Your treatment plan and self-care strategies will help you manage your symptoms, but over time you will likely be tested by situations that can hamper your recovery. Setting realistic expectations about yourself and others, learning to anticipate situations, and knowing how to react are all skills that will help.
What can you expect?
- Expect that your recovery will take time. Along the way, you can expect to run short of patience, such as at the start of treatment while waiting for medication to have an impact. Similarly, it can take a significant investment of time for psychotherapy to make a difference. And throughout treatment, there may be periods when you do not feel you are making progress. At these times, you may be tempted to stop treatment. Instead, realize that no one overcomes depression in a day,. Think long-term and recognize that difficult patches are part of recovery.
- Expect to meet with setbacks. Untreated depression is a chronic, recurring illness. Living with depression means anticipating both periods of relief and relapses. Staying focused and optimistic, continuing to work with your healthcare providers to monitor your treatment plan, and maintaining healthy self-care habits are the keys to weathering the inevitable ups and downs of depression.
- Expect to adjust your treatment plan along the way. A high percentage of patients who take prescription medication for depression must modify their medication plan at some point. Dosages may need to be adjusted up or down to bring about a better result, and in many cases, different medications may need to be added or substituted. This is not an indication that treatment is not working. It is like using insulin for diabetes. Indeed, it shows that you and your healthcare provider are working together to monitor the effectiveness of your plan and make sure your recovery continues to progress.
- Expect to encounter people who do not understand. One of the greatest challenges in overcoming depression is dealing successfully with people whose opinions about depressive illnesses are ill-informed or discriminatory. Remember that stigma and shame surrounding depression stem from a lack of education. Depending upon the situation, you may determine that the best strategy is to ignore a comment made, or to avoid future encounters with an individual and continue to focus your energy on the positive steps you are taking to recover. In other instances, you may choose to counter ignorance with accurate statements. Feel free to refer others to the information provided on this website. When it comes to deciding whether or not to educate others about depression, or to share your own story, the choice is entirely yours. See the Talk about it section of this website for more insight on making these decisions.