Top 10 Tips for Managing Depression
Take your tablets.
This is the most obvious of the lot, but if you’re on antidepressants, your doctor has prescribed them for a reason. It’s true you may have to try a few different types of medicine before you get one which works for you, but don’t skip taking them or worse, stop taking them without your doctor’s advice. I’ve done it myself so I know what I’m on about.
Don’t blame yourself
While depressed, you may feel you are ‘weak’ or ‘pathetic’ because you feel as you do and consequently end up feeling worse. But you are not – you are ill and you need support just as surely as you would if you had broken your leg or had the flu. Nobody asks to be depressed – it is not a lifestyle choice and increasingly, many workplaces are starting to realise that. So – don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault.
Be kind to yourself
I can’t stress this one enough. When you are depressed, the first thing to go sailing out the window is usually your ability to judge situations rationally. Your mind can convince you of all sorts of awful things – for example, that you are a failure, that nobody likes you, that people are out to get you and so on. These thoughts are horrible when they come but remember – they are not true. Remind yourself that you are not well and that you need love and support. If there’s nobody around who can do that for you, make sure you look after yourself. Which brings me on to –
Do what’s right for you
Don’t feel you have to ‘do’ anything while recovering. Give yourself permission to heal. No matter what your day to day routine is, if you don’t feel able to do anything, don’t push yourself. If all you feel like doing is lying on a couch watching TV then that’s fine. You can start doing the things you enjoy when you feel a little better, but initially it may be all you need is rest. Everyone is different, so don’t feel there’s a template to follow.
Choose your confidants carefully
It’s good to have people in your life you can talk to about the condition so you’re not facing it alone. Ideally, this will be close friends, but if they are not the kind of people who are likely to be supportive, you may have to look elsewhere. Do not share the information with people who are likely to be judgemental or criticise you – banish such people from your inner circle. Which brings me on to my next point –
Join a support group
There are loads of support groups out there including loads of great online ones. The ones I joined I found via Facebook but there may be some in your local area – a quick google search will put you in touch with them. Depression Alliance has lots of useful information about existing groups and setting one up – see http://www.depressionalliance.org/
Write it down
Some people keep a diary, but even if you don’t, writing down how you feel can be very helpful. It doesn’t have to be long just so long as it helps you get what’s on your mind out into the open. Sometimes, just acknowledging how you are feeling can be a good way to let yourself heal. Better still, why not start a blog? I launched this one to help me in my recovery and it’s been very useful. There’s plenty of places to help you get started including here https://wordpress.com/
Talk to the professionals
Everyone is different and everyone has different therapy needs. But if you’re struggling you may find talking to a professional helpful. I’ve seen quite a few therapists in my time and they’ve mostly all been helpful in one way or another. Your GP can advise what’s available out there.
Read as widely as you can
Depression can severely affect your concentration, so wading through big thick tomes isn’t very realistic. But there’s plenty of shorter articles online including blogs you can find plus good books. I plan to do a separate piece on books I’ve found helpful, but as a starting point why not pay a visit to the Time to Change campaign’s site – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/category/blog/depression
Remember – recovery is possible
Whatever else you take away from reading this blog (thanks very much by the way!) – remember this. Recovery is possible. Depression is not everlasting. As Bob Dylan once said – ‘I can make it through. You can make it, too.”