People With Depression Can Have Flare Up Days Too
Updated: Apr 18
Usually they say, if you show depressive symptoms for more than two weeks it‘s a sign of depression. It's a good rule of thumb when diagnosing someone with depression. However, depressive episodes don't always work like that especially if you've been previously diagnosed with depression. Sometimes they do last two weeks or more or sometimes they just last a day or two. People with depression can have flare ups just like someone who has Arthritis or Crohn‘s Disease can have flare ups.
The same goes for anxiety. I think that’s more obvious though, at least to me, because of anxiety attacks and how sudden and unexpected they can be. Also how quick they usually are (even though during them they feel like f o r e v e r). Any who, my point is that you can feel depressed for a day or two and then go back to not feeling depressed. You can go from feeling extremely happy one day to feeling extremely depressed the next. That doesn’t take away from either of those feelings. They’re both real. One wasn’t necessarily a mask you were just putting on.
I’ve experienced many anxiety flare ups and am pretty used to them... if it's even possible to get used to something like that. However, my depressive episodes have never really flared up out of nowhere and they have mostly just gradually happened. Until two weeks ago. I do have to mention that I am pregnant and in my third trimester, so hormones are likely to have been a factor. So this could be a case of pregnancy symptoms or a case of depression symptoms or both. It’s really hard to figure out between the two, but I don’t think that really matters. Both depression and pregnancy can make you have depressive flare ups. The most important thing is to acknowledge it and talk through it.
This flare up for me lasted a little bit over 48 hours. The scariest part was that there was not one specific trigger that set me off and that I was also feeling stable right before it started. So it was pretty much a 180 in my emotions. This happens and does not make you crazy if it happens to you!! I’m saying this because I did feel crazy during this whole time which I think made it a little bit harder for me to get out of. I also started to question if I had just been hiding these feelings and have secretly been depressed for awhile. Before this all began I felt pretty good and stable, so it confused me how my emotions were able to switch so quickly and with no specific trigger. I didn't know what emotions I could trust anymore.
I was quite terrified these few days to be honest. For the first time in two years, some suicidal thoughts did show up. Which completely shocked me because just a few hours before I was feeling excited about my life. I threw my body on the ground because that was the only way I could make myself feel grounded. Laying or sitting on the ground is a big red flag for my depression which made me start to believe that I was going down a dark path. These few days were a complete roller coaster. I could cry on the drop of a dime.
It was not only me that went through it though because in a way my husband went through it too. He was my rock that whole time and never once made me feel judged. He made me feel understood and supported. He never left my side and even worked from home because he didn’t want to leave me alone. I’m aware that not everyone has that support, but just know that it’s out there! AND it doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t met that person for you yet. It takes hard work. My husband has gone through therapy with me to better understand my mental illnesses. We talk through our emotions and thoughts daily. He has put in a lot of work, thought, and patience in order to help me through these situations and I am forever thankful for that. He is the one who took care of me during this flare up.
How do I know this was just a flare up? Well it's because it only last a few days. Once I was on the other side, it's almost as if it never happened. It all seemed like a blur. The suicidal thoughts were no longer near and the crying spells completely stopped. However, I was still exhausted. It wasn’t only emotionally and mentally exhausting, but it was physically exhausting as well. What do you think carries your depression? It's not only your brain chemicals; it's your whole body. It is in the migraines you can get from crying so much. It is in the shoulders you're using to carry your heavy body. Even though I was emotionally and mentally recovered, my body took a few days afterward to recover. That’s okay.
I did go to therapy a few days after and talked through this whole experience. It was reassuring that I was able to get to the other side before my therapy session. However, therapy was still necessary. It gave me a better understanding of what had happened and maybe why it happened. Hormones did play a big part in it all, but so did things from my past. Now that I am a mom it is interesting how different parts of my childhood, that never showed up in therapy before, did resurface. That definitely contributed to this little flare up too.
Life is always changing which is changing your emotions and thoughts. If you’re pregnant, hormones are always changing which is changing your emotions and thoughts. The chemicals in your brain may be changing for many different reasons which is changing your emotions and thoughts. Depressive flare ups happen for different reasons and as scary as it sounds, you may not have any control during those moments. It’s important to know that you can talk about it and you‘re not crazy. You’re allowed to feel happy one day and depressed the next if a flare up does randomly show up! I’m telling you this from a place of recent experience because I know how scary or confusing depressive flare ups can be.