When You Are Ready To Move Forward
Recently, I was having a conversation with my psychiatric nurse practitioner. She is the person that manages my medication. I have been taking Effexor, Remeron, Buspar, and Klonopin for a little while now.
She asked me, “Are you having more good days than bad?”
I was not really that sure how to answer that question. Depression has been a part of me for so long, that I got in the habit of thinking of things in terms of bad and not so bad. When she asked me this, I thought for a minute about all the work I have been doing to get a handle on things and reframing thoughts. I replied, “I tend to think of it in terms of having manageable days and bad days.”
She looked concerned and then made a plan to get me off of Effexor (you have to wean off that one) and try Lexapro.
It took me by surprise to think that the goal is to have more good days than bad.
To most people, that last sentence might be shocking. I suspect that those with Major Depressive Disorder know what I am talking about.
I think the surprise for me was that I have worked so hard to overcome depression. That is, to not be controlled by it. Yet the goal is even greater. The goal is not to simply not be depressed, but to be happy.
Hope is powerful. Studies have shown that hope is more motivating than fear. When people can see radical, positive change, they accept change much better than when they are just told "do this or something bad will happen." In other words, go ahead and set those goals high. Thrive on hope!
Of course, a depressed mind does not like to hope. My counselor reminds me that when I have the bad days, it is important to take some time to remember the small things that show progress: I did something I needed to do today, I took a walk, I made it through the day. Those little things remind us that we are moving in the right direction. If you can just take one step in the right direction then you have every reason to keep on hoping.
Recovery is not an event, it's a journey. Keep moving forward!
How are you moving forward? Share your story here!
Aaron Davis is the author of the novel "Street Preacher" and the upcoming memoir, "Baggage Claim: One Minister's Journey Through Depression to Peace." If you would like to invite him to speak to your church or organization, click here.
Aaron Davis is an author, speaker, and life coach. He currently lives in Springfield, MO with his wife and their two sons. He also serves as a hospice chaplain.