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​How to Get Through the Day When Severely Depressed

Deborah O. Day, Psy.D - Wednesday, February 20, 2019


When you are severely depressed and down, it can feel like just getting through the day is a challenge that is simply insurmountable. Depression is a serious mental health condition and it is completely understandable that you feel that way sometimes. The problem is that you may not have any strategies for getting through the day when you are severely depressed. Get to know some of the ways you can manage the situation so that you can make it through the day as well as possible when you are fighting severe depression.


Break It Down into Manageable Time Increments


Depression can often make it feel as though the minutes last for hours and the day is simply too long to fathom. That is okay. You may not be able to simply tell yourself not to think that way or that the day is not that long. Depression doesn't work that way.


Instead of trying to battle with your own brain in this frustrating and fruitless way, try to focus on smaller increments of time. For example, try to make it through the next hour and just focus on that one hour. Do not think of anything beyond it.


If an hour is too long, try a half an hour, 15 minutes or even five minutes. At your very worst, you may only be able to focus on one minute. That is okay. Just focus on these small increments of time, and you will get through them.



Acknowledge that you successfully achieved these time goals. Every time you do so, you will be countering the negative thoughts and feelings you are having.


Try to Achieve Something Small


Getting out from under your covers or even out of bed can be daunting when you are severely depressed. But, even if it doesn't seem like it, you will be doing yourself a favor if you can achieve something in the day.


Your achievement doesn't have to be anything big. Maybe make it your goal to go sit on the couch and watch TV. Or to do some kind of grooming activity like brushing your teeth, putting on deodorant, or if you are feeling really ambitious, take a shower. Even just running a comb through your hair or putting on Chapstick can be an achievement.


Once you achieve one small thing, try to do another. If you can't, then you already achieved more than you thought you could, and if you can, you will learn that you can fight your depression better than you thought you could.


Do Something Nice for Yourself


Self-care is important when you are struggling with depression. Sometimes, doing something nice for yourself can make a huge difference in your mood and help you break through the din of depression.


Maybe schedule yourself a massage or have a partner give you a massage to help relieve your depression-related aches and pains. You could also get a manicure or pedicure, go to the chiropractor or acupuncturist, or go to a salon and get your hair washed and cut.



While these may seem like major undertakings when you are depressed, if you can do them, they will often help your mood a great deal.


Be Kind to Yourself


Most importantly, when you are struggling with severe depression, you must be kind to yourself. Your depression is not your fault. It is a chemical imbalance, and it is a disease that you do not have full control over, whether you take medications for it or not.


Be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack. If you try to get out of bed and then end up right back under the covers, that's okay. You can try again later. There is always tomorrow. Do not ridicule yourself for your depression. That will only make you feel worse.


Kindness and self-compassion are vital in overcoming depression. Try to practice these concepts no matter how much you can do from the other suggestions.


Now that you have a few ideas of how to get through the day when you are severely depressed, give one or more of these options a try as soon as possible. Remember, always practice kindness toward yourself in the process.


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