When you're going through , you can't just shake if off. You might have a couple of good days followed by a bad day or a string of bad days. And you don't know how long it will last. Depression is not like the flu or a sprained ankle, where your doctor can tell you about how long it will take to get better.
When you're getting better, many experts call it recovery. Recovery is finding your path to the life you care about. There are 10 principles of recovery (What is a document?) that can help you recover from depression on your terms. They help you gain self-confidence and respect for yourself.
During your recovery, be patient and kind to yourself. Remember that depression is not your fault and is not something you can overcome with willpower alone. You need treatment for depression, just like for any other illness.
Continuing your treatment, helping yourself, getting support, and having a healthy lifestyle are all part of your recovery. Your symptoms will fade as your treatment starts to work. Don't give up. Focus your energy on getting better. Your mood will improve. It just takes some time.
You can take many steps to help yourself when you feel depressed or are waiting for your medicine to work. These steps also help prevent depression from coming back.
- Be real in what you expect and what you can do. Set goals youcan meet. If you have a big task to do, break it up into smaller steps you canhandle. Don't take on more than you can handle.
- Don't blameyourself or others for your depression.
- Think about putting off big decisions until your depression haslifted. Wait a bit on making decisions about marriage, divorce, or jobs. Talkit over with friends and loved ones who can help you look at the wholepicture.
- Get support from others. Your family can help you get the righttreatment and deal with your symptoms.Social support and support groups give you the chanceto talk with people who are going through the same things you are.
- Tell people you trust about depression. It is usuallybetter than being alone and keeping it a secret.
- Build your self esteem and try to keep a positiveattitude.
- Depression: Using positive thinking
- Positive thinking: Stopping unwanted thoughts
- Try to be part of religious, social,holiday, or other activities.
- If you have any other health problems, like diabetes, heartdisease, or high blood pressure, continue with your treatment for them. Tellyour doctor about all of the medicines you take, with or without aprescription.
You also can help yourself by thinking about what is good in your life. You can:
- Help others who are not as well off as youare.
- Thank people for the small and big things they do for you.
- Be thankful for big things like having a home, family, andfriends.
- Be thankful for little things like making people laugh,enjoying a piece of music, or finding warm gloves for the winter.
Remember the basics
- Get regular exercise. People who are fit usually haveless,, and stress than people who aren'tfit.9 Even something as easy as walking can help youfeel better. Find a way you can be active.
- Eat a balanced diet. This helps your body deal withtension and stress. Whole grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, andprotein are part of a balanced diet.
- Get enough sleep. A good night's sleep can help moodand stress levels. Avoid sleeping pills unless your doctor prescribes them.
- Deal with stress. Too much stress can help triggerdepression. You can do a lot to help relieve stress. For more information, seethe topicStress Management.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs or medicines thathave not been prescribed to you. Having a problem makes treating depressionharder.Both problems need to be treated.
- Prevent depression from coming back. Take your medicine as yourdoctor advises. Depression often returns if you stop taking your medicine ordon't take it as your doctor advises. For more information, see the Preventionsection.