Survival is a Talent - supporting writers with mental illness

How To Overcome Depression Relapse

Depression Doesn’t Always Look Like You Might Think

I have anxiety and mild depression. I am not like the stereotypical person with mental illness. I come across as fearless and carefree. I am happy and motivated. I am high-functioning. But I wasn’t always like this. I did have a rough past. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression eight years ago.

girl making a funny face in front of yellow background

Depression Relapse Symptoms

At first, I struggled to take care of myself…I didn’t even know how. I self-harmed and had thoughts of suicide. I had panic attacks and breakdowns every day. Then, things happened that allowed me to view my life in a new light. Some of them were bad and affected me a lot, but it opened my eyes a little bit. Most of them made me just realize that I love life and I have a lot to be grateful for.

Getting Better Isn’t As Easy As Thinking Positive

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t easy. It took more effort than just changing my outlook. After these realizations, I did have to fight and put myself on a strict self-care plan. So, I am a lot better than I was two years ago. I take medication daily, see a counselor, engage in self-care activities like using essential oils and seek help from friends when I need to. I also set goals and make plans, which keeps me motivated and keeps my life exciting.

Am I cured? Not quite. Mental illness can’t be cured; they can only get easier to deal with. I still have bad days. Everyone does. And every once in a while, I also go through a depression relapse. Relapse means something different for some people. I consider it a relapse when I’m depressed for no reason for more than three days.

How do I deal with those days? How do I cope with falling after I made so much progress?

watercolor background with black text that says, "How to deal with depression relapse."

5 Depression Relapse Tips:

1. I allow myself to be depressed. For me, it is important that I let myself have bad days and let my brain do what it wants to do. Sometimes I’m tired of being strong. Or maybe I’m overwhelmed and a rest is what I need.

2. I tell my go-to person. Whenever I feel myself start to slide into depression relapse, I tell my best friend. Whenever I hit relapse, I tell my best friend. I tell my best friend everything because I learned from the past that I can’t go through it alone.

3. I identify any triggers or causes. After I tell my best friend, we try and figure out if something caused it. It’s usually because I forgot to take my medication for a few days or I had a flashback. Then we try and find a solution. Or, it could be because of nothing and that’s okay too.

4. I make the necessary lifestyle changes. I decide with a doctor if I should adjust my medications. I engage in more self-care activities. I treat myself to things I like. I make future plans to look forward to. Sometimes I will put myself on a daily schedule. I figure out what I need and…

5. I slowly get back up. It doesn’t happen overnight… I never want it to because it is best to take things slow, especially after spending a few days in a depressed state, doing very little. I don’t want to force my mind and body to do something it doesn’t want to do; it will only cause stress. But I try to make sure I progress, and not fall back down.


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About The Author:

Jessica Victoria, 22, is a mental health advocate and freelancer from Ontario, Canada. She is familiar with the struggles of depression, anxiety disorders, and borderline personality traits, as she tackles them head-on in her daily life. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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