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How to overcome depression ?

Updated on July 5, 2008

It depends on what you mean by depression.

Are you unhappy that your favorite baseball team lost? You'll get over it fairly quickly.

Are you hurting and in pain that a loved one died? The trauma may instigate a dormant chemical imbalance, and you could have true depression that requires medication and therapy. Then again, you may just be grieving - in which case, time will heal the wounds, and going out and doing things helps.

Depression in its purest form is so much more than simply being sad or a little blue. Often, people experiencing depression are easily irritated, apathetic, and unable to even muster up interest in activities they normally enjoy. A depressed person may complain of boredom, but show no interest in any suggestions of how to pass the time. Low on energy and easily drawn to sleep, the depressed person may have problems even getting out of bed to deal with the day. Headaches are a common side effect of depression, as well.

Personally, I've noticed that depression effects the way one acts in society, as well. A depressed person may feel off-kilter and out of step; the butt of all the jokes and unable to understand the nuances of a social situation. It's not so much that they actually are these things, they just may feel that way. To others, they may appear fine, or simply very quiet.

Some people try self-medicating, such as drinking alcohol or smoking pot or cigarettes. Some take even harder drugs. None of these is recommended, as these substances often cause a deeper depression, or a high followed by a crash - resulting in a vicious cycle of drug or alcohol abuse. Since these substances are not controlled or regulated (except alcohol, to a minor degree), it's all too easy to get into a bad habit.

Some people will recommend that the depressed person try exercise. It's true, exercising raises your endorphins and provides a natural high. Eating healthier foods helps immensely, too. In fact, this is an excellent way to counteract the milder forms of depression.

But what if you can't muster the energy to exercise regularly, or go shopping for those deliciously healthy fruits and veggies? What if all you want to do is lounge in your favorite chair in front of the television, or lie in bed and stare at the wall because it's too much effort to read a book?

If this is the case, go to the doctor. For some, it's difficult if not impossible to admit they have a chemical imbalance that needs medication. There is still a hefty stigma against mental illness and reliance on medication in our society. If you're depressed, however, it affects not only you, but your loved ones as well.

Sometimes family and friends don't understand why the depressed one is acting this way. Sometimes they scorn them, telling them to "grow up and get over it", or that it's "all in your head". On the flip side, sometimes they're worried and encouraging of any help you may seek. If your loved ones seem even slightly inclined to help, or understanding in the least (and there is usually at least one who is), then ask them to set up the appointment for you. It's understandable and common that those who are depressed can't even summon the energy for simple, everyday tasks - such as scheduling a doctors appointment. This does not make one a failure.

Nor does it make one a failure to seek outside help in the first place, as many will insinuate. While independence is an excellent trait, we are a social species who got where we are by working together and helping each other out. There are medical professionals have been trained to deal with these sort of chemical imbalances, where you may have little to no familiarity with the whys and hows of depression. It is not a failure to seek their help; it is common sense.

A doctor can refer you to a psychiatrist and therapist, and prescribe a medication for the interim until an appointment is available.

There is a difference between a psychiatrist and therapist. The psychiatrist prescribes medications. The visits are usually 15 or so minutes long, with the purpose being to establish any major changes in mood, if there are any side effects of the medication that significantly interfere with your quality of life (and no, gaining 10 lbs does not significantly interfere with your quality of life), and if you're doing generally better.

The purpose of a therapist is to help you deal with the emotional aspect of being depressed. Depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain that can be treated with medication, yes. But it manifests itself emotionally, which means that it colors your interactions and perceptions of people. A therapist is there to act as a sounding board, someone who can give you a new perspective and perhaps new techniques in dealing with situations. A therapist is essential for dealing with the emotional impact of depression.

The most important part of dealing with depression is recognizing you have it and wanting to do something about it. After that, it's a matter of willingness to work with those who want to help you. It is possible to overcome, but it requires a willingness to do so.


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    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 8 years ago from Washington state


      The best short-term solution to deal with the state you're in (as cliche as it sounds) is to force yourself to go outside. Contact a close friend or family member and make an appointment to do some outdoor activity that you enjoy. Make them promise to pick you up and get you out the door.

      Once you've taken care of that (it should start out seeming like a chore, because you have no energy and you don't really feel like doing it, but it's for the best), then make an appointment with your doctor or a psychiatrist. Medication and therapy management are the most effective ways of dealing with depression.

      I hope things get better for you, and if you're considering suicide for any reason whatsoever, remember these two very true facts: Suicide does not "solve" anything, especially not for your family and friends who will (no matter what you may think) be torn apart, angry, grieving and desolate at your loss. Second, suicide due to depression is a very selfish, final and irrevocable solution to a temporary problem.

    • profile image

      Lumry 8 years ago

      i was ok a week ago full of energy, and now i am so down that even my dreams are sad. I cant stand it anymore

    • Nayberry profile image

      Nayberry 8 years ago from

      I suffer from depression and it has gotten so bad at times that I just black out. This is great hub and I can tell that you know your stuff. Keep up the good work.


    • profile image

      Sad not Bad 9 years ago

      When people are depressed they are Sad not bad. They are not likely to harm anyone else, although they may wish to harm themselves.

    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 9 years ago from Washington state

      Thanks, I try to make writing clear. Yay; I'm succeeding! I'm glad to hear you realized where you were heading and were able to stop the slide into depression by keeping yourself busy and involved in life.

    • Maylinda Arons profile image

      Maylinda Arons 9 years ago

      I love your work. This makes everything about depression so clear and straightforward! I'm pretty sure I had some minor form of depression when I moved a year or so ago and changed cities. But then I recognised that whatever it was that was happening to me wasn't a good thing, and I pulled myself out of it by finding creative stuff for me to do.

    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 9 years ago from Washington state

      Thanks for reading! I'm glad you got over your depression, btw. Always good news!

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      I've suffered depression. My son left home, my publisher told me they wanted no more books, and my newpaper told me they wanted no new columns, all in the space of a year. I got a flat on my own and basically sat and drank and watched the TV for 5 years. I got paranoid too. I was so broke I couldn't afford the TV lisence, so I stopped answering the door. I just remembered it all yesterday while I was luxuriating in the bath after reading this hub. I had this sudden feeling of release, like I'd been released from prison. Oh yes. I'm free. It was great! And you're right, drinking doesn't help, but exercise does. It was getting my job as a postman tha finally started me back on the road to finding myself. I might write about this. Thanks for an informative and inswpiring hub.