"In every matter about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters." -Daniel 1:20 (NIV).
Congratulations! If you've made it to the maintenance stage of your recovery, it's time to celebrate. And if you're just starting to heal, but wanted to read ahead, then congratulations on getting through the material so fast! We're proud of you for working so hard, no matter where you are in your journey.
Once you start to feel better, the next step is learning to maintain your progress. What recovery means is different for different people and situations. People with depression, for example, usually reach a point where they no longer qualify for major depression because their symptoms have lessened. If you have depression, then recovery probably means you'll feel better and better until eventually you won't be depressed anymore, even though a few symptoms may keep popping up. Depression may return now and again, but it won't stay with you all the time.
If you have anxiety, however, recovery is a little different. You will still feel anxious at times, and many of the things that worry you now may still cause you some anxiety even in recovery. It will be different, however, because you'll learn to recognize irrational fears for what they are and manage them, so anxiety doesn't keep you from the life you want to live. As John Nash in the film A Beautiful Mind says of his delusions, "I've gotten used to ignoring them, and I think; as a result, they've kind of given up on me. I think that's what it's like with all our dreams and our nightmares," Nash says. "We've got to keep feeding them for them to stay alive."
But whether you're recovering from depression or anxiety, healing is an ongoing process. And once you've found what helps you feel better, you'll need to keep doing it to stay well. Poor sleep, too much stress, lack of exercise, or letting negative thoughts take over can make depression and anxiety worse. Keeping up your new good habits is pivotal to your happiness.
Daniel and his three friends knew how important it was to take care of themselves as whole people. The Bible says they asked for a healthy diet and water to drink, and were stronger than their companions as a result.
We read that "To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds" (Daniel 1:17, NIV). The Bible says that "in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom" (Daniel 1:20, NIV).
Now that you are starting to feel better, you have more choices and more opportunities. Use those opportunities to be like Daniel and his friends. Explore the world around you. See what wisdom God wants to share with you. And as you explore, keep taking care of yourself as Daniel and his friends did. Your mind will thank you for it.