Coping With Bipolar Depression

Bipolar disorder can often be a complex illness to live with. At certain points, the depression may become too overwhelming and the mania may escalate too far to be able to cope successfully. Sometimes it’s too late to take back what has been said or done and that can be a frightening experience. The key to coping with bipolar disorder successfully is to try to catch and prevent the mood from escalating any further. At first, it may not seem so simple, but it takes time, patience, and a little practice. It requires taking a step back and looking within and identifying what is going on in the mind and to look for any noticeable patterns in the moods.

Those who live with bipolar disorder won’t all experience the same symptoms in the same way, therefore, not every coping strategy or tools will be effective for everyone.

Coping With Depression:

Photo by: imagerymajestic

Photo by: imagerymajestic

It can almost seem impossible to think of how to help yourself when you’re in a depressed state when nothing seems to be going right in the first place. Sometimes all you want to do is just lie down, cry, scream, or take a few moments to recover and that is perfectly okay. It is okay to lay down, rest, and have a good cry. It can be rather soothing and healthy as well. When it comes to coping with depression, it can be complicated because not all coping tools will work in certain situations. For example, a tool that helped a depression episode last week, may not work as well for this week’s episode.

Some Questions To Keep In Mind:

  • Can you tell when your moods have suddenly shifted?

  • Are you able to catch yourself and cope before it escalates any further? Maybe you’ve notice that all of a sudden your thoughts have turned negative, or that you’ve suddenly become irritable or emotional. Try to look for the first big clue that would give you an idea that a depression episode has begun. After you have identified the mood change, act quickly using some coping skills. Try not to let it escalate as best you can.

  • Did something trigger this episode? Was it random?

  • What would help you calm down or feel better? Speak what works. Share your feelings. If no one is around, write them down.

  • Is it serious enough to call your doctor and inform him/her? It is generally always important to keep your doctor up to date with your mood patterns. It may be worth calling your doctor if the episodes keep recurring and are interfering with your daily life. Need a great mood chart and symptom tracker? Check out Patients Like Me. I highly recommend it!

Coping Skills For Depression:

First, figure out what would help you the most. What do you need? What would help you feel better? If it means lying down and doing nothing at all, then do that. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable and safe.

  • Take deep, relaxing breaths. Slowly in through your nose, out through your mouth. Remember to breathe slowly.

  • If at work or in class, get up, take walk, or excuse yourself to the restroom for a few minutes. Take a break.

  • Try using positive self-talk. Try to talk yourself down. Examples: “Everything will be okay.” “Hang in there.” “This too shall pass.” “The depression doesn’t last.” etc. This usually helps. Keep repeating if you need to.

  • Lie down and listen to music.

  • Watch a favorite movie or TV show.

  • Go outside and take a walk. Get some sun.

  • Exercise or do some yoga. Do some stretches and workouts to overcome the feelings of tension. Remember to breathe.

  • Lie down and rest with the lights off or with candles.

  • Take a relaxing bubble bath with candle light.

  • Talk with a counselor, trusted friend, family member, or your partner.

  • Snuggle or lie down with a pet. A cats purr and a dog’s love and loyalty can be quite soothing.

  • Do something you love to do. Draw, write, make crafts, or paint.

  • Play video games.

  • Squeeze a stress ball.

  • Sing! Believe it or not, singing is a positive activity because it reduces negative thinking. When you sing, you aren’t focusing on the negative thoughts, you are focusing on the words and the act of singing itself. (I love to sing even though I’m not good at it. It just makes me feel better and helps.)

For more tips on how to handle depression, please visit:

Coping skills for anxiety and mania coming soon.

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  1. Pingback: Bipolar Depression - Description and Definition of the Disease | UnDepress

  2. some cycles of mania or depression are rapid cycling, and happen very quickly, but others last for months…i recommend from my own experience to keep a journal, doesn’t have to be elaborate or drawn out, just jot down the “feelings” the “triggers” and maybe how long it takes to recover…finding the pattern is the first step, this also works with regular health issues…thank you for following my blog also, i am sharing a link on facebook, several of my family and friends have mental illness and i know they would appreciate an additional viewpoint

  3. Awesome article!! I am enjoying reading your work! And thank YOU for becoming a follower of my new blog!

  4. Pingback: Maintaining Friendships and Relationships With Bipolar Disorder - Weathering the Storm: Overcoming Bipolar Disorder

  5. I like the ideas for coping with stress, especially the bath, with a cup of tea (Oh! Those Britishers!), a smelly candle and my kindle. Does it every time! Be sure not to mistake the cat for the stress ball, or it could get messy! (I miss my dog. I gave him away when I was going to travel 🙁 I’m thinking of doing some short-term dog fostering. Dogs give unconditional love: the best therapy!
    Keep smiling everyone!

  6. Very helpful, I am not bipolar but do suffer from depression. I usually know when my mod just shifted as I will have not desire to leave my room to the point of getting anxiety for just thinking of leaving. Usually I just start drawing, listening to music or rearranging the furniture of my room or apartment. I just do anything that keeps me busy in my home. Then, I will just go out practically in babysteps. It goes away eventually, for a while. I am glad you found my blog, as i really like your tips. Thank you!!…o_O

  7. I reposted with the link to this blog page. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas

  8. Pingback: Another View on Coping Skills | theupsanddownsofmyworld

  9. You are so right about singing :). It helps me with headaches too! Thank you for the great info.

  10. I don’t know if there is a way to leave a comment without it being on a specific post so I’ll just go ahead and post here. I saw your bipolar store and I really like the “Bipolar Awareness” graphic. Did you design it? Are you planning on doing any other graphics for t-shirts and such? Just curious. I enjoy your posts, too, so I started following you as well!

  11. I’m going thru the down patch at the moment, but this time I’ve recognized it… Calling in sick to work because too depressed to go. Getting prescription from dr today kinda proud of myself!

  12. Very helpful, thank you.
    I’ve reblogged 🙂

  13. Pingback: Coping With Bipolar Depression « HONESTTOGODJO

  14. Singing may be the best suggestion there is — or making any kind of music. Making music involves more parts of the brain than any other common activity and — at least for me — the more parts of my brain I have in motion, the more likely I am to avoid slipping into a deep depression.

  15. I especially love the suggestion of singing. I can’t sing but I love to, regardless!

  16. If you find the usual medications do not work for you or are difficult to tolerate keep looking for something that can manage your symptoms and leave you with a higher quality of life. Check into

  17. Beautifully done! You have covered most of the tools that one might use to manage their illness! Cudo’s!

  18. Reblogged this on jhalladay13 and commented:
    A very well thought out blog for dealing with, and living with Depression and Bipolar illnesses!

  19. Thank you for posting this. I’m doing all kinds of strange at the moment, feeling okay and not quite, and it was helpful reading this (even though I’ve read similar stuff it’s nice to get it from someone who really knows)

  20. Thanks for posting this! I’m having the worst time with depression and anxiety right now and just struggling in general with bipolar II. I enjoy your posts, keep it up!

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