4 Things You Should Do If You Suffer From Depression

May 28, 2015 — 29 Comments

Dear Journal,

At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

For 27 years, my care has been consigned to a total of eleven psychiatrists or psychologists who have treated my illness with counseling and/or Prozac/Wellbutrin/Zoloft/Klonopin/Cymbalta/Xanax. Daily treatment is necessary for me to maintain a balanced mind, yet even still, I can (and often do) relapse.

Having so many years of experience with depression and knowing there are so many out there suffering, I want to share a reliable list of actions you should take if you experience depression, too. You don’t know me, and therefore, you don’t know if you can trust my advice. I can’t fault you for that and commend you for being a smart reader. But feel free to take whatever advice you need and leave the rest (though I am pretty adamant when it comes to the soundness of this article).

1) Seek help from a trained and certified professional. Here is a list of people you should not entrust with the treatment of your depression. Your friends, your family, your cat (honestly, it could not care less), that person you opened up to while drunk at a party that one time, that blogger you found online that said he/she cured him/herself with vitamins they will gladly sell you for three easy payments of $19.99 plus shipping and handling, your evangelical minister that believes in demon possession, any random Scientologist, or Paula Deen. You can trust anyone to support you through a difficult spell (except maybe the cats), but never trust anyone that tells you that you don’t need professional help. Rewiring the intricate operations of your mind should not be delegated to a person who has never been paid to say the word “clinical.”

2) Stop searching online for articles on how to treat depression. Self-helping real depression is like fighting a 5-alarm fire with a water pistol; it can become overwhelming, and depression is an illness that is sometimes bigger than your will. Seek assistance from a professional. They can help you determine if you really have depression or are just enduring a typical case of sadness.

Researching help from the sea of articles slapped together by an unqualified source looking to increase their internet traffic can be detrimental. Anyone that proclaims (and I’m paraphrasing here) “all you need to do is get off your butt and exercise or eat better or get plenty of sleep or go out more” must never have experienced depression themselves. Rather than helping, they are downplaying and undermining the seriousness of what many have ended their life over. Seriously, there would be more survivors of depression if a cure was as simple as hanging out with your friends.

 

3) Find something that will get you through the bad spells. Distraction helps me through times when I experience a flare-up. I have two distractions of choice: attention-whoring and my favorite television show, Mystery Science Theater 3000. The attention-whoring (e.g. posting a flattering picture of myself or a witty comment online) has provided the temporary yet uplifting validation I need to feel better about myself without requiring personal interaction. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 reminds me that it is still okay to laugh. This “something” is different for everyone, but it’s important to find one. This “something” is not a replacement for treatment.    

4) Keep the suicide hotline number saved in your contacts. 1-800-273-8255. You never know, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. In case your significant other likes to snoop, I suggest masking the name “Suicide Hotline” by saving it as Susie Hawtleen or Sidney Hawtleen. This way, Parker Nosey won’t become alarmed if he/she happens to “accidentally stumble” upon it, and you’ll have it available in the event things take a nasty turn for the worse.

Depression, for me, comes and goes. My therapist noticed a 6-month cycle. When I am in a funk, I flip on the TV, read the letter to myself, and hang in there until it passes or I can see my doctor. If it doesn’t require you harming others, do what you need to hang in there, too.

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29 responses to 4 Things You Should Do If You Suffer From Depression

  1. 

    THIS is one of the best articles on depression I have read the past few years. I had a Dad knowing me well enough to get me out of depression for a while… and he used to challenge me. Now he isn’t here anymore and I needed to find a way to remember what he taught me.
    You know, there’s one thing that I really loath when suffering from depression and really feeling like I drown in bad thoughts… that’s people suffering with me, complaining and endlessly talking about their problems (to what… distract me? Nice thing to do, to load my shoulders with more suffering…) I always need to really, really… I mean really control myself to not help them to something they can seriously suffer from. *growl*

    Like

  2. 

    I know you can’t tell, but I am giving you a standing ovation, followed up with a warm hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 

    Thank you for this. Understanding depression is so important. it is a sickness, not a hobby. I’m a long-time depressive, too, and I wrote about it on my other blog, Ramona’s Voices. It’s here: http://www.ramonasvoices.com/2014/08/the-dark-sadness-claims-another-victim.html

    If we can just help even one victim, we’ve done something useful. Thanks again.

    Ramona

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 

    I have four cats, and they could care less when my OCD gives me depression episodes. Unless I forget to feed them on time. Then they won’t leave me alone and are very concerned until the food hits the bowl. Then I cease to exist unless they want to be petted Lol. I love them though. I really enjoyed you post and thank you for reading mine and commenting. And I concur on the people wanting diet and vitamins to fix my issues. I call them the dreaded snake oil salesmen. They are completely full of shit and tend to do more harm than good to people searching for real answers. do you mind if I share this?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 

    Thank you so much for this, Cary. So much truth and honesty. And MST3K (!!!) Hugs to you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 

    Came to this through your comment on The Bloggess. Good tips, I hope someone, besides myself, who needs it reads this. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 

    Hi. This is Janet from Et Cetera, etc. I also have a blog Bipolar Me that you might like to check out. bipolarjan.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 

    You may have been hanging out with the wrong cats.

    It’s true, felines run the gamut from kitten poster models to Siamese baby-eaters right out of Lady and the Tramp. You may have simply found a clowder of furbags that actually out-attention-whored you, which would be counterproductive to your goals.

    I recommend courting the quiet, the devoted, the lap-warmers. Mine rode through hell with me and I’ll never know how I deserved her. Thanks, Monka, you saved my life, you sweet thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 

    Thank you for sharing this, Cary. I know how difficult it can be to write about stuff like this.

    Also, even on your darkest days, try not to forget how unbelievably loved you are

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 

    Thank you for sharing this, Cary. I know it’s difficult to open up about stuff like this.

    Also, never forget how loved you are, especially by me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 

    Cary, this is wonderful. Much of what you say applies equally to people who have bi-polar disorder rather than depression. I have neither, but both my partner and my best friend have bi-polar.and these are the same tools they have found for dealing with the problem.

    You cover this topic well, and you clearly have paid very close attention to your own problem and treatment.

    I will be passing this along to others I know who have similar problems.

    And I’m impressed that your serious articles like this one are just as good and as well-written as your humorous ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 

    Like always you write with such honesty. Can I love you more? Can I admire you more? You are a deep/fragile/wonderful/smart/brave man. The world is lucky to have you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 

    Awesome piece my friend, very insightful and full of lots of great advice. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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