a commute!
    “I’m not sick enough to stay at home all day, I want to do things!
    I’m not well enough to have appointments two days in a row, I need to recharge”
    That is exactly how I feel. I want to go out with friends, but what if I feel bad? or if I get a panic attack? o if I just start crying for no good reason?
    I hope you get fully recovered soon, and that you never ever go through anything like this again.
    Lots of love!!

  4. says: Paul M Flores

    I have been practicing gratitude and trying to remember I am blessed. It is not always easy as your right , recovery is not a straight line. It’s like life with ups and downs, but after years of struggling, I feel better than I ever thought I would.I love reading your thoughts and I hope you know how blessed you are.

  5. says: Lucy

    I’m so glad that you are doing better now, but I agree that getting better is by no means a straight forward thing! I remember when I was really bad a few years ago, and felt so much joy a few months later when I could tell everyone “I’m cured, I feel fine now!”, only that didn’t last very long and I felt like such a fraud. Truthfully, no one sat me down and told me it was okay to have off days, or that it was okay to not be okay – a truth I still struggle with now.

    Lucy xx

    1. says: Anne

      I’ve been there too – sometimes it last days, other times months! Right now I’m just trying to cherish the good days and do my best to deal with bad days without beating myself up. I hope things will get easier for you x

  6. I can only agree and say there are good days and bad days.. a straight line is far from how recovery looks like. But having good days is already a step in the right direction! Sometimes getting better is also scary, because it feels like every moment something can happen and we’ll get back to zero again. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your blog! And I am sure you can get to more + days!

    1. says: Anne

      Yeah, it’s important to appreciate the good day. I’ve never thought of it like that, but I do actually get the fear of getting worse again. Thanks for sharing your perspective x

  7. says: Corinne

    Love this. It’s not a straight line at all. I also think there’s jumps between not feeling sick enough for help – or more help, and trying to convince yourself (or others) you’re fine. It’s so difficult, deffo a journey! I think the most important think is to not compare your illness, or experience to anyone elses. Everyone is different, needs different thinks and heals in different ways.

    Corinne x

  8. says: appleblossomtree

    This rang very true to me. You’re right that it’s ok to just exist somedays but I find that extremely difficult to do. I often think that I MUST feel something at all times and when I’m not happy or sad then it’s anxious. I think I’m going to take that quote of yours and put that somewhere I can see it everyday.

    Great post, I enjoyed reading it 🙂

    1. says: Anne

      Exactly, it’s unrealistic to be happy all the time. Sometimes be gotta just be. I hope the quote can help you, take care x

  9. says: Sassy

    You are so strong. Please, never give up, love. Everyone has good and bad days and one day, you will know how to handle and accept them and the good days will happen more often than the bad ones <3

  10. says: CARLA

    I love how you phrase it that the GOOD DAYS WILL TAKE THE LEAD.
    That really is it and that’s entirely what Id cling to on the less than so good kinds of days.
    <3 <3

  11. says: Lexes

    You don’t necessarily need to learn to accept your limitations if you can learn to extend your limitations. I was also in the same place, but sometimes we have to learn to push ourselves to do better. Its a slow process, but change comes with it! Do you meditate?

  12. says: Cah

    I must say, seeing you go to therapy helped me to get help as well! I understand this situation. I’m not depressed enough to be sad and extremely lazy all day as I was, but I’m too depressed to work out and go out like before. Plus there’s still a lot of self loathing. Things are getting better with therapy, and I know it will take time and persistence until I’m healed. The in-between can be very hard, but we’re going to get through it <3

    1. says: Anne

      It also helps me immensely to know I’m not alone. It’s exactly that weird face in between, but we got to just keep going x

  13. says: canyow

    Just remembering that recovery is NOT a straight line is powerful. Getting comfortable with your limitations is also powerful. You are def on the right track.

  14. says: Mia

    You’re so right when you say recovery is not a straight line. I was very depressed a few years ago, and I’ve had regular set-backs ever since with times of feeling very down and anxious. But during those times I try to think about the positive things in life. Of course, it doesn’t always help but sometimes it’s the online way I can get a glimpse of the light. Working out also helps me a lot, even though it’s not on the same level as when I’m good. But I try to think that a long walk or a short run is better than nothing. Hope you’ll get better soon xx

    1. says: Anne

      Thank you for your kind words – that’s something I will try to do too. Especially walks outside when I don’t have energy to really workout x