Here is a short list of signs that you might be getting a little better, and some encouragement to help you feel good about them.
Your interests broaden. It occurs to you to go to a meditation class, a support group or just out with friends. It occurs to you to order a book or call your grandmother. This is a great example of the weird tailspins depression can cause. Instead of noticing your newfound interest in social or intellectual pursuits, you might (like I was) be overwhelmed by the fact that you still lack the motivation to pursue them. See? You can’t do anything. You’re so sick you’ll never start doing the things that could make you feel better. All you can do is stay at home – like the depressed person that you are.
When really you’re a huge step closer to doing lots of things. A little motivation and you’d be there, at that gathering, taking that class, reading that book.
You email people you haven’t seen in a while. That friend from high school who’s now a neighbor, that old work friend – you remember them fondly and now you feel like knowing what they’re up to. You might do this in the most noncommittal way, you might give yourself trouble for not answering their reply for days or weeks, but you’re taking steps to engage other people. For the first time in a long time, it seems like people have something to offer.
The good feeling lasts a little longer. Restful activities used to make you feel better in the moment, and maybe for part of the walk home. Now that good feeling lasts just a little longer. Maybe you make it the whole way home before the worries flood in. Maybe it’s a whole afternoon, a night, a day. Your body is more restored than it used to be by good, calm moments. Your mind is more able to hold them.
These are things which might seem tiny to people unfamiliar with depression. To us, they’re monumental. Being interested in people and things, having positive experiences actually affect your mood – these are significant improvements. These are signs you’re getting better.