- Mental Health
5 Steps to Stop Depression
Depression is very hard to come to terms with and very, very hard to treat. Depression can be brought on by events in your life, seasonal changes, or you could be genetically predisposed. It affects you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This advice in no way is a substitute for practial physician care. These are simply five effective steps that I have learned to help prevent and at times, eliminate depression.
#1 Just Do It!
When you're stuck in the spiral of depression, doing anything is hard. Depression feeds off of that inability, so you have to apply changes to the way you're doing things. One change is to do something. This sounds too easy, but when you're sitting on the couch, remembering, thinking, and feeling the leaden pain in your mind, soul, and body, you're not doing anything.
Pick something to do that is new and just do it. Try to stay away from housework or business work because as it is part of your regular routine, it is also part of your cycle of depression. Do something new, not too hard or too big or too long, but a unique project. Try to make it physical in nature rather than a reflective written or emotional product.
Do you see how there's an exclamation point after the title? It's imperative and necessary to do something this very moment if you feel depressed. Action is needed, NOW!
#2 Tell Someone, Now!
Depression is like a caterpillar on a flower. It spirals its way up, chewing on leaves and sepals, and then makes its way down, eating what was left over. By the time its at the bottom again, new growth is at the top, so up it goes. In this never ending cycle, you are the beautiful flower, but you are also producing the hungry caterpillar. A doctor can't treat himself very well! Tell someone right now: your best friend or brother. Maybe it's someone in church or in a group that you know very well. Give them a call now. You need someone outside of your "box" to give you some perspective and a helping hand. Maybe not forever, but definitely for tonight. If there is no one in your life that you're close to, which is probably part of your depression, then you need to call or contact someone right this moment: check the phone books for hot-lines, your insurance carrier may have a number, call the pastor of your church, maybe a governmental agency like the department of human services. You need someone to lend perspective, to give you a new idea or thought or feeling of hope tonight. Do it now.
Once again, notice the exclamation point. Now is the time, not tomorrow. Get online and look up that number. And call.
Phone Numbers You can use Right Now
- Depression Hotline at WEGO Health
Combines health expertise and experience to present the most relevant health information and real-world advice.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Hotlines
- Telephone Hotlines Operated by Suicide Prevention Services
Telephone hotlines operated by Suicide Prevention Services
#3 Turn the Lights On
I find that I get depressed when it's dark. Not only during rainy times or in the winter, but at night. Turn on all the lights in your house. You need lights to be blaring right now. Depression feeds off the darkness. In the darkness we feel lonely; it is a blanket for our sorrows and pain. Throw it off and turn on the lights. You should not be able to see dark areas in the house either, so turn on the outside lights, the garage lights, the hallway lights, and even night lights. This may only need to go on for the night, but you need to stop the destructive feelings and thoughts now, not tomorrow night, but right now!
#4 Long-Term People changes
Starting tomorrow, and every day after that, you need to make some changes in the way you live. Your depression has many factors that you may or may not be aware of, but one of the treatments for depression is to be near other people. This could take the form of support groups that help you at first, and then you supporting others in different types of groups later on. For instance:
- Find a counselor to talk to on a regular basis. This will help you see progress and needs over the course of weeks and months.
- See a clinical psychologist to assess your needs and options for medications. If you have a chemical imbalance, nothing you do is going to change that. You need help.
- Get into a support group of people going through the same issues and problems.
- Get involved in your local church. There are many opportunities to grow personally and spiritually, and be around people.
- Get involved in a community group or class. Learn a new hobby, exercise, or travel. You will be around people, be doing something, and be focused on other things.
#5 Long-Term Personal changes
Even though the reasons for depression vary, here are a few that I've learned from my experiences and personality that help me get out of my inward, and outward, spiral.
- Stop reading self-help books. We tend to be like a hypochondriac and become so focused on our problems that we miss the big picture. Let the doctors read those books on their own time...Go outside for a walk!
- Stop listening to music that is sad and connects to the depressive feelings. You're feeding it again.
- Stop watching movies that connect to your sadness. It will make the sadness grow.
- Don't be alone, even for a few hours. Depression will sneak in again. Make yourself go shopping with your husband or wife even if it's at that store that makes you roll your eyes.
- Go for walks and exercise. It really does boost your positive feelings and overall mood. You'll also feel better about the way you look.
There isn't one.
You have to learn to manage it. But there are millions of people out there who feel just the same as you. You're not alone. Go find them, or find someone to talk with, and you'll find your life again.