While negative thoughts and feelings may make you feel like giving up, it's important to realize that negative views are part of the depression and often do not accurately reflect your actual circumstances.
As treatment begins to take effect, negative thinking is likely to fade so be patient with yourself. In the meantime:
- Commit to working out issues by attending regular sessions and being frank with your therapist
- Outside of therapy, set realistic goals you need to achieve in your day-to-day life
- Take on a reasonable amount of responsibility and ask for help if you feel overwhelmed
- Break large tasks into smaller ones and reward yourself for completing those larger tasks
- Set priorities and do what you can when you can
- Try to spend time with other people and to confide your feelings to someone; it is usually better than being alone and secretive
- Let your family and friends help you
- Participate in activities that may make you feel better such as going to a movie, a ballgame, or participating in religious, social, or other activities
- Make time for exercise, but don't over-do it.
- Postpone important decisions, such as changing jobs getting married or divorced, until the depression has lifted
People rarely "snap out of" a depression, but they can get a little better day-by-day. Expect your mood to improve gradually. Feeling better takes time. Positive thinking will gradually replace the negative thinking that is part of the depression. The excessive negative thinking grows weaker and disappears as your depression responds to treatment.
Where to Get Help
Be sure to seek outside help if you feel down for more than a couple of weeks. Check websites and look in the yellow pages under "mental health," "psychologists," "counselors", "social services," "suicide prevention," "crisis intervention services," "hotlines," "hospitals," or "physicians" for phone numbers and addresses. Your local emergency room can also help in a crisis.
When to See a Doctor
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression symptoms may not get better on their own — and depression may get worse if it isn't treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems or problems in other areas of your life. Feelings of depression can also lead to suicide.
If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
Additional resources of help include:
- Family doctors
- Mental health specialists - such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
- Your health insurance plan
- Community mental health centers
- Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
- University- or medical school-affiliated programs
- State hospital outpatient clinics
- Family service, social agencies, or clergy
- Private clinics and facilities
- Employee assistance programs
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Here are some steps you can take:
- Contact a family member or friend.
- Seek help from your doctor, a mental health provider or other health care professional.
- Call a suicide hot line number — in the United States, you can reach the toll-free, 24-hour hot line of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If you have a loved one who has harmed himself or herself, or is seriously considering doing so, make sure someone stays with that person. Take him or her to the hospital or call for emergency help.