Sometimes, when people are chronically unhappy or non-clinically depressed, they may not notice when things are changing and getting better. They are waiting for and they expect a big “Ah Ha” moment. However, sometimes it does not happen like that.
The first signs of recovery can be very subtle. They are so subtle that you might miss them. The first sign creeps up on you and seems to come out of nowhere. You notice a slight change in your thoughts and feelings. You experience a faint whiff of possibility and hope. You begin to think about clothes or about your body and how you look.
You begin to care and you actually want to look nice. You start to think about it and you start to anticipate the joy you will feel. You can see yourself in your new look. You are looking forward to it and it feels good. This is an indication that your depression or malaise is lifting. You are reentering the mainstream of life.
The second sign, which is not as subtle, is when you return to your artistic pursuits; when you begin to write, draw, dance or play your musical instrument or express yourself creatively again.
The third sign is when you want to be with people; have dinner, go to a party or a show, and maybe even entertain your family, friends and acquaintances. This desire is not one of panic or the fear of being alone. It does not come out of the desire for diversion and distraction. It comes out of a genuine desire to enjoy their company.
Once you notice the first sign, no matter how tentative, make sure that you act and follow up on these nascent feelings. These signs and your recovery and improvement do not necessarily happen in rapid succession but it may. Even if there is a time delay between them, take heart, the rest will eventually follow. You are on your way to a more joyful life.
Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788-4864, firstname.lastname@example.org
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