Do you have depression? Or have you been diagnosed with it in the past, then all of a sudden it hits you again from time to time? That old familiar feeling of despair, restless nights, withdrawing from the people who matter and lost interest in the things you enjoy comes creeping back.
It can feel like a major battle to fight off depressive episodes. Some days you feel like you cannot possibly face the world and others you can meet challenges head on. Battling depression is exhausting but if you do not fight it off, it can get worse. So know there are things you can do that will help you cope.
Here are some strategies to use when depression hits you again.
Learn the Early Warning Signs
Learn the early warning signs — your thoughts and behaviours — that signal depression is going to come out of the shadows. When you know what these are, you can press the pause button and reflect on what is causing you to think, behave or feel the way you do. This will help stop you from spiralling out of control into the grips of a depressive episode.
Is catastrophic thinking a warning sign for you? “Nobody cares about me. Everything is a disaster. People do not care about me. I am useless.” If your self-talk becomes overly negative, it can be a sign your depression is about to hit again. Another sign may be a lack of energy where you find it difficult to complete daily tasks such as taking a shower, cleaning the house or cooking a meal.
Other early warning signs can include:
- Withdrawing socially, not wanting to talk with or be in contact with others.
- Feeling constantly agitated.
- Feeling overly anxious or sad.
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Getting annoyed easily or the slightest thing can trigger agitation.
- Unexplained muscle pain, headaches or stomach aches.
- Trouble focusing or forgetting things.
- Eating more or eating less.
- Feeling worthless or guilty about past events.
- Losing interest in the things you usually enjoy.
- Feeling suicidal, thinking about it or even trying to commit suicide.
When you notice any of these, stop and reflect on what may be making you feel this way. Talk to a trusted friend or family member, or to your therapist.
Do not ignore the early warning signs. Take immediate action especially if you are feeling suicidal. Ignoring the signs can often make the depressive episode worse.
Depression can be disruptive to all parts of your life. It may even feel devastating so you may get upset when you feel it about to hit. Avoid panicking at the thought of a relapse. It can be scary when you have beaten off depression for a while. You do not want to go back there. Your thoughts may start creating worst case scenarios and can cause you to start to panic.
When you feel this way, use deep breathing techniques to get it under control. Turn your thoughts around. Tell yourself — “It’s ok to feel this way and it’s normal to feel anxious about becoming depressed again. But I have come a long way and know I can get through it.”
Depression does not Define you — It is an Illness
Shift your perspective to treating depression as an illness. It helps to put it into proper context. By treating depression as an illness, it can make the symptoms easier to deal with. When you see depression as anything other than just an illness, you can magnify the symptoms of guilt, sadness and isolation so they become overwhelming.
By shifting your perspective to seeing depression as a legitimate medical condition, it becomes less scary. You can recognise the symptoms for what they are and take care of yourself.
Know that You will not Always Feel this Way
Acknowledge your depression rather than denying it. Even though it seems as if it will never end, know you will not always feel this way. And it is this feeling that can make the onset of a depressive episode so scary. While it is difficult, through therapy you can learn to accept that you have a mental illness.
It can be like riding a roller coaster. No matter how often depression hits you, know that it always goes away. Remind yourself of this when you feel it about to hit you again. Sometimes you will find it hard to get out of bed, but there will soon be a time where you feel happy again. Remind yourself of your strength and how you survived it in the past.
Look after Yourself
Again, do not ignore your symptoms. Look after yourself. Admit to yourself a depressive episode is about to hit you. Honour yourself and use strategies to help you cope with it.
It is so important to take good care of yourself when struggling with depression. This means taking time out to relax and recharge, doing things you enjoy, exercise and connecting with the people close to you. Take care of your spiritual needs, get enough sleep and eat well. It also means saying no when you feel overwhelmed or overloaded. Make these everyday habits whether you are having a depressive episode or not. This will help you cope better when you do not feel well.
Yes, it is hard to find the motivation when depression takes hold, but try to push through it and remind yourself how much better you will feel. Try not to wallow in misery.
Depression does not Define You
It is critical for you to remember that a diagnosis of depression does not define your true self. You are not depression. It is something you have.
When you have depression, it impacts how you think and how you see yourself. Remembering that you are not depression empowers you to cope better. Remind yourself that you do have the strength and ability to get through it.
You may not be able to control the symptoms but you can remind yourself that you will feel better, and that you deserve to, in time.
Here are a few things that can help.
Make lists when you feel depressed. It can help make you feel better. I know this sounds strange, but lists can shift your mindset. They can help clear your mind and help you feel calmer. Lists shift your mindset from the negative to the positive when you feel depressed.
You can make lists of all sorts of things. For example, create a list of:
- The things you are grateful for
- Your good qualities
- The people you treasure in your life
- Your achievements.
Be creative. Do something that allows you to express your true self. Let your feelings out. Pour your heart and soul into creating something. Write in your diary. Cook a meal. Pick flowers and arrange them. Draw a picture. It does not matter what you do as long as it distracts you so you feel more positive afterwards.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Laughter is the best medicine even though you do not feel like laughing when depressed. When you feel this way, do something that will make you laugh. Check out social media or YouTube for funny videos and memes. Even watch a comedy to cheer yourself up. Phone a friend who always makes you laugh. This will make you feel better and reminds you that you can be happy.
Finish Simple Tasks
When feeling depressed, you will probably have little motivation or energy to do much. Moving from the lounge room to the kitchen can be a major battle. But doing nothing can make you feel worse and more stressed. So when struggling to do anything productive when depressed, try finishing simple tasks. Things like doing the washing, making something to eat, taking a shower or making your bed. It will make you feel as though you at least accomplished something and you will feel a little better.
Blissiree Pty Ltd
Overcoming depression can be difficult. It can affect all parts of your life and your relationships. This can be because everything just gets too hard. But it is important to make an effort to support any medication and therapy. Until you do something about your depression, it can continue to have a negative impact on your overall health.
The Blissiree Pty Ltd is pioneering a new technique. A natural treatment that may assist you cope with the symptoms and triggers of depression. It only requires for you to relax. Highly trained facilitators help you learn to recognise the triggers and how to manage them. This may help you take back control of your life. And you may notice an improvement after the first session.
With some simple changes to your life, and with practice, you can learn to cope better with depression. Create a routine with daily goals. Eat and sleep well. And do not forget to exercise. Try something new and make time to have fun. These are all important strategies to help manage depression.
Before you give up in frustration, it is time to look after yourself. Time to do something positive to turn how you feel and are coping around. Seek help. Take back control. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start taking good care of your mental health. And get back to enjoying life.
If living with depression is causing you to struggle with everyday life, reach out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us. We can talk to you about how to get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my special introductory offer for just $49 (private health rebates apply) so you learn to control what worries you. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges and the anxiety that affects your life. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects of depression so you start to take back control and enjoy life again.
Let me Help Alleviate your Depression
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people for more than a decade. My aim is to help you manage and cope with the stresses and challenges that come with living with depression. I can help you start to see there is a way to get past what you are experiencing. It can give you a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years.
Book a free 25-minute telehealth consultation with Blissiree Pty Ltd founder, Terri Bowman. Or discover a seamless way that may help you manage your emotional and mental health by becoming a member. It will give you access to more than 75 audio programs that may help you to live an inspired life.
What are you waiting for? Try us now. You have nothing to lose.