Minimizing the Hidden Cost of Depression

Depression is heavy and impacts every aspect of life because of the drain on energy and motivation. This drain on energy and motivation can lead to a loss of gains made when not feeling depressed, which can make coming out of a depression feel daunting. Couple that with the expectations of others that if a depressed person has a good day then they are better, and it can make the journey back feel impossible. My clients often express a “what have I done?” feeling when they see their life through a lens that is not completely depressed. Post-depression, the house is usually a mess, the laundry has piled up, friendships and romantic relationships have been neglected, and all projects are overdue. It can feel overwhelming and trigger a relapse. I promise you that your life is not ruined, even if it looks that way. Certain aspects of your life may be neglected and in need of a little extra care, but that neglect can be accounted for in manageable ways.

When coming out of a depression I always recommend having the mindset that the first step is planning. I recommend this because depression doesn’t just magically end in a day. It is usually a good day here and there mixed in with depressed days, and how we use those good days usually dictates how long and how bad the next dip will be. Planning during the first few up days allows us to capitalize on the current and next up cycles. It also helps us with the reality that not every up cycle is equal. There is an inherent lopsidedness to the process that can’t be helped. I advise making a few plans, and maybe planning that the first few up days are just used for planning. Overloading yourself on up days can prolong depression. Being honest about your energy level and what you can and cannot do is important.

It is also important to acknowledge where your energy went during your depression and celebrate yourself for that. We often expend a lot of energy in keeping our job, paying our bills, and doing what is necessary to sustain our current level. That is worthy of celebration. When planning how to come back from a depression, remember that being kind to yourself is a major part of that. Have compassion for the need to let things slide and understand that you did not choose to be depressed. Give yourself permission to take things slowly. Understand that the process should be easing yourself into life again. I cannot stress enough that this process should be slow and steady. Be patient with yourself and know that you are deserving of the time it takes to rebuild.

Posted on 18 Apr 2023 03:02

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