When you’re struggling with depression, the idea of getting help can feel overwhelming.
When everything feels crappy, how do you know where to start?
Perhaps you googled “ways to treat depression” and read all those lists that suggest the same old things: eat better, exercise, take time for self-care, yadda, yadda, yadda. But how can anyone actually expect you to go out and exercise when you can’t even leave the house?
Sometimes even the simplest of tasks feel impossible. So let’s start as small as possible. Before you start to seek help, here’s how to gather your thoughts when you’re struggling.
1. Ask Yourself, “How Am I Feeling?”
This sounds ridiculous, I know. But sometimes when we’re struggling with depression, it can be hard to put how we’re feeling into words.
Take some time to think about exactly what you’re experiencing. It’s important to understand how your depression is manifesting itself in order to figure out how best to address it. A few common emotions that might resonate with you could be:
2. Do a Quick Body Scan
Unfortunately, physical and mental health issues often go hand in hand. Physical health issues can cause or increase mental health issues and vice versa.
For example, things like physical pain and depression are often known to co-exist. Physical pain can bring out your depression and/or your depression can manifest itself as physical pain. The same can be said for other medical conditions like skin conditions or reproductive health issues.
It may not always be obvious how your physical and mental symptoms connect. For example, someone having trouble hearing might be experiencing increased frustration, isolation, and anger.
Once you figure out if you’re experiencing any physical symptoms, you can take any necessary steps that might aid in your treatment.
3. Examine How Your Depression is Affecting Your Behavior
Depression can show up in some sneaky ways and can affect pretty much every part of our life. Check in with yourself to see how depression is personally affecting your behavior. Signs of depression can vary so ask yourself: Are you having trouble sleeping? Are you sleeping too much? Are you eating your emotions? Or maybe you don’t feel like eating at all.
The more you can learn about your depression and how it’s affecting you on an individual level, the better you’ll be able to help yourself on your recovery journey.
4. Start Thinking About Next Steps
Once you have a better understanding of your depression, it’s time to start thinking about your next steps. This might mean an appointment with a therapist, changes to your anti-depression medication or current treatment plan, or other things that might help you recover.
Remember, you don’t have to have it all figured out. Take one thing at a time, one day at a time.
And don’t forget that there are many people out there who can help you. You don’t have to do this alone! Your friends and family love you and want to help. And there are therapists and other medical professionals who are trained to aid in your recovery. You don’t have to have all the answers right away. But once you start to understand your depression a bit more, you can start to figure out how to best get yourself help.
If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
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