Depression - Living With Depression
When you're going through
depression, you can't just shake if off. You might
have a couple of good days followed by a bad day or a string of bad days. And
you don't know how long it will last. Depression is not like the flu or a
sprained ankle, where your doctor can tell you about how long it will take to
When you're getting better, many experts call it
recovery. Recovery is finding your path to the life you
care about. There are
10 principles of recovery(What is a PDF document?) that can help you recover from depression on your
terms. They help you gain self-confidence and respect for yourself.
During your recovery, be patient and kind to yourself. Remember that
depression is not your fault and is not something you can overcome with
willpower alone. You need treatment for depression, just like for any other
Continuing your treatment, helping yourself, getting
support, and having a healthy lifestyle are all part of your recovery. Your
symptoms will fade as your treatment starts to work. Don't give up. Focus your
energy on getting better. Your mood will improve. It just takes some
You can take many steps to help
yourself when you feel depressed or are waiting for your medicine to work.
These steps also help prevent depression from coming back.
- Be real in what you expect and what you can do. Set goals you
can meet. If you have a big task to do, break it up into smaller steps you can
handle. Don't take on more than you can handle.
- Don't blame
yourself or others for your depression.
- Think about putting off big decisions until your depression has
lifted. Wait a bit on making decisions about marriage, divorce, or jobs. Talk
it over with friends and loved ones who can help you look at the whole
- Get support from others. Your family can help you get the right
treatment and deal with your symptoms.
Social support and support groups give you the chance
to talk with people who are going through the same things you are.
Tell people you trust about depression. It is usually
better than being alone and keeping it a secret.
Build your self esteem and try to keep a positive
- Depression: Using Positive Thinking
- Positive Thinking: Stopping Unwanted Thoughts
- Try to be part of religious, social,
holiday, or other activities.
- If you have any other health problems, like diabetes, heart
disease, or high blood pressure, continue with your treatment for them. Tell
your doctor about all of the medicines you take, with or without a
You also can help yourself by thinking about what is good in your
life. You can:
- Help others who are not as well off as you
- Thank people for the small and big things they do for you.
- Be thankful for big things like having a home, family, and
- Be thankful for little things like making people laugh,
enjoying a piece of music, or finding warm gloves for the winter.
Remember the basics
Get regular exercise. People who are fit usually have
depression, and stress than people who aren't
fit.6 Even something as easy as walking can help you
feel better. Find a way you can be active.
Eat a balanced diet. This helps your body deal with
tension and stress. Whole grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and
protein are part of a balanced diet.
Get enough sleep. A good night's sleep can help mood
and stress levels. Avoid sleeping pills unless your doctor prescribes them.
Deal with stress. Too much stress can help trigger
depression. You can do a lot to help relieve stress. For more information, see
- Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs or medicines that
have not been prescribed to you. Having a
substance abuse problem makes treating depression
Both problems need to be treated.
- Prevent depression from coming back. Take your medicine as your
doctor advises. Depression often returns if you stop taking your medicine or
don't take it as your doctor advises. For more information, see the Prevention