6 ways to deal with depression

Depression can be a truly crippling condition. Here are 6 ways that may help you fight your battle with depression.

Anti-depressants

When my case manager first suggested anti-depressants to me I was very hesitant to try them. I had heard a few horror stories of people trying to get off them which made me concerned if it was a ride I wanted to start taking.

Eventually I weighed up the pros and cons and decided to give a “mild” one a try (citalopram). 6 months later I’m glad I did. Anti-depressants can really help to give you more energy to get out of your black hole. In my experience they are by no means a cure all, rather a little helper to allow one to get going again. As a bonus, my anti-depressants help with my anxiety too, so it’s a bit of a double whammy.

If you think you need some “happy pills” consult your doctor or a psychiatrist.

6 ways to deal with depression

Exercise

This can be a really tough one when you are feeling depressed, but exercise is recognized as one of the best treatments for depression. I know from personal experience that some days even getting out of bed is a victory, let alone going for a walk or hitting the gym, but if you can muster even 20 minutes of exercise a day I can guarantee you will start to feel better.

Start off slow, do 5 minutes on an exercise bike or take a 10 minute walk. Work your way up to more intense exercise like swimming or bike riding and over time you will not only lose weight but you will feel better mentally for it too.

Therapy pets

This one was suggested by my drug and alcohol counselor, “Get a dog” she said. So I did, and it’s improved my life drastically. It’s always nice to come home to a wagging tail and some affectionate licks. Dogs are also a great excuse to get some exercise, take them to the park, walk around the block and you can even take them to puppy training and socialize a bit.

I personally got myself a Maltese shih-tzu cross toy poodle to avoid shedding and allergies, plus they are great to cuddle with.

If you are more of a cat person then naturally a cat would brighten your life more than a dog but any animal you relate to can do the trick really.

Socialize

This is another tough one when you are suffering from depression, but even introverts are social creatures at heart. We need other human contact to feel good. My motto is say “yes” and then work out how. What do I mean by that? If someone asks me out to the city for example, I will say yes and then work out the logistics of getting there. The more you say yes to things the more you will be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and that’s where the magic happens.

If you don’t have many exciting friends (friends that like to go out that is) then feel free to be the instigator for a night out. Celebrate your birthday with a party, invite people around for a barbecue just because you can or take a night out and go to the casino. There are plenty of things you can do with friends so take the initiative and invite some of them out.

Seek help

Help is always available for people suffering with depression. Your first point of call is discussing things with your local doctor; they will be able to give you some more tailored advice that’s specific to you and your issues. Doctors can also make referrals to psychologists who are fantastic at dealing with depression problems.

It might be a bit of a scary topic to approach at first but once you bite the bullet and acknowledge your problems and start taking action, you are already on the right path to better mental health and a better life.

Get a job if you don’t have one

If you are unemployed it’s easy to slip into a depression. Thoughts like “I’m useless” or “I can’t do anything” are easy to get stuck in your head. But if you can manage it, a job, even a part time one, will give you a sense of purpose and make you feel like you are contributing to something. Plus, money is always good and will allow you to go out more on the weekends. It will also make you feel like you deserve your down time like watching TV or playing on your phone – habits that one with depression may find themselves doing a lot of without the work. There are a lot of hours in the day so even a 4 hour shift somewhere will help you immensely with your mental health.

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