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sometimes depression is anger turned inward

Coping with Depression

Friday Fix: How to Cultivate Hope When You Feel Hopeless. The VeryWellMind Podcast [podcast]

Coping With a Chronic Illness. The VeryWellMind Podcast with guest Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb. [podcast]

Therapist Reacts to INSIDE OUT: depression; balancing joy and sadness. [YouTube video]

Brain-based mindfulness author Rick Hanson at Hardwiring Happiness. [podcast]

Support Groups

Peer support groups are often run by those who have personal experience with the subject of the group. There are often local and online groups that you can attend for free. HeyPeers.com is a great place to start your search for support groups. You can sign up through their website or access the information from their app. This site also helps connect you with local resources and chat rooms. Sign up on the website, or access the service through its app.

You can fight back by using the natural chemicals your body produces

Depression steals your motivation, among other things, yet getting moving is one of the best things you can do in using your body's natural resources to fight depression. Exercise clears your body of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases endorphins (the feel-good hormone). Make a promise to yourself that you will take one small step to take back what depression has stolen. Pick a time when you will commit to some physical movements and put it on your calendar. Then follow through. It could be a promise to walk around the block, do some stretching or tai chi (a slow-moving type of martial arts), yoga, or perhaps follow a short exercise video. 

Proper sleep is also useful in fighting depression. Depression affects the neurotransmitters associated with alertness and our reward systems, making an impact on our energy levels. When we are overtired, 

People who struggle with depression may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, may sleep too much or not sleep at all, or may wake too early. Practice good sleep hygiene to help you get better quality sleep. [article]

Make an effort to connect with others. Social interaction (best done in person) activates a variety of areas in the brain and releases dopamine and oxytocin. Depression can make even small tasks feel both physically and emotionally draining, so you probably won't feel like it. Often the last thing we want to do is be with others. Try an experiment. Document your mood. Then take one small step toward interaction. Maybe call a friend or drop by with a small gift. Engage in water cooler conversation at work. You can keep the interaction as short as you need to. Or take a low-cost risk by talking with a stranger: get a haircut and engage in conversation with the stylist, go to a library and ask for ideas about a really good author, or visit a local museum and ask questions. Then document your mood again as soon as you finish and see if you notice any change.

The key with all of these tactics is that you have to be intentional about addressing the symptoms of depression. If you wait until you feel like it (feel more energetic or motivated) before getting active or connecting with others, you risk staying stuck in the cycle. 

Depression Cycle

A Word About Online Resources

My hope is to share resources here that are useful. Although I do my best to keep information current, it is possible for links to become outdated or for material to change. A link is not an endorsement of a particular person or organization, nor do I receive any incentives from them.

 

Keep in mind that these resources are not specific to your situation and therefore are not therapy or a substitute for mental health services. Please consult your therapist, physician, or other professional support for advice that is specific to you, and call your local 24-hour helpline (988) if you are in crisis.

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