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Getting Through A Depressive Episode and Seeking Therapy for Depression

Updated: May 6

Woman in depressive episode

Have you ever felt like your energy is totally drained, and that even the simplest tasks feel almost insurmountable? Perhaps thoughts of doubt, self-criticism, and hopelessness fill your head and you feel overwhelming emotions like sadness, despair, and anxiety. If this resonates, you may have experienced a depressive episode. When in the midst of a depressive episode it can feel like it will last forever and that nothing will help. It can feel almost impossible to imagine a time when the depression might lift and things might start to bring you joy or happiness again. If you have felt this way in the past, or are feeling this way now, you are not alone. Depressive episodes are fairly common, and for that reason there are some techniques that have been developed and have been shown to help.

It is understandable if you are skeptical, especially if you are currently experiencing a depressive episode. When in that state of mind, suggestions for things that could help can sometimes feel patronizing and invalidating. This makes sense, as depression unfortunately can contribute to the brain dismissing thoughts that do not support the current, reigning internal belief that things are terrible and they probably always will be. However, if you can allow for some doubt to cast over that belief in favor of reminding yourself of the fact that what you are experiencing is temporary, you can move through and eventually out of a depressive episode. 

What is a Depressive Episode?

A depressive episode refers to a discrete period of time during which a person experiences symptoms of depression. Depressive episodes are a characteristic feature of major depressive disorder, as well as other mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and persistent depressive disorder (formerly known as dysthymia). A depressive episode involves a cluster of symptoms, including persistently low mood, loss of interest or pleasure in things that used to be interesting or pleasurable, changes in appetite or weight, sleep disturbances including insomnia and over-sleeping, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm, death, or suicide.

Strategies to Help Manage Your Depression

Getting through a depressive episode can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to cope and gradually improve your mood. Here are some strategies that could potentially help you to manage your depression:

  1. Connect with supportive parts of yourself: When you are feeling the effects of depression, it can be helpful to try to access parts of yourself that believe in your ability to overcome challenges. This can be incredibly difficult, but it is not impossible. Consider what thoughts go through your head when you are not experiencing a depressive episode. What strengths do you have, and can you find a way to speak kindly to yourself and to use empowering phrases, affirmations, and reminders of your resilience? You have likely experienced and gotten through a depressive episode before, and inherent in that is evidence that you can get through it again.

  2. Create and Utilize a Toolbox: Try to think of activities or practices that often bring a smile to your face or bring you a sense of calm or happiness. This could include listening to your favorite music, enjoying your favorite food, spending time with a friend, cuddling with a beloved pet, or immersing yourself in a captivating book or movie. It is possible these things won’t feel as enjoyable when you are in the midst of a depressive episode, but there is little to lose in giving them a try.

  3. Break down the To-Do List: Completing tasks, even seemingly simple ones, can feel daunting when depression is affecting you. Break them down into small, achievable pieces and allow yourself to acknowledge the victory of taking steps, no matter how small. By doing this, you'll gradually build momentum and move closer to your goals, and you’ll prove to yourself along the way that you can do it..

  4. Reach Out, Connect: Depression often thrives in isolation, so make a concerted effort to reach out and connect with supportive friends, family members, or online communities. Share your struggles and triumphs, lend a listening ear, and draw strength from the collective wisdom and empathy of others. Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and asking for help does not make you a burden.

  5. Embrace the Present: Because depression can make thoughts of the future seem bleak, focusing on the present moment as a source of solace and possibility can help. Practicing mindfulness and engaging fully in the here and now by savoring simple pleasures and noticing the beauty around you can help you to feel some gratitude for what is true in your life at this very moment. These things may be hard to find and may feel very small, but it is possible to locate them.  

  6. Have Compassion for Yourself: If the tips listed above are not accessible to you, that does not mean you are doing anything wrong. Depression is HARD, and sometimes it’s so hard that it feels like nothing helps. Try to have compassion for yourself in these moments and remember that you are worthy, you are not alone, and there are resources available to you.

Find a Therapist at Insight & Action Therapy

Do you find yourself struggling to get through a depressive episode? Ready to reach out to a trusted and compassionate mental health professional in New York to seek out therapy for depression? Please give us a call at 347-327-3698 or fill out an inquiry form. We are here to guide you through the process of connecting with one of our therapists and embarking on a journey of healing, self-discovery, and personal growth.


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