It should be as simple an answer as "when I'm no longer depressed." But how, exactly, do I know for sure that it's (at least for a while) over? When I first started therapy there were certain symptoms that I (with some help) identified that concerned me most:
- Low motivation to write, as in, none. This despite the satisfaction I received from it, and the associated intellectual stretching.
- Lack of interest in socializing.
- Poor mood (of course; it practically goes without saying)
- Lack of interest in reading.
However, my interest in reading hasn't properly returned yet. I've done a little bit of fiction reading lately, but it's just not grabbing me and sucking me in like it used to. And these are books that I looked forward to when I bought them, from authors and series that I enjoy! I've been a bibliophile ever since I first learned to read, and the last I counted, I had over 400 books before I gave up counting. If my wife saw me reading, she knew that she would have trouble getting my attention, because my mind was in another world. I'd sometimes (often) forget about little inconveniences like food, drink, and using the bathroom. In past depressive episodes, I retained my interest in reading, sometimes to my detriment as I would use it as an escape from real-life problems that needed dealing with.
So, am I bothered that my interest has not fully returned yet? Oh, yes. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm surprised it wasn't the first thing to return. In some ways, I don't quite know what to make of myself without reading being a regular feature of my life.
But, do I really need to have that fully back to what it was in the past, in order to say that I'm beyond this particular episode of depression, and can leave therapy? Can I just take what I've got, enjoy what I've got, and move on with my life, letting the reading return or not as it will?
I don't know.
I should note that mostly I'm thinking of fiction reading, usually fantasy or sci fi. I've been reading a bit more in terms of articles and blog posts. So maybe my interest is returning, just not in the manner that I expect.
Now there's an interesting thought to ponder.