• 6 Tips on How to Cope with a Depressive Episode

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Oct 18th, 2018

A depressive episode is defined as a period in which a person experiences low mood and other depression symptoms for 2 weeks or more (in certain situations, these symptoms can last for over a year). According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 16.1 million adults in the US went through at least one major depressive episode in 2015.

Symptoms of a depressive episode include everything from feeling sad and hopeless, to having thoughts about suicide, but the good news is that there are ways for a person to try to alter their thoughts and behaviors in order to improve their mood and get through this painful period.

1. Figure Out the Triggers

Keeping track of your symptoms and moods on a regular basis can help you understand exactly what triggers a depressive episode. It’s a good idea to keep a diary in which you will log not only important events, but also changes to your moods and daily routines. However, if depressive symptoms persist for two weeks or more, make sure to visit a doctor. Noticing any signs of depression early on may help you avoid a more difficult form of this disorder.

2. Remain Calm

Once you have identified the beginning of a depressive episode, you might find yourself feeling panicked or anxious. While this is a completely understandable reaction, it’s important to remember that panic and anxiety can only worsen other symptoms and further affect your mood.
Because of this, it’s important to remain as calm as possible, and remind yourself that you can overcome these feelings. To stay calm, try using meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises, or reading many of the available self-help books.

3. Remember That Self-care Is Important

There is nothing more important when it comes to both our physical and mental health than self-care. This means taking time for yourself, relaxing, connecting with yourself and others, and recharging your batteries. It means being able to say ‘no’ when you’re feeling overwhelmed and giving yourself enough space to calm down. To properly take care of yourself, you can eat a healthy diet, take a soothing bath, or engage in activities that you find comforting.

4. Accept Depression and Separate Yourself from It

Accepting that a depressive episode can occur to anyone from time to time will help you better cope with it. Always remember that it is possible to manage symptoms with lifestyle changes, therapy, and medication, and don’t forget to remind yourself that you are not your depression. You have other qualities that define you and make you who you are.

5. Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective therapy that suggests that it’s a person's thoughts—rather than their life situation—that affects their mood. CBT tries to challenge and change those thoughts, and ultimately help people with depression and other mood disorders get better. It’s best to practice CBT with a licenced therapist, but you can also try to do it on your own. For example, you can keep track of how often negative thoughts arise, and then try to replace them with more positive statements about yourself.

6. Keep a Positivity Journal

In most situations, a depressive episode leaves people focusing solely on the negatives in their life and disregarding the positives. You can counteract this by keeping a positivity journal or even a gratitude journal, which will help you with your self-esteem. So, for example, before going to bed, write down three good things that happened to you that day, and make sure to do this every day.

If you feel like your depressive episode is not ending and you need help overcoming it, don’t hesitate to contact the Neuroscience Center and schedule a consultation with Dr. Best. We will make sure you get through your episode and go back to your life.

Contact us:

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md

Author Caroline Ryther

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