Bipolar Depression – When Will I Feel Better?

August 26, 2015 Natasha Tracy

I’m sitting here feeling like dreck, and for the millionth time this lifetime I ask myself, “When will I feel better from bipolar depression?” This is such a common question from me and so many others. We all want to know when this magical time will occur. When will the pain stop? When will I stop feeling like such crap? When can I get back to my life? When will I feel better from bipolar depression?

Bipolar Depression Feels Infinite

Bipolar depression is painful so people want to know when they will feel better. Learn more about when you can expect to feel better from bipolar depression.I have spoken to people who have been depressed for a week and those that have been depressed for a year and they both want to know when they will feel better from bipolar depression because bipolar depression feels infinite when you’re in it. I feel almost like laughing at someone who has been depressed on the order of weeks because that is the blink of an eye for me. That, of course, would not be fair. Bipolar depression can wreak havoc on a person’s life on the order of weeks just like it can once it sits on you for months or more. I know this. And I know that when you’re in the deepest pit of despair it feels like all you’ve ever been is depressed and all you’ll ever be is depressed even when these things clearly aren’t true.

Bipolar Depression Treatment Takes Time to Work

And while you’re in the deepest, blackest most painful pit of your life, you have to take depression medications that can take between 4-6 weeks to work – if, indeed, they end up working at all. So doctors are asking you to stay in your pit for weeks more. And then weeks after that if you have to try a second medication and weeks after that if you have to try a third. It feels interminable.

I Don’t Know When You Will Feel Better from Bipolar Depression

And the fact is, no one knows when I, or anyone, will feel better from bipolar depression, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness. These things happen when they happen. Medications work when they work. I remember one medication that worked within a week. It was miraculous. I have never seen that repeated but I saw it once. I remember one medication that worked well in about that 4-6 week time period too. So does this mean with a new treatment I will feel better within a week or a month? Nope. It doesn’t.

Because every treatment is different and at every point in time you and your bipolar depression is different. Our illnesses are moving targets. What worked once may never work again or in the same way. I’m sorry, that’s just how it goes. I wish I had better news, but I don’t.

How to Improve the Odds of Feeling Better from Bipolar Depression

But the good news about our illnesses ever-changing is that it means that the pit can’t stay as deep and dark and death-filled as it is today forever. It just can’t. We all change. All the time.

So when will I feel better from bipolar depression? I don’t know but I have to have faith that I will. Eventually.

See also:

Bipolar And The Pressure To Get Better


Image by American Advisors Group.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or Google+, @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2015, August 26). Bipolar Depression – When Will I Feel Better?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

August, 26 2015 at 2:00 pm

I am sorry you are struggling, today. I have most certainly been there. I wouldn't wish on you, what you allowed to continue on your blog toward me, when I was struggling as you are now.
Take care, Natasha.

August, 26 2015 at 4:02 pm

You missed diet and exercise... in addition to therapy and medication. For me the switch flipped when I started exercising. I started very small at first and went up from there. Consistency is key. I forced myself to do a little bit each week with the limited energy that I had and I was surprised how well it worked over time

betty sainz
August, 26 2015 at 5:24 pm

Natasha, sorry to hear that you are suffering. My heart goes out to you. Do you have complete confidence in the doctors you see? Are you confident in your doctors? Can it hurt to check out other mental health specialists?

August, 26 2015 at 5:52 pm

Hi Natasha, sorry that you're struggling so much and can't seem to find a medication to help with your depression. I was there for a very long time. 15 years! Tried over 30 different meds. A dozen ect treatments. My illness kept getting worse. I finally made the decision to, under a doctor's care, slowly taper off all the meds. It wasn't easy, took some time and learning new coping skills and ways of living, but I finally beat the bipolar depression, and mania and psychosis and all the other crazy sh*t I was experiencing while taking psyche drugs. Have you ever tried tapering off meds? I know some people have a hard time withdrawing from such powerful drugs, I sure did. But in the end it was worth it; for me and the people in my life. I know some people are REALLY opposed to anyone coming off meds. Why is that, when this approach has worked for many? I know other bipolar people who are doing better off meds, just like me. My last psychiatrist was fine with me trying this approach, he gave me a safe withdrawing schedule and is happy to know I am doing well today. And he knows, as well as i, that I was once bat sh*t crazy.

Holly Leigh
August, 26 2015 at 7:10 pm

Sorry you aren't feeling well. I agree with Guy, have you ever considered tapering or not always treating depressive episodes with meds? Every time I feel my mood going down the tubes, my psychiatrist and I decide WHETHER adding something pharmacological is a good idea or not. He fully acknowledges that doing something med wise may make things worse rather than better, that it really is a crapshoot whether something will help, as you also allude to. We consider other options, like more frequent therapy sessions (i do my psychotherapy with him too, so this works out well) or upping my game with other helpful things (for me, that has lately been getting extra sun for vitamin d, and some studies show sunlight itself has positive mood effects and increases serotonin). Also, another thing I'd add is that psychotherapy isn't just about the techniques learned, but the relationship between provider and patient (and studies have shown therapeutic alliance is one of the most important predictors of successful psychotherapy). When I feel myself going down the tubes, a big part of what helps me is the act of having someone who has a history of sticking with me no matter how bad things may seem, and is fully committed to helping finding something that works well for ME as an individual. As a result of all this, things have tapered down naturally med wise over time. Again, hope things get better soon.

betty sainz
August, 27 2015 at 2:37 am

I extended heartfelt compassion to you but it didn't make it. I hope you will find relief for your pain soon. I can relate.

betty sainz
August, 27 2015 at 2:41 am

Leave Natasha alone.
She's kind enough to let you post here. Your motivation is simple but wrong. She didn't ask for your advice. Why do you push your anti-med crusade all day everyday?

Holly Leigh
August, 27 2015 at 3:12 am

Don't know when my last comment will be published, but just wanted to say to Betty that this is a post on when will people get better from bipolar depression. Yes, she talks about her current situation, but she is also giving to her readers. They should hear other perspectives and solutions. Even if a study says that overall people do best with meds and psychotherapy, that doesn't mean that finding applies to everyone, it just means for the overall population, that was what was found (of course, those studies may have other biases affecting real world individual applicability, e.g., how long the study was conducted, what meds were used).

betty sainz
August, 27 2015 at 5:51 am

Why did you opt for meds if you didn't need medical intervention in the first place?. You say you finally beat all the crazy stuff once you quit meds.

Greg Mercer, MSN
August, 27 2015 at 11:39 am

For what it's worth, based on my own experience with depression & much research & clinical experience:
1) Each time feels likes the worst ever, because your memory of past episodes are just shadows. Reality trumps shadows every time.
2) Depression LIES. It tells you nothing will ever get better, that you're finished, that it's all your fault. It's an extremely talented, powerful liar. Reality is VERY different.
Good luck! You do great work and you matter to lots of people.
- Greg

Juan Diablo
August, 28 2015 at 2:02 am

This too shall pass.

August, 28 2015 at 4:27 pm

Fortunately, my anti-depressants are working for me. I don't feel as lifeless and hopeless.
Depression was one of the worse times in my life. I just wanted to live in a nursing home because I could barely do anything. I hope I never have to go through a long period of depression again. Hope you find something that will lift you up sooner rather than later...Pam

betty sainz
August, 29 2015 at 4:09 am

How are you right now, Natasha? Years ago I read a book about going through intensely difficult and painful times. After doing everything we could to face the situation, sometimes all we had left to do was to breathe. Sometimes we were so drained, breathing is all we could manage. Breathing. I never thought I would aspire just to breathe, but considering the degree of pain I was in, it was comforting to realize that that was plenty to do to be proud of myself for those seconds or hours or days and it still is.

August, 31 2015 at 4:37 pm

Natasha, your writing means so much to me. Bipolar makes a person feel so alone, even living among a supportive group of people who don't have a mental illness. They can't know how it is. This blog and Burble have eased that feeling of isolation a lot for me. Your case is very similar to mine, so I really relate. The way you are able to put your experience with bipolar into words is phenomenal! I admire that a lot. My depressions always last a long time too. The depression never truly leaves. I'm on the best meds ever, but nothing is perfect. They allow me to slog on much of the time. Without them I'd be dead, because I was at that point when, finally, a medication crossed the med resistance line. Hugs to you in the pit. My affectionate thoughts are with you.

September, 4 2015 at 1:43 am

I just came out of 18 months in the darkness but the hypomania that has taken its place may turn out to be worse. I normally look forward to being a little manic, especially after the longest bout with suicidal ideation I have ever had to bear but this new HM episode is an SOB. I am really angry and impatient now. It is going to take a lot of effort to keep from reading the riot act to my managers and losing my job. My poor wife having to live with a husband on the verge of collapse so long and only to have to live now with Mr. Hyde.

September, 21 2015 at 11:22 pm

I'm just sharing my experience with Bipolar II to let those who experience this know that there are others feeling the same way.
Everyday I live life like it's a dream and I feel like I was born into the wrong body. Nothing people says, or do, will really change how I feel. The days pass by and at the end of the day I ask myself, "Did I do anything today?" because all the feelings just vanish and I don't feel any emotions or remember anything. No emotions when I watch TV, read, talk to people, etc. I end up becoming depressed, because I'm depressed. I know how I should be responding to things that happen, to what people say, but I just don't feel anything. At the end, I end up just faking everything to seem normal.
Where are those energetic, hopping bunnies that should be within me? There wasn't really any huge event that changed me. I've always been like this for as long as I could remember. Like a lifeless, grey bunny hopping around in a world full of color. Everyone around me feels happiness, empathy, excitement, etc, but I can't. It's difficult to think of words to express those feelings because I don't feel them.
The best thing to do now is to share this experience with your family, cousins, friends and peers. There needs to be more coverage on Bipolar and one day a treatment will be found. I've started to share this only recently because I was scared in the past, but life is just speeding past me. I almost don't care anymore.
By the way, DR. BEN CARSON FOR 2016 PRESIDENT! The candidate with the most experience in healthcare.

Arlene A
January, 20 2016 at 2:51 pm

I wish more people knew that there is a genetic component to depression. Check out the MTHFR research. Then, contact 23& They will send you a saliva test kit which you return to them. They'll send you an analysis of your personal genetic structure which you can then send to, I think, Genetic Genie?? who will send you an interpretation (it's very complex.) When you know whether you have the particular genetic defect that causes depression, you can then find out what supplements you can take that will change the chemistry of your genes and correct the problem. You will also be able to speak to other people who discuss what they are doing. Good luck. AA

April, 10 2017 at 12:38 pm

Been in the pit a cpl of years now. In the process of clearing my system.After that I hope to find something med wise that will work. Also going out in the sun for 20 min per day

Leave a reply