Depression is both more common and more serious than many people believe it to be. It not only affects how you feel, but also how you think and carry out daily activities such as eating, sleeping, or working. Below are three things that everyone should know if they believe they are depressed (National institute of Mental Health, 2018):
- You are not alone. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. No matter what your family circumstances are, there are countless people out there experiencing similar symptoms that may need a friend just as much as you do. Interpersonal therapy is a known treatment for depression. Talk to someone. Call a local psychologist or therapist. There is always someone who will be more than happy to talk to you, even if you don’t believe it. There is also a hotline available 24/7 (800-273-8255) that provides free and confidential support for individuals in distress. Call ten times a day if you need to!
- There are treatment options you can consider trying. Antidepressants have been proven to make a huge impact on the lives of those that are struggling with depression. These medications may improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals, having a positive effect on mood or levels of stress. There are a multitude of different medications, and you may need to try several of them before determining which works best for you. They take about 2 to 4 weeks to work, but don’t give up on them and don’t give up on yourself!
- There are things that you can do beyond treatment. Though simple tasks may seem impossible, is it important to try and set realistic goals for yourself and realize that change will not be immediate. Continue to educate yourself about depression. Try not to isolate yourself, be willing to let others help you. Try to spend time with other people who make you happy. Try to be active and exercise. Postpone important decisions, and allow yourself to heal. It all begins with a little effort. Know that your situation can change. Above all else, choose to live.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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