Coping with depression

Mental Health and Wellness
Coping with depression

Depression can start gradually or it can come over you like a sudden storm. Whichever way it hits, it can make you feel empty, helpless and alone.

Many people have the mistaken belief that they need to "snap out of it." There can be a sense of shame attached to these thoughts. But remember, you did not cause your depression. Be gentle with yourself.

  • Get into a routine.  Structure your day , whether you are working or not. Get up, shower and dress every day. Staying in "ready for bed" mode will reinforce your already low self esteem.
  • Set goals every day.  Start small. Maybe your first goal will be to wash the dishes. Perhaps tomorrow you can go to the grocery store. Clean out a drawer one day. Make a meal the next.
  • A fresh pad of paper and pen or pencil will be useful in making your list of routine activities. You will want to record each accomplishment as you work off your list. Putting pencil to paper engages you with your project more than an electronic device.
  • You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of doing even simple activities. Push yourself whenever you can and do them anyway.
  • Exercise. It is really true that exercise decreases anxiety and depression. One day try walking to the end of your street and back. On another day, walk halfway around the block and back. Build up slowly until you are walking 20 minutes every day. If it's too cold outside, climb the stairs up and down twice to start with. It is important that you achieve something every day.
  • Sleep. Sleep is crucial in treating depression. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Resist napping because it can disrupt your nighttime sleep and interfere with your sleep cycle.
  • Look at your negative thoughts. Pay attention to your self talk. "I am worthless. " "No one likes me."  "I am a failure." Ask yourself if there is an experience in your past that would contradict these thoughts. Have you had a thought like this that didn't prove true?
  • Try to have fun.  Make time for the things you like to do or used to like to do. If you don't feel like doing them, keep trying. Keep going to the movies, accept invitations, call a friend.