Depression in Recovery

So I’ve talked before about depression and drinking here so this is not a new topic.  However I’ve not really discussed it in recovery.

Often our drinking is a self-medication for depression and keeps us stuck in a place where we don’t look at the underlying driver to our drinking.  However when we stop we remove that coping strategy and also the distraction and suddenly our underlying low mood comes fully into view.  This can be disconcerting when we’ve achieved so much in stopping and are hoping for pink clouds and get dark skies instead.  This is something I’ve experienced in recovery so know you are not alone.

If you’re struggling with low mood can I recommend listening to the brilliant podcast featuring Mandy Stevens which was featured on Bryony Gordon’s MadWorld podcast series in April.

If you wish to read Mandy’s story you can do so here:

From NHS Director to mental health inpatient in 10 days

The podcast is superb because she talks so eloquently about her depression and suicidal thoughts as one with the insight of both mental health professional and also client struggling with this debilitating mental health illness.

Her words:

As I have worked in mental health services for 29 years, one would think I would be immune to mental illness. I am a Registered Mental Health Nurse with 15 years experience as a clinician and latterly 14 years as a manager and then Director. But there is no immunity; mental illness can come out of nowhere and affect anyone at any time.

From initial symptoms of depression to admission to a mental health unit 10 days later via the Crisis Team, depression ripped the rug out from under my feet and emptied my whole being. I have been completely disabled and incapacitated by this illness.

If I had been in hospital with a broken leg, or a physical problem, no doubt I would have been sharing amusing photos of my drip stand, the signed plaster cast and the hospital food; laughing with my family, friends & extended Social Media community. Instead I have hidden myself away, scared of my own shadow and told very few people. Sad to say, I have also been embarrassed, shy, suicidal, phobic, anxious and scared of everything.

She also in the podcast shares some superb resources including:

The Beck Depression Inventory

This is a free self-scoring resource that you can complete, print out and take to your GP to start a discussion with your healthcare professional should you find yourself struggling.


She also shares many tips including those for managing panic attacks and some excellent mindfulness resources.  It is well worth your time and I thank her for it.

As she advocates if you are struggling please reach out to someone – anyone be it family, friend or supportive stranger.  You can find a supportive stranger at the Samaritans here 🙂


15 thoughts on “Depression in Recovery

  1. I love the reminder that recovery could trigger some depressive episodes. It’s Day 3 for me, and I am finding myself reading blogs of folks ahead of me in this journey so helpful… yes, there may be dark skies ahead, but it’s nice to at least have some heads up so you can pick up an umbrella and make plans to stay in for the weekend if you need to.

    1. Hey Remi 🙂 Congrats on day 3 and keep going! Yes if we drank to manage low mood or depression it is not necessarily going to disappear just because we removed the depressant substance from our system – sadly. Ups and downs happen whether drinking or sober – and my remedy in this instance is always sleep.

  2. Wow, very timely for me 🙂 Her experience proves it can happen to anyone, and all the things we drank to forget are still there when we stop drinking! xx

  3. Thank you yet again for another valuable post. I did the quiz and received an interesting result. While I have fallen off recently this post and the subsequent quiz result has helped me to consider reaching out more.

  4. Some great resources here Lou as ever. I have added that podcast to my growing list.

    I have just started reading Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’, the account of his mental illness (his phrase – he describes experiencing a cocktail of anxiety and depression). Highly recommended.

    Lots of love xxx

    1. Oh that’s a great book Prim & he’s interviewed by Bryony later in the podcast series Xx

  5. Having dark clouds hovering must have made sobriety much more difficult. I still think I got out easy with not drinking, I didn’t get the pink clouds, I got the pink tornado.
    The depression/stress/anxiety only started after sugar abuse so unless I solve that one too I do not know if it is ‘real’ or ‘fabricated’ by my own bad habits. We shall see. 🙂
    xx, Feeling

    1. Let us know how you go in your sugar battles Feeling as still waging that war here too! X

  6. Great information, Lucy!
    I know my depression/anxiety is still with me, although better, it made itself known today…tears and over-reacting.

    1. Hey campobello Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog 🙂 My pleasure!

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