You can find help for depression in several ways. A diagnosis and treatment from a doctor or counseling from a healthcare professional are important avenues for help. But that is not the only thing people need. Advice, encouragement, and help from friends, family, and support groups can be pivotal to one’s journey through depression.
How your friends and family can provide help for depression.Depression is a difficult illness to undergo and also a very difficult illness for your friends and family to understand. Confusion and distress are common emotions experienced by those watching the effects of depression on you, someone they love and care about. Knowingly, or unknowingly, depression will likely cause you to become withdrawn and irritable, and show little to no interest in activities that you previously enjoyed.
People may feel hurt or rejected when you refuse their invitations or do not make an effort to join in socially like you used to. It is important for the people you care about to know that, while depression is a serious illness, it can be successfully treated. This treatment, however, takes time. It is a myth that a person can simply snap out of depression. It will likely take a significant amount of time for you to make a full recovery.
You need to be honest with yourself in this area too. Are you able to speak with friends and family about the fact that you have depression? If you are not, then consider asking your counselor or doctor for help to explain your condition and its treatment.
Once friends and family understand that there is help for depression, and they are part of your recovery, they can check in with you, help you to remember to take your medication, and encourage you to keep on with counseling sessions. They can also help provide encouragement and accountability for you to do the things that are helpful, and be a listening ear when you need one.
As you make progress in your recovery and feel like building up your social life again, remember that you will need to pace yourself and tell your friends that you are ramping up your activities in a measured way. This way if you turn down their invitations they are not hurt and you are not under undue pressure to accept as both they and you want what is best for your recovery. This is made easier as you discuss your illness and how you feel honestly.
How your counselor can give help for depression.
Like so many things in life, it is easier to deal with something when you understand it better. So, many people who suffer from depression discover that counseling can help them understand their depression. Counseling is often used in addition to medication and is a key element in providing effective help for depression. It helps your recovery and reduces the chance of the illness returning.
As symptoms of depression differ from person to person, an individual’s needs for counseling will also vary. How your symptoms started, what they are, and how it is affecting your functioning and family are all key pieces to the puzzle that will inform your counselor about your depression and how you experience it. This knowledge will help them decide on the best counseling approach for you as an individual.
Providing help for depression through counseling is given in many ways. Counseling can help you collaborate on coping skills and strategies, address unhelpful thought patterns and develop more helpful thought patterns, and work through the deeper issues that are contributing to your depression.
How your doctor can provide help for depression.
Your doctor will often make the initial diagnosis of whether or not you are experiencing depression. If you are, they may recommend starting an antidepressant medication.
Which medication you receive will be influenced by the various types of symptoms you have described to the doctor as well as their possible side effects. Your doctor’s understanding and knowledge of other aspects of your health will also play a part, such as if you are already using medication for something else.
Medication needs to be taken as recommended by a doctor. This will mean that you take the medication regularly and promptly ask any questions or concerns you have about your illness, medical prescriptions, and/or side effects with your doctor.
It can be difficult to bring up your symptoms and experience to a doctor. Remember the doctor is there to address your health needs and can be an important and helpful resource to provide help for depression. Bring your needs and concerns to your doctor so that they can make sure you receive the most effective treatment.
During the course of your treatment, your doctor may refer you to other health professionals, such as a psychologist, an occupational therapist, or a social worker. Your doctor will likely ask to see you on a regular, if not frequent, basis throughout your treatment.
During these follow-up consultations, you may discuss topics such as your feelings and whether your symptoms are improving, a review of any problems you may have had to deal with as a result of side effects to the medication, whether any changes in the treatment are required, and any other concerns you may have about your depression and its treatment. This includes areas of your life that may be influencing your response to the treatment.
Questions to keep in mind before visiting a doctor or counselor.
- Has your depression affected your ability to function at work, and to what degree? Typical symptoms at work are linked to a lack of focus and building on a train of thought.
- Has your social life and ability to enjoy activities been affected by your depression, and to what extent? Typical symptoms of an impacted social life are in refusing invitations to go out, or not initiating any events like you used to.
- Do you find that being depressed has disrupted your family life or your capacity to take care of your responsibilities at home? Typical symptoms of family relationships impacted by depression include sleeping too much, having a quick temper, and losing interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed.
Getting help for depression from self-help support groups.
Talking through depression, its symptoms, and how you experience them can be helpful for some people. It is also comforting to know that you are not the only person who experiences these depressive symptoms and that they are universally troubling. Hearing how others find ways to manage their depression can be useful, as can the encouragement from those who are also going through a tough time dealing with the illness.
If you are interested in joining a group it would be a good idea to speak with your counselor who may well be able to provide contact details for self-help groups in your area.
Dealing with the stigma of depression.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it a much greater awareness of people’s mental health. While there is more knowledge about depression, the stigma about it still lingers. Society does need to be better informed about depression, its symptoms, signs, and the seriousness of not treating it.
It would be tragic if you or someone else you know does not reach out to receive treatment out of the fear of the stigma. Being honest about your depression and reaching out for treatment can help remind others close to you and society that depression is a real illness. Further, you may find that as you are open about your depression, it gives others the courage to also be honest about their own struggles.
Christian counseling for depression.
If you’re looking for additional help for depression beyond this article, please browse our online counselor directory or contact our office to schedule an appointment. We would be honored to walk with you toward a place of healing and hope.
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