I have been given permission to use this blog written by Therese Borchard, the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Guide. She is Associate Editor at Psych Central.
There is no word in the English language I despise more than “relapse,” because by the time I use it, I have suffered months of agonizing depression that involves the typical symptoms you check off at a psychiatrist’s office: overwhelming guilt, fantasizing about death, no energy, lots of tears, trouble sleeping, eating too much (or too little), trouble concentrating, difficulty doing just about anything but obsessing about how bad you feel and crying enough to keep Kleenex in business.
Here are a few strategies I use when I start to relapse … when my symptoms don’t abate for weeks on end and when I’m scared I will never again wake up excited for a new day.
1. Express yourself.
I started blogging because it helped me to process my emotions. Writing about my depression is one of the most powerful tools in my arsenal to combat the feelings of helplessness and despair that can cripple me. When you consider how writing impacts your general health—numerous studies have found that writing about upsetting personal experiences for just 20 minutes at a time, over three or four days can boost your immune system and decrease blood pressure—you can imagine what it does to your mood. In fact, any form of creative expression is beneficial to relieving symptoms of depression. There have been numerous studies that have shown how music and art therapy lead to greater improvement in mood. Even listening to modern or classic music for 30 minutes twice daily for five weeks improved scores of depression according to one study.
to be continued…