A man sitting with his head in his hands, experiencing a depressive episode.

How to Get Out of a Depressive Episode

Top Ways to Overcome Depression

During our lifetimes, we will all experience spells where we feel sad, melancholy and unhappy. A prolonged period of low mood is known as a depressive episode and can be symptomatic of somebody experiencing depression. Something to help with that can be Brintellix, a medication used to treat depression. It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain. Let's take a look at some ways you can overcome this.

13 Signs of Depression

  1. Lack of energy and motivation.
  2. Thoughts of worthlessness, guilt and anxiety.
  3. Low self-esteem.
  4. Isolation from friends and family.
  5. Feelings of irritability and extreme annoyance.
  6. Poor decision-making.
  7. Declining productivity at work.
  8. Inability to focus and concentrate.
  9. Sluggish cognitive function.
  10. Suicidal thoughts.
  11. Preoccupation with death.
  12. Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
  13. Under or overeating.

What is a Depressive Episode?

A study in 2020 found that an estimated 21 million (8.4%) American adults had experienced at least one major depressive episode. The highest prevalence of major depressive episodes was reported among young adults aged 18 to 25, where 17% reported experience. (1)

A depressive episode often manifests in a low mood, sadness, incredible fatigue and feeling stuck or trapped in a situation. Understanding the symptoms and signs of a depressive episode helps individuals seek the proper assistance and treatment. Usually, depressive episodes last for at least four or five weeks, where the symptoms do not shift and someone’s ability to function is significantly affected.

How to Get Yourself Out of a Depressive Episode

While recognizing that when you’re deep in the embrace of a major depressive episode, it can be nigh-on impossible to clamber out of bed, much less take reasonable steps towards improving the situation, several ways help remove yourself from a depressive episode. It can be helpful to begin exploring these steps as soon as symptoms are recognized to try and prevent the onset of a fully-fledged attack.

Track Triggers and Symptoms

Understanding what triggers feelings of low moods and the symptoms it provokes is an excellent first step in helping to ease out of a depressive episode and avoid a full-blown sink into an episode.

Using a journal or diary to log important events, any unforeseen occurrence and the moods they provoked are an excellent way of understanding how and when a depressive episode has been triggered. Use a scale of 1 to 10 to rate moods to provide imperial evidence to identify activities or events that cause a triggering response.

Understand Depression

Understanding depression, how it strikes and what it does, is a helpful way of helping people deal with the condition. There is still a stigma surrounding depression that it is in some way a sign of weakness. However, it is as real and potentially debilitating as any physical injury or disorder.

Accepting that depressive episodes may strike now and again can help individuals deal with it, particularly if the attack is reoccurring. Knowing that the episode will pass and isn’t a defining feature of someone’s character is helpful, alongside the proper treatment and lifestyle tweaks.

Practice Meditations

Meditations and breathing techniques are proven ways to calm anxiety and ease the body’s response to stress. Taking as little as 10 to 15 minutes daily to sit quietly and focus on the slow inhaling and exhaling brings enormous physical, psychological and emotional benefits.

Several smartphone apps are designed to help individuals begin their journeys towards finding inner calm, many of which are free to download, and best of all, these exercises can be practiced almost anywhere, at any time of the day.

Take Your Thought to Court

Much of what contributes to a depressive episode is wrapped in negative thought processes that linger, feel real even when they’re not and negatively impact someone’s mental wellness. Practicing techniques taught through Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help challenge these negative thought patterns and help ease the low mood.

One technique, sometimes called “Take Your Thought to Court,” is a process whereby negative thoughts are isolated and interrogated by presenting evidence for and against the idea. This enables individuals to challenge negative beliefs and replace them with positive statements, such as moving “I’m a failure” to “I did my best.”

Make a Bedtime Routine

Sleep has an enormous impact on mood and mental health. A lack of sleep can contribute to and exacerbate symptoms of depression, and depressive episodes regularly interfere with an individual’s ability to sleep. Getting into a routine of sleep and bedtimes, even at weekends, can be enormously beneficial.

Begin by choosing a time to begin to wind down a couple of hours before your desired bedtime. Reduce screen time and find some relaxing activities to do before bed. Have herbal tea, read, take a warm bath or write in a journal. The latter activity is a surefire way of minimizing intrusive racing thoughts, which can distract the mind from switching off and enabling sleep.

Accentuate the Positives

Depressive episodes can trick the brain into focusing on the negatives and ignoring positive achievements during the day. Many people find keeping a positivity journal helpful to help focus on positives and improve self-esteem.

Before bed each day, write down three positive things that have happened. This can be anything from remembering to take medication to cooking a healthy meal, from achieving a full day at work to getting out for a walk.

In Conclusion

When experiencing a depressive episode, people may find their ability to function daily impaired while also experiencing negative impacts on interpersonal relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Although depressive episodes often require medical intervention with the help of antidepressant medication and talking therapies, there are non-medical ways in which the symptoms of a depressive episode can be eased.

Depressive episodes do not discriminate. They can hit anyone, whether diagnosed with depression or not, at any time. A life event may trigger them, but this is not always true.

Understanding the symptoms and triggers of depression is essential, but so is knowing to arm yourself with the best possible tools to avoid a bout of depressive thinking or feelings becoming a full-blown major depressive episode.

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