I Have Crippling Depression: What’s Going on and 7 Ways to Treat It 2021

this is a drawing of a girl crying in bed with depression

Why do I have crippling depression?

Crippling - Debilitating - Sever

Crippling depression can also be categorized as debilitating depression or severe depression. When you are dealing with this intense mental health struggle it can feel like you have no chance of getting better. That isn’t true, you are always able to right your course with the right mental health tools and people in your corner.

Here is I Have Crippling Depression: What’s Going on and Ways to Treat It

In this blog I am going to go deeper into the feeling that many of us can relate to, crippling depression.

I have crippling depression. These are four words you wish you didn’t ever have to admit to yourself or anyone else. It is very hard to admit to your loved ones that you are struggling.

When you are struggling with depression, some days can feel impossible to get through. Believe me – I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to lie in bed and reflect on the day I had, wondering how I made my way through it and not wanting to fall asleep because I was pretty sure tomorrow would be more of the same: more pain, more intense feelings of sadness, trouble concentrating on tasks, and feeling apathetic toward most things and people.

It’s difficult to put into words just how hard it is to have depression, but if you’re here reading this right now, my guess is that you don’t expect me to try. Sadly, you already know what I mean, even if it impacts each of us a little bit differently. Because of that, there is no single solution that can help everyone feel better. Still, the more you get in touch with yourself, your feelings, and what form of depression you have, it will bring you closer to finding some relief.

Whatever unique symptoms, struggles, emotions, or curiosities brought you here to today’s blog, I welcome each of you. I’m here to talk about a more severe form of depression, often referred to as “crippling depression.”

Depression is a severe mood disorder that can significantly impact one’s daily life, even in moderate cases. Depression can affect your emotions, weight, sleeping, and ability to focus. But in cases where depression is more severe, it can be debilitating. It can prevent people from accomplishing tasks and eating or sleeping altogether.

The clinical term for crippling depression is Major Depressive Disorder or MDD. Rather than saying, “I have crippling depression,” many people instead will say they have “overwhelming,” “debilitating,” or “devastating” depression because using the term crippling to describe it can be insulting or hurtful toward those with physical disabilities.

That said, mental health professionals will understand if you come to them and say, “I have crippling depression” because they recognize it as a synonym or common phrase for clinical depression or Major Depressive Disorder. Crippling depression is a popular phrase that people living with the disorder have coined to describe how severe and impactful their symptoms are.

As I briefly mentioned, those who suffer from moderate depression, for example, may experience enough of an impact at work to be diagnosed with depression. But there are others – people with crippling depression – who cannot attend school or work full-time. Some institutions and resources do not include “ability to work” as a symptom of depression, so many people who suffer from it use this term to explain how significantly different it feels from other forms of depression.

How you choose to characterize your depression is up to you – the point is that it is taking a serious toll on your life, and I want to remind you that you are not alone. You have come here to understand better what’s going on with you and how you can treat this debilitating disorder, and I hope that this information helps you as much as it has me.

How is depression defined and diagnosed?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes symptoms that affect how you think, feel, and act. It is usually diagnosed based on your behavior patterns and symptoms. A doctor will typically have you answer a series of questions to confirm this and determine the severity of your depression.

What means crippling depression?

Crippling depression is severe to the point where it inhibits your ability to function and live normally. Some who have crippling depression may experience it for weeks or months following a traumatic experience, such as losing a loved one; for others, it is a treatment-resistant lifelong struggle.

What can be used in extreme cases of depression?

For extreme cases of depression, the first-line treatment is medication, the most common one being selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Psychotherapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have also been found to be effective in treating major depression. Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment people may seek if other options aren’t working.

How to diagnose crippling depression

Crippling depression is not an official category of Major Depressive Disorder, but the following symptoms are now more widely recognized by mental health experts and doctors to help diagnose it.

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Trouble working and concentrating
  • Intense and persistent feelings of sadness, frustration, or anger
  • Weight changes
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Lack of interest in people or activities (apathy)
  • Frequent pains and aches, such as backaches or headaches

Forms of treatment for crippling depression

Psychotherapy (talk therapy)

Therapy is a standard treatment for depression. It is both advised and beneficial for crippling depression to see a therapist regularly to achieve optimal improvement and wellbeing. Talk therapy helps with this because it will teach you how to adjust and respond to emotions, stressors, or events in ways that promote healthier emotions.

A few of the most helpful forms of therapy for crippling depression including acceptance and commitment therapy (a form of CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy, and behavioral activation.


Anti-depressants such as SSRIs help regulate the chemicals and hormones that impact many aspects of your mental and emotional health. This includes increasing the number of neurotransmitters in your brain. 


You likely have not heard of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) before unless you struggle with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), which is a possible form of MDD. Treatment-resistant depression means you have tried at least two anti-depressant medications and have not responded to any of them. In this case, you might explore a therapy like ECT, a medical treatment performed under general anesthesia where small electrical currents help cause changes in your brain’s chemistry.

Other treatment options for TRD include IV ketamine and transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Before any of these, however, it is advised that you give your current medications more time, increase your dose, switch anti-depressants, or add another type of anti-depressant. All these options should be explored first with your doctor. 

Exploring self-help through daily activities

Whatever form of treatment you decide to explore is 100% up to you, and not myself or anyone in this Never Alone community is here to judge. My only hope for all of you reading this right now is that you start to get better, which is why I will always advise you to take any steps you can throughout each day because it is something you can do regularly 
and at any time to feel better and see progress.

The following activities have helped me engage more in the activities that I stopped loving at one point, and they opened me up to other things that gradually improved my mood.

Stay active

I can never overstate how valuable exercise is to mental health and as a non-medical treatment for depression. Why is this? Well, it helps you address your health from multiple angles, such as feeling great about yourself, building strength and resilience, relieving anger and frustration, and reinforcing a sense of calm and collectedness. Staying active will also help you focus better, so it can help keep you encouraged and on track when it comes to self-help.

Eat well

You have a unique ecosystem of bacteria that live in your gut and impact the release of chemicals in your brain like serotonin. To keep the good bacteria thriving and avoid the inflammation that can lead to diseases and depression, it is crucial to eat a well-balanced diet. Of course, what you eat likely will not be the only way to treat your debilitating depression, but if you want to feel better, isn’t it worth exploring all the options?

Manage stress

Persistent high levels of stress are one risk factor for crippling depression, which is why it is vital to stay on top of your stress and manage it. Many things in life can contribute to stress, such as financial or relationship issues, that can worsen depression. Stress-reduction techniques, including mindfulness, morning routines, meditation, yoga, writing in a journal, and progressive muscle relaxation, can all help significantly to manage your stress.

Avoid drinking or using recreational drugs

It may seem like a comforting or viable outlet at the time you feel upset, but alcohol and drugs can make your depression worse and harder to treat. If you are having trouble stopping, seek support or talk to your doctor before drug or alcohol use leads to a dependency or interferes too much with your potential to achieve success and happiness with your current treatment plan.

In many cases, major depression can be treated. Work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan comprised of a combination of treatments that are likely to help you the most. Don’t be afraid to let them know if your symptoms are or are not improving so they can help you adjust your treatment accordingly.

This is an infogrpahic on how to ease depression

I have crippling depression Conclusion

I have crippling depression. These were the four words you wished you didn’t have to admit to yourself or anyone else…until you made it through and helped someone else in need through your courage and the efforts you made to get better. Keep going.

Do you have any helpful ideas or motivation for those reading this blog looking for guidance?

Leave it in the comments below and help us help others.

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