Getting Through the Day When You Have Crippling Depression
By Sarah Fader
Updated June 12, 2019
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
When you have crippling depression, sometimes just getting through the day is a pretty big challenge. There are days when you don't even want to get out of bed in the morning. When you have responsibilities like school, work, or kids, crippling depression can become a bit problematic.
When you're depressed, it's important not to be too hard on yourself. Even small things like showering and getting dressed in the morning are big achievements when you're feeling down. Realize that it's okay to ask for help and know that there are treatments (like medication and therapy) that can help you handle depressive episodes a little better when they happen.
If you need someone to talk to you can try services like BetterHelp that offer affordable online counseling. Sign up is easy, and BetterHelp lets you exchange unlimited messages with a professional matched to your needs.
What is Crippling Depression?
When asked to define crippling depression, some people disagree. Generally, crippling depression is clinical depression (also known as major depression or major depressive disorder) that is so bad it affects a person's ability to function on a basic level. It interferes with a person's work, life, and relationships.
Are you or someone you know suffering from depression that's having a negative impact on your quality of life? The first thing to do is speak to your doctor and get a diagnosis, then you will be able to consider the different treatment options available to you. Some symptoms of clinical depression include:
- 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
- Loss of interest in usual interests or activities
- Suicidal thoughts and/or attempts
To be diagnosed with clinical depression, patients must report experiencing a depressed mood for most of the day, daily for at least two weeks.
Just How Common is Crippling Depression?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), major depressive disorder "affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year." They also note that MDD is, "The leading cause of disability in the US for ages 15 to 44.3," and affects more women than men.
Many people have never experienced a depressive episode in their lives, so they don't understand how depression can be so debilitating. This can make people with depression feel alone, but the statistics show that in any given year millions of Americans suffer from major depression. Those numbers don't include individuals who might be undiagnosed, like people who are uninsured, children and teens.
idubbbz I Have Crippling Depression
Although many people don't understand crippling depression, enough people have experienced it that an idubbbz meme has been spread across the internet and seen by millions. If you search 'I have crippling depression gif' on Google, you get many results, including the original which was created by popular YouTuber with a large teen fanbase.
The original video, Disabled Pokemon Go - Eevee + Zubat, was posted on YouTube by iDubbbzTV2 and has nearly 5 million views. The shortened video by The Eskimo has over 3 million views on YouTube and simply features a man jumping from a vehicle into a wheelchair and saying to the camera, "I have crippling depression." I have crippling depression memes aren't uncommon, believe it or not.
Comments on the shortened video range from things like "well this pretty much explains my entire existence" to "what makes it funny to make fun of people with crippling depression," but it's clear that this video has gained quite a bit of popularity since it was posted in 2016. If anything, the video has sparked a little bit of a dialogue about crippling depression, which is still stigmatized even today.
So How Do You Get Through the Day with Crippling Depression?
- Get into a Routine
Trying to follow a basic routine every day (or even five days a week) can give you structure and help you get going even when you aren't feeling up to it. What makes you feel good and ready to get your day started in the morning? 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 the way you like it so getting up and going through your day won't feel like too much of a drag. Make sure you schedule fun and self-care into your week too! Planning a movie night with a friend on the weekend or a nice long bath to relax after a stressful day during the week can make a big difference in how you feel.
- Forgive Yourself
When you have crippling depression, you need to accept that you're going to have good days and bad days. As much as you might try to plan and prepare there will be days when you aren't feeling up to doing anything, and that's okay sometimes. Being too hard on yourself will make things worse. Allow yourself the time you need to feel better and know that tomorrow is a new day.
Sometimes we are way too hard on ourselves and imagine that the world can't go on without us. You might panic at the thought of calling into work or worry that if you take a nap, you might miss picking up your kids from school. Cut yourself some slack. You might be surprised to find that your boss and co-workers are understanding and want you to get better, or a family member might be more than happy to pick up your kids from school to give you a break sometimes.
- Have a Support System
A strong support system is an excellent way to complement the treatment you are receiving 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.
It's important that your support system is understanding and knows at least a little bit about how depression works. The wrong approach can be less than helpful, which is why it's important to surround yourself with the right people. Let your friends and family know that sometimes you may just need them to be around, help around the house a little, or listen when you need to talk.
- Celebrate Wins (Big and Small)
Just like it's important to forgive yourself when you need rest, it's also important that you celebrate wins when you're feeling depressed. From making your bed in the morning to going to work all week without calling in sick or leaving early, it's important that you recognize that you can do things despite your depression. You deserve to live a happy life and to celebrate wins, big or small.
When you've been doing good for a while, or you've been pushing through despite wanting to curl up in bed all day, give yourself credit. Noticing when you do, or experience good things is a great way to turn the focus off things that are making you feel down. If you only focus on the things that you do wrong, you're going to keep yourself in a depressed frame of mind longer.
- Practice Self-Care
Taking good care of yourself can be hard but it's important, that's why we suggest taking the time to work self-care into your schedule. Like other responsibilities, sometimes we'd rather curl up and watch TV instead of taking time out of our day to work out or do something else that's good for us. Just remember that a little self-care can go a long way.
Keep in mind that self-care doesn't have to be complicated. You can make your self-care really 'boring' or simple, like prepping healthy meals for the week and making sure you take the time to shower every day. When you feel like you need an extra boost, find time to do things that make you feel good like hitting the gym, lighting a scented candle and reading a good book, or whatever helps you relax.
If you find yourself dreading getting out of bed in the morning, know that you're not alone. It's possible to learn to live with crippling depression, which some people experience just once in their life and others experience several times over the course of months or years. Despite the stigma surrounding mental illness, it's important to seek out a diagnosis and follow through with treatment.
In the meantime, if you're experiencing crippling depression there are several things you can do when you need to get through the day. Following a simple routine is a good place to start. Celebrate small and big wins, but don't be too hard on yourself. Lastly, make sure you have some type of social support system in place to take off some of the pressure and make self-care a priority, even when you don't feel like it.