Coping with Depression on Your Terms
Depression Comes in Many Forms
Depression can be a symptom of bipolar disorder, especially type 2 bipolar disorder. Depression can be circumstantial, like a divorce or death of a loved one. Depression can even be seasonal, known as seasonal effective disorder. They all share the same etiology. Depression causes profound sadness, irritability, and the inability to concentrate. It can cause lethargy, sap motivation, and create sleep disturbances. Depression can even cause body aches. Depression reduces self esteem and induces feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There are other symptoms of depression, but you get the picture..
What Helps Me
The most profound symptom of my bipolar disorder is depression. I have been hospitalized against my will because of it. I have scars on my wrists. I have always struggled with depression, even with medication. Fortunately, I went to enough group therapy to get ideas to help me.
Sunlight helps a lot. So does exercise. I try to get exercise outside. Usually I have to "just do it". That's the only way to get things done when I am depressed, because I lack motivation. I just get up and do it.
Another thing I force myself into is socializing. I visit my loved ones or friends and it truly helps me feel better. It's also important to have a support system, and at least one person you can talk to freely about your emotions. If you feel you are alone, and you need someone to talk to, call a depression hotline. One is posted above. Other numbers include 1-800-799-4889 and (877)870-4673.
Writing in a journal is also helpful for me. Through my personal and private journal, I can recognize my emotions and deal with them appropriately. For example, I write letters to people who have hurt me or died, letters I will never send, so that I can express myself. Some people believe the depression is aggravated by unexpressed emotions.
Positive self talk can be calming and boost self-esteem. I give myself a proverbial pat on the back when I accomplish something. I have friends and family that will also give me a proverbial pat on the back if they know I need it. Your people play an important role in your recovery. Make sure they understand exactly what you are going through so that they can be supportive.
Although I am not in therapy now, I have been in the past and have found it helpful. I may consider going back into it.
Depression is a serious condition that should never be ignored. Although a primary care physician can prescribe antidepressants, it's best to be under the care of a psychiatrist who specializes in mood disorders. Insurance may not be necessary, as community mental health centers usually offer a sliding fee scale. I have no insurance and pay less than $5 to see my doctor. My prescriptions are $5 each. Never has it been easier to get mental health care.
Take care of yourself.