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What To Do If You think you have Depression

The intention of this page is to speak to those who may not yet be in, or who've recently begun, treatment.

If you're not getting treatment

Let's assume, right now, that you are reading this because you are pretty sure you have depression. I doubt that a page with this title would appeal to you, otherwise. Let's also assume that you haven't looked for treatment yet.

Having said that, I encourage you, as strongly as I can, to get help! Call your doctor, a crisis line (a suicide-prevention line will do--even if you aren't suicidal, they can help), a clergyman, or anyone listed in the Yellow Pages as a psychologist, social worker, or psychiatrist. Any of these people will be happy to help, either by beginning your treatment, or referring you to someone who will.

I know all of the reasons why you don't think you can, or should, do this. Here are some of the thoughts you may be having about it and my responses to them:

I don't have depression, this is just "a phase" which will pass.

If your lousy mood has gone on for more than a couple weeks, it's not going to "pass" all by itself. Get help.

All I have to do is "get my act together." I can snap out of it.

Doesn't work that way. First of all, "getting your act together" is meaningless. The reason you feel as though things are out of control is the depression itself. Until you address the depression, you cannot just "snap out of it." Get help.

I don't need a pill to make me feel better.

Anti-depressants and other psychological meds work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters that affect mood and emotions. A professional is better able to tell if medication will help. Talk to one; get help.

But I don't want to become addicted!

Anti-depressants are non-addicting. Get help.

Therapy won't do any good, I can always talk to my friends.

It's great to have friends to talk to, however therapy is a one-sided relationship with a professional who has the skills and expertise to guide and help you through your struggles and needs. Get help.

I don't feel like going to therapy and dredging up the past.

In order to heal from your past, especially abuse survivors, you really need to talk about it and work through your feelings. It's all the more reason to go. You may be depressed because of those things you don't want to talk about. Get help.

If people find out I'm depressed, they'll think I'm nuts.

Depression and other Mental Illnesses carry a stigma in our culture. There will be people whose opinions of you may change, if they hear you have a Mental Illness. However, are those the type of people you really want to have around you? Of course not--they are ignoramuses. Besides, getting help doesn't mean everyone has to know you are suffering from a Mental Illness. Even if some people think you are "nuts," this is nothing compared to the depression you feel. Get help.

It won't work for me.

That's the depression talking. Tell it to "shut up" by getting help.

I deserve this, I ought to suffer, I shouldn't get rid of it.

I've heard the "punishment from God" stuff before, and believe me, it just isn't so. The God most people worship doesn't want people to suffer, He wants them to be happy. Get help.

I've heard it takes a long time to get better and I'm at the end of my rope, now; I can't wait.

It will take some time for you to feel noticeably better. But at least you know you're getting somewhere. Sitting around hoping things will change on their own certainly isn't any better than trying treatment. Get help.