Someone asked me how to overcome depression. This was my answer:
There are many things you can do to start overcoming clinical depression, and which ones work best for you will depend on your personality:
- Make a list of all the things that have ever brought you joy. Do one thing from the list each day.
- Exercise. Exercise has been shown as effective as therapy and medication after ten weeks. Do a form of movement that you enjoy — swimming, walking, jogging, riding a bicycle, yoga, tai chi, etc.
- Nutrition. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Have your vitamin B12 and D levels checked. Increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Read books or listen to audio about overcoming depression.
- See a counsellor.
- See a doctor and get medication. If it doesn’t work, try another medication. Repeat.
- Hypnosis often works.
- Acupuncture often works.
- Do one new thing each week.
- Convince yourself to go out even when you are not quite feeling it — it is good to push past the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
- Spend some time around animals and/or in lush gardens if you can. Nature can be healing. If you can’t, look at photos and videos of cute animals and breathtaking scenery.
- Take on a creative project, large or small – writing, drawing, painting, coloring. It does not have to be high art.
- Learn mindfulness. Yoga, for example, is said to be very helpful.
- Do fun things to distract yourself and give yourself a break from feeling depressed sometimes. Getting lost in a crossword, sudoku, TV show, or even coloring can help your brain have a break from unrelenting negative feelings.
- Keep working at it. No matter what you do, your depression will lift. It may take months, but it will go. Please be patient and kind to yourself.
Remember that depression is real and can be hard to fight. Others cannot see your struggle and that can be frustrating and make you feel weak when you are actually being strong and doing your best.
Be your own best friend every day.
Good luck. Depression is hard to deal with.
(P.S. I have now written a more comprehensive depression treatment plan. I hope it helps you on your journey. As always, I welcome comments!)