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How to Find Support When You're Depressed

The problem with being depressed is that you likely don't have the energy or motivation to do anything about your depression. You might be spending long periods of time alone or in bed. You might watch an endless amount of movies to keep your mind off how you're feeling inside. You may be avoiding calls from friends and family. Depression can easily put a spell of sadness and isolation onto a person's life.

However, it's important to find at least one thing to get you started on the path of healing. It only takes a few moments of lightening your experience for things to begin to change. However, those few moments need to happen on a regular basis. Here are some ideas to bring some support into your life so that you can dig yourself out of the ditch of depression:

1.     Go for a walk outside. Being in nature, even if it's just a walk around your neighborhood, can make all the difference on your state of mind. Sometimes with just 30 minutes of fresh air, movement, and a new environment, you may obtain insight or an idea about what to do.

2.     Talk to someone. You don't have to talk to a professional just yet - unless you want to. You can start out with a friend or someone you trust. Perhaps there's a family member with whom you have a good relationship. If you feel comfortable talking to someone, that alone can make a difference in the way you feel.

3.     Do something you enjoy. If walking outside doesn't do it for you, find something else that is going to be fulfilling for you. Perhaps playing a sport or spending time with a good friend. One of the best ways to lift your mood is to find at least one thing you enjoy each day.

4.     Exercise. Physical activity is a great way to feel better. Exercise releases endorphins and can immediately change your mood.

5.     Talk to a professional.  At some point, you might decide to call a therapist or psychologist and get assessed for depression. This might be especially true if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

If you do decide to see a mental health professional, you may be assessed for depression. If you are diagnosed with depression, talk to your therapist or psychologist about a treatment plan that can meet your unique needs. Sometimes, that treatment plan may include medication. Medication is prescribed by a psychiatrist or physician.  If you need to take medication, talk to your physician or psychiatrist about its side effects and how that medication may affect your daily functioning.

Here's another point to keep in mind with regard to getting treated for depression: Sometimes, when participating in psychotherapy, symptoms of depression can feel like they are getting worse. It is sometimes true that once certain uncomfortable topics are being discussed, symptoms of depression might worsen. Yet, this uncomfortable period is part of the healing process. Once you can talk about your experiences without becoming numb or emotionally charged, it's a good sign you are healing.

At the same time, if you were experiencing suicidal thinking, it might take some time before those thoughts come to an end, even if you are engaged in therapy. Over time, both medication and the psychotherapy can help alleviate symptoms of depression, including suicidal thinking. 

 

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Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.