There are many factors to consider when talking about how long it takes to heal from depression and there is no average ratio for each person’s journey due to having varying levels of depression and anxiety for different reasons that often makes it challenging, if not impossible, to gauge a particular time frame for healing.
Healing from depression can need to take into consideration a person’s personality and upbringing as this too can come into the equation of healing the mind from these forms of disease.
In this blog post we discuss how long it takes to heal from depression and why time may be an irrelevant measure of the progress of moving away from severe depression and instead, you should consider other ways of measuring your recovery process.
Measure your healing by how far you have come rather than how you feel
For many people suffering from depression, it can feel like you will never get rid of the ever engulfing feelings that touch every part of your being. Month after month, year after year can go by and you still feel the same or similar pain and sadness that comes with having this condition and you wonder whether it will ever end or at least ease away. If this sounds familiar to you it is always worth first consulting a GP to discuss your problem but also a therapist or healer from a traditional counselor to a hypnotherapist, reiki practitioner, homeopathic therapist or many more treatments that are known to benefit depression ( I will be discussing the benefits of various therapies in the future). Finding the right treatment for your depression can take time, trial and error and why you should look at the healing process in terms of discovery rather than a time-based thing.
A good method of seeing how quickly you are healing is to look at how far you have come rather than how long it has taken.
How to look at how far you have come?
Keeping a journey journal, recording your feelings and thoughts when you first fall ill, can be a useful to see the progress you are making and how far you have come through each challenging moment on your healing journey. In years to come, seeing that you had incredibly dark days can be hugely powerful to your healing journey in raising your motivation and determination. Having that record of the past will help you realise that things are improving until, eventually you no longer require a need to record your thoughts anymore and instead, keep these books as history books of your darkest moments in life so if ever you think things are bad you can just open these books to know things have been worse!
You can read about the journey journal idea here.
Healing from depression is like climbing a mountain.
When starting a trek up a large mountain you stand at the foot of it, engulfed in the shadow of the giant, looking up at the peak, the sun’s rays just behind but being blocked out by our current position.
You want to start climbing but it looks daunting, incredibly so.
it feels such a huge task to reach the peak where the light is shining and the view beautiful, a massive effort is needed and a strategic plan to navigate the difficult route to the top.
The plan must be set, look at the conditions and environment, try and consider what may happen, various routes to take before you set off on your journey, taking the courageous choice of tackling this overwhelming monstrosity that beholds you.
This is just like what you need to do to tackle depression, set a plan, get your techniques and strategies in place and start your personal journey.
As you begin to climb the mountain you realise you have a long way to go to the top.
You know there will be times you will come to roadblocks, dead ends, movement of the land, bad weather, things you have considered and also things you simply haven’t. You may even slip on occasions or have to stay in camp for a couple of days, which at times, will make you feel like you will never reach your desired destination so you start to consider going back down again, it seems too much effort to continue to the top and you feel you can’t make it. You feel that you’ll never find the golden skyline at the top…
When healing from depression things happen that you don’t expect and can set you back a while but you just need to never give up.
Looking back down the mountain from the path you have already walked
When you start to make progress but something blocks your path or the road gets steeper there is a danger you may consider heading back down the mountain and back to where you started.
Things have just got tough again and it’d be much easier to give up than try and traverse the roadblock you have just encountered on reaching your ultimate destination.
The thing is, when you look back down the mountain path you have come you can start to see the land around you and the little hut at the bottom of the mountain where you started off your climb.
‘Wow‘ you think to yourself, ‘I have already come so so far, I shouldn’t give up yet‘ and so set up camp at the roadblock, making sure your tent is secure, you get out your map, pen and paper and begin a strategic plan around your new found obstacle.
This is like in depression when things happen you don’t expect that make you feel awful again you need to find a new way around the problem.
Each mountain of depression is unique to us and is different in size and varying unexpected challenges
The weather changes depending on the season, the land of the mountain moves from year to year making new routes to attempt to traverse to reach the peak and depression works in much the same way.
The reason you have come to a depressive state is unique to you and the path to the top is also different. when you start to heal you will find that other things can sometimes come to mind that needs to be challenged.
It feels like no one has experienced as much difficulty as you have on the journey you are taking and in some respects, you are completely right due to the uniqueness of how you arrived at contracting depression. Although you have a common illness such as depression, your personal difficulty has NEVER been experienced by anyone else and IS unique to you. I like to use the metaphor of depression as a mountain because of the enormity of it, how each mountain is of unique shape and that planning is needed to overcome it.
Depressions is similar in the way it feels but the cure is usually not. Techniques, therapies and thought processes in healing from depression are not perfect for everyone, it is important to employ the right strategies and therapies for your personality, whether alternative or traditional medicine.
Whatever your depressive mountain you climb looks like you still need the same basic equipment to climb to the top and likewise you need similar equipment to rise out of depression. So talking of equipment what tools are recommend for your own journey?
The equipment needed for your healing journey
I have spoken about the importance of looking back down the mountain to see how far you have travelled and this can be done by keeping a ‘journey journal’.Other techniques such as meditation, exercise, diet, CBT, hypnotherapy and many others are available and just require some research and guidance. At Battle of Mind we have started to create a directory of therapists (mostly for those based in the UK and Ireland) and you can find several different therapies there at Find Your Therapy.
So how long does it take to get through depression?
The founder of BoM was once clinically at high risk of suicide, diagnosed with severe depression and was asleep for a lot of days for months and felt little hope for the future yet he now manages his anxiety and depression with strategies and techniques he has learned to do a job that he enjoys and also met a woman from Nepal that later became his wife simply by not giving up, exploring various therapies and tools to eventually make the depression and anxiety have less control on his life.
Depression and anxiety haven’t fully eradicated from his life but when he looks back on where he came from, he knows he has made great improvement in the five years of his personal journey and this is how you assess the healing of depression, not by the length of time but how far you have managed to come, what you have achieved when you look back. Five years ago he was hopeless yet today, he has travelled, got a job he enjoys, a wife and a different view of the world around him.
Don’t expect there to be a certain length of time to heal from depression, judge your healing by your mini victories, your change of perspective and ability to overcome your illness.