Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Depression
The ups and downs of depression flow in and out of your life. You sometimes feel great for a few weeks. You're motivated, you're social, and you're actually experiencing emotions. It seems as though you're finally back to what feels like normal. Then you crash. The depression comes over you like a dark cloud, and everything seems hopeless. The ups and downs of depression are so discouraging. When it seems like it's all over, the depression will sneak up on you and take over your life again.
In order to prepare for these depression relapses, you can take advantage of the times where you're feeling good to set up strategies.
It's easy to want to just forget about the bad times when you're feeling better. It seems like there's no reason to think about them when you're getting so much accomplished and happily living your life.
The reality is that depression is most likely going to come back in some form ("What Are the Symptoms of Depression?"). It's important to be ready for the ups and downs of depression. If you take the time to learn how to address those negative thoughts and numb feelings while you have the motivation, it's going to make it easier to cope in the dark times.
Strategies for the Ups and Downs of Depression: Prepare for Depression Relapse
Work on Your Thought Patterns
Sometimes, the thoughts that are in the back of your mind are the reason for a dip in your mood. They hide for a short period of time, and then they come surging to the front, ready to tell you that you are worthless and not capable. By working on positive self-talk and recognizing negative thoughts while you're feeling better will establish a strong foundation for when you start to go down. A way to do this is to practice mindfulness. By learning to let your thoughts come and go, you can clear your mind and start fresh. By dedicating a short time to meditation every day, you can prepare your mind for when then negative thoughts start to bombard you.
You can smoothe the ups and downs of depression with routines. By creating new habits, you can make routines that will help you to function in hard times. Using the motivation you have while feeling better, pick a few new habits to establish. For example, having a morning routine can help you mentally prepare for the day. This could include getting up 20 minutes earlier than normal to write in a gratitude journal while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. You might pick exercising or meditation. If you start while you're feeling motivated, these habits will become second nature. That will make them easier to keep up when you're feeling depressed.
Work on Your Mental Health Even When You're Feeling Better
It's tempting to put the bad times out of your mind when you're feeling good. However, if you can face your fear and make a plan, you will be able to cope when the hard times are here again. Working on thought patterns and creating new habits will make for a strong foundation. While it will still be difficult, you won't feel as helpless when you have a plan in place.
I would love to hear how you prepare for both the ups and downs of depression. Leave a comment below about how you take advantage of the good times to prepare for the difficult times. Or share your struggles with relapses. It's so important to support one another, and by sharing your experiences, you not only can learn how to help yourself, but you could give someone the courage to ask for help as well.
Capper, J. (2018, November 20). Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, February 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2018/11/dealing-with-the-ups-and-downs-of-depression
Author: Jenny Capper
When I’m feeling down I give myself a lot of grace and try to take the time I need to regroup. Usually that means having quiet time away from others, naps or a cup of tea or coffee. It’s like I have a cold - an emotional one, and I need to tend to it. I admit to those around me I am in a quiet mood and will let them know if they can do do anything for me, like bring me something or just be there. When they know that I am owning what I’m feeling they don’t feel at a loss as to what to do.
I love how you put it. "It's like a cold - an emotional one, and I need to tend to it." It's so true! I've found that when I treat it with the same care I treat physical illness - without judgment and with grace - I am much better at managing it. Thanks for sharing!