“That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.” - Elizabeth Wurtzel Admitting you're depressed is a huge deal. Dealing with it however; is a bigger one. What most people misconstrue about depression is that it is self generated. When you're depressed it comes from a variety of sources, but ultimately if you can put the steps into place to combat it, then you will be better off. Here are a few things that have helped, and if you have any suggestions, please add!
What Doesn't Work:
1. Mindlessly Accepting Medication
For some medication helps to alleviate symptoms of depression, and for others it doesn't. Mindlessly going to a doctor and asking for a cure-all is not going to help you. If you do, however; meet with someone who listens and understands and works with you to find good solutions, then run with it! The idea is to be conscious of what is working for you.
2. One-Sided Therapy
Okay, so I've seen some therapists who really listen, and others who don't care. It's visible and obvious when you work with someone who is actually working to better your life, and someone whose working to line their pockets. Don't be afraid to speak out when something like therapy isn't working for you. The effort is to get better, so don't stand for things that don't help.
3. "Getting Over it"
People will just tell you to get over it, and if you're not actively doing anything to make yourself better, but it's another thing to acknowledge that it's not your fault, and that sometimes depression can't be gotten over. It can be made better, with active mindfulness and combating those feelings with positive choices.
Any destructive behavior may help you feel better in the short term, but it's necessary to make sure that you're not just trying to drown the pain with alcohol, drugs or other risky behaviors. These things aid in hopelessness and create more pitfalls than good times. Feeling alive and feeling depressed are often at odds, but no matter how "fun" or "interesting" you think these things make you, they will hurt you. So if you find yourself doing these things, the bigger goal should be to find out why. I addressed the "self destruction" phenomenon more in depth in this card.
Yes, everyone knows that exercise helps depression. Endorphins are released, whatever, but if you commit to small activities that increase your physical activity every day, then you will see a difference. Take it from someone who thought exercise was bullshit and nothing could help, it does, and it can. I walk around New York a lot, and it doesn't feel like exercise. It feels good.
2. A Solid Combination of Therapy and Medication
If you find something that works for you without detracting from your life, then by all means do it. Creating a support for yourself while you figure out what's going on is always the best option. Find a doctor/therapist you trust and engage in thoughtful dialogue about the issues at hand. Never let medication change who you are, only let it enhance or help you if necessary.
3. Sleep (The right amount)
Yeah, insomniacs may have trouble with this one, and people who are depressed often oversleep, but the right amount will do wonders. Not too much, not too little. Anywhere from 6 to 8 hours is good for the typical adult, so try and balance, regulate and stick to a sleep schedule. Late nights and early mornings need not apply.
4. Talking with others
Even if you're not about the whole therapy thing, just getting your thoughts out will help. Talk with your family, friends, people you trust, because those who support you will not judge or fault you for your condition. They will only try to help. That in mind, if you're dealing with thoughts of suicide or violence get help immediately.
5. Journaling or Art
I've been keeping a journal and writing since as far back as I can remember. Lots of people find comfort in getting the thoughts out of their heads and on to a page. Hobbies are a positive way to get through things, they provide a distraction and give you a positive channel to focus your energy. The darkness does not consume forever, and when you look back to the times where it seemed like it would, you'll thank yourself for pulling through.
In addition, I am not a doctor, just someone who has some experience with these things. If you or anyone you know is depressed, suicidal or thinking of hurting themselves or others, is an immediate threat or is in danger, reach out to someone. The Suicide Hotline is always live: 1-800-273-8255
It's free and there's always someone on the other end.