Major Depressive Episode Recovery
Major depressive episodes are part of the major depressive disorder that I live with every day; however, I experience seasons or phases when my depression is worse than others. When I go through these major depressive episodes, I know how important it is to work toward recovering from them. I've developed some coping skills and activities that work for me. I'd like to share them with you so that, when you face major depressive episodes, you, too, will have some strategies in place to help in recovery.
Major Depressive Episode Recovery Tips
- Make sure you are taking your medications as prescribed. Have you missed a dose/doses? Have you decided that you're "better and don't need meds anymore?" Bottom line here: If your doctor prescribed antidepressants, stay on them. Take them as directed and never quit cold turkey.
- Talk with your psychiatrist/therapist. You need to let your professional team know when you are experiencing a major depressive episode. They are there to help you.
- Take care of your hygiene and appearance. I know how difficult this is when you are going through a truly dark season of depression. I experience these, too. But we only exacerbate the problem when we leave our self-care behind. Take a bath or shower, change out of pajamas and into clothes -- even if it's a simple t-shirt and sweats -- style your hair, and put on makeup (if you're into that).
- Treat yourself. Is there something you've really been wanting to buy? As long as it's not going to blow your budget, buy it. Order a favorite food. Light some fabulously-scented candles if you enjoy those. Rearrange some furniture and redecorate with some new colors. Give yourself a change of scenery. When we're going through a major depressive episode, everything looks so colorless and feels so stagnant. With new sights and smells, our own homes can become colorful and feel more like treats rather than prisons.
- Let in natural light. Also, while on the subject of how we can use our homes as tools in recovering from a major depressive episode, I'd like to share with you about the importance of natural light. Open up the curtains and blinds. Let sunshine flood your home. I've found that doing this has made me feel less gloomy when I'm going through a rough season of my depression. When I can't get outdoors, I can at least have the warmth and glow of natural light coming into my home.
- Declutter/clean. Seriously? Yes, seriously. It feels nice to get rid of things we don't need. While our minds may be cluttered, we can at least have a neat and orderly physical space. Now, when I'm experiencing a major depressive episode, I typically only have the energy to clean out one small space at a time: a drawer, a spot in a room, a bookshelf. Even though it might only be one area, it's still getting done. I can look at it and admire the pretty space it's become. Also, cleaning and decluttering offer a distraction from the depression and I am thankful for that.
- Craft. I just started this in December. Crafting is great because it occupies both our minds and our hands, which is helpful for those of us who need to shift the focus onto things other than our depression for a while. Also, when we're done, we have some pretty things to add to our homes or give as gifts.
- Listen to favorite music. When we experience a major depressive episode, listening to music is one way we can soothe ourselves. Sometimes I choose upbeat songs that remind me that I will overcome these hard days; at other times, I choose melancholy songs where artists sing of their depression and of how they struggle. And then sometimes I listen to music that I simply like -- music that has nothing to do with depression. Find your music and play it and lose yourself in it for a little while.
We will face major depressive episodes, but we don't have to let these times keep us down. We can recover. We have strategies. For more ways to recover, please watch this video.
Smith, J. (2019, February 20). Major Depressive Episode Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2019/2/major-depressive-episode-recovery
Author: Jennifer Smith
These things are what people without depression say.
Go work out is the only thing missing.
Hi, Coral. I appreciate your input. I assure you that I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I was hospitalized and then spent a week in inpatient psychiatric care for a suicide attempt in 2017. The suggestions I wrote here are simply activities that we can do to help us as we live with depression. They certainly aren't meant to belittle anyone with depression or make light of a serious illness. As always, my main suggestions listed are to speak with your health care professionals and make sure you're taking your medications as prescribed. Once again thank you for your comment. I hope this sheds light on my intent when I wrote this article.