Tools for Depression

A friend of mine, recently, asked me for some resources on depression. As I replied, and wrote down a list of tools that I have used in the past, I thought, “What a great idea for an article for ILWAD!” One of the things I have learned about depression is that having a good support team is vital, so I am sharing my support resources with all of you. On that note, if any of you have comments or want to talk about depression, I encourage you to contact me, I love connecting with others on the subject.

Having experience with depression, some of the tools I have used to help myself were attending support groups, keeping appointments with health professionals, participating in therapy, learning about my disability, teaching others about it, keeping active in the mental health field, writing in a journal, keeping a ‘happy’ list, and using the tools and worksheets I received in group depression classes. Below are some of those tools.

Happy List:

One of the things I do to help me with depression is to write and keep a “happy list.” What that is, is making a list of all the things that make you happy–big or small. For me, that is being in nature, or staying under a blanket when it’s raining outside, or playing with my friend’s children, watching “The Office” (because it’s so hilarious and I laugh so hard) or eating tapioca pudding. I find this is an easy way to snap myself out of the mood, even if for a short time.

Opposite Action:

I think one of the most horrible things about depression is that it makes you not want to do anything; however, taking the opposite action is what gets you out of depression. So if you feel like being in bed, then go out for a walk, take a bath, or read a book or something, anything. Read your happy list and do something off it!

10 Minute Rule:

I have to give credit to my mom, who taught me about the “10-minute rule.” The 10-minute rule is doing something, anything, for 10 minutes. Usually, that’s enough time to get you past the ‘hump’ of the transition between inactivity and activity. If after 10 minutes, you don’t or can’t do more, that’s fine. At least you can say you were productive for 10 minutes!

Analyze:

What has been going on in your life, has there been any stress at work or at home that you think could be affecting you? Have there been any major events in your life: new school, job, family, did you break up with a spouse, lose medical benefits? Maybe there is a good reason you feel the way you do.

Learn about your symptoms of Depression:

This may sound odd, but whenever I feel depressed, I go on the internet and research information on depression. What that does for me is it makes me feel like I’m not the only one with depression. In addition, I can learn new tools to help me overcome my depression. Some of the common websites I use are below

Resources:

1. National Alliance for Mental Illness: www.nami.org; here you can look for support in your area of residence. They offer classes, support groups, libraries & resources, and volunteer opportunities. Last year I participated in the annual NAMI Walk to raise funds and be with other mental health supporters. It was a blast!

2. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliancewww.dbsalliance.org

3. DBSA has a unique tool to keep track of your moods, medications, journals: https://tracker.facingus.org

4. Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org & 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

5. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration: www.samhsa.gov

6. National Institutes of Mental Health: www.nimh.nih.gov

*Disclaimer: The above are resources only. This article is not designed to replace medical care. If you have an emergency and need immediate assistance, call your health care provider or 9-1-1. Always consult your doctor before trying any new therapies.

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