For me, the hardest part of recovering from a depression or a mania is the time after the episode, when I know I'm doing better, and able to move forward, but also realize how far behind I am in things like cleaning, going through my mail, and paying bills - the routine things that are important but go out the window when I'm not in my right mind.
My mania started in March, and was followed by a depression that started in June and ended in July - thanks to a medication change my psychiatrist made. So, I've been feeling better since July. August was a month of recovery. I started going out with friends again, started my exercise routine back up, started cooking more often, and made great strides in organizing and cleaning my apartment - my cleaning routine is always the last routine to recover after a serious mood episode. So now it's September and I'm pretty much back on track. I finally feel that I have recovered seven months after my symptoms of mania first began. That's a very large chunk of time!
It's hard for friends and family to understand the recovery that needs to take place after a mood episode. It seems like once I start acting normal again, everyone assumes that I'm back on track, but that's far from the reality because I always have a lot of catching up to do.
The process of surviving mood episodes and then picking up the pieces is exhausting. It's why I take my medication, try to stick to my routines, keep regular appointments with my psychiatrist and therapist, attend support group meetings, and aim for stability. It's disappointing when I have to pick up the pieces again, but at least I have enough experience with it to know what to expect and also see it as a good incentive to stick to my treatment plan.