9.5% of the population, or 18 million people a year suffer from clinical depression.* That is just the reported cases, the non-reported cases puts the total much higher. Chances are you've had your fair share of depressed times. The important question is: how do I get rid of depression? Your second question will undoubtedly be, "will I need to take any pills?" Now don't get me wrong, there are times depression has to be handled with medication. But in a world of go-go-go, most people don't have the time and/or money to go to the doctor for depression that will probably pass before your appointment day has arrived. Here are 5 ways to combat depression before it becomes to be too much to handle.
1. Find The Source of the Depression
It sounds simple and a bit patronizing, I know. However, most people who are depressed really have no idea why they are depressed. Other than the really big times of sorrow in your life (death, divorce, illness), it's not always clear to you why you are depressed. It could be any number of things that don't seem too bad one by one. But if you add a few of them together at the right time, then poof! You feel awful and you're not really sure why. So the first thing to do is find out why you are depressed. Even though you are not actively combating depression on this step, it is essential to getting happier.
2. Find What Makes You Happy
Again, it sounds simple but think for a moment. What makes you happy? Don't confuse laughing with happy, something that may make you chuckle isn't enough to lift your depression. Maybe you love Classical Music but with work, kids, pets, and whatever else you have going on; you don't get to listen to Classical Music all that often. Whatever makes you happy is what you should do when depressed. When you are involved in this enjoyable activity don't think about anything else. You will not enjoy your music and get over your depression if all you can think about is that promotion you didn't get, or that break-up. Concentrate on your enjoyable activity and nothing else. If you spend a prolonged period of time being happy, the bumps in the road will not seem that big. Obviously this may take some planning on your part to get the free time you need if you have children or pets.
3. Talk About How You Feel
If you are a private person you will be surprised how good it feels to vent. Sometimes all we need to get out of the depression rut is to have someone you can talk to about whatever may be bothering you. Notice I didn't say advice... sometimes all you need is to get everything off your chest. I find it easier to relax and feel better if I just say what I have to say without waiting for advice I may not agree with anyway. It could be family, friends, or a religious leader. Sometimes it may be better to vent to a total stranger. Cab drivers are perfect for this type of venting. They are being paid for their time and have nothing else better to do while they drive to your destination, and you will probably never see them again anyway. The point is: it's better out than in.
This one is actually true. Exercise helps produce endorphins, Which are neurochemicals in the brain that make us feel better. There are lots of studies that have proven that exercise is good for battling depression and good for overall mental health. As always if you don't workout regularly, consult a doctor before you start a rigorous exercise plan. Just walking for 20-30 minutes a day can be enough to battle the depression monster. In this case a healthy body and a happy mind go hand in hand.
5. Talk To Your Doctor
Notice I didn't say, "go get pills". If you have tried to get through it on your own and you still have no luck then talk to you doctor. Before he prescribes medicine he can give you some other ideas on diet and lifestyle that will help ease your depression. Some cases will call for medication but remember its not a life long illness. You may be on medicine for only a few weeks or so.
If you are one of the 18 million Americans who battles depression take heart in the fact you are not alone.* In addition to the tips I've given there is a link to the National Institute of Mental Health with more options on how to deal with depression: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/getting-help-locate-services/index.shtml. There are many tips on fighting depression, but for them to work you have to try them.
* = Info from source