Depression and Recovery

I’ve been suffering from major depression for the past year and 3 months. I’ve been in the hospital a total of 4 months.

I’m starting to feel much better, but now I have a few problems to work out.

I lost a lot of weight. And now I’m skinny beyond belief… how does one gain weight? I really need to gain 20 lbs or so.

High energy foods, I’m always lacking energy at present

Exercise- how does one go from not leaving a room for a year to being in reasonable shape? I always used to be in shape… now I feel mighty clueless.

Oh, and there is me and only me- a 19 year old girl. No family in the picture. So I have a lack of money, a lack of energy and a lack of social life.

Basically I need help getting “back into the swing of things”. I need any ideas… I’m lost here and non of my doctors are of help- they just tell me “baby steps” and “don’t try too much at once” and frankly I already know that. :frowning:

I need information about food, exercise, anything that will help me start me being more healthy.

Even simple ideas of “outings”, because I seriously haven’t been going anywhere for the past year. My big outing at present is to the grocery store- once every 2 weeks.

Well, gaining weight for me is always REALLY easy. If your zest for life has returned a bit, focus on foods that are both fatty and that you enjoy. Pizza does it for me, I can eat an entire large pie if I set my mind to it. Any fast food does the trick too. Try spending a month eating nothing but fast food and pizza, you’ll almost certainly gain some weight.

As for the rest, yeah, the doctors have it right, take baby steps. Do you have friends? That would be the best place to start. What do they do on the weekends? Surely they’d be happy to have you along.

If you need to make friends, it gets tougher. For this you could maybe start with a hobby you really love. I know one of the things with depression is a loss of interest in things you used to love. What did you used to love? For me its computer games. I have lots of friends that are into them, and its an endless source of things to do and talk about. So what kinds of things are you interested in?

Good luck with the recovery!

Gee, it sounds like you’ve been through a really hard time. I’m glad you’re doing better now. I’m just pulling out of a depression myself, of about 3 years duration (not major though), so I’m very sympathetic. I’ll throw in some suggestions that might give you some ideas.

Need more outdings? Go to the grocery store every other day instead of every other week. Really, I can’t imagine how anyone can avoid the grocery store for more than a few days running. Make it fun: admire the gleaming vegetables, bathed in flourescence and dripping with water from frequent sprayings; never use the express lanes, so you spend more time in line and have a chance to meet other people; buy something you’ve never tried before each time you go, then go home and try it; talk to the butcher and ask about his/her recommendations; buy some cans to donate at a local charity.

As for gaining energy and weight, try making some smoothies for breakfast, using some of that protein powder stuff to increase the calories and protein. And then go out for a long walk every day no matter what. The more you exercise, the more energy you have.

Meeting people? Well, it’s not exciting, but there’s always “church” or whatever the nearest equivalent is for you. Spiritual health is important, too, and you’re likely to meet people there who can give you some support and friendship.

And try to limit the amount of time you spend on the internet: that kind of interaction, while potentially entertaining and educational, has a limit in how much sustenance it can provide to you and tends to suck people in and away from doing things that are more interactive and growth-oriented. Yes, the SDMB is great, but it’s not the only thing. A couple hours a day is ample I would think, and maybe too much for someone just finding her way out of major depression.

I hope some of my ramblings here are helpful. Certainly they were written with the recognition that I need to do a better job of following some of this advice myself.

take care.

Quite a few years ago (mid-70’s), I was seriously depressed. My weight dropped to about 98 lbs (normal weight for me is about 130). I made a half-hearted suicide attempt and ended up on the psych ward for a while – not as long as you Daij, but long enough to make me think “I need to do something different in my life.” Of course thinking that and actually accomplishing it are two different things.

I’d been in grad school – I had to drop out. I had to find a new place to live – my roommate moved out on me.

I found a church to hang out in. For a while, it was the only place that where I felt calm. Luckily for me, the folks there gave me plenty of space and let me approach at my own speed. Too much friendliness would probably have driven me away at that point.

Use your therapist (if you have one.) There are lots of excellent anti-depressant drugs out now (there weren’t so many back then.) If you have a prescription for them, take them.

Stay away from alcohol and recreational drugs. They may dull the pain, but they do NOT help you learn to cope.

As your appetite comes back, you’ll probably start to gain weight naturally. Until then, eat whatever yummy thing you want to eat, and eat it whenever you want to eat it. Want a peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich with raisin topping at midnight? Do it. Pizza three days in a row? Sound good to me.

Likewise, stay away from situations you know will upset you, as much as possible. Don’t watch sad movies. If possible, remember things that makes you happy and think about them often. If you’re like me, this is often hard to do. Try to do it anyway.

Strangely enough, there’s been research that shows that smiling can actually make you feel better. Now, mind you, there have been times that I was so miserable that trying to force my face into a smiling configuration was almost impossible. Keep trying. It gets easier.

Take walks for exercise to start with.

Give yourself time. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself permission to feel ok. That was one thing for me – I’d gotten so used to feeling bad that I had almost forgotten that it was ok to feel good.

It’s ok to feel good. It’s ok to feel bad, because, IF YOU HANG ON, it will pass.

Hang on.

Hugs and best wishes from Archergal.