If you have depression, it can be hard to know what to do about it. Here are a few steps you can take starting today.
Identify your symptoms
Knowing whether or not you are dealing with depression, and not just sadness, is an important first step in getting help to treat your symptoms. Here are some questions you can ask yourself right now:
- Have you been feeling irritable the past few days, or the past few weeks?
- Are you having problems sleeping, either too little too much? Has this been going on for awhile?
- Do you find yourself low on energy some days of the week, or the majority?
- Have you been having a hard time concentrating or thinking clearly?
- Have you had thoughts about dying or suicide?
Sadness is a normal human emotion. Some days, we just feel down, even if we’re not quite sure of the reason. This usually goes away fairly quickly, though. Depression doesn’t go away; it lingers. You consistently feel sluggish, unmotivated, unable to focus and upset. This is not an easy place to be in, but the best thing you can do, as soon as you start to think you might be depressed, is to get help.
Seek professional counseling, even if you don’t think you need it
Your first reaction might be to shake your head and say, “No, thanks, but it’s not that serious.” Even if it isn’t, it’s best to talk to someone just in case. Even if you see someone only a few times and are able to move forward without regular therapy, a professional can help you make tough choices and guide you through steps you can take to start the healing process.
- Possibly the hardest step is to make an appointment. The second most difficult is getting yourself there. Once you do those two things, however, you may find it gets a little easier from there.
- It’s okay if you don’t trust a stranger enough to share all your thoughts and feelings. They won’t ask you to. It can be hard talking about depression with someone you don’t know, but rest assured: they are there to help you.
- If you are not comfortable meeting with someone in person, more and more e-counseling services are popping up online. Many of these services let you choose how you want to meet with a therapist: through email, instant message chat, video chat—whatever you are most comfortable with.
There is nothing wrong with getting help. Speaking with a professional is a sign of strength and self-love. It means, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, you really do care about yourself and want to be healthier.
Find a comfortable way to express your thoughts
Everyone has their own way of expressing their thoughts and feelings: find yours. You could try writing in a journal, or working on an art project, or making a video talking about how you feel even if it’s only for yourself. Having an outlet to express yourself in a healthy way will help you start to work through the often complex thoughts running through your head.
Establish a predictable routine and stick to it
The routine doesn’t need to be complicated. It doesn’t even have to be a routine for the whole day. It can be something as simple as waking up at a certain time, showering and eating breakfast. Those might not seem like big accomplishments. For someone who is dealing with depression, though, they are huge milestones.
If you can cross those things off your mental list, it can serve as a much needed reminder that you are still functioning. You are not broken. You’re just taking things slowly, one day at a time. You CAN do it.
Find out how you can start the process of healing and recovery.