"Snap out of it," they say. "What do you have to be sad about?" they ask. These people have clearly never struggled with depression. It's not something that can be brushed off or snapped out of; it's not something that only coincides with negative life events. For many individuals, it's simply a black cloud that tarnishes everything. A promotion at work, a new relationship, a new grandchild even these happy occasions aren't enough to overcome the deepest feelings of despair and hopelessness. And, honestly, not much can. But there are some coping mechanisms that could turn that cloud into at least a slightly lighter shade of gray.
Confide in a Friend
You may not want to talk, and you may not want to leave the house, but this isn't the time to alienate yourself. Even if its just to one person, reach out and let someone know what you're going though. Explain to them that it's not just a little bit of the blues and that you need their support right now. If you don't feel like you have a friend or family member who you can confide in, make an appointment with a therapist or attend a support group. It may not seem like it, but a little human interaction will do you some good.
Get Some Fresh Air
Whens the last time you got out of bed to do a non-fundamental task (i.e. something other than using the restroom, eating a meal, or going to work)? It's probably been a while, huh? Drag yourself out of bed and put on some shoes. Walk around the block just once. Do you feel even an ounce better? As much as you may not want to, make a point to get out of the house and go on a brief walk at least once a day. You may find that even a 10-minute walk will make you feel at least a little more alive (if even for a few minutes).
Know When to Seek Professional Help
If you've started thinking about harming yourself or others, its time to take your mental health more seriously. Seeing a mental health professional is nothing to be ashamed of after all, its not like you WANT to feel this way. If you're open to taking medication to ease your depression, make an appointment with a psychiatrist. He or she may prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug, and could also refer you to a therapist. If you'd rather take a drug-free approach, then make an appointment with a therapist who can talk you through your feelings.
Whether you make an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist doesn't matter just make an appointment with some type of mental health provider. Be honest with your practitioner and let him or her know that you're experiencing feelings of hopelessness and that you want to feel better. It may take some time, but a psychiatrist or therapist should be able to provide the help you need. Keep in mind that you can always switch providers if you don't feel like you're being heard or don't think you're receiving the help you need.
Above all else, just be sure to take care of yourself.