When it comes to depression, and indeed many other afflictions, both mental and physical, recovery is a lengthy process. Depending on the seriousness of your particular affliction, it may respond to a single course of treatment, or it may take much longer with many setbacks and reversals along the way.
For me, sadly, it is the latter. My recovery period can be measured not just in years, but in decades (so far, three decades to be precise).
It follows a long and winding path, made familiar by repetition. The waypoints and landmarks provide a certain comfort in their familiarity, but it is comfort that is heavily tinged with the regretful knowledge that I have passed this way many times before.
It’s not an exact process. Not every stage is encountered on every pass, nor do they always occur in the same order, but they are similar enough to be recognisable.
Nor is it a straight through process or a direct route. There are often many relapses, false turns, diversions and retreats. There is often a sinking sense of déjà vu, a feeling of being trapped on a Möbius strip inside the darkest recesses of your own mind. All to often, the light at the end of the tunnel is a mirage that flickers into non-resistance as I struggle towards it; only to have my hopes turned to despair again.
The road to recovery is strewn with rocks and pitted with potholes. It is a long and tiring journey that saps your strength and your determination to see it to its end.
I have been travelling this road for 30 years, and the end still seems no closer. Sometimes it seems further away than ever.
That is my journey along the long road to recovery.