Bracing For The Storm: Taking Action To Prevent An Upcoming Depressive Episode
I’ve gotten to where I can feel it coming. It’s like when you are walking outside and notice a giant dark storm cloud. You know it’s coming but you wish it wouldn’t. The “it” I am referring to here is a depressive episode, you can find out more about it here. You may not be able to redirect the weather, however, there are actions you can do to try and redirect a depressive episode. If you want to know what they are, keep reading. Then download my FREE printable and hang it somewhere that’s easy to access when you need a reminder.
5 steps to take when you feel a depressive episode start.
- Identify your signs and behaviors: Do you have a certain tell that you notice happens either right before, or early on in. a depressive episode? Mine is that I suddenly stop caring that I’m eating all the junk food, and a lot of it, when I’m supposed to be eating healthy. I also tend to withdraw from everyday activities and get super tired easily, despite how much sleep I got the night before. It is important that you figure out what they are if you have them. This will help you be more proactive when the depression begins. I’m not saying that knowing these signs and behaviors will automatically mean you will never have a depressive episode again, but it will make you more mindful. When you are aware of a problem beforehand it will be easier to fight back.
- Fill your brain with positive thoughts and messages: When that voice inside you starts shouting hurtful things, or just feel nothing at all, it’s time to get positive. Surrounding yourself with positivity, like an inspirational quote or blog, your favorite song, a friend to encourage you, help you focus on the good. I do this by listening to my happy playlist throughout the day for as many days as I need to.
- Distract yourself by doing your favorite activities: This one is going to be hard to do. You aren’t going to feel like it, most likely. If anything can distract you and/or make you feel better, it’s your favorite things/activities. My challenge to you is that no matter how you are feeling, try to do something for five minutes. Whether it’s dancing around in your house, talking to a friend, playing a game, drawing, whatever it is that you typically like to do, try doing it for five minutes.
- Journal it out Sometimes we can’t truly understand how we are feeling, or why we are feeling that way. In my experience, the best way to make sense of this is to start writing. It doesn’t have to be amazing, and no one has to see it but you. If you don’t know where to start to write about your day. That usually gets me to open up once I get to the part of the day where it started going downhill. You’ll be surprised at how much you can write and what you write once you have finished.
- Let someone know If none of the above has you feeling any better the next thing would be to let someone know how your feeling. You’ll have to determine whether you just need the company or support, or need to ask for help. You can find this support in many ways. Some examples are friends and family, online communities (just be careful and make sure you are practicing good safety online), and professional counselors.
Depressive episodes are hard to get through. I hope doing some of these steps will help you next time. However, I am not a mental health professional. I can only share my experience. You should always contact your doctor to discuss ways you can manage your depression.
If it all seems like it’s too much to handle and you are in an emergency situation, or you know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to get the help and resources you need. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. These hotlines are open 24/7 so contact them anytime you need it.