Depression. It is said the third week in January is the worst for depression. I believe it. Also, I think once you have depression, a debilitating depressed mood can move in on you at any time of the year. Sneaky little mind trap just waiting to pounce and pull you into blackness.
What does an increase in a depressive mood feel like?
Fatigue! Fatigue is an excellent indicator of an increased depressive mood as is lower back pain! Did anyone else know this? (I always have lower back pain when I am feeling depressed, I never thought it had anything to actually do with depression.) I just read an article on The Mighty where the author talked about back pain and/or neck pain accompanying an increased ‘flare’ of depression. The whole idea of a ‘depression flare’ struck me as well. A depression flare. Well! I know how to deal with flares!
If we experience flares from chronic pain conditions, why would we expect not to suffer depression flares? This makes so much sense to me! I have really been struggling for the last few days with an increase in my depression. Putting this into a flare mindset has helped me greatly!
A flare is an increase in symptoms that is temporary. The comfort in knowing that you are experiencing a flare is that you KNOW it will pass. You realize what is happening and you know if you can just endure it, it will subside. Do what you would do for a flare and just get through the depression flare! Just get through it… endure it and remind yourself this is temporary.
Now, as with chronic pain flares, if a depression flare gets too bad, you need to go to the hospital to get help with getting through the very real emotional trauma and physical pain a flare can cause. If you can handle it on your own, safely, then get through it the best way you know how. Have your ‘toolbox’ ready. A toolbox is a few items set aside that will help you pass the time when you are unable to sleep. Sleep is our most significant healer, but there are times when we cannot sleep. We must occupy our time as best we can until we get through this temporary increase in a very uncomfortable state of mind and pain.
Be safe, know your limits, and remember you are very likely thinking irrationally during a depression flare. If at any time you feel unsafe, call 911 and get help. There is no shame! Depression is a very real, and severe invisible illness.