Spotting the Shore (the prioritizing phase)
The sign that you’re starting to come out of the rest and recovery phase is that some positive emotions start returning. Probably not many at first, but maybe you have that first genuine laugh or that conversation that you really enjoy. For me it was the sense of hope for the future. Everything didn’t quite look so bleak anymore.
It’s still important at this phase not to over analyze yourself. Picking apart every emotion and beating yourself up internally is a significant reason that people stay in a cycle of depression. You may start to feel stronger and want to know why this is happening but you're still not quite there yet. Even when you’re fully strong, over analysis will be a pitfall. I know no one will be able to not think about it at all, but try to revert those analytical tendencies in a positive direction.
What you should try to do with your thoughts now is think about what you want to be different, again in a positive way, and envision yourself being that way. Don’t envision yourself not being lazy, selfish, or cowardly. That’s not helpful and only beats up the current you. Envision yourself laughing more, having deeper friendships, spending more time with your children, outside taking jogs in the park, etc. Think about some positive things that you feel are lacking in your life and see yourself experiencing them.
I call this spotting the shore. Seeing where you want to go and keeping that vision with you is so important. The more that those positive images fill your mind the more realistic they become, and once you start believing in your heart that this is the way you can live then depression will lose its hold on your mind. Once your mind is in a strong place and you can really see that shore you want to be on, then it’s time to start swimming towards it.