The 4 Stages of Depression

4 Stages of Depression

Most of us will experience the symptoms of depression in our lifetime. While it may not escalate to a formal diagnosis for all of us, occasionally feeling a sense of overwhelm or sadness is nearly unavoidable. Depression isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, and we’ll each interact with it in our own way as we move through the four stages of this experience.

What is Depression?

Depression arises from negative emotions that have existed for an extended period of time. Without the proper coping mechanism or appropriate ways to allow these emotions to pass through, the feelings accumulate and can further separate us from our essence. It is our philosophy that depression is a symptom of long-term exposure to a life not aligned with the soul.

Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, this condition has a tremendous impact on how we feel, think, and behave.

Symptoms of Depression

The most common signs of depression include: 

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of interest in previously engaged-in activities
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss 
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

The Stages of Depression

1. Origination

The onset of depression can be triggered by a monumental event, such as the death of a loved one, or by a slower build-up of unsavory circumstances, such as addiction or illness. In this initial stage, one might experience overall fatigue, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness.

2. Normalized Apathy

After a length of time, these feelings of depression can become our new “normal.” While the symptoms of depression are still painful, they may not feel shocking, as we become accustomed to always feeling those symptoms.

3. Loss of Interest

Activities and friendships we once loved engaging in may begin to feel like too much “work.” Things we once found joy in may now seem too uncomfortable to participate in. It almost feels easier to stay in our own bubble than try to feign excitement or interest in things we used to love.

4. Avoidance or Abandonment of Responsibilities

Things that once felt like second nature – work, self care routines, paying bills – now feel impossible or unimportant. At this stage, depression has taken over one’s life, and it may feel like too much of a task to lift out. At this time, professional support is of the utmost importance.

How to Cope With Depression

While depression isn’t something that many can easily just “snap out of”, there are many things we can do to ease the symptoms of depression.  

Below are our top ways to cope with depression:

Stay In Touch

We know it’s tough, but try not to withdraw from the people in your circle. Take time to yourself, but be sure to stay in touch with friends and family who could provide a positive lift in mood when you’re feeling down.

Get Active

Whether it’s a quick walk or more formal exercise, a workout will definitely boost your endorphins – the feel good hormones! For an extra mood-boosting effect, try a walk in nature or yoga – both will increase your mind-body connection in addition to getting you moving.

Get Mindful

Oftentimes, the thoughts and feelings running through us aren’t even our own. Be mindful of what you are watching or listening to, as well as who you’re spending time with. You can also put a stop to the negative thoughts going through your mind with meditation or breath work. Try this guided meditation to elevate your thoughts and mood.

Take in Some Sunshine

Exposure to the sun is critical to boosting our levels of Vitamin D and serotonin, which help to elevate our mood. Even just 10-15 minutes can go a long way!

Talk to a Professional

It can sometimes be difficult to open up about our depression to the people closest to us. Seek out a licensed therapist who can be a supportive presence and help you find an appropriate treatment plan if that’s the path you’d like to take.

Depression Treatment in Orange County, CA

Experiencing symptoms of depression? At Barn Life, our licensed, clinical team and holistic treatment model helps people explore how to accept and embrace the inevitable hurdles, trauma, and pain that accompanies depression – allowing them to fully heal from past and present issues, and triumph over depression. In addition to our outpatient and partial hospitalization programs, we offer free community events, which are a great, low-key way to experience our holistic treatment facility.

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Hear From Those We've Impacted

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Barn Life is uniquely special. As someone who has had long stretches of sobriety with "traditional" communities and methods, Barn Life stepped in when I started struggling during the pandemic and said "traditional" methods failed to help.The staff here are exceptional. This is a truly subjective statement, but it is my honest opinion that the people from the owner (Hi Matt!) to EVERYONE else works there because they believe in the work and want to share the tools they found.Barn Life and their little sibling, Peer Mental Wellness were the launchpad from a shell of an existence to person with self-love/respect, and a life-mission of personal development.

Steven D.
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Best for someone looking for spiritual healing in addition to their mental health healing.

Luka P.
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Barn life is probably one of the most amazing facilities you could ever attend when it comes to mental illness. This was the first place that popped up when I was searching for help and I’m so thankful that it did. The environment is very therapeutic, the staff is awesome, and the group discussions and activities were so helpful in me understanding what I was experiencing. Do not hesitate to be a part of this place. It’s literally a game changer. I was only there for 6 weeks but I wished I stayed at least 6 months. Ever since returning home, I’ve been much happier and my perspective has changed dramatically. I’ve done things and participated in events at my college that I never thought I would be able to do. This place is truly amazing and I’m forever grateful that I found this place.

Ariana E.
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Through trial and error of trying to stay sober this program is definitely the most caring and supporting of them all if anyone needs help and is willing to help themselves I suggest barnlife they will for a fact give you the push you need and the tools to keep you going

Mason T.
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My daughter has been at Barn Life Recovery now for two months. It was my last resort to send her 9 hours away from me. She has been in drug and mental health rehabs in and out for two years. This was my last stitch effort to save my daughter and get her back to herself. Alyssa and I spoke multiple times before deciding. Their willingness to do everything for her and the different teams they have work with them is amazing. My daughter is happy again and clean and sober. She loves it there in their outpatient program. They restore your faith in humanity. They help restore someone who is broken in so many places to themselves. They have put the light back in my daughters eyes. They are committed to helping each person who truly wants the help. They assist in helping them get jobs and be responsible members of society. I recommend their program to anyone wanting to recover from drug, alcohol and mental health.Thank you to all the people at Barn Life who have made my daughter smile and bring the light back to her eyes. I am truly grateful.DawnaLee

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I am alumni from Zen Recovery Path / a great place , and live a happy healthy life ever since / great peaceful place to recover // Namaste

Michael M.



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