It's quite common for people who have recovered from depression to relapse; figures are as high as 50 percent. "That figure climbs to 70 percent after two episodes, and close to 90 percent after three episodes," according to William R. Marchand, MD, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
People who suffer from "situational depression" (depression triggered by a life change) are less likely to experience a relapse once their issue is resolved, compared to those who have chronic depression which will be a lifelong disease "that requires constant management, just as someone with diabetes needs to monitor insulin levels and maintain a suitable diet."
The return of depression is a sign that your existing management strategies aren't working and changes are in order. Reach out to your doctor to see about possibly adjusting your medication. Consider switching up your therapy. Reevaluate your sleep and eating patterns.
Lastly, remind yourself that “this too shall pass,” even if it feels like that can’t be true in the moment. Robin Harvell, a therapist in private practice in Indiana, states: "Sometimes it feels as if they will sweep you away, but if you hold on to the things you know to be true—your coping skills, support from friends or relatives—the waves eventually retreat and the water becomes clear again."
Click here for 5 strategies for when a depression relapse occurs.