Recovery is a process of healing. And sometimes we need to feel worse before we get better. In other words, recovery can sometimes include feelings of depression, anxiety, despair, and loneliness.
However, just because these experiences may be a part of your recovery, doesn’t mean that they need to be there for months or years. There is support that a recovering addict can receive in order to feel better. This article will specifically address the symptoms of depression and what to do when you’re feeling these symptoms in recovery.
Depression can have symptoms such as irritability, guilt, loss of interest in activities, social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, poor concentration, poor memory, indecision, slow thinking, loss of motivation, sleep disturbance, appetite disturbance, fatigue, and headaches. In general, it includes feeling down, hopeless, and frequently sad. For some, depression can include frequent spells of crying.
It’s important to know first that if you experience depression during your recovery, the first step to take is to contact a mental health professional. As with addiction, there is a stigma with depression and so it can be challenging to admit that this may be a problem. But because of the dangers of untreated depression, it’s necessary to speak to a professional about it. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed and treated for depression, it’s important to visit a therapist or psychiatrist to tend to your current symptoms, especially if they’ve gotten worse.
At the same time, if you know your depression is not severe and does not warrant a visit to the psychiatrist, you may simply need some ways to help lift your spirits. One of the primary ways to work your way out of feeling low or down in the dumps is to take very good care of yourself. Spend an entire day tending to your body, mind, and heart. Here are some suggestions for taking care of yourself as a means for feeling better:
- Eat healthy
- Get medical care if needed
- Take some time off when needed
- Get a massage
- Dance, swim, walk, run, sing or do a physical activity that is fun
- Take time to be sexual with your partner
- Take a nap
- Wear clothes you like
- Take a vacation
- Take a day trip somewhere
- Make time for self-reflection
- Schedule a therapy session
- Write in a journal
- Read literature that is unrelated to work
- Do something in which you are not an expert
- Decrease stress in your life
- Spend time with others whose company you enjoy
- Stay in contact with important people in your life
- Give yourself affirmations and praise yourself
- Love yourself
- Reread a favorite books and watch your favorite movies again
- Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships, places and seek them out
- Allow yourself to cry
- Find things that make you laugh
- Make time for spiritual reflection
- Spend time in nature
These are suggestions to help shift a low mood you might experience during recovery. However, as mentioned earlier, if you haven’t already seen a mental health professional, it’s always essential to have your psychological health assessed.
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