I had such an urge to just scream at any who told me to take “baby steps.” In all honestly, I heard that phrase at least once a week when I was depressed, and even today the phrase is still used on me.
I am not a patient person, so just the thought of taking baby steps was frustrating since it was so slow. As much as I hated hearing that phrase, everyone who said it was right, taking baby steps to recovery was the solution.
Recovery is a very slow process, and if you rush it and quickly go back to your regular life, what I found was that you will more likely relapse. For example, the following fall after my first depressive episode, I thought that I was completely recovered and ready to go back to university with full force. I was not, and ended up relapsing.
Relapsing forced me to take things more slowly and to take baby steps before going back to university. This past fall I started in a college program that prepares you for university, with much smaller class sizes and less intense work. I did the first semester part-time and added more courses as I went along. Although I’m very anxious to get back to university and to catch up with the rest of my friends, I need to remember to take it slow, and that I will get there eventually. I would much rather graduate a few years later and be happy then graduate earlier and have another relapse.
The take home message here is take baby steps towards recovery. Acknowledge the small accomplishments and they will slowly start growing, and pretty soon you’ll be doing as much (or even more) than you used to.
About Elena B.
Elena is a 21 year-old college student, sales associate, and volunteer living with depression and generalized & social anxiety. Formally diagnosed with social anxiety in high school, Elena has struggled with it for the majority of her life. During her first year of university she experienced high levels of anxiety and had her first major depressive episode, which was followed by another the following year. Since then she has been recovered and focuses on her recovery daily. She currently runs a tumblr blog, where she shares inspirational quotes, images, and tips to help others with their recovery. Follow Elena’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog.