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What to do if Depression Returns

by Kendall VanBlarcom
Lonely senior woman

If you have lived through depression, it is normal to worry about symptoms returning. When you are wondering what to do if your depression comes back, know that there is help available.

When Do Symptoms Return?

Depression, anxiety, worrying and fear are experienced differently by different people. For some people, they can go through a difficult period and then recover. For others, there are relapses, periods where they feel fine—good, even—and then periods where symptoms return.

There are times in life that are sad or upsetting. We all have days when we feel down and it is important to recognize that a bad day does not mean you are relapsing into a period of depression. But, if your feelings of sadness continue, know there is help available and reaching out to talk through issues can help.

Can I Stop Depression from Coming Back?

While there are no guarantees what the future holds, there are ways to take care of yourself and be gentle with yourself.

For example, if you have experienced depression in the past, take note of what symptoms you experienced. From there, you can feel and sense if those early signs are returning.

Family and friends can also be helpful in recognizing symptoms. If someone close to you tells you they are worried about you, this could be a sign it is time to seek healing strategies, some of which may be possible on your own. Ask yourself what has helped your mental health in the past. Maybe you have benefitted from getting more exercise, or from being more active in your community.

Also, know that you can always reach out to a counselor, a doctor you trust, or a mental health provider for help. Everyone has problems, criticizing yourself for the situation you are in will not lead to results. You are not at fault and recovery is an option.

Make Yourself, and Your Health, the Priority

Often recovering from a mental health issue is not simple. For many, it is a long journey. You need to focus on both your physical and mental health. Your whole being is connected and the more you take care of yourself the less vulnerable you are for a relapse.

Focus on positive thoughts and don’t bombard yourself with a bunch of would’ve, should’ve, or could’ves. Obsessing about the past is not productive. To feel good, you have to learn to accept what you cannot change and move forward. Talking to a counselor or therapist can help you to leave the past behind and change thought patterns that are causing you pain.

Then, you can hopefully adopt a feeling of gratitude. An attitude that will allow you to recognize and celebrate the good things life has given you rather than obsessing on the negatives.

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