Depressive episodes in bipolar disorder can come and go on their own, but there are plenty of things you can do to make a mild depression worse. Here are 6 ways you can act to increase your depression:
1. Be a Couch Potato
Another technique is to choose programs that reinforce your negative feelings. If you're angry at yourself for not exercising, for example, watch exercise infomercials. You may feel motivated while watching, but those people are already lean and fit and healthy. Are you? If not, the rigorous programs you're watching aren't for you. If watching these programs leads you to get a video on exercise for beginners or get started some other way, great! But if they just make you beat yourself up more, you've achieved your goal of increasing your depression.
2. Stay Indoors
- I don't want to get dressed today.
- I might miss a phone call (if, like me, you still use a land line). This works best if you aren't expecting a call.
- I really should be _______________. All sorts of activities can go here: cleaning house, catching up on email, organizing my junk drawers, sorting my paperwork, etc. Of course, make sure you don't actually DO the task.
3. Let the Clutter Accumulate
4. Get Dirty
5. Don't Clean the Floors
- When you spill something on the kitchen floor, don't wipe it up. This works best if what you spilled is sticky. I've been doing a good job with this: a few weeks ago, I forgot to put some frozen food away (see Item 3, groceries), and a whole container of ice cream melted into a pool on the floor. Every time I see it, I give myself a mental bop.
- Avoid vacuuming/sweeping. This technique can be great if, like me, you have pets whose fur doesn't match the carpeting. It's amazing how much we look at our floors, and looking at a dirty one is a great way to make yourself feel guilty.
6. Block Your Gaze and Your Space
7. Final ThoughtsThese are just a few of the ways you can act depressed to help make yourself feel depressed. You'll have noticed they encompass more than just feeling low — there are ways to add guilt, become angry at yourself, and feel worthless and useless.
Obviously, I'm not really recommending you follow this advice! My goal here is to increase your awareness of depressive behaviors. Changing one small thing - such as putting a note on the bathroom mirror saying, "BRUSH YOUR TEETH!" (if you've been neglecting this) can be a start toward getting out of a pattern of activity that reinforces or deepens your bipolar depression.
Want to Change?
Here are some helpful resources: