Experiencing Depressive Episodes: Will It Ever End?
When you have chronic depression, a depressive episode can rear its ugly head unexpectedly. You’re just going through your days, living your life, managing your depression as best you can and then . . . you feel the decline. This happened to me this week, surprising me because I had just survived a brief dip in my mood in early May. I wasn’t expecting this depressive episode so soon after the last.
Signs the Depressive Episode Was Really Happening
On Saturday, during breakfast, I started bitching at my husband. Stupid stuff. Nit-picky stuff. Bam, bam, bam . . . insult after insult. We kibitz, Hubby and I, but this was different, and I could sense the change in myself. I was edgy and irritated all day.
By Sunday morning, after 10 hours sleep, I had a massive headache, zero attention span, blank stare (my husband told me about this one), no motivation. I was in decline and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
I cried while hugging my son. He comforted me saying, “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s out of your control. Don’t feel like you’re less because of it.”
I knew what was happening and was helpless to “fix” myself. Why can’t I just get better? When will this end?
Last Monday, I recorded the video you see at the bottom of this blog.
More Depressive Episode Symptoms
When I went to see my doctor (on Thursday), she asked the typical questions and I revealed several symptoms of depression.
D : “Was there a catalyst?”
L : “Not that I can pinpoint. I gave blood, which made me feel great. My daughter graduated university, which made me feel great. They’re doing construction on the floor above mine at the office, which I don’t feel at all but they say the air quality isn’t great so you never know.”
D : “How have you been feeling?”
L : “Crying for no reason. Guilty. Sleeping way too much – 12 hours last night. No motivation. No focus. Feel stupid. Hopeless. Helpless.”
D : “How long have you been feeling this way?”
L : “Three to 4 days. Not feeling any better yet. Hoping this won’t last long.”
D : “Are you in danger of hurting yourself?”
L : “No. Thankfully. But my dermatillomania has been out of control.”
D : “If it goes longer than 2 weeks, we need to consider whether or not you’re having another major depressive episode. For now, rest, set yourself a couple of goals, and make a follow-up appointment for about 10 days from now.”
When asked by a friend how I feel during my depressive episodes I told her the best word to describe it would be “heavy”. On the flip side, it is exactly one week since the bitchy breakfast, and I feel “lighter”. I’ve been smiling again, laughing, motivated and my focus is better. I cleaned the house and not one tear.
One week later, I am cautiously optimistic that this depressive episode, this dip, albeit a deep and troubling one, is finally coming to an end.
Scott, L. (2013, June 23). Experiencing Depressive Episodes: Will It Ever End?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2013/06/depression-will-it-ever-end
Author: Liana M. Scott
So am not alone huh? I have tried everything and all I get is temporary stability then am back. I started when in 2017 August, it's been a year and no sign of change. My job is at risk because some days I don't wanna go to work, many days actually. I keep ending relationships and I don't have anymore friends. I stay alone and I love it because I won't bother anyone with my episodes. The last friend I had literally ram away from me, we were housemates. I totally understand her. It's just good to know that iam not the only one.
Wow! Can't believe there are so many people out there like me. The last week has seen me hit rock bottom again I really don't know how much more I can go on like this. Due to family estrangement I am isolated have one daughter I can talk to and trust can't keep putting it on her. I have 2 Cocker Spaniels, one very elderly and having seizures, also a 16 yr old cat. They are the reason I get up each day they really are my reason for staying but every time the blackness descends it's harder to climb out the last 4yrs have been so hard just when I feel positive bam there it comes again. Is there really an end to this feeling or do we continue to fight? Think my fight is about gone
It’s so cruel. Just today I was thinking to myself how good I am feeling then its like you get an equal negative dip to balance things back out. I don’t know why it has to be this way I just want to be normal. I never used to be like this.
Thank to goodness I've found this .. I fear I won't come out the darkness sometimes , but somehow I do , my biggest fear is that they're Becoming more regular and seem to be stronger and longer
Stay well X
What I learned is that depression will never stop its like a sore it may go away from sight but it will always be there. You just got to be strong and try to push it aside for now.
Everyone goes through this at one point some just don't know how to control it.
I hope you get better it can be a scary thing. I may know a few things from my exeriance. Just use yours to help someone else who is going through it.
i,am dipression from last 6 month. when it will come to end
Thanks for posting this. Sometimes I Google when I'm depressed to try to find done hope. I call it "dropping stuff depressed" when I'm in that blank stare mode because I drop things and bump into walls. It feels like I'm the only one who gets like that so it's good to read things like this so I know I'm not alone. I need to remember that it's a disease and not feel guilty about wasting time in bed staring at the ceiling because it feels like gravity is holding me down.
Hi guys I just wanna say how lovely of you all to take time to comment and support each other, you are all great human beings obviously, had a really debilitating episode a few years back, gained 50 pounds, could not stop sleeping, the whole nine yard. I'm almost back at my lowest. But I've also had good productive depressionless and fit years inbetween so I know there is an end, it is like a bird, sitting on your shoulder and poking at the side of your head with its beak so that is all you can hear or focus on. One day, the same way it came, it will lift off. I visualise a crow departing from my shoulder and it makes me feel better, have dreamt and painted the image repeatedly. Stay strong and trust a stranger, in the same way that I cannot find a reason to live or laugh now,i will not be able to associate with this hopelessness in a few months from now:) we will hopefully all reach the point when we cannot comprehend the depth of depression
5 years ago my mum died and it came out that my dad had sexually abused children there was a court case, my marriage ended. I slipped into a depression it was a living hell. With time, meds and counselling I recovered and swear I'd never go back to that place ever.
Life is great at the moment then to top it off I met a great guy a few months ago. Life couldn't be better until a few weeks ago when bang like a slap around the face the darkness is back. I don't understand it and to make it worse I'm so scared that I'm messy up my new relationship I need to feel better and I don't know what to do. I'm back in the meds 1 week now but I've spent two days crying.
Dear Liana, Hang on girl! I can say that to you because from where you are, where you've been to, and where you are probably headed. It's good to have each other to share our experiences with, because unless someone has ever had a sustained depressive episode, they will never be able to understand. I was diagnosed 28 years ago. When I was first diagnosed, I remained in that chronic severe state for about 6 years. I ran the gamut from hospitalization, to major medication therapy to ECT...no relief. Finally gradually, with a good maintenance medication therapy, the depression lifted. I was never the way I was before the depression, but I was managing pretty well. About 4 years ago, I woke up one morning and it was as if I had never gotten better. The depression was there, large and looming. I was in shock...WHAT had happened. Before the week was out, I was spending the entire day in bed, crying, hating myself and rife with guilt. Fortunately, I got a new doc, a wonderful psychotherapist/psychiatrist (a dying breed of psychiatrists). Today, I'm controlling my depression with meds and intensive psychotherapy. I'm okay...most days. But, one thing I know for sure, I will wake up another day and that black veil will have descended upon me again. I'll hate it, I will cry and hate myself and I will think life isn't worth it. I also know, that while it is pain beyond pain, I can make it through how ever many years of it I have to and I'll have another day when I feel okay again.
Hi...I just happened to find this sight' I was just on the phone with my daughter telling her now I feel...I am slowly sinking into an abyss...in bed all day, crying all the time,feel worthless...so many things going on ,my bill are getting higher, things are going to get shut off. The man I love won't marry me because I gained weight...I love him it just breaks my heart. Been in and out of hospital had gallbladder surgery recently.... I feel useless and not fit to live, I live for my son whom I adore:-) ....I just want to be well again....thank you for reading my rant... :-)
Hi Liana firstly I'm so sorry you are having such a terrible dip. I have suffered with chronic clinical depression for over 10 years and am at the moment in a dreadful depression dip, I have cried for the last 3 days, felt helpless, on sleeping meds as well as my antidepressants at the minute. Watching your video, I am right there with you, right now. I wonder every day if I'll ever be free from this crippling illness ?? X
Pardon my impertinence but is this a woman's only blog. If not I will make it short and sweet: In February I suddenly had what can only be described as some sort of mild hemhorrage. It was
followed almost immediately by a horrific depression, the like of which I have never experienced. I'm on a half dozen drugs: Lithium, Effexor, Neurontin Atavan, Seroquel.
My doctor says this episode may only last 6 months.
I don't see it going away that fast, though I'd be just as glad. Anybody have any idea what the source might be?
It feels do much better knowing I'm not the only one. I am a 19 yo male who just finished my first year of college. My first semester was fine, but then there was a change in myself that I didn't notice. I was ALWAYS tired and just wanted to go back to sleep no matter where I was. I was never able to really pay attention which affected my grades. It's been very frustrating because I always study but this 2nd semester I keep getting bad grades on my Econ tests, which made me fail the class. Also, because of a technical difficulty my final communications speech was deleted which ultimately made me fail the class despite all the work I put into that class. I've been feeling guilt, disappointment and failure the entire semester. I am currently on Academic probation and I'm scared to tell my mother, not because of school, but because then I'll have to tell her about depression and I'm afraid she won't take me seriously. Pls help.
It feels do much better knowing I'm not the only one. I am a 19 yo male who just finished my first year of college.
No, you're not alone...
Thanks, Susan. Hugs.
In 2006, I had my first hospital stay for major depression. Three years later I felt things were going well and I felt "normal" again. I chose to stop mental health treatment (medication and therapy). It did not take long for depression to take over. In 2011, I found myself in a deep major depression, even worse than I remember in 2006. This time the depression was debilitating to the point I could no longer work. Until the last 3 months, the treatment had been working and I was feeling progress. Unfortunately it did not last and I have been struggling to stay out of the hospital. My therapist is doing her best and my meds have been altered as of last week. I too wonder if the cycle will end?
Hi Louise. So many of us out there, suffering... just as you are. Hang in there. Thanks for sharing your experience. Hugs.
Hi, I hope this current dip doesn't last too long. I read your blog & watched the video. I'm sorry you suffer from depression. I have a boyfriend who suffers from depression & when you spoke about dips I thought of him. Currently he's been in a dip since the first of March. He used to tell me he hoped he would wake up after a night's sleep & feel better, but to no avail. He refuses to take medication & puts off seeking counseling. It's close to 3 months that he's been in a pretty severe dip & I was wondering what advice you could give me. I tell him it won't be like this forever & he'll start to feel better but now I don't know if that's true. I'm patient with him I just don't know what to tell him anymore. Thank you, Stephanie
Hi Stephanie. Thanks for your concern. I take medication and have gone to psychotherapy (where I learned CBT - cognitive behavioral therapy) to manage my depression. Your boyfriend doesn't sound like he's in a "dip". It sounds like he's in a full major depressive episode. There are some excellent resources here on HealthyPlace.com so perhaps you can direct him to this link where he can take a depression test. Is it that he denies that he's depressed? Is he worried about the stigma attached to depression and mental illness and so doesn't want to seek treatment? Depression is an illness and is manageable - if he seeks treatment. While your support and patience is so very important, he has to make the move to get the treatment. I hope this helps somewhat. Good luck. Hugs.
I suffer with Bipolar Disorder so I completely understand these Dips. I was misdiagnosed with Clinical Depression for 20 years because I did not realise I was ill when I was manic as at first I was more productive and very happy go lucky during the manic episodes.but as the years went on I started sleeping less and feeling very agitated and irritable and then I had a pshyochotic episode during which time I believe I had been given a special mission by a higher power and had special powers bestowed upon me, like reading minds,to be able to carry out this mission. When I was misdiagnosed I would go to the GP every time my mood dipped and go through the same senario over and over. Like you they would give me 2 weeks then put me on Anti Depressants which actually made me Manic and was probably the cause of the psychotic episode I had. very often I would not be depressed for 2 weeks, just a few days then I would become manic again and not go back, so I would definately ask your Doctor if it is possible that you are suffering with Bipolar Disorder, as people with Depression don't normally have such high frequency of shifts in mood as you have have described of yourself. Hope you get some better help from your Doctor. Good luck x
Hi Jo. Very informative comment. I actually have been to my doctor to see if perhaps I'm BP2, but alas, I've been repeatedly told that my cycling isn't severe enough. I guess we'll see. Thanks again for taking the time to share.
I'm 65. I have had mental illness since I was about 12. I didn't get the right "cocktail" until my thirties. I was finally diagnosed with bipolar I. Good therapy helped enormously. Five years ago I lost both parents, my marriage ended, my daughter was placed in a nursing home at 46-years- old because of MS. I don't seem to pull out of depression much at all now. I hate it. Life is difficult. And here I am.
Hi Cheryl. I'm so glad you're here. I do hope you'll continue to try to get treatment so you can pull out of your depression more often.
you are not alone...I sometime have a depression dip...not sometime..every other day. I tried not to but it is too overbearing. I do is to exercise as I can, make myself busy, crocheting, listen to the radio,I take herbal supplement, write a journal, go out to have a fresh air, take a bath whatever temperature of the water that soothe me but sometime it is not enough. There is a trigger that cause the depression sometime. I think about my future whre I am going to be.
Hi Barbara. It sounds like you have a lot of great techniques for helping to dispel at least some of the depression dip. It is an ongoing battle, isn't it? Thanks for commenting.
I am going through the dip now.I have insomnia so my dip did a flip and I flopped ended up in the hospital. I am out but still feel the blues, on more medications but every now and again I feel a hope or lightness. I am hoping it is a start to brighter days.
Hi Vanda. I hope you have brighter days ahead, too. Take good care.
i am wondering too if depression will ever end. i leave the office without having any orientation nor destination. i just want to walk for hours and hours and not go home. i feel like crying all the time and i do just for a while. even when i do have some purpose in my life everything seems useless and worthless. i do not know what i need or if a doctor is going to help me. Good luck to all of us out there in the world
I'm really going through a tough dip right now, struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. Not wanting to take my kids to school; just wanting to hide...just wanting to sleep and not wake up. I keep wondering when it will end. I avoided taking medication for a long time because I hated the side effects, then I finally broke down and have been taking medication for over 6 weeks now. It's just not helping as much as I hoped. Oh, I knew it wasn't going to magically make me well - of course not. But I was hoping for just "better". I was expecting the edge to be taken off. It just isn't working that way, and I'm feeling desperation and despair.
Thank you for sharing your story. I hate that you are going through the dip you're going through, but, as you say, it helps to know we're not alone.
Hi there. I'm sorry you're feeling awful right now. Not knowing how long the dips will last is part of the frustration. Don't give up on your meds. If within 8 weeks they haven't "taken the edge off" which they should at least do that, go back to you doctor and demand a modification. Sometimes it takes a veritable cocktail before we find the sweet spot. Take good care and thanks for taking the time to share.
I am in the middle of a major depressive episode. You hit it right on the nose. I have been terribly sad for a while now, just depressed, lonely. No car, bad living situation. I cry all the time, so hopeless. Is this ever going to end. One of the main triggers is my car died and I do not have the money to buy another yet, so here I am stuck! And it sucks. Thanks for sharing this. I know it takes a lot of courage to do what we do, I am a mental health blogger too! Last year I found my voice and no longer hide my depression, Best of luck to you1
Hi Jamie. The MDE's are the worst and you have my best wishes that you come out of it soon. Not having a car can be very frustrating but perhaps you can take the opportunity to go for walks. They help. Try a little further every day. Do you have a dog? If not, borrow a neighbours dog :-) It truly does help. Glad you're not hiding anymore! More of us need to shout out loud!
I really hope that you get the help that you need. You deserve to be happy. I know the feeling of being "heavy."
I am bipolar and am going through my third depression of the year. I am so frustrated! I describe depression as wearing a ball and chain. I too am wondering when I will feel better.
I get a weird thing I call "night walking". It is not like sleep walking but rather it happens when I get to the point that I don't want to interact with anyone and therefore end up doing all my stuff at night. Its amazing how much you can do at night like grocery shopping and banking and not have to see any actual people. I have a sense of mania when it happens.
I really related to your "bitchy" feelings. I get like that and its almost like I pick a fight with my husband. I yell at him and then in the same breath apologize to him. I often wonder why he doesn't just cut his losses and leave. I am sure it is not easy being married to me.
And lately I have had a lot more issues with "panic attacks" where I get an actual physical sensation.
I am 47 and have been suffering since I was about 15. I often wonder if it is ever going to go away. I am currently not on any medication since I don't find that anything is helpful. I have tried them all.
Do you ever worry that you are bipolar when the dips go up and down? I had always thought that bipolar means depressed and then happy but the other side of depressed apparently can mean mania which can also be dark.
Hi Susan. Yes, I have wondered that and pushed both my GP and my psychiatrist on the matter. These dips happen about 6 times a year lasting sometimes for one or two days...sometimes longer. My GP deferred to my psychiatrist who said my "dip" and "lift" symptoms were not pronounced enough to be considered bipolar 2. I can tell you that today, one week after I made the video, I have a lot of energy and have a discernable prance in my step. Though I'm enjoying this immensely, I know that this too is not my normal norm. It's the rainbow after the storm...before the atmosphere goes back to normal.
Thanks a lot for your comment.