5 Signs You’re Heading Into a Depression & 5 Ways to Fight Back

August 19, 2010 Natasha Tracy

Bipolar disorder is episodic. This means that a person with bipolar disorder will experience episodes of depression and mania (or hypomania). And even when a person is relatively stable, thanks to successful bipolar treatment or just plain luck, it is likely they will still experience a depressive episode at some point in the future.

But how do you know if you’re heading into a depression?

Five Signs You’re Heading Into Depression

  1. danger_sign

    Sleep changes. Bipolar depression often results in hypersomnia, meaning that you sleep too much, although insomnia can also be a sign. Sleep changes are almost always a precursor to changes in mood, so always make note of them.

  2. Withdrawal from the outside world. As depression begins, you might feel the need to withdraw from your friends and family and stop attending public events. You need to ask yourself why you’re feeling the need to “cocoon”.
  3. You’re more anxious or worried than usual. Depression and anxiety are disorder siblings and where one goes the other often follows. People don’t always realize they’re depressed but they do realize that they’re worrying about bills, work or a scratch on the car more than usual.
  4. Your thoughts become more negative or you’re angry. While not everyone looks on the bright side of life all the time, more negative thoughts than you typically have may indicate a depression is on the way.
  5. Changes in diet. When we’re not feeling well we often stop eating, overeat or eat junk food. This is our body’s subtle attempt at self-medicating to improve mood.

Keep in mind you may have depression signs that are individual to you as well.


Your Signs of Depression. Tell People Around You

While it’s great when you see your own signs of depression, sometimes you’ll manage to miss them, but it can be more obvious to the people around you. Most of the above signs are outwardly visible, so tell your loved ones, especially the people you live with, to look for depression early warning signs.

Five Ways to Fight Back the Depression

If you see the signs of depression, it’s actually a good thing because it means you’ve caught it early. Now you have the opportunity to fight the depression before it gets any worse. Find a depression treatment early:

  1. Talk to your doctor for an adjustment to depression or bipolar medication
  2. Talk to your therapist to work out any additional issues that may be contributing to your depression
  3. Step up your cognitive behavioral therapy (or similar) techniques to fight your worsening thoughts
  4. Reduce your stress as it can only make your depression symptoms worse
  5. Do something that you know makes you feel good; spend time with family and friends

Don’t Ignore the Depression Signs

The most important thing to remember is to not ignore the signs of depression. The earlier you treat depression, the better your chances are of beating it quickly. These depression signs increase the chances that you’ll get less sick; they are your friends, not your enemies.

Have more depression warning signs? Share it in a comment.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.









APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2010, August 19). 5 Signs You’re Heading Into a Depression & 5 Ways to Fight Back, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

April, 17 2016 at 7:20 pm

Wow it's been almost a year and I'm back again to where I started, sinking into yet another pit of despair. Work and finances are my biggest stressors. I've got the bank calling me for a visa payment that's 2 months overdue, a notice of arrears from the hydro company, my cell phone battery died, my coffee maker broke, my taxes and insurance are due and I have no money left until the end of the month when I also have to come up with the rent. My credit rating sucks. I resent having to always come up with money for potlucks and or gifts at work for another temp that's leaving or when it's somebody's birthday. I can barely afford my own groceries. It's a never ending cycle. I'm forever robbing Peter to pay Paul since I have no savings to speak of. I feel like a caged gerbil running on a wheel and getting absolutely nowhere except exhausted. My workload has been steadily increasing to the point where I'm feeling more and more overwhelmed. Flogged like a dead horse by management's threats to pick up the pace or else. I'm irritable all the time. All I do is sleep when I'm not working and I've lately lost all interest in eating which is a new twist for me since I'm usually a binge eater. I can't stop crying. It's my only release. I feel like I'm headed for another breakdown. When I saw my Dr recently and explained to him how I was feeling he seemed to listen but then when I was through he wrote me the same prescription as the last time and asked me to call my caseworker if things got any worse. Even though I have health insurance I still have to pay for part of my prescriptions which is always a struggle. I have to cut back on food just to afford the medication. I'm getting so weary of trying to hold it together. I've lost interest in things I used to care about. Its strange, I feel oddly at peace about it all though. I guess I just don't care about the kinda stuff I really should be anymore that's why things are getting so out of hand. Nothing ever changes except that every new bout of depression feels worse than the last.

May, 30 2015 at 6:29 am

Yesterday the office ordered in some breakfast. My coworker paid for me even though I told her I did not want to participate. I have been trying desperately to loose weight. I made the mistake of telling her I'd lost 18 pounds. She's a bulimic and a diabetic. Neither one of us should be eating pancakes. I was very upset with her. A) because I felt she was trying to sabotage my efforts to loose weight and b) because I couldn't afford to pay her back the money I owed for breakfast. It seems that no matter what I do or say I'm a failure. I'm supposed to be doing her job next month so I'm gonna need her help. I had no choice. With each bite I was also eating my anger and frustration. I truly hate my life! Anger turned inward is always destructive. For me it jumps directly to depression
Today I get to go to a wedding of a good friend, one who was a contact for me when I was in the hospital 3 years ago. I told him yesterday that I wouldn't be able to afford a gift until next week when I get paid. He seemed to understand but I still feel like a loser. Out of respect and appreciation I know I need to go to the wedding but I am so depressed I can barely get out of bed and I also need to colour my hair. So far all I've managed to do is throw some clothes in the laundry so I'll have something clean to wear. I can't afford to buy a new outfit

May, 27 2015 at 5:11 pm

I'm having a particularly bad day today. I just spent an hour sobbing into my pillow wishing I was dead. I'm so tired of living this way. Nothing ever improves, it only seems to get worse. I'm having trouble paying my bills. Month end is always particularly tight. This month I had the added expense of apartment insurance, a wedding (on the 30th) and a baby shower (on the 31) of a good friend who is also struggling. The last two threw me over the edge today. I was hoping to get my small tax refund this month to cover these expenses but now it looks like that's an impossibility. I can't afford to buy any gifts until next month so I'll have to go to the wedding/baby shower empty handed. It's so embarrassing. Next month is the same thing all over again. I have 4 birthdays to buy for... I can't afford to keep giving and giving and giving to others. I just can't. I barely have enough to cover my own basic needs. But people don't seem to understand. They expect it from me and when I can't deliver I feel so bad
With each new day I feel like I'm sinking deeper and deeper into the same old quicksand of depression. Yet none of the solutions seem to be working
1) I don't see my doctor again until August but even if I could see him
sooner medication alone is not the answer. It won't change my
environmental circumstances... namely a massive debt problem due to
years worth of previous manic episodes. By the looks of it I'll be working
to pay it off til the day I die. I never seem to catch a break
2). I recently signed up for a free activity coach but it costs money to do
most of the things that are suggested, go figure
3). I am familiar with Aaron Beck' CBT. So many self help books, like Mind
over Mood etc deal with it but I don't see how just putting a positive spin
on everything is honestly supposed to help. It seems too much like
lying. I had enthusiastically signed up for an 8 week long CBT program
recently, it seemed cheaper than counselling at the time but I'm not
getting as much out of it as I had hoped. Another waste of money
4) Debt produces all types of stress...
5). This month a friend gave me a $200 ticket to a concert that someone else
had backed out of. I love all types of concerts and I hadn't been to one in
such a long time so I accepted on the condition that she'd let me pay her
back. I don't like to feel indebted to people I know. I went and
thoroughly enjoyed myself. But now I wish I had never gone.
Honestly I'd rather be sleeping... my dream life is so much richer

Natasha Tracy
August, 23 2010 at 7:22 am

Hi Richard,
Yes, dreams are a telltale sign for some probably due to their sleep disruption.
Alcohol always worsens sleep so congratulations for getting rid of that.
Sounds like you might be using some CBT techniques for anxiety, and that definitely helps some.
It sounds like you've got some strategies working and maybe just need to add a couple more.
Thanks for sharing.
- Natasha

Richard J.
August, 21 2010 at 6:13 pm

Dreams.... Still learning how to catch all those signs As a cycle is churning. On the manic end, I get a fight or struggling dream and in depressive end the dreams are more vivid and or trippy. Now on the depakote I do not the fighting dreams as much and am getting regular dreams as well by not using alcohol for a medicine. Also for the anxiety that comes along with the depression stage I say stop in my head to catch myself or count like when something seems to be moving slowly. Also just take a hydroxizne and nap.

Herbalifew Extravaganza
August, 20 2010 at 9:04 pm

I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. Yes I am not perfect but who is.
I had to think in a more positive way.
I had to stop worrying about the future.
I had to stop caring what other people thought of me.
I needed to smile more.
I needed to learn to relax. I now use meditation for this purpose.
I had to learn to like myself.
I needed to become stronger to fight away the negative thoughts in my head.
I needed to appreciate what I did have in life, rather than concentrating on what I had not.
I started to implement the above and it helped me no end. That horrible cloud of doom, still descended however, around once a month. When it does descend, I now write two lists. What I am happy about in life and what I am sad or worrying about. I then analyse both lists and more times than not, I am actually over-reacting.
In conclusion, life is a battle. There are good times and bad. We need to become strong and learn to think in a more positive way. We have to fight back against people who bully us and against the voices in our head who are trying to make us panic. This is not easy, however with determination people are able to turn their life around just like I have.
I used to feel anger towards the people who bullied me at school. I now feel sorry for them. They are the bad apples and I prey for them. I prey that God will one day make them pure.

Natasha Tracy
August, 20 2010 at 3:34 pm

Hi Shannon,
Well, talk to your doctor may seem obvious to some, but in all honesty, it's never been that obvious to me. I'm the kind of person that will ignore things and try to just "muscle it out". I'll just suffer. And I think that suffering probably isn't the best technique.
Finger painting. I'll put that one on my list.
- Natasha

Shannon Marie
August, 20 2010 at 3:22 pm

Ask for HELP! "talk to your doctor"~ seems like such an obvious choice. In my rookie days, I would just wake up one day to realize that I had been in bed for three weeks or months or whatever. Now, I speak up and keep plans close at hand and easy to accomplish (KISS: keep it simple stupid).
For myself, a short fuse is a dead give away that I should be finger painting not running marathons. Stress reduction is my BFF!

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