Making it Through a Depression Relapse

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Summation

  •   There is a chance that if you have forgotten, or ran out of your meds, that you could experience something that feels like a relapse of depression – therefore, it is important to identify this.
  •   As a patient, it can be downright frustrating (to put it lightly) when our doctor is not sure how to tackle a problem like this or is unable to offer empathy or sympathy.
  • This could include lethargy, change of appetite (be it larger or smaller than your definition of “normal”), loss of interest in your normal hobbies or activities, difficulty with sleeping or staying asleep, staying asleep for too long, or a sad or depressed mood just to name a few of them.

In today’s world, it is all too easy to sweep invisible illnesses and disabilities under the rug.  This is certainly applicable to things such as depression, which can be lurking under the surface of even the happiest people in our lives.  As someone who has struggled with it for years, I am unfortunately quite familiar with the difficulties that can arise with it.

This is especially true when we feel a relapse coming on.  What do I mean by that, though, and how can we identify when this is the case?  There are many resources like this one, https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression, that we can utilize, but I want to offer some advice from the perspective of someone who experiences these issues on a personal level.  If that sounds like something that could be useful for you, keep reading.

What is a Relapse?

For the most part, when we hear this phrase, our minds drift towards addiction disorders.  However, when we consider it in this context, it is a bit different.  You see, there are a certain set of symptoms that we can associate with major depressive disorder (MDD).

This could include lethargy, change of appetite (be it larger or smaller than your definition of “normal”), loss of interest in your normal hobbies or activities, difficulty with sleeping or staying asleep, staying asleep for too long, or a sad or depressed mood just to name a few of them.  When we get on medication, sometimes these symptoms are lessened or mitigated to a certain extent.  So, seeing them crop up again is a matter of concern to be sure.

The first question to ask yourself in terms of identifying when this happens is whether you have taken your medication today.  Extend that to take the past week into account as well.  There is a chance that if you have forgotten, or ran out of your meds, that you could experience something that feels like a relapse of depression – therefore, it is important to identify this.

Either way, though, it might not be a bad idea to consult with your provider or another health care provider.  They might be able to offer some insights into the feelings that you are having or the symptoms that you are experiencing.  It is hard to determine on a personal level if we are having a relapse or if we are simply experiencing medication withdrawals.

What else might you experience that could help unveil the truth?  Well, if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, this is definitely something to have addressed.  You should tell this to a professional as soon as possible – especially if they are something that you may act upon.

Otherwise, though, there are a few less serious ones to be on the watch for.  This could look like having trouble with making decisions or difficulty staying concentrated on important tasks.  If it is significantly disruptive to your everyday life and routine, it may be worth discussing with your doctor.

Why it is Important to Figure Out

Sometimes, we might decide to stop taking our meds for a reason.  Maybe it is because we feel they are not working, or the side effects are too strong.  In these cases, it is fairly easy to determine that this is the cause of our symptoms recurring.  However, this is not always the case.

Whatever the reason is, there is a good chance that your doctor will need to discuss future options with you for addressing the core of the issue.  After all, there is definitely a possibility that your body has built up some sort of resistance to your current antidepressants, and so you need a stronger dosage or to change what you are taking altogether.

Obviously, this means that providers need to understand these things as well.  As a patient, it can be downright frustrating (to put it lightly) when our doctor is not sure how to tackle a problem like this or is unable to offer empathy or sympathy.  So, that is just another reason why this is important.

Depression is often hidden, as I mentioned above.  While there are pages like this one that seek to raise awareness for it, unfortunately, this is not always effective.  There is still a fair amount of stigma surrounding this mental illness and the impacts that it can have on our lives.

To some, it is easy to write the sufferers off as lazy or impassive.  “Why are they still in bed?” they might ask.  Obviously, this is an unfair judgment.  So, that is why I seek to help reduce these harmful stereotypes by writing pieces like this one!  Getting the word out is never a bad thing, after all, and when considering why this truly matters, this is certainly a compelling argument

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