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Tips to manage depression and low mood

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Many people with bipolar disorder remember their first experiences of mood swings. Maybe during teenage years, maybe following life stresses that other people didn’t seem to be bothered about. And a lot of people don’t get formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder until they have had serious episodes of depression and manic illness - but have had periods of depression that have been distressing.

People with bipolar disorder are more sensitive to stress. That means taking longer to get over a stressful event. Feeling depressed also makes it harder to do the activities that usually give you good feelings.

Antidepressant drugs can help with serious depression but they won’t magically get you to feel good. If the depression lasts for more than two weeks then talking to a doctor to discuss antidepressant medication is a good place to start.

There are some good strategies that people who have lived through mood swings can recommend

Recognising what triggers feelings of depression: is it an interaction with someone who upsets you? Is it thinking of something you have to do?

Learning ways ways to manage the triggers: taking it through with a counsellor or trusted friend can help.

Are there physical reasons for episodes of depression? Women may have periods of depression during their  menstrual cyc

le that are distressing and very real. Talking to a doctor about hormonal treatment and getting management of your menstrual cycle can help.

Other physical reasons that may be less inked to depression: check with your doctor if you are taking medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or any serious medical condition 

Social interaction and support networks

Feeling depressed can mean you don’t feel like talking to anyone or that you don’t have anything to offer or that you are a burden and not worth talking to. Think of people in your life who you could chat to, or do something pleasant with.

It’s ok to avoid people who you find stressful or negative or judgmental.

Exercise and movement

Moving your body releases “ feel good “ chemicals known as endorphins. Some ideas: Going for  a short walk, getting outside the house, moving around while you are listening to music or watching a video.

Saying no to the negative

It’s a real trap trying to work out why you feel dreadful. Leave the heavy discussions to your sessions with your counsellor or doctor.

Give yourself a holiday from the negative feelings and say “stop” to yourself and focus on something nice you can do which you can feel good about.

These are just some ideas from our members. Tell us what you have done to get through a period of depression

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