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Self-Help for Depression

Depressive illnesses make you feel exhausted, worthless, helpless and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings make some people feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and typically do not accurately reflect your situation. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. In the meantime:
  • Do not set yourself difficult goals or take on a great deal of responsibility.

  • Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.

  • Do not expect too much from yourself. This will only increase feelings of failure.

  • Try to be with other people; it is usually better than being alone.

  • Participate in activities that may make you feel better. You might try mild exercise, going to a movie, a ball game, or participating in religious or social activities.

  • Don't overdo it or get upset if your mood is not greatly improved right away. Feeling better takes time.

  • Do not make major life decisions, such as changing jobs, getting married or divorced, without consulting others who know you well and who have a more objective view of your situation. In any case, it is advisable to postpone important decisions until your depression has lifted.

  • Do not expect to snap out of your depression. People rarely do. Help yourself as much as you can, and do not blame yourself for not being up to par.

  • Remember, do not accept your negative thinking. It is part of the depression and will disappear as your depression responds to treatment.
Family and Friends Can Help
Since depression can make you feel exhausted and helpless, you will want and probably need help from others. However, people who have never had a depressive illness may not fully understand its effect. They won't mean to hurt you, but they may say and do things that do. It may help to share this article with those you most care about so they can better understand and help you.

NIMH Publication

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