Relapse in Depression: How to Deal With It?

Your life was going great and you felt good and relieved that you have finally overcome depression. But after some time, you start feeling that life has become a constant rush and it starts overpowering you with stress. A little stress is still positive but this constant feeling of stress can lead for depression to make a comeback. You’re getting a negative spiral of thoughts and you start neglecting self-care. A series of all these signs including certain physical symptoms rings a bell in the ear that there is a relapse occurring in your life. Now is the time to recognize what are the unresolved triggers that are leading to the relapse. But you don’t have to worry so much; we have some solutions lined up for you.

“Relapse” as a general concept refers to all the reoccurrences of depression or deterioration after a period of increased improvement. Long-term aid is necessary to keep a tap on the recovery rate and note the instances of relapse.

How to deal with the relapse?

  1. Stop the Guilt-Trip First of all, stop blaming yourself or feeling guilty for this event. It is not your fault, there are many hidden triggers in our subconscious mind that need to be fixed; and it is quite possible that some of these triggers get missed out. This is not because of you but because of the complexity of the human mind. Therefore, it is not your fault that you have landed in this situation again.
  2. Is there something missing in your life? Try to assess yourself and your daily life schedule. Is there anything that you are missing? Try to recall all those activities that worked as ingredients for your recovery. These activities could be:
    • Daily fitness activities
    • Rich Diet
    • Being your own therapist- solving your problems by understanding their root cause and ask yourself- is this negative thought helping me feel okay? Learn to counter your negative thoughts, no matter how hard this battle gets.
    • Have a back-up for your vulnerabilities- Monitor your Mood, but if you don’t have time, just rate your mood everyday from 1 to 10.
    • Note when your mood dips and think of a back-up activity to do at that time that can reduce the vulnerability of feeling low again.
    • Recondition your mind.
  3. Balance Your Social Engagements Don’t go into isolation mode but at the same time; make sure that you give time to yourself, the ‘me’ time wherein you do something recreational. It could be giving another chance to the hobbies that you had buried deep inside your heart or talking to someone with whom you feel connected. Just think, is there a hobby that you have? Or something that you always wished to learn? For example, music therapy always helps. Always remember that depression thrives in silence. This silence not only refers to isolation from the people but also to the inner dialogue that you have silenced in your heart. You need to wake your soul up that this is not the end but the beginning of a new phase which will make you stronger. As they say, that sky is the limit, you can make one more try to get back on track.
  4. Take it Step-by-Step If you don’t feel like getting up from bed, for instance, which is a very common symptom of depression, just take that ONE step of maybe taking a bath, or even applying perfume; this is that one step that will automatically awaken the desire to do something more as a follow-up to that first step. When you’re in bed and you don’t want to face life or the day in particular, please don’t look at social media platforms which will make you feel worse. The happiness projected on social media is a constructed reality where people pose to be happy. Due to their pretence, many people are left hopeless and feel a sense of low self-worth.

A relapse in depression doesn’t mean that your life is over

We know you will get suicidal ideations, however, before taking any step, please consider the following:

A relapse is just a reminder that you need to manage depression and not let it define you.

You are a fighter. You are a Survivor. You are not depressed.

Don’t hesitate to talk to Your Therapist

Many a times, we feel that we don’t want to go in that cycle of therapy again. But, it is important to talk to your therapist about the symptoms. This is essential because a relapse also occurs when we abruptly terminate therapy sessions or if we stop medication abruptly.

Be Bold & Vocal to your Therapist

If you feel that you are not able to keep a rapport with your best therapist after some period of time, it doesn’t mean that you terminate sessions abruptly; rather, you need to communicate these things to your therapist. Having a common ground with the therapist also matters. You have already put so much effort to explain your history to the therapist, try to give it another chance. If it still doesn’t work out, go to another therapist with a mindset that the job of the therapist in your recovery is only 20% and the rest is up to you. This shouldn’t discourage you because it is not about making you burdened with the task of handling 80% of your recovery; instead, it means that you are not subordinate to your therapist. Don’t keep all your hopes attached to your counsellor but keep some hopes from yourself as well.

These tips will help you understand that what feels like a relapse is not actually a relapse but just a slip from where you can get up and you needn’t start all over again.