[Today marks the first ever guest post on Anxiety Really Sucks! I haven't touched on the topic of depression yet, so I was happy to see this post from Jared Friedman.]
If you know that your depression has reached a point that you would call severe, keep reading!
Every day, millions of Americans struggle with the symptoms of depression that can be debilitating when left untreated. You are not alone. Depression, even when it has become severe, does not mean that you will be living like this forever. With appropriate tools, what you are experiencing can become manageable. Many people who find the right treatment program for them go on to lead the lives they wanted to live, and always knew they could live.
The fact that you are reading an article like this is a great sign. You recognize that your symptoms indicate depression and that you can no longer handle this on your own. You should be proud of yourself for looking into ways that can change your current life circumstances, and for acknowledging.
There are many resources that can help you answer the question:
I am severely depressed, how do I find help?
Step 1: Talk with a friend or family member who you trust.
Discuss how you have been feeling and that you can no longer manage the repercussions of your severe depression anymore. Ask this person to help you, first with finding the best set of treatment procedures, and then with whatever happens along the way during and after treatment. It is important to know that you are not alone in this process.
Isolation, which you may have already been participating in, only adds fuel to the fire of severe depression. What might seem like the hardest thing for you to do right now, may actually be what is the best next step in finding help to alleviate the severe depression that has taken over your life.
Step 2: Identify, if you can, the Cause or Causes of Your Severe Depression.
The more you can start to identify and understand what initially caused, and then perpetuated, your severe depression, the better equipped you are to make good decisions on how to treat the depressive symptoms.
Common causes of depression are:
- Lack of social support
- Recent stressful life experiences
- Family history of depression
- Marital or relationship problems
- Financial strain
- Early childhood trauma or abuse
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Unemployment or underemployment
- Health problems or chronic pain
If you can pinpoint one or a few of these, or other causes, of depression, then you can better communicate what you need to a trained professional. Also, if you can, talk about these and other causes of depression with the trusted friend or family member you chose in Step 1.
Step 3: Talk to a Trained Professional.
A formal assessment conducted by a mental health professional is the first external step in seeking the treatment that you need for your severe depression. Treatment has to be catered to your individual set of needs, and a mental health professional conducting an assessment will know how to distinguish that unique set of needs.
From there, the assessment conductor can discuss treatment options with you. Individual, group therapy, medications, forms of alternative treatment, an exercise regime, a shift in diet and lifestyle, and many combinations of these forms of treatment can be pieced together to find what will work best for you.
Step 4: Enroll and Participate in Formal Treatment.
Whatever you have decided will be most practical and helpful for you, based on what you and the mental health professional discussed, do it! Start every aspect that you can start right away. If you said that you will walk outside for thirty minutes each day, then start walking today. If a diet alteration was needed, take steps to change the way you eat today.
When a formal inpatient or outpatient treatment program is beginning, show up and be as present as you can. Try to step outside of your comfort zone to form connections with the treatment team, your individual therapist or counselor, and your fellow treatment mates.
Make an effort, as best you can, to believe that you will no longer be severely depressed.
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