NOTE: If you are currently clinically depressed (that is, diagnosed by a doctor and given anti-depressant medication to help) we recommend taking your medication following the specific instructions your doctor gave you (usually on the pill bottle).
We know that you could not possibly see a professional every time you feel a little depressed, but don't worry, there are some other things you can do that may get rid of your depression or at least lessen it.
- Use cognitive therapy techniques to get you out of negative thought patters. What this means is that YOU need to stop thinking negatively about yourself, if you are. It is proven that we actually listen to ourselves, so if you repeat or keep saying something to yourself over and over your body does tend to hear it and listen to it. So what you need to do is try saying some good things each morning to yourself over and over and do it every morning. Look in the mirror and say I like ______ about myself. Each day do that and strive to say something different. You can do it!
- Plan your day with some activities you HAVE to do and some you enjoy doing. Rate your expectations of these activities, and then re-assess how you felt about them after you have done them. It's a good idea to keep a notebook for this purpose. Write the name of the activities you have to do and those you enjoy doing and then what you think about having to do it or doing it. After you are done come back and write in the notebook what you really felt about it.
- Break down difficult tasks into smaller incremental parts. In other words, don't try to do something really complex at one time. Take it part by part piece by piece and then accomplish each piece individually.
- Give yourself credit for even the smallest things you get done. This goes back to number 1. You have to always be willing to say good things about yourself and be proud of what you do and try not to dwell so much on what you don't do.
- Remember that depression passes. Focus on living one at day at a time until the depression feeling is gone.
- Get emotional support from a family member, friend, or anyone else. Get involved in a fun activity with someone you enjoy. Spend some time with a pet. Get lots of hugs from whoever you can.
- Talk to an understanding, non-judgmental person for as long as you need to talk. It needs to be okay to talk about anything and for you to be able to be emotional.
- Get some exercise, whatever you can do. Walk, run, bike, swim etc.
- Get out into the sunlight as much as you can. If you must be inside try to sit next to a window.
- Use lots of lighting indoors. Avoid dark areas.
NOTE ABOUT 9 AND 10: Lighting is very important to depression. A lot of times, the right lighting can actually reverse the effects of depression, or at lest lesson the depressant feeling.
- Eliminate sugar, caffeine, and junk food from your diet. Eat three healthy meals a day. Sometimes it is the food we eat that helps keep the depression feeling going. It might be worth to try for a week and see what happens.
- Read a funny book or watch a funny tv show or movie. Listen to music you enjoy if it's upbeat.
- Take a long hot bath/shower.
- MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! Depression gets worse if you have to sit and do nothing. Try to move around at least every hour on the hour and find something to do.
- If all else fails, Sleep. When you feel you just can't go on and start thinking those suicidal things, write back to HelpingTeens (formally known as TeenHelp) first then go try to sleep. A lot of times after sleeping we feel 10 times better or at least restored.