How to Get Out of a Depressive Episode: 9 Ways You Can Try!
“I am bent, but not broken. I am scarred, but not disfigured. I am sad, but not hopeless. I am tired, but not powerless. I am angry, but not bitter. I am depressed, but not giving up.” — Anonymous
If someone asks me to define what depression feels like, I’d say the exact same thing. Depression has left me feeling tired but not powerless. It has left me feeling sad, but not all hopeless – not anymore. Depression has been a part of my life for more than a decade now. For every hit it gave me, I fought back. And still do.
Depression recovery is a true thing, but that does not mean that you can’t experience depressive episodes now and then. During depressive episodes, it’s common to experience symptoms of depression most days, but when they continue to persist after more than 2 weeks, that’s when you need to reach out for professional support.
If you’ve ever, randomly, experienced a melancholic episode or a chronically low mood, then you might be familiar with depression episodes. The official manual of mental health disorders – the DSM-5 – describes depression as a mood disorder that causes feelings of persistent sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and more.
While this mental health disorder is often misunderstood and stigmatized, it’s important to understand the little signs that can help identify depression and get the right treatment at the right time. That’s what we’re learning in this article today!
Identifying a Depressive Episode
Depression is a serious mental health condition that needs timely intervention. While this disorder is considered a weakness by many, to me, it’s a sign of perseverance despite life’s many adversities. Depression can be triggered by many events in life or can even be passed down from genes.
Abuse, trauma, stress, mood dysregulation, substance use, and other conditions can also cause depression. It is, unfortunately, one of the most common mental health disorders that people around the world experience. If left untreated for long periods, depression can lead to suicidal ideation and even self-harm.
How to identify a depressive episode?
Depressive episodes can feel and look a lot like “Feeling the Blues”, fatigue, general numbness, or feeling “stuck in a rut”. Learning how to distinguish between a depressive episode and warning signs of depression onset is important.
If you suspect a depressive episode, then you must experience at least five of the symptoms listed below, every day for over two weeks;
- Lack of motivation
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Thoughts of worthlessness
- Suicide ideation
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
- Little interest in life and general activities
- Feelings of irritability
- Poor decision-making
- Difficulty focusing
- Poor work performance
- Slowed movements or speech
- Thoughts about death
- Sleep issues
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling heaviness in the body
- Unrelated physical aches and pains
How to Get Yourself Out of a Depressive Episode?
Depressive episodes can make it very challenging to get out of bed and continue with your normal routine. To pull yourself out of a depressive episode, you can try these things;
1. Check-in With Your Self-Care Routine
Did you know that your poor self-care can be an indicator of an incoming depressive episode? Check in with your self-care routine and see how much time you’re spending on caring for your needs. Are you aware of your needs? Can you process your emotions? Are you moving on autopilot?
2. Get Physically Active
When you’re physically active, it can prevent you from relapsing and even avoid a depressive episode. Regular physical exercise can be good for your mind and body. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and dopamine that can help you experience pleasure and relieve pain.
3. Be Deliberate With Your Sleep
Sleep is an important aspect of your physical as well as mental health. Sleep issues are always present when we talk about depression. So try to get a good night’s rest – take care of the quality of sleep you get. It is recommended that you get at least 7–8 hours of sleep each night. If sleep fails to help you improve, talk to a therapist for more assistance.
4. Practice Mindfulness
In the throes of a depressive episode, it can be easy to let your mind divert to negative thoughts. To prevent this line of thinking, you can try to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness, meditation, and even deep breathing can be good ways to reduce symptoms of depression. Meditation can also be a way to rewire your brain and thinking process.
5. See If You’re Eating Right
If you’re consuming too much processed food or junk food, then you’re putting yourself at risk of a depressive episode. Watch what you eat to improve your symptoms of a depressive episode. Try to eat a healthy diet rich in proteins, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, etc. to reduce depressive symptoms. Make sure you keep yourself well hydrated too.
6. Step Outside
While I can understand that depression can make it hard to get out of bed, it’s important to get some fresh air and step outside every once in a while. Vitamin D has been shown to improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety so make sure to get some of that! You can also try your hand at nature therapy and see how it impacts your well-being.
7. Connect With Your Loved Ones
Depression can make you withdraw from your loved one but if you want to prevent a depressive episode, keep a healthy connection with your loved ones. Talk to them on calls, hang out with them, or organize spontaneous lunches with them whenever you can. Spending time with people who love you can help a lot to reduce symptoms of depression.
8. Enjoy Laughter
Laughter is the best medicine and it’s true. When you use humor and laughter as a coping mechanism, it can increase the production of serotonin in your brain, lowering your symptoms of depression. Try to watch a comedy movie, watch funny videos, or even cuddle with your pet! Anything that brings you happiness. You can also try expressing gratitude to things around you.
9. Seek Help, If Needed
If your symptoms of depressive episodes are becoming regular with no breaks in between and continue to persist for more than a month, then it is recommended that you speak to your doctor and reach out to a professional for help. A therapist can help you recognize the negative patterns and offer effective therapy treatment to combat the condition. If needed, a therapist can also prescribe suitable medications to help manage the symptoms.
Depression is a serious mental health disorder that should not be taken lightly. This condition can take a heavy toll on your well-being and leave you feeling hopeless and with a poor quality of life. While depression can be treated with the right intervention, it can be common to experience depressive episodes and relapses.
There are always things that can help you get out of a depressive episode and even prevent a depressive relapse. I hope this blog helped you learn how to pull yourself out of a depressive episode.
For more, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts and share your favorite ways to fight depression in the comments section below.