Sunday, January 4, 2015

Taking control of your depression

Depression often makes you feel helpless. Taking action to make yourself feel more in control will have a positive effect, whether it’s going to see your GP for treatment, joining a gym, going for daily walks, or doing something that you are interested in or good at. If you don’t feel up to starting something new or joining a local group on your own, ask a friend to come with you.

There are many things you can do to help manage your symptoms and a wide range of treatments, both medical and non-medical, available through your GP.
The sections below should help you to work out what you could be doing yourself and what information or support you may want to ask your GP about.
How you see yourself
The way you think about yourself will affect your frame of mind and feelings of depression. It is common to have feelings of worthlessness or guilt with depression. Try to be aware of any negative thoughts you have about yourself and how they might be affecting how you see yourself and how you feel. If you can, try to think about how realistic these thoughts are and how you might change them into something more positive. You can speak to your GP about getting counselling or cognitive therapy.
Social networks
If you feel depressed it can be difficult to be sociable. Loneliness may make you feel worse, so it’s important to keep in touch with friends and family. Having people around you or groups that you are involved in will help to reduce feelings of isolation.
If you do not have many social networks you could find out about local community groups or befriending schemes from your local library or ask at your GP surgery.
Worries about work, money or a legal situation
Making sure that you do not feel overwhelmed by your work responsibilities is important because it gives you a sense of being in control. It’s important to make time for yourself to do things you want to do or to be with friends and family. 
  • If you're struggling to cope with work pressures and you have access to an occupational health department, you can speak to them about how you are feeling. They may be able to help you to review your work commitments or address specific issues that are affecting your work.
  • If you are having financial difficulties, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau about how you might get financial help.
  • National Debtline provides free, confidential and independent advice for people with debt problems. If you are out of work or want to change your job, your local job centre may offer support in finding work.
Both the Citizens Advice Bureau and your local social services department can also help you with advice about benefits if you are unemployed or unable to work because of depression. 
Where possible, you should always try to keep working. This is because people with depression often find that having something meaningful to do and a reason to get up in the morning is very helpful. Being with work colleagues, having a routine to the day, and the sense of achievement in getting a job done are all good for your mental health.
Close relationships
Problems with close personal relationships can have a devastating effect on how you feel about yourself and the world. If you are struggling to cope with a difficult relationship or your depression is causing problems in your relationship you can contact Relate on 0845 456 1310. Relate helps all couple, whether or not they are married, including couples in same sex relationships. Or you could speak to your GP or practice nurse about getting other forms of relationship counselling.

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