When I started this blog last summer, I believed you could recover faster if you had a connection with someone who’s been there done that. Now I’m not so sure. And that’s why you haven’t heard from me in awhile.
I’ve come to think that the value of a connection with a peer is much more about validation and support rather than knowledge sharing. So I’ve been considering whether to keep blogging.
I did think about what knowledge I have to share about recovering faster. Turns out it’s the same knowledge I gained when I needed to lose 45 lbs. That weight loss and my depression recovery happened at about the same time – likely not a coincidence.
Here’s what I learned, more so from my decade of failed attempts, than from my eventual success:
Getting informed will save you from wasting time.
Depression isn’t about being happier. Weight loss isn’t simply about calories in/calories out.
I wasted time focusing on the wrong things. With depression, I didn’t understand the role of doctors, drugs or therapy. I didn’t get how much of an impact sleeping, eating right and exercising would have. I didn’t even know that isolation and irritability are symptoms of depression. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
You’ve only got so much energy, learn where to focus it.
Having reasonable expectations will keep you from giving up.
People overestimate what they can accomplish in a given timeframe with depression and weight loss. Having expectations only sets you up to beat yourself up when you fail.
Have hope. Have goals. Don’t have expectations.
If you know you’re doing the right things (see my last point), trust that it will unfold in its own time.
Feel a sense of urgency.
Getting comfortable with status quo is a danger. For me, change only happens when I make it non-negotiable. Be in a hurry to get what you want. Daily small persistence is better than inconsistent grand overtures.
Love for yourself will motivate you more effectively than hate or intimidation.
People often try to scare or intimidate themselves into making a change. They set dates, make commitments, berate themselves. I know, I did it too. These kind of tactics are super at getting yourself to initiate a change. That’s it. They can’t help you with fully making a change.
You deserve to be healthy and at peace in your mind. These kind of positive thoughts will keep you motivated over the long term.
Managing fear is part of the process of changing into someone else.
I had been depressed for so long that I couldn’t picture who I’d be once I’d recovered. Same goes for being overweight.
You might think heading to a normal weight and a ‘normal’ mind wouldn’t be anything to fear. Turns out, there’s fear anytime you head out of a comfort zone. Be aware of it because it might be holding you back. It tripped me up a few times before I learned to recognize and deal with it.
Look forward to the journey, not just the destination.
If you think you have to put up with a lot of misery to get to your destination, you’re doomed. It’s not about will power to power through the hardship of change. It’s about reframing that hardship to be something you actually want in and of itself.
If you don’t look forward to the journey as much as the destination, you will feel sorry for yourself as you try to change. You’ll question if it’s worth it. And it won’t be.
What have you learned along the way?
About the Author
I promote peer support and encourage people on their recovery journeys. My plan with this blog is to build a community of like-minded individuals offering ideas and encouragement from their own experiences. My master plan is to help create psychologically safe and supportive workplaces. I live in Calgary, Canada.