5 Ways I'm Learning to Trust Feeling Good In Depression Recovery

As I sat with my therapist, I described my previous two weeks, which had gone very well. I was particularly proud of some of my accomplishments and was excitedly describing what I had achieved. Suddenly, I stopped and burst into tears. Why was I crying? I started to cry not out of sadness, but with a mixture of excitement and fear. This was a surprise to me in my recovery. I hadn’t felt well in a long time. I didn’t know if I could trust it and frankly, feeling depressed was my “normal,” so the goodness felt weird.

The darkness of depression can become so familiar that being well can feel scary and unsettling. I am still in the place of learning to trust the wellness, and for those of you who may be in a similar space, I’d like to share with you some of the steps I’m taking as I learn to trust it.

1. Sitting With the Feeling Without Judgment

There is a practice in meditation that, over time, teaches the practitioner to gain the ability to sit with their feelings. The idea is that feelings and thoughts will come into your mind during meditation, and the practice is to accept that this is “normal” and that you have the ability to simply take note of what comes and then move on.  And so I am learning to sit with the cheerfulness I am beginning to feel. I’m working on simply allowing it to be and not judge or overthink it. Which leads me to the next step.

2. Not Overanalyzing

Introspection can be a great thing. We sit in therapy, read self-help books and share in support groups for this very reason. On the other side of this is the possibility of overanalyzing. I’m learning that I do not have to have a reason to feel happy; I don’t always need to know why I’m having a good day. A part of growing into this wellness is recognizing that good days are very well going to start to outgrow the bad, so I certainly can’t spend all of those days analyzing.

3. Thankfulness

I’m taking some time to notice the goodness and being thankful for it. This can look different for each person. It may be journaling, making art or praising the universe. By cultivating thankfulness, I am beginning to see the positives in the appropriate light and learning not to be afraid of them.

4. Letting Go

Whether we’ve gone through a breakup, experienced the death of a loved one or the loss of a job – part of moving forward is letting go. More often than not this involves grief. I am going to say something that sounds odd, but is absolutely true. You are allowed to grieve your recovery from depression. You may grieve the lost years, the way of being and thinking you grew used to, dark artistic creativity and so on. You can absolutely grieve these things and when you feel ready, you can let go. I’m still working on this myself and it is a confusing conundrum. Yet, by telling myself that no feeling is wrong, including grief, I find I have a certain type of peace.

The idea that you have to get used to feeling good about your mental health may sound ludicrous to some. It does seem counterintuitive, because when you are depressed, you often spend your days longing to get better. And usually you are putting in some hard work to get there. Yet I know I’m not alone in this, and I suspect it is a fairly common phenomenon. My guess is that people have a hard time admitting this to anyone, for fear of judgment. I also think that by not exploring this topic, we can lead ourselves back to relapsing. So I am here to say it’s OK to feel afraid of recovery — it’s “normal” — and there are ways of making it more comfortable. I hope that by sharing my story and these steps, I can encourage anyone else who needs to hear them.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image via Archv

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Major Depressive Disorder

Mother sitting in middle of messy living room, smiling at camera while a child jumps off a couch and one makes a mess on floor

When I Couldn't Pretend Any Longer I Was the 'Perfect' Mom

I — like I imagine other moms — want everyone to think I have it together. I want others to think my house runs like a well oiled machine, homeschooling is easy, I am super mom to a child with a disability and a perfect wife. I post pictures that angle out the mess in [...]
Side view of female hand holding hot cup of coffee in winter - Photo in vintage color image style.

11 Things I Love About Winter, Despite Depression

There’s been so much pain and hurt in the world lately – more hurt than one can possibly focus on for any length of time before being sucked into the sadness and hopelessness that accompanies our current societal climate. And as the weather begins to change and the holidays approach, many people are gearing up [...]

3 Ways Technology Helps Me When I’m Isolating Due to Depression

A lot is said about technology and how it might cause us to lose connection with others. As a person who struggles with major depressive disorder, I find that it does the opposite. One of the typical symptoms of depression is isolation, and this is something I struggle with often. When I find it too [...]
Woman hands holding a Christmas gift red box. Christmas presents and New Year. Handmade.

12 Things on the Holiday Wish List of Someone With Depression

This is my holiday wish list as someone struggling with major depressive disorder and is on disability leave:   1. A subscription box    There are many fun subscription boxes available, and they are also varied in content to suit the recipient. Some focus on self-care, organic products, candy and much more. What a wonderful surprise for those of [...]