How to combat depression

I have a pretty extensive history of depression. I started seeing a therapist when I was 16, right after my parents got a diivorce. I was a pretty emo teenager, and had some crappy/abusive relationships as a result of my low self esteem and need to feel validated by others.
In college I attempted suicide after a pretty horrible break up.
After my twins were born I was hospitalized for 5 days with severe PPD, and was on anti-depressants for 2 years after.
Now, I am again feeling the depression, probably triggered by my current pregnancy and financial issues. I do not currently see a therapist because we couldn’t afford it even if I wanted to, and since I work full time and have two 5 year olds at home to take care while my husband is in school full time I probably wouldn’t have the time to see one anyway.
I want to be able to deal with this depression so I can be there for my children and not add anymore stress and worry to my husband.

So my questions for the board are, what do you do when you are feeling depressed? Do you know the signs of an oncoming depressive episode? Can one prevent or negate one? Is it possoble to combat depresison without medication and professional therapy?

Most communities have a mental health program that charges on a sliding scale. The usual cost is $2.00 for talk therapy with a minimal charge for medication. Even though you’re pregnant there are some psych drugs deemed safe.

Your mental health is every bit as important as your husband’s schooling and your job. MAKE time for counseling. Call Dept of Children and Families or United Way or the Health Dept. They’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

Many of us here on the Board deal with depression every day (and some are just carriers. lol) You’re not alone. Check out some of the threads and maybe you’ll find something interesting to lift you up out of yourself for a little while.

Keep coming back.

I think you have recognized an impending depressive episode. If you find a way to combat it without therapy or medication please let me know.

I have loved ones who suffer from major depression. Major depressive disorder? Whatever the official title of the big one is, anyway. It’s no panacea, but exercise seems to help tremendously. Do you have time to run a few miles a day? It takes less commitment than you might think, and if you buy an inexpensive folding treadmill for a few hundred dollars you can even do it while your kids nap or draw or do some other sedentary activity.

edit: If you’re out of shape/overweight (no judgements. really.) try Couch to 5k.

I think I will hold off on the running a few miles until after I am no longer pregnant.:wink: I was going to the gym 3 times a week for an hour at a time and felt great. Since I got pregnant I haven’t been to the gym :frowning:

Sure, I have a non-drug way to combat it, but it took kind of a lot of training.

The first thing you might want to do is determine if the cause is cognitive, biological, or environmental. That’s the level that you want to address. Drugs won’t help much if the cause is cognitive, and talk therapy won’t help much if the cause is biological.

Any guesses as to what it is for you?

IN this case probably biological, since I have gone from exercising 3 days a week to practically nothing. Also, being pregnant does a number on my energy levels and hormones.

Mentioned already, but worth repeating. Exercise is a huge help and I’ve seen a lot of studies that show it’s usually more effective than medication. I realize you’re pregnant, so that will make it more difficult, but, I often see obviously pregnant women at the gym. I can recall at least 3 I’ve seen somewhat regularly over the last year or so (one had her baby a few months ago) and I’d be walking a slow pace on the treadmill or elliptical. You may not be able to do what you would have done before you were pregnant, but find out what you can do and try to stay active. I’m a gym rat myself, and I can definitely feel a major difference in my mood when I have to go more than a day without working out. If you felt great running before you were pregnant, I imagine at least some walking will make some difference.

Also as mentioned, most communities have inexpensive mental health programs. You’ll need to do the research, but especially if you feel it coming, make sure you do the research and get the stuff started now before the depression sets in and your motivation to do so wanes.

Finally, what sort of stuff do you enjoy doing? Even if you have difficulty being active, you can still keep yourself engaged in other ways. I’m a musician, so I find when I’m getting into depressive moods, I’ll play a lot more to help with my mood. I’m an introvert too, and I have a tendency to withdraw when I’m like that, so I’ll also try to make a point to be around people and avoid brooding.

Yes (living proof here).

The “bad” news is that you will have to completely reinvent your psyche and worldview to do it (like how a caterpillar is almost completely remade within its chrysalis before it emerges as a butterfly, as in “melting down” much of your personality and reforming it), which isn’t easy for most people, who typically prefer to remain attached to their current self-image, even as said attachments cause them further pain (“Oh lo! Me who is the epitome of woe and who suffers oh so mightily for my sins and my wounds!”<— mocking my old self here, by the way, not anybody else necessarily). If you are unable to let all of that go, totally & unconditionally, any such “cure” will likely remain limited and partial, at best.

I was at a point in my life where I knew all of the old ways of doing things simply weren’t working anymore-as in they were boring me silly-so I was particularly open to a new way of seeing things (and seeing myself), and into that gap I stepped out (of my house and out of myself), and the rest was history. See this post/thread for more details.

I know I’ve said it before, but I really admire you for going down that path. It’s really the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

That was thought provoking John, thanks.

I really want to get into sewing. Maybe my nesting instincts are kicking in because of the pregnancy, but I have made one rather interesting and goofy looking quilt and I wanted to make one for each of my kids for them to have and pass on, kind of like a family heirloom. The problem is I do not have a sewing machine and can’t afford to get a nice one any time soon. I suppose I could learn the old fashioned way of sewing a quilt by hand. I wonder how long that would take?

I figure that may help focus my energies on something new that could help with the depression. Before I was in school, but I graduated with my Master’s in December, so I don’t have that anymore.

Absolutely. And doing it the old fashioned way sounds really theraputic. Or really maddening. Give it a try!

I was on Lexapro (sp?) for a while. It seemed helpful at first, but eventually stopped helping so I quit using it. A couple years ago I started using my bicycle to commute to work. This has had a far more positive and lasting effect than the Lexapro. Also worth noting that I gained weight while taking the Lexapro and have lost a lot using the bike. Six months ago I quit drinking alcohol…helped a lot, to nobody’s surprise. I was using alcohol to deal with anxiety, so I have had to learn some techniques (via CBT) to deal with, or just prevent that in more constructive ways.

I have also been working to stop isolating and get myself out of the house more. Attending free lectures, concerts, book signings, meatspace discussion forums. Some of these I found through the church I have recently joined. It is a UU church, so don’t imagine I am crediting Jaaaaysus with the cure.

If you don’t get enough responses from this thread, we’ve had other threads about depression before—like this one, and this book recommendation thread, and many others if that’s not enough.

I’ve been feeling depressed lately too. I’ve been eating too much, especially chocolate. That’s not a good way to deal with it, though, I know.

I find that music helps me. Try putting on some calming music in the background while the internet.

I started a thread (which I now can’t find) on behalf of my son, who suffers from depression. I was basically asking for helpful books. You might give it a look.
ETA: thanks Thudlow!

I really appreciate the resources and advice. I am waiting on my husband’s student loan reimbursement to come in then I am going to buy some quilting squares. I am pretty excited about making the quilts. I know it sounds silly, but it gives me something to look forward to.

April, what kind of depression do you experience? Are you generally sad and hopeless/helpless/listless, or has your own heart turned against you and added a layer of self-loathing to grind you further into it?

I feel mostly helpless and hopeless, with the self loathing thrown in that I can’t make enough money to support my family. My husband is in school full time and is set to graduate in a year and a half with a PharmD, so it will all eventually get better, but it’s been 8 years of this, and I am tried of it and find it hard to see things getting any better.

I used to get down on my looks and weight, but I’m pretty much over feel bad about my physical self since my husband doesn’t seem to mind the extra fluff and still loves me regardless. Only took 30 years to get to this point :stuck_out_tongue: