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What To Do If You Are Struggling With Depression

May 31, 2024 Paula Gurnett, C.C.C.

If you are struggling with depression, it's important to take steps to address it. The sooner depression is addressed, the better the chances for a positive outcome. Early intervention can prevent the condition from worsening and reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

Here are some suggestions to help manage and improve your mental health:

1. Seek Professional Help

  • Therapists and Counsellors: Talking to a mental health professional can provide support and coping strategies. Therapies like Brainspotting Therapy (BSP) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be effective for many people.

  • Psychiatrists: They can assess whether medication might be beneficial for you. Antidepressants can help balance chemicals in your brain.  You can speak to your family doctor about medication or a referral to a psychiatrist. 

2. Reach Out to Loved Ones

  • Friends and Family: Let trusted people in your life know what you're going through. Social support can be incredibly helpful.

  • Support Groups: Consider joining a support group for people with depression. Sharing experiences with others who understand can provide comfort and advice.

3. Practice Self-Care

  • Physical Activity: Exercise or movement can boost your mood by increasing endorphins and serotonin levels. Options of going to the gym, going for a walk, or doing yoga at home are all positive and it is important to remember that maximum output should not be the goal.

  • Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients can positively impact your mental health via regulating the gut-brain axis.  Gut health is shown to be directly linked to mood and can be helpful in preventing and managing depression, stress, and anxiety. 

  • Sleep: Aim for a regular sleep schedule and ensure you are getting enough rest.

4. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can reduce stress and improve your mental outlook.

  • Creative Activities: Engaging in hobbies, whether it's painting, writing, or playing music, can provide an emotional outlet and a sense of accomplishment.

5. Set Realistic Goals

  • Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Celebrate small achievements to build momentum.  Adjusting expectations of yourself, as when you are struggling with depression it often limits your ability to function at the level you may be used to because often energy, motivation, and interest is lower. 

6. Avoid Negative Coping Mechanisms

  • Avoid alcohol, drugs, and other substances that can exacerbate depression. They may provide temporary relief but often worsen the condition in the long run.

7. Educate Yourself

  • Learn about depression to better understand your symptoms and treatment options. Knowledge can empower you to take control of your situation.

8. Establish a Routine

  • A consistent daily routine can provide structure and a sense of normalcy, which can be comforting during difficult times.

9. Be Patient and Kind to Yourself

  • Recovery can be a slow process with ups and downs. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that it's okay to have bad days.

10. Emergency Resources

  • Crisis Hotlines: If you are in immediate danger or experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact emergency services or a crisis hotline. In many countries, there are helplines available 24/7.

Remember, depression is a medical condition, not a personal failing. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Taking the first step can be daunting, but it is crucial for your well-being.



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