A depression diagnosis is a difficult reality, but not a hopeless one. Thousands of Americans have learned how to handle depression and continue to not only live, but flourish regardless of their diagnosis.
With motivation, healthy habits and the guidance of a mental health professional, you can learn how to not only live with depression, but thrive in everything you do.
1. Be open about living with depression
It is not uncommon for depression to keep you in a state of feeling fatigued, unmotivated and unfocused. Unfortunately, this can constantly get in the way of daily things you need to do, from getting the laundry done to helping the kids with homework to showing up for work in the morning. Even getting out of bed can feel daunting.
Additionally, you don’t necessarily know when those worst days will hit — for this reason, it could be helpful to be open and honest with your employer about your depression. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your spouse or partner knows, and it might even be helpful to tell your roommates as well.
2. Don’t ignore your diagnosis
If you’re diagnosed with depression, you may feel a whole range of emotions, from relief at finally understanding what’s going on to fear at the challenges that may lie ahead. The most important thing, no matter how you feel, is to not put off learning how to live with depression.
This might mean seeking medical treatment; it might mean revamping your diet so the foods you consume enhance your mental health; it may be seeking therapy to help you learn the best ways to cope with depression and its symptoms.
Regardless of what it looks like for you, take the time to take care of yourself as soon as you receive your diagnosis. Just as you wouldn’t stall in seeking medical treatment for a physical illness, you shouldn’t avoid seeking mental health treatment.
3. Keep your friends close
It’s likely depression is keeping you from wanting to interact with friends and family as a common symptom of depression is withdrawing from social events and previously enjoyed activities. However, it’s important to try and combat this symptom.
Because your family and friends want to help and be supportive during this time. While they may not know the best way to do so, or might not have the courage to ask you, by allowing them to be close, you can foster an environment where they become more comfortable asking questions and you become more comfortable asking for help.
Having friends and family around can also keep you from feeling isolated, a crucial factor in coping with depression.
4. Learn about sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is maintaining a healthy sleeping routine to help you avoid negative mood changes and physical illness. Depression is a double-edged sword, one that often limits your ability to achieve a restful night’s sleep on a nightly basis.
It’s helpful to put away all devices and screens an hour before bed; craft a bedtime routine, like meditation, a skincare routine, drinking tea or reading a book. Allow yourself time to wind down. Try to avoid doing work, homework or other potentially stressful activities in your bed/bedroom, as your brain may then associate bedtime with feelings of stress instead of relaxation.
5. Make a counseling appointment
Some things just need professional intervention and care, and depression is one of them. Because depression impacts the way you think and feel, it can be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to “talk yourself out of” feeling depressed.
However, counselors and therapists trained in mental health counseling strategies can provide you with healthy coping strategies and new thinking patterns that will help relieve depression symptoms and get you back to feeling like yourself.
Contact The Light Program to speak with a counselor today, or call (610) 644-6464 to get started.