It’s a unique feeling to wake up and feel like singing. The sun is shining, the world is bright, and there are things to do that you are excited to accomplish. It’s that brilliant feeling that you learn to look for and appreciate as you face challenging and draining times.
Nobody wants to lose that feeling. However, depression can make it difficult to remember why you treasure this happiness at all. It can drain your energy, your motivations, and your joy dry. This mental health issue is just as severe and as lethal as other physical diseases in the world. Depression is not just a form of sadness. It is a mood disorder that can lead to a myriad of mental, emotional, and physical problems.
It’s an uphill battle to overcome depression. You have to take action and remember that you are not alone. However difficult it may be, it’s not impossible. But often, this is also not the final battle. Depression can occur more than once in your life, and each instance doesn’t mean that surmounting it becomes easier.
Negative emotions don’t just go away. Some might rely on treating the symptoms with pills and medication, and others may choose to ignore it and refuse help. With the help of professional therapists, you can equip yourself with the tools to face the root of the problem. Undergoing therapy even after first overcoming bouts of depression can help keep you mentally healthy for life.
The Toll of Depression
Any health problem can leave a person drained and less healthy than before. It takes a lot of our willpower and strength to combat not only physical but mental illnesses. This requirement is the same for depression. Throughout a depressive episode, you may lose the vigor to continue looking for a better day and even the motivation to keep on living.
It’s a serious issue that many of our people face today. In 2020, more than 264 million people worldwide battled with depression. Fortunately, the rising awareness of mental disorders such as depression can encourage people to take care of their mental health.
Depression isn’t only sadness. It can manifest in different symptoms that vary in severity. Here are some symptoms that can be a sign of someone struggling with depression:
- Strong negative emotions such as sadness, hopelessness, and anger
- Loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities and lack of energy
- Difficulty sleeping or over-sleeping
- Anxiety and difficulty concentrating
- Frequent suicidal or harmful thoughts
- Physical pains such as chronic pain and headaches
These symptoms can reach a point where they can start negatively affecting your daily life. You may stop doing simple activities such as chores or running errands. It can feel like you need so much energy to get out of bed or go to school or work. They continue to feed into a downward cycle of depression.
Recovery, Relapse, and Recurrence
Despite how severe depression and all its effects are, it’s not something you have to experience 365 days a year. It is an episodic disorder. Meaning that even after you overcome it, there are still high chances of a relapse or the recurrence of another episode.
A relapse into depression is characterized by experiencing depressive symptoms less than six months after your treatment. On the other hand, a recurrence is the onset of symptoms after those first six months. The continuing struggle against depression can seem hopeless. But know that there are ways to be alert, prepared, and minimize the impact of a relapse or recurrence.
The most evident sign of relapse is experiencing depressive symptoms. A persistent change in your usual behavior can be your most glaring warning sign. A few of these symptoms include:
- a downward spike in energy levels
- beginning to eat and sleep much more or much less
- losing motivation to do what you normally would consider as fun activities
Benefits of Therapy
Heeding the signs can minimize the impact of relapsing and help you overcome it. But the best cure would always still be prevention. While the chances of relapses may be high, you can lessen this and avoid a relapse into depression.
Overcoming depression isn’t the end of taking care of yourself. The healthy habits taught to you by your therapist are good practices to continue despite feeling better. Whether this may be journaling, meditation, exercises, or other coping mechanisms, these will go a long way to staying mentally healthy.
You are also not alone. Having a steady support system can give you an outlet for the buildup of negative emotions that so often trigger depressive episodes. Don’t be afraid to rely on your friends, family, and significant other. When times get tough, they can be the first to notice the warning signs and be the best sources for encouragement and motivation.
Your therapist is also there for you. Their job to help you doesn’t end once your prior depression is resolved. It is part of their professional care to ensure that you stay happy, healthy and equipped to avoid relapses in depression.
Keeping the lessons and exercising the practices you’ve received throughout your therapy sessions isn’t the only thing you can do. Continue seeing your therapists regularly to heed the warning signs and cultivate a healthy lifestyle.
One form of therapy that is beneficial for people with recurrent depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. It focuses on combining mindfulness training and cognitive therapy to teach you to be more aware of your mental state. With this, you can look for the signs of negative thoughts and emotions and deal with them healthily.
Talking about depression can be, well, very depressing. This feeling is especially true at a point when you may have thought that your mood disorder and all its accompanying negative emotions are a thing of the past. However, it’s crucial to be aware and alert about the risks of relapse and recurrence.
However, relapses and recurrences are avoidable. Plus, you don’t have to deal with these alone. Your therapist and the regular therapy sessions can keep you on track on a happier, mentally, and emotionally healthier life.