Getting Through the Day When You Have Crippling Depression

Updated January 17, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

When you have crippling depression, sometimes just getting through the day is challenging. There are days when you don't even want to get out of bed, and showering and getting dressed may feel like big achievements. When you have depression, it's essential not to be too hard on yourself. It's okay to ask for help. With the right treatment plan, you can begin tackling your symptoms and get back to doing the things you used to enjoy.

Crippling Depression Can Make It Difficult To Do Anything

What Is Crippling Depression?

While some disagree about the definition of crippling depression, it is generally synonymous with clinical depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. As implied by the name, major depressive disorder is part of a type of mental illness known as a mood disorder. 

There are actually several forms of depression, and any of them can be debilitating. They include:

  • Major depressive disorder (major depression)

  • Postpartum depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) 

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Seasonal affective disorder 

  • Psychotic depression

Crippling depression refers to persistent feelings of sadness that affect a person's ability to function on a fundamental level. It can lead to job loss, estranged relationships, substance abuse, self-harm, or even suicide.

Here are the clinical symptoms of depression:

  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness

  • Sleep disturbances (sleeping too much or too little)

  • Weight loss or weight gain

  • Sudden angry outbursts

  • Slowed thought, speech, and physical movements

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Loss of interest in usual interests or activities

  • Attempts as self-harm

  • Suicidal thoughts 

To be diagnosed with clinical depression, patients must report experiencing a depressed mood for most of the day, every day, for at least two weeks.

Are you living with depression that's hurting your quality of life? Speak to a doctor or licensed mental health professional to get a diagnosis, so you can consider the different treatment options available.

Risk Factors For Depression

Here are some of the commonly-accepted risk factors for depression:

  • Family history or genetics

  • Substance abuse

  • Major life changes

  • Death of loved ones like friends or family

  • Conflict

  • Certain medications

  • Isolation

How Do You Get Through The Day With Crippling Depression?

While each person might respond differently to depression, there are some widely used tactics with the potential to help improve your mood. Read through this list to see what you can do to get through the day.

Get Into A Routine

Following a basic routine every day (or even five days a week) can help give you structure and push yourself to get going even when you aren't feeling up to it. What makes you feel good and ready to start your day in the morning? Start there. For example, do you like having your clothes laid out the night before, jumping in the shower, then eating breakfast with a nice cup of coffee or tea?

Design your routine how you like it so that getting up and beginning your day will feel manageable. Make sure you schedule self-care into your week too! Planning a long bath to relax after a stressful day can significantly affect your feelings.

Forgive Yourself

When you have crippling depression, it’s common to have good days and bad days. As much as you might try to plan and prepare for life’s moments, there will be days when you aren't feeling up to doing anything, and that's okay. Being too hard on yourself can make things worse, so instead, allow yourself all the time you need to begin feeling better. Remember the mantra that tomorrow is a new day to make a fresh start.

Have A Support System

A strong support system is an excellent complement to medical treatment for your clinical depression. A support system that consists of friends, family, doctors, and therapists can help you get through your worst depressive episodes and potentially help you keep your depression under control so that future episodes are less frequent or at least less severe.

Celebrate Wins (Big And Small)

Just like it's important to forgive yourself when you need rest, it's also vital that you celebrate little victories. From making your bed in the morning to working all week without calling in sick or leaving early, you deserve to live a happy life and celebrate every single win, big or small.

If you only focus on the negatives, you could stay in a depressed frame of mind longer. When you've been doing well for a while, or you've been pushing through despite wanting to curl up in bed all day, take notice and give yourself credit. Experiencing positive moments is a great way to turn the focus off things making you feel down and focus instead on your progress.

Physical Exercise

Sometimes we'd rather curl up and watch TV instead of making time to work out or do something good for ourselves. Taking good care of yourself can be challenging, but it's vital to your physical and mental health.

Take the time to incorporate exercise into your day—enough that you sweat. A little exercise can go a long way: research shows that exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. Keep in mind that exercise doesn't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as doing five push-ups followed by 20 sit-ups and repeating again and again until you start to sweat. Always remember to stretch and take deep breaths.

Treatment Options For Crippling Depression

While severe depression feels debilitating, the good news is that various treatment options are available. With particularly severe symptoms of depression, you may need to seek professional medical advice from health and wellness professionals, such as a doctor or psychiatrist.

Here are some of the common therapeutic approaches for depression:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

  • Dialectical-behavioral therapy

  • Electroconvulsive therapy

  • Family therapy

The most common treatment is typically talk therapy, though it is often combined with medications to reduce symptoms of depression. While the therapy takes time, your treatment provider may prescribe antidepressant medications to you to help manage symptoms. These typically fall into two categories:

The idea behind both of these medications is to alleviate the worst symptoms of depression temporarily. This is an invaluable service for those in therapy, which usually takes at least a few weeks to work.

There are other forms of antidepressant medication, too. A meta-review in the Lancet found that all forms of antidepressant medication were more effective than placebo in treating major depression. The medication your doctor prescribes will depend on your symptoms.

Seek Help 

Working with a mental health professional can be essential to overcoming depression. Not only can online therapists help you identify depression triggers, but they can help you learn coping strategies for times when your depression hits especially hard.

If you’re dealing with depression symptoms that make it hard to get out of bed, the last thing you might want to do is drive to a therapist's office for a session. Online therapy is a way to get treatment from the comfort of your home. You don’t have to worry about going to an office or meeting face-to-face with someone, and you can reach out to your therapist 24/7, and they will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Research shows that online therapy can play a significant role in reducing depression symptoms. For example, one study found that online therapy was even more effective than traditional in-person sessions, with most participants in the online group showing continued symptom reduction three months after treatment. Another found that participation in a therapist-supervised, mobile phone app-based treatment program significantly declined symptoms among those with moderate-to-severe depression. If you’re interested in online therapy, connect with a BetterHelp therapist to get started

Counselor Reviews

“Thanks to Melissa Powell I have come to the realization that I am dealing with depression and anxiety (a hard pill to swallow) and am now working on developing a routine/coping and grounding skills that will assist me in everyday living and in the event of an anxiety attack or a depression episode. Melissa also helped me understand that some days are going to be harder than most and on those days I have to work harder to get the simplest of tasks done and that is ok.”

Crippling Depression Can Make It Difficult To Do Anything

“Adrianne is fantastic! She's a great listener and is great to talk to. She really understands what I'm going through and how I'm feeling. In-between sessions she sends me exercises that give me things I can work on based on what we've talked about. I can also message her via text/voice if I need anything and I get a quick response. Adrianne has been helping me through my depression and I'm grateful for all she's done so far. I really look forward to our sessions.”


If you're living with crippling depression, try implementing the tips above to find what helps you make it through the day. No matter what, you can get through this. All you need are the right tools.

Commonly Asked Questions Below:

What is meant by crippling depression?

Someone who experiences crippling depression has symptoms so severe depression that they interfere with daily activities, such as working and living normally. After a setback or a loved one's passing, some of those affected go through periods that continue for a few weeks or months. Sometimes it can persist for even longer than that.

What makes a mental illness crippling?

What is the worse form of depression?

What are the 5 levels of depression?

What is last stage depression?

Is depression a permanent condition?

You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.

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