How To Get Out Of A Depressive Episode? 10 Tips!

Depression is different for different people. Understanding depression is the foremost step toward healing yourself. In this article, let us find out how to get out of a depressive episode.1 During a depressive episode, some people cannot climb down the bed, while some can function nonetheless, suffering inside.  

Depression, as a mental illness, is common nowadays, with 3.8% of the population affected worldwide, according to WHO (World Health Organisation). Many people experience at least one episode of depression in their lives that may be influenced by tragic events or substantial changes in their lives. In no way can we downplay the cruelty it manifests. It can be crippling to the point where one is unable even to function properly. The severity of depressive episodes may also vary, but regardless of that fact, all depressive episodes must be taken seriously and treated promptly by a therapist or psychiatrist.

There are different subtypes of depression, like Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Psychotic Depression, Postpartum Depression, and others.

1. What Is A Depressive Episode?

A depressive episode is characterized by low mood and other depression symptoms 2that persist for at least two weeks or more. During this period, a person may experience low mood, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite, feelings of worthlessness, and recurrent thoughts of death. A depressive episode may last up to six or eight months.

The likelihood of suffering additional episodes of depression is regarded to be increased in the absence of proper therapy. With each new episode, the probability of another depressive episode appears to grow, with each one likely to continue longer and be more severe than the preceding one. Timely therapy can help reduce depressive symptoms and decrease the duration of any future bouts.

2. Depressive Episode Symptoms

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Photo by Julián Amé on Unsplash

The following symptoms of depression are common in anyone who experiences a depressive episode:

  1. Feeling sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness
  2. Feeling guilt and shame along with worthlessness
  3. Feeling anxiety
  4. Irritability and frustration
  5. Fatigue and loss of energy
  6. Restlessness
  7. Changes in appetite and weight
  8. Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including hobbies
  9. Changes in sleep patterns
  10. Difficulty in remembering things or concentrating
  11. Loss of interest in living or suicidal thoughts
  12. Unexplained aches and pains in the body

Dealing with depression is tough, and the sooner you are aware of what is happening to you, the better you will understand what to do and how to get out of a depressive episode. Often, immediate access to a therapist or a medical practitioner may not be available. You may have to track down your depression symptoms and help yourself in those times. This article provides you with 10 strategies regarding how to get out of a depressive episode.

To know how depression affects the brain, look at this article.

3. How To Get Out Of A Depressive Episode?

There is no formula for how to get out of a depressive episode. However, there are some valuable tips and tricks you can follow to keep your depressive episode in check and regulate your mental health.3

3.1. Do Not Panic

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Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you realize that a depressive episode is about to or has set in? You panic. It is absolutely natural for anyone to feel anxious and panicked about this. A low mood and other symptoms like loss of appetite and energy may hinder your positive outlook.

The next time you realize that a depressive episode is about to set in, focus on staying calm. It does wonders! Keep reminding yourself that you have survived and overcome depressive episodes in the past and that it is treatable. Some exercises such as meditation, breathing, and mindfulness can contribute to your effort in keeping calm.

3.2. Understand Your Triggers And Symptoms

The next important step in getting out of a depressive episode is to understand your triggers and symptoms. Try to figure out what exactly caused a depressive episode. In this way, if you identify a pattern in your episodes, you can avoid those triggers. Further, understanding your symptoms can help you navigate through them.

Journaling is a great way to keep track of your mood every day. Recording the events that happen daily can help you understand your mood pattern. Moreover, maintaining a journal is one of the best coping skills during an episode. It can also give you structure in your life, helping you to adjust to some lifestyle changes.

3.3. Depression Is An Illness And Does Not Define You

Most of the time, people suffering from depression do not believe that depression is an illness. It becomes an intimate part of their personality, and they internalize the distorted self-image, low self-esteem, and other such symptoms.

When you are experiencing depression symptoms, remind yourself that you “have” depression and you “are not” depression. It is absolutely okay to feel depressed; however, keep repeating that you will overcome the emotions that bind you to this low point.

3.4. Accept Depression But Do Not Embrace

Realizing that you may have depression can be scary, especially if you are diagnosed with it. However, being kind to yourself is the first step toward healing. Accepting your feelings and acknowledging them is the fourth step to getting out of a depressive episode.

Do not embrace depression, do not make it your own. Try to keep yourself separate from your depression.

In this way, remind yourself that depression is an illness, just like any other. It is not a personal shortcoming or a reason to be ashamed of yourself.

3.5. Practice Self-Care

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Practicing self-care is an essential step to knowing how to get out of a depressive episode. These activities include anything that people do for their emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

Some examples of self-care include methods of reconnecting with yourself, like taking a walk by yourself without your headphones on, sitting in silence, and trying to embrace the emotions you feel and others.

You can also involve yourself in creative activities or any hobbies that you may have. You can start a skin-care routine, take a soothing bath or even listen to your favorite music.

Further, self-care practices also include eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, and living a disciplined life. Understandably, it is tough, but trying is all we can sometimes do.

3.6. Reach Out To People You Care About

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Photo by Catherine on Unsplash

During a depressive episode, there is a tendency to isolate oneself. When you withdraw and isolate yourself, force yourself a little to reach out to your loved ones. Emotional connections can help a great deal overcome depression since you shall feel their love and affection.

3.7. Indulge In Your Favorite Activities

This step is similar to practicing self-care4. During a depressive episode, you may have lost interest in your favorite activities, but the key to overcoming that is to force yourself a little. If you read books, tell yourself that you will read a single page in a day. If you draw, make yourself draw anything that comes to your mind or seek inspiration on the internet. Don’t pressure yourself to be very efficient or productive. Try to enjoy the process. Even if you read one page, half a page, or draw a small house, it is worth it.

3.8. Social Interactions

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Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

As mentioned before, social interaction is a helpful tool in overcoming a depressive episode. Being with your loved ones can make you feel good, even if for a temporary period. Sharing your troubles with someone who may understand is also an excellent way to know how to get out of a depressive episode.

3.9. Exercise

As depression makes you lose energy, exercise can help you keep it up. Only 15 minutes of exercise daily can help break down the stress hormones and release feel-good endorphins. You can do the following in those 15 minutes:

  • Taking a walk
  • Cleaning the house
  • Gardening
  • Riding your bike

3.10. Seek Professional Help

How to get out of a depressive episode
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Depression should be taken seriously. If you or anyone you know suffers from depression, they should immediately seek professional help since the symptoms can turn dangerous or even fatal. Seeking professional help is a sign of immense bravery and self-respect since the stigma around therapy is still around.

Many people around the world face low points in their lives. Sometimes, these symptoms persist and convert into depression. It is a treatable illness that may or may not require medications.

You can take help from friends and family; however, they are not professionally trained to handle these situations. Hence, psychiatrists, psychologists, or support groups can help you understand your depression better and know how to get out of a depressive episode.

4. Conclusion

Depression is not only mental or emotional, but it also affects your physical health. Some people are exhausted and ill during a depressive episode. Staying in tune with your body and mind at such a time is highly significant. Figuring out how to get out of depressive episodes can be pretty challenging.

The ten strategies described above are tried and tested methods to help you know how to get out of a depressive episode. There is no one-size-fits-all method to get out of the same. You can try different methods and see which one works for you.

Reach out to a therapist, counselor, or psychologist who can provide professional support and guidance tailored to your specific needs. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who can lend an understanding ear and offer encouragement.

Exercise can release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Even a short walk or some gentle stretching can make a difference. Ensure you’re taking care of your basic needs, such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and practicing good hygiene.

Remember that depressive episodes can vary in intensity and duration. It’s essential to be patient with yourself and allow the healing process to take its course. Don’t hesitate to seek professional support if you need it, as they can provide personalized guidance and support for your specific situation. Do not hesitate to contact your local mental health professional for help if you feel that your depression symptoms can get out of your control.

FAQs

1. When should I consider hospitalization during a depressive episode?

A: Hospitalization may be necessary if you are experiencing severe depressive symptoms or suicidal thoughts, or if your safety is at risk. If you are unable to care for yourself or if your symptoms worsen significantly, seek immediate medical attention or contact a crisis hotline.

2. Is it possible to prevent future depressive episodes?

A: While it may not be possible to prevent all depressive episodes, certain lifestyle choices and coping strategies can reduce the risk of recurrence. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, staying connected with a support system, and continuing therapy or counseling as needed can all contribute to preventing future episodes.

3. How can I recognize that I am experiencing a depressive episode?

A: Common signs of a depressive episode may include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, changes in sleep patterns, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal from social activities, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is crucial to seek professional help.

Read more

  1. Whisman, Mark A., and Martha L. Bruce. “Marital dissatisfaction and incidence of major depressive episode in a community sample.” Journal of abnormal psychology 108.4 (1999): 674. ↩︎
  2. Fried, Eiko I., and Randolph M. Nesse. “Depression sum-scores don’t add up: why analyzing specific depression symptoms is essential.” BMC medicine 13.1 (2015): 1-11. ↩︎
  3. Gross, James J., and Ricardo F. Muñoz. “Emotion regulation and mental health.” Clinical psychology: Science and practice 2.2 (1995): 151. ↩︎
  4. Bressi, Sara K., and Elizabeth R. Vaden. “Reconsidering self care.” Clinical Social Work Journal 45 (2017): 33-38. ↩︎

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Author

Ramyani Bhattacharya

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