Recognizing and Coping with Depression Spells

May 10, 2017 Martha Lueck

When depression spells hit they can cause sleepless nights, scary thoughts and more. Read this for depression spell coping skills to help you can get past them.Even if you were not diagnosed with depression or if you feel that you have it under control, you can always experience depression spells. They can hit at any time, sometimes with no warning. They can hit at the most random times—during a class, at a family reunion, after an interview, during the middle of a workday, etc. Read on to find out about recognizing and dealing with depression spells before they get worse.

What Is a Depression Spell?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a spell as “a period of bodily or mental distress or disorder.” A spell lasts “an indeterminate period of time.”

Depression spells can appear like flashes of lightning--recurring and frightening. Other times, they can appear like storms--constant and relentless.

You Can Recognize a Depression Spell by Certain Symptoms

Everyone has different depression symptoms. Some of the symptoms include isolation, extreme sadness, hopelessness, dizziness, a change in appetite, and lack of interest. When you first notice these symptoms, you never know how long they will last.

Many people with major depression assume that these symptoms are signs that they need a drastic change of treatment (a medication change, more extensive therapy, etc.). However, this is not always the case. If the symptoms are short-lived (last under two weeks), they could very well be signs of a depression spell. Thus, it will probably just take time and support from your loved ones to get through it.

Depression Spells and Anxiety

When I experience depression spells, they often happen at night and are mixed with mild to severe anxiety. Most of the time, they happen after I think about negative events I experienced during the day. Sometimes I over-analyze these events so much that they would remind me of the past and/or cause me to predict the future (Letting Go of Outcomes).

Even if life is generally going well, I would suddenly fear that it would all just spiral and that I would not be able to function. For example, I fear losing a loved one. I also fear that I will never be able to afford my own place and that I will never find a future spouse. After my fears hit, the depression spell hits. I feel really sad, hopeless, or helpless and assume that nothing will ever be okay. My fears start to feel like reality.

I know that this is not a healthy way to think, but it is how my brain works. The anxiety and depression spells cause sleep deprivation and unnecessary stress. Because they would sometimes happen all night, they would feel like much more than just spells; they would feel permanent. But they are not permanent, and they do not happen every night. They usually happen after bad days and they always end by the next day.

Remember This When Coping with a Depression Spell

To relieve a depression spell when it hits at inconvenient times, it might help to have a set of positive thoughts. Some thoughts include:

  • I have felt this way before. It will pass.
  • This is only temporary.
  • Everything will be okay.

To hear more about my experiences with depression spells and how I cope, check out the video below.

If you struggle with depression spells, I encourage you to come up with your own positive thoughts. Please share your own stories and insights in the comments.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2017, May 10). Recognizing and Coping with Depression Spells, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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EcoHealth Blog
May, 10 2017 at 3:11 pm

Thank you for sharing this article; I believe that many college students suffer from depression. That was when I realized it was a legit "thing"

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 25 2017 at 8:51 am

Hi EcoHealth Blog,
You're welcome. I am glad that you recognize the reality of depression. Not everyone believes that it is real, which is very sad because it adds to the stigma.
Some college students who know that they need help are afraid to ask for it because their parents have taught them that depression is just an "excuse" to act a certain way. The nice thing about college is that you learn to think for yourself. Hopefully, more college students will find and accept the truth in depression and seek help, even if their parents do not support it.

March, 14 2018 at 12:25 am

I definitely feel these a lot more frequently than i'd like to, but i am 100% sure that i am not always depressed. I refuse to be put on medication for my depressive states as i know they're only short lived spells and can pass easily - given the right support. When i have these spells i often feel worthless, hopeless, upset, lose my appetite and attempt to isolate myself to mentally beat myself up about how much i dislike my mind - but that's not the way to make myself feel better. My girlfriend has the power to cheer me up by giving me a heartfelt cuddle and talking me through it (most of the time). When i'm feeling really bad i like to remind myself of all of the positive aspects of my life that don't warrant myself to be i a sad mood - life is always better than your brain tells you it is when you're feeling low from a spell of depression.
I guess that what i'm trying to say is that although you might feel alone and useless you're most definitely not. Whether you look to a partner, a family member, a friend or somebody you just don't know that well for support there's always somebody who will be able to cheer you up. I'm not sure what causes a depressive spell but you know as well as i do that they're not a permanent thing that's here to stay. Stay strong and you'll get through it, happiness is only a short distance away.

Diane dalton
June, 22 2019 at 11:26 am

In 2005, I had severe depression and attempted suicide. This week, I took an overdose of tablets. My brothers and my own kids make me feel suicidal. My kids say that I am dead to them, and my grandchildren do not want me either. I have no one in my life. I lost my mum, my dad, and my husband. I feel so lonely.
My diagnosis of diabetes makes me feel even worse. It is really high, and I cannot get it under control. It is also really painful.
Just last Wednesday, I was in the hospital. My doctor wants me to see a counsellor for my suicidal thoughts.

June, 25 2019 at 7:43 pm

Hi Diane,
I am very sorry to hear about what you are going through. :( I am also really glad that you are still here. Please know that even when you feel alone, you are loved by many.
Have you considered finding a support group for grief, depression, or diabetes? Many people find comfort by going to those groups. There might be something in your area or a group online.
I hope you feel better soon! Keep us updated.

October, 31 2022 at 2:45 pm

I really can't say where mine is from, but it's bad. I pretend like nothing is wrong. I just try to stay as busy as I can.

November, 18 2022 at 5:58 pm

I’m really sorry to hear that, Lmae. ? How long has it lasted? What have you been doing to stay busy? Please know that it is okay to ask for help, as this will reduce the severity of your depression.
-Martha Lueck

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