People who struggle with mental health issues in recovery have a double whammy to deal with. On top of the usual recovery stuff of therapy, meetings, and learning new ways of living sober, there is also the depression, fatigue, and ongoing psychological issues that linger long after rehab ends. For some people, this means coping with symptoms of depression while learning how to manage daily life. Find out more about how people in recovery can manage depression symptoms to find hope after treatment.
It may seem like some esoteric thing to keep focused on breathing because we all do it day in and day out. When a person struggles with addiction along with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, sometimes breathing is the only way to make it through one moment to the next. Breathing tells people there is a next moment, something coming after this one. For a moment, all that person can do to get through what feels hard is to breathe in slowly and breathe out, repeat. With intentional focus on breath, a person can lower their stress level, bring down their heart rate and gain a little sense of control to release the grip depression or anxiety has on their mind to focus on important next steps.
When depression feels overwhelming, it can also become isolating. While people with depression do go to work and function every day, they also sometimes feel like they need to be alone or do not want to be around others. This might mean sleeping more, change of eating habits, or not doing things they should be doing like going to recovery meetings. Some simple changes to the daily routine can be helpful:
- Spend a moment in stillness at the start and end of the day to find something to be grateful for. Gratitude gets a person out of their head for a moment to think bigger picture
- Turn down bright lights and loud music in exchange for something more soothing but uplifting
- Read a book that brings some joy and pleasure
- Write in a journal, keep notes, or try some creative prose like poetry
- Get physical by doing some form of exercise, even if it is just including more walking in the daily routine
By being kind to oneself, all kinds of doors can open. It is too easy to confront the depression head on, go into the past, dig up old stuff, and try to work harder at recovery without realizing that sometimes people get depressed. It is part of the body chemistry working itself out after being addicted to drugs and alcohol. It may be old stuff that needs to emerge so a new person can emerge stronger than before. There are many reasons depression comes into a person’s recovery work but it is not meant to bring shame and blame on the person. Start by being kind and let go of personal judgment to have a different perspective on recovery, one focused on hope and joy that is to come.
There is a level of acceptance around dealing with depression. It is much like saying it is welcome as part of the journey, rather than trying to get rid of it or not accept it as part of life at this point. Recovery is difficult with mental health challenges but people do live with the symptoms of depression and stay sober. It takes perseverance, hard work, and dedication to the overall journey to make it work. Be sure to add in lots of self-care practices and reach out for support from loved ones who can help walk the path towards healing together.
The Last Resort will help you kick addiction to the curb with our premier retreat-like treatment center. We will help you cultivate the inner and outer journey of recovery you need to feel successful after addiction. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.