Depression can make you feel exhausted, worthless, helpless and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings make some people feel like giving up.
It’s important to remember that these negative views are part of the depression and typically do not accurately reflect the situation. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. In the meantime:
Realise that depression is readily treated nowadays with modern antidepressant medications and short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy. See your doctor for an appropriate diagnosis, stay on the treatment until symptoms begin to abate (several weeks), and obey the doctor’s orders about the use of alcohol while on medication. Expect your mood to improve gradually; feeling better takes time, and don’t feel crushed if after you start getting better, you find yourself backsliding. Sometimes the road to recovery is like a roller coaster ride.
Be kind to yourself
Do not expect too much from yourself too soon, as this will only accentuate feelings of failure. Avoid setting difficult goals or taking on new responsibilities. Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can. Reward yourself for each accomplishment. The steps may seem small, but they’ll quickly add up. And for all the energy you put into your depression recovery, you’ll get back much more in return.
Help is at hand
Find support from people who understand. Have your EWP number taped to your phone and call someone when negative thoughts become fierce. Self-help groups can provide a supportive environment for you as well as your family and friends. Be with other people; when you’re interacting with others, your mind doesn’t have a chance to dwell on repetitive negative thoughts that are part of the depression.
Take things slowly
Try not to make major life decisions (such as changing jobs or getting married or divorced) without consulting others who know you well and who have a more objective view of your situation.
When you’re depressed, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing but the Cochrane Review (the most influential medical review of its kind in the world) showed that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue. To gain the most benefits, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. Start small: take the stairs rather than the lift, take your dog for a walk, choose an exercise partner and walk while talking on the phone.
To thine own self be true
Recognise patterns in your mood. Like many people with depression, the worst part of the day for you may be the morning. Try to arrange your schedule accordingly so that the demands are the least in the morning. For example, you may want to shift your meetings to midday or the afternoon.
Depression is not a sign of weakness. It can strike anyone regardless of age, background, socioeconomic status or gender and has become something of a modern-day epidemic. However, it’s a treatable illness. Give yourself the chance to be treated and cured.