So, after yet another string of unfortunate life events, I’ve found myself slipping back into depression for the first time in months. Not my usual I’m-sad-but-I-can-deal-with-it depression, but the kind of persistent, melancholic hopelessness that has me fashioning something as harmful as a pencil shaving into a weapon for my demise.
The old me would wallow in it. She would lie in bed for hours and ruminate about her loneliness, her emptiness and her childhood traumas. She would obsess about her mounting debt and her life-limiting disabilities. The time she said hi to someone and they ignored her.
Cue a full-blown depression relapse.
Luckily, that was the old me. The new me is sick of letting depression get away with the same old shit again and again. These days, I can usually nip it in the bud before it turns really ugly – so I thought I’d share my mediocre advice with you guys 😊
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. Any advice I give is based off my own personal experiences and should not be substituted for medical advice.
Symptoms of a Depression Relapse
According to WebMD, most people with depression will have four to five episodes in their life, with many people suffering from chronic depression. It’s important to look out for the warning signs of a depression relapse because it can prevent a more severe episode from occurring.
Here are some signs that you may be slipping back into depression:
- Persistent sadness
- Suicidal thoughts and ideation
- Loss of motivation
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Decreased libido
- Chronic aches and pains
- Changes in eating habits
- Change in sleeping habits
- Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
What To Do If You Feel Like You’re Slipping Back Into Depression
Here are some things you can do to prevent your relapse from getting worse and encourage an easier recovery. Please note that I am not a mental health professional – I’ve just dodged a shit-ton of mental breakdowns!
So, here’s what you should do if you feel like you’re slipping into a depression relapse.
Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional
It’s the first thing you should do if you feel as though you’re slipping back into depression – but it’s usually the thing we put off ’til last.
Admitting that you have depression once can be hard enough. Admitting that it has come back can be even more soul-destroying. However, talking to your doctor gives you access to various different talking therapies, medications and mental health support, helping you find the right combination of treatment for your long-lasting recovery.
The mental health charity MIND have tons of advice on the different treatment options available for depression. You can check it out here.
Identify the cause of your relapse
I know how difficult it can be to pinpoint exactly why you feel depressed. In fact, I’ve had episodes where I’ve felt severely depressed for what feels like absolutely no reason. However, identifying the areas of your life that you’re unhappy with can open to your eyes to the demons that are fuelling your depressed thoughts.
Talking therapies, journaling and mindfulness are excellent ways to identify the root cause of your problems.
Make a plan of action
Depression makes us constantly ruminate, which is unproductive, overwhelming and severely detrimental to our mental health. Writing our problems down and trying to come up with practical ways to solve them can help to relieve some of the worst symptoms of depression.
If you’re stressed about money, try making a budget plan. If your life is feeling monotonous, book a weekend away or learn something new. If you’re battling with deep-seated insecurities, try incorporating confidence-boosting exercises and self-love practises into your daily regime.
Create a self-care routine
Neglecting your basic self-care needs is not only an early warning sign of a depression relapse – it can also make your relapse 10x worse.
Provide your mind and body with the love, nurture and care it needs by creating the ultimate self-care checklist. Try to cover not only your physical self-care needs (like hygiene, water intake and a balanced diet) but also your emotional, social, intellectual and environmental needs too.
Check out these 70 self-care ideas for some more inspo!
Write a gratitude list
Sometimes you just need reminding of all the reasons why your life is worth living. When I’m on the brink of a relapse, my gratitude list reminds me of why I worked so hard to beat depression in the first place.
Even just writing down the initial list can help to lift the darkness a little, so I’d definitely give this one a try!
Slipping back into depression when you’ve worked hard to overcome it can be frightening and upsetting, but it sure isn’t unbeatable!
Do you have any tips on how to cope with a depression relapse? Please share them in the comments down below 😊