“normal” life and start functioning again, and the “props” that were in place previously that helped to define our lives may either no longer be there or may no longer be appropriate to the new and healthier lifestyle we need to embrace. So how do we pull our lives back together? One piece at a time.
Relationships: I wrote previously about reestablishing friendships in a post aptly titled “Reestablishing Friendships” which you can find here. In that post, I kind of assumed that those friendships were a positive thing in our lives and that it was a good move to rekindle those ties. But that’s not always the case.
We may have been involved in caustic, abusive or otherwise unhealthy relationships that contributed to our depression and which we simply need to let go of for the sake of our mental wellbeing. This this can be a difficult thing to do. The most important consideration in extricating ourselves from an abusive relationship is to do so safely. That may require intervention from some legal or social services agency. Don’t hesitate to seek out the help you need.
Other instances may not be so dire and may just be a case of distancing ourselves from certain people, whether they are former friends or even relatives. We can find ways to establish new, healthier relationships that will support our recovery rather than undermining it. For ideas on meeting new people, go to Meetup.com, the ”world’s largest network of local groups,” to find a group of like-minded individuals on just about any topic you can think of. Caveman dieters? Dachshund lovers? Belly dancers? They’re all there. Gumby and Pokey enthusiasts? Sorry, no. But don’t despair, you can start your own Meetup!
Health: Ideally, before we leave a hospital or other treatment facility or program, we will have located some resource for continuing our mental health treatment. It is important to keep moving forward in our recovery and to continue to reinforce whatever healthy measures might have helped us get this far along the way. If you can’t locate affordable therapy, there are agencies that can help. Find them.
Sometimes we will have neglected our physical health when we were less functional. Physical and mental wellbeing are so closely intertwined, we can hardly ignore one and expect the other to thrive. Now is the time to get back on board with exercise and healthy eating habits. I’m not aiming to run a marathon any time soon, and my diet isn’t ideal all the time. I’m keeping my eating and exercise goals pretty simple, but I am making steady progress with my health, and that’s what counts for now.
Finances: We may be facing a whole new slew of medical bills associated with our recent bout of depression. We may have been unable to maintain our jobs or other sources of income. There’s no quick fix for financial problems, except for winning the lottery, of course. In truth, I’m coming up short on suggestions for this one, as this is my biggest bane at present. But I’m taking this challenge a day at a time, too, trying to problem solve to the best of my ability instead of letting it get me down and undermine my recovery.
Ultimately, these are all just individual facets to the life that we must now construct (or reconstruct) to protect and further improve our mental health. We don’t have to tackle everything at once and we don’t have to do it alone. There is help available to us if we look for it. Taken one piece at a time, one small step at a time, we can rebuild our lives. It may never look the same as it did before we took a dive, but we may eventually find that we have come back even stronger than we were before. You never quite know how the puzzle is going to turn out until that final piece is in place.
Let’s keep the faith together.