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When having long-term depression for many years like I did, it’s better to take bite-size steps upon recovery.  I will admit that my scenario was rather unusual.  I was in deep depression from ages 14 to 27 and had just enough strength to get through high school, one year of business school, and then work continuously after that.  It was during my time away from work and school that I had constant anxiety and depression.  So much fear and anger built up over time that something was eventually going to give.

At age 27, I suddenly went on a heavy metal binge.  I had all this new-found energy that inspired me to join a gym, hire a personal trainer, do power walking, took karate lessons, took drum lessons, went to heavy metal concerts, and started going on long-distance vacations for the first time.  I also took insurance classes through my company.  I was starting to live and do things for the first time while in my late 20s and early 30s.  I was trying to find a balance between doing little to nothing like I did before I was 27 and  doing as much activity as humanly possible to make up for lost time.

After 3-1/2 years of almost constant activity I nearly collapsed from exhaustion and had a nervous breakdown and checked myself into a mental health inpatient unit.  Upon leaving there, I scaled back the activities.  Whether recovering from depression that lasts weeks, months, or even years, the key is to take it slow and not to try and do everything all at once.  Do one activity at a time and focus on that and savor it.  Never reach for the sky early in the post-depression recovery process.  Simply reach a little higher in bite-sized increments each day.  It’s also important to have a daily journal to keep track of one’s recovery journey.  This way, all progress is on paper, and none of it is forgotten.  Even if it’s something like talking to a family member or friend on the phone or in person, it should be written down.  The interpersonal connections are so important because it builds confidence.  Smaller steps eventually lead to bigger steps, but it can’t be crammed or rushed.