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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.

  • Shelly Sarkar

    Agree, often you find you want to get back out there to often prove it to yourself, but more likely to prove it to others that you are capable. And it’s not the greatest way of going about it. I found the core intention usually leads to relapse. I found feeling the need to catch up with friends, who were already working at the time to be dis-concerning, but agree it’s a very slow process. Elena I wish I would of done it your way. I relapsed a lot in college after trying to upgrade my diploma to a degree. After having 2 courses left to finish my degree, I stopped trying because I needed a certain percentage to pass those 2 courses to obtain my degree. Had a fear of failure, felt that I had come so far so I stopped. Going back to college is the smart thing to do to prepare yourself; gives you confidence. I wish I had that programming when i was in my 20s. Just keep getting back on that horse Elena. I still have a dream to finish my degree, but it is more of a challenge now. But you’re right baby steps. Think only the last couple of years have taught me to forget yesterday, focus on what I learn today and apply it to tomorrow. Thank you for this post Elena, it’s so important and it makes such a huge impact. Thank you

    • eb

      Aw I’m glad that it helped you to refocus. Honestly even after I wrote this post I had to re remind myself to take it slow and to have patience. It can be really difficult at times!

      • Shelly Sarkar

        Lol! So true, write…rest…eat a sandwich….edit…sleep…re examine…edit…try to google “What happened to Ricky Martin?” … hit send. Finding not being able to do all that you currently want to do as quickly; difficult. But I figure there is a greater good in this.

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