Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to Get Help for Depression

By Lauryn Bunner

I remember asking myself in front of the mirror one day, "am I depressed?" I had to laugh at myself because when I looked back at the mirror, I could not recognize that it was me in front of it; I was twenty pounds overweight and had saggy skin underneath my eyes. Every morning, I will feel exhausted and would take a nap whenever I could. I hadn't gotten a haircut in months - maybe a year - and I hadn't bothered ironing anything in nearly that long. Did I even need to ask whether or not I was depressed when I knew I was?

I didn't immediately look for help. Why would you? If you know what it's like to have depression, you will know what I am talking about. You keep thinking that it will all blow over. That you'll wake up tomorrow and everything will be back to normal, that you'll finally get off the couch and actually go do something worthwhile.

By the time I figured it out, it was too late as I was already up to my neck in negative thoughts and depressed moods. Morbid you say? The dictionary should have included my face next to the word!

I didn't know what to do. I knew that I had a problem, but where do you start? How do you dig yourself out from a hole of that size? It was difficult, but I did it, and the first thing I did was to join the gym down by my house. Having to pay a monthly fee helped with my motivation to get out the door and actually use the gym because I hate wasting money, and once I have committed I don't back out. It took a few weeks of continual (okay, three times a week) gym usage for me to start feeling like my blood was moving a little faster; to start actually finding things of interest instead of just living from day to day and from moment to moment.

It worked. I built that momentum to actually start moving, and everything else began to fall into place for me. It was much easier for me to keep the motivation by surrounding myself with positive people as opposed to negative people. It may not be a very nice thing to do to the people who were your friends, but the negative attitude will only stop the momentum. Why should I make things harder on myself than they already were? By doing so, it seemed to be doing good for me because I was not faking my upbeat attitude anymore, and I began to have more energy as I continued to get out of the house and get to the gym.

Let me say that getting out of the house was not exactly a comfortable situation for me. I really didn't want to go. I would have preferred staying home and playing on my computer, hiding behind any number of busy tasks I had set for myself, none of which would actually bring me in contact with people. However, I pushed myself to get out there to socialize with people, to interact with them even though I rather be left alone.

I also started taking interest on things that I have always wanted to do instead of sitting down and brooding over life. I signed up for a yoga class and picked up some books on gardening and actually put in an herb garden. All of this took a lot of concentration, but it was for things that I enjoyed rather than the negative aspects of my depression.

Depression was definitely not a picnic for me, I will admit that. Depression is a very lonely and alienating time, and it makes you feel worthless. However, you know yourself better than anyone else, so you know deep down what are things that relieve your negative thoughts. Yesterday I looked in the mirror and asked myself the question again, "am I depressed" and the answer was, finally, no!

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