Depressive disorders can make one feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and do not accurately reflect the actual circumstances. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. Here are some additional things a person can do in the meantime:
- Engage in mild exercise. Go to a movie or a ballgame, or participate in religious, social, or other activities.
- Set realistic goals and assume a reasonable amount of responsibility.
- Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.
- Try to be with other people and to confide in someone; it is usually better than being alone and secretive.
- Participate in activities that may make you feel better.
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Feeling better takes time. Often during treatment of depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before the depressed mood lifts.
- Postpone important decisions. Before deciding to make a significant transition—change jobs, get married or divorced—discuss it with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Do not expect to snap out of a depression. But do expect to feel a little better day by day.
- Remember, positive thinking will replace the negative thinking as your depression responds to treatment.
- Let your family and friends help you.
Where to Get Help
If you are unsure where to go for help, talk to people you trust who have experience in mental health: for example, a doctor, nurse, social worker, or religious counselor. Ask their advice on where to seek treatment. If there is a university nearby, it may have departments of psychiatry or psychology that offer private or sliding-scale fee clinic treatment options. Otherwise, check the yellow pages of your phone book under mental health, health, social services, suicide prevention, crisis intervention services, hotlines, hospitals, or physicians, for phone numbers and addresses. In times of crisis, the emergency room doctor at a hospital may be able to provide temporary help for a mental health problem and will be able to tell you where and how to get further help.
Listed below are the types of people and places that will make a referral to, or provide, diagnostic and treatment services:
- Health Insurance plan provider
- Family doctors
- Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
- Religious leaders and counselors
- Community mental health centers
- Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
- University or medical school affiliated programs
- State hospital outpatient clinics
- Social service agencies
- Private clinics and facilities
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Local medical or psychiatric societies
Source: Content provided and maintained by the National Institute of Mental Health