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Depression and the fear of relapse

Posted on 3 July, 2015 at 6:40

If you suffer from depression then you are very aware of the signs and symptoms of an episode. You may notice a heaviness in different parts of your body. You may be experiencing a sleepiness or lethargy. Certain types of thoughts may be rattling around your head on bad days, or certain repetitive negative images may be present leaving you feeling down.

You know your own symptoms as each depression sufferer’s symptoms are unique to the individual.

As you emerge from a particular bout or episode of depression, you will typically start to notice more good days, or good periods than bad and heavy feelings and thoughts less frequent. But even with this lifting there may be, at the back of your mind, a fear about another episode of indefinite duration. Even though some time may have passed since you felt depressed. It can be unnerving to notice some of the old negative feelings or thoughts returning.

Just remember, it is natural to feel fear or anxiety about the thought of becoming depressed again.

However, it’s also important to remember that most people have periods when they feel low, and that this is normal. We all have cycles of feeling good and positive followed by a dip. The level and length of the high and low varies from person to person. It is very difficult to sustain a high or very positive episode indefinitely.

The following is a self-assessment determining your emotional wellbeing

There are a few things to be mindful of when self-assessing your emotional wellbeing.

Rate each of the following 1 - 10 - 1 being low and 10 feeling amazing.

Rate how positive you are feeling?

What is your energy level?

How hopeful do you feel?

Rate your stress levels?

Are you able to problem solve easily?

Rate your creative part ?

Rate your level of physical activity?

How healthy is your diet?

Have you a daily routine?

If you are mostly above 5, You are in a good place and able to respond to any negative thoughts or feeling.

If you are below 5,

Ask yourself if there is any obvious reason why you are feeling low? If there is no clear reason, accept that you are feeling low today and support yourself through this time with gentleness and kindness. Treat yourself as you would a close friend. Give yourself permission to take it easy and mind your physical health. Rest, eat well and take moderate exercise. Try to avoid alcohol. If possible be around positive people.

If the symptoms continue, you may decide to look for outside help: you might seek counselling or consult your GP to explore other options.

Remember depressed people are often very hard on themselves, and often withdraw from friends and family, so try and ensure you stay connected to others, whether through work, social activities or hobbies and pastimes that you enjoy.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Although the path to that recovery will probably not be steady and straightforward all the time, lasting recovery is achievable. And part of that process is to re-learn what it is to feel low, anxious, or sad, without feeling the additional weight of hopelessness that most people say characterises depression.


Categories: Depression