Depression Recovery Doesn't Always Feel Like a Straight Line

July 31, 2014 Erin Schulthies

Your depression recovery can feel like you are going backwards. But you are really always going forwards in your depression recovery. Learn why here.

My depression recovery often feels like it isn't going forward at all. I feel like my emotions go all over the map, up, down, sideways, backwards, and then forwards again. Some days my depression feels better than the day before, but other days it feels worse than I did the day before. Even in the span of one day, I can go from feeling pretty okay about things to feeling like I want to throw in the towel. It's so confusing and frustrating.

For example, I usually start out the day feeling pretty positive. I'm aware of the potential for the day, how anything could happen and that I have hours to get all my tasks done.

As the day continues, I start to get down on myself for not doing things well enough. I feel irritated with the people around me and feel impatient for things to go a lot smoother.

By mid-afternoon, my depression is in full swing. I feel resentful that I'm not coping better, I'm mad at myself for the smallest of things, and I compare myself to the world around me, dwelling on my negative feelings as signs that I'm not getting better from depression.

Your recovery from depression can feel like you are going backwards. Learn about how you're always going forwards in your depression recovery.

As I run out of errands to do I usually run out of excuses to talk to people. This leads to isolation --one of my biggest pitfalls in depression. The more I avoid the world, the more I get focused on my negative self-talk, putting myself down and using words like never and always.

"I'm always going to be alone," I think. "Everyone hates me."

As the day draws to a close, I feel more and more depressed. My exhaustion creeps in and sometimes I think about hurting myself.

You Are Always Moving Forward in Your Depression Recovery

When I get discouraged, particularly at the end of the day, it helps to remind myself that every day I'm gaining experience with my depression. I'm learning about the world, what triggers me, what helps me feel better, and this experience does add up. It's taken a long time, but I am feeling far better than I did years ago.

After years of these kind of feelings, I'm beginning to recognize the patterns in my moods. Now I know that if it's close to bedtime and I'm having thoughts of self-harm, it's usually best if I go to bed. I take my bedtime medications and prepare to read in bed, even if I can't sleep yet.

Even if I'm having a hard day, I can cry or rant in my journal or curl up with my dog. All of it is healing. We never go backwards in time, so we never go backwards in our healing. Remember that, especially when you want to give up.

If you feel alone with your depression recovery, read some of the great info on HealthyPlace to remind yourself that others have been there too. We're going to get through this together.

You can also find Erin Schulthies on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and her blog, Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living with Depression.

APA Reference
Schulthies, E. (2014, July 31). Depression Recovery Doesn't Always Feel Like a Straight Line, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Erin Schulthies

June, 14 2019 at 5:34 pm

This article really helped me ponder on why i felt like all of my emotions were backwards, like when i am supposed to be or want to be happy, i get sad, or when im supposed to be excited or thankful, i feel envious or guilty. it doesnt give me an exact answer but it helps me know what to look for, and helps me understand (better and even more so) that my recovery is... going to be a little crazy. Thank you. With love and thanks, Bri :)

October, 27 2015 at 4:17 pm

I feel this way all the time. Although there is a lot going on... I don't know if my job contract will be renewed. I can't bear the thought of living with my parents again. Their toxic behavior and alcoholism... I just can't bear the thought... I have problems with isolating myself. I have made a lot of progress through the years but I still feel such a disconnect. It is a struggle for sure but I too understand that each day is progress. Each day I am working towards a new goal. I guess my problem is that I wish I could move faster and work harder... :(

April, 6 2015 at 1:13 pm

I feel the same. Wake up feeling depressed than feel better for a few hours then depressed again and hopeless feeling. I've been trying to recover for 9 mo now! Anyone else struggle that long?

August, 24 2014 at 2:42 am

This is exactly what i'm going through. I feel like you've written this to describe how i feel. Every word you said, it's describing the hell i'm going through. Thank you!

Maureen Rossetti
August, 9 2014 at 9:58 pm

I find that I have the opposite of what has been written about...I wake up feeling depressed for no good reason, often after a good night's sleep. As the day goes on, I am sometimes able to get myself out of the house, go for a walk or something that I know will make me feel better.

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