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Jude's avatar

Is there anyway if you're feeling a bit depressed to dig yourself out of it without medication?

Asked by Jude (31977 points ) March 25th, 2009

I’m not all that motivated at the moment and am easily distracted. I’m putting off things that need to be done, as well, and really don’t get excited about much. I’m getting that sinking feeling. I start seeing a therapist in a few weeks to talk about my Mom’s death and other issues.

For those of you who know what I am talking about or have been there, how did you cope?

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20 Answers

scamp's avatar

The first thing I can think of is to go for a long brisk walk, Get your endorphins pumping, as they are a natural antidepressant. Spend time being good to yourself, like reading a good book, or soaking in a nice warm tub.

One thing you might want to do is journal your thoughts between now and when you meet with the therapist. It will help you organize your thoughts, and you can use it to remember everything you’d like to talk about. Don’t worry, these feelings won’t last forever, and you are doing the right thing by reaching out for help.

If there is anything I can do to help, feel free to send me a private comment. I’ve been there myself, and I’ll do whatever I can to help.

asmonet's avatar

Exercise can help, getting outdoors in the sunshine can have a tremendous effect on your mood. And cut down on sugars, eat more veggies!

I eventually did turn to medication, and it was the right choice for me.

suzyq2463's avatar

I know depression is sometimes circumstantial—as in dealing with the death of your mom. I went through the same thing just a few years ago. I do think things like getting out and exercising can be helpful, but I also know that sometimes medication is necessary. I’ve always been really resistant to antidepressants because I’ve had some bad experiences with some (Paxil, in particular), but they can also be really, really beneficial and, yes, even necessary. After two post-partum depressions, the only thing I could do to get back on the road to good mental health was to have the benefit of antidepressants. I resisted. I tried therapy. I tried exercise, but sometimes those just aren’t enough. So, don’t feel bad if you wind up needing to go on antidepressants for awhile. They can sometimes get you to the place where you can work on the emotional issues.

TheIowaCynic's avatar

Apparently regular exercise is as effective as medication

Dog's avatar

I know when I am exercising regularly I can shake the blues. Funny that when I am down I really just want to do the opposite and hide in the house and become a hermit.

augustlan's avatar

Sunshine, and light in general. Turn on every light in the house and open every window covering. I know it seems silly, but I can’t tell you how much it helps me get up and get moving. For the long-term, I’m on medication… but I still get ‘down’ at times. Good luck!

ru2bz46's avatar

I used to take meds (Zoloft® and Dexedrine® (dextroamphetamine sulfate)) to help with ADD and the resulting depression, but I stopped about five years ago when I started archery, which gets me thinking about the spot on the target and gets me into the fresh air. Focusing on the target helps to clear the mind and also teaches you to focus on other things in your life.

Yoga is fantastic as well. You can go to a class (my favorite), or pull out your mat and do it in your living room. If you are lacking motivation, go to a class; a good teacher will inspire you to advance in your practice. Yoga gets you to focus on your breath and body, and gets some nice chemicals running through your brain. I can go to a class with a migraine after a long day at work and come out feeling like a million bucks. When I found out my wife was cheating, I went to a class and felt so much better after. I do yoga at least twice a week, and I feel great and have a very positive outlook.

Also, volunteering to help others is a good way to feel better with a sense of purpose. One of the easiest is to donate blood. Sure, that’s only good every 8 weeks, but you can also donate platelets and/or plasma more often, up to twice a week. I get a rush every time I donate just knowing that I could be saving someone’s life down the road.

bezdomnaya's avatar

1. make lists (include things you’ve already done so you can cross them off right away)
2. take a walk every evening
3. yoga, yoga, yoga

for me, it’s about one step at a time. if you feel overwhelmed, take the little steps first.

marinelife's avatar

You have had a lot going lately. It is no wonder that you are feeling down. Sometimes life dumps on us pretty hard.

If you haven’t had depression issues in the past, I think you can come out of it on your own. In addition to the excellent ideas above, which are all good, remember to try to eat properly and sleep enough.

Be good to yourself. Take care.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

It’s always worse when you try to hold it in. There’s only so much you can tell your friends, and how long they’re willing to listen, which is why counseling is always a good idea. Sometimes you need to voice feelings over and over and over again to get control.

Darwin's avatar

I agree with others that exercise helps immensely. Other good things to do are keep yourself on a regular schedule, get enough (and not too much) sleep, eat a balanced diet, and get out where you can interact with people and nature.

And while I take meds and find them incredibly helpful, I find I get almost as much assistance from singing. I love to sing! While you might not love to sing, there may be something else you love to do. If so, do it. Once you start doing something it is easier to go on to do other things.

mcbealer's avatar

Find an organization you care about and volunteer. Knowing that they’re counting on you will get you motivated.

I would also recommend watching the movie About a Boy . The technique Hugh Grant’s character has of compartmentalizing all of his time (including all the mundane things he needs to accomplish) into little time slots is very motivating when you’re down in the dumps and have a pile of stuff to get done, or even want to do fun stuff but just can’t get moving. Funny stuff, and a very uplifting movie.

As others have mentioned, a healthy diet, fresh air and plenty of exercise are paramount. I don’t think enough can be said for the pairing of music with exercise, and in your environment in general.
Music can be very healing!

jo_with_no_space's avatar

Medication is a more long-term option, and one that need sconsidering carefully if your mood should persist. In the meantime, sleep, try and relax, make life as comfortable as possible for yourself, and do as little as you need if you’re on low energy.

Many say exercise helps.. If you’re the kind of person that would find that beneficial, then exercise by all means. I think one of the most important when you’re depressed is to know your limits. Depression is a way of your body and mind saying “going into stand-by!”, so take care to listen to these warnings and rest up as much as possible.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

mattbrowne's avatar

Couple of things come to mind

1) Long talks with people you like
2) Listening to your favorite music
3) Exercise, minimum 45 minutes and pulse > 130 beats per minute

glassglitterandbeads's avatar

One of the best things I learned to do is to do something very close up and tactile; take a seashell and concentrate on the colors, the bumps, the feeling. Or use a small piece of chocolate (a mood elevator, yay!) and just really be in the moment of the taste, the feel, etc. Don’t think about anything outside of that moment. The best thing to remember is that any problems you have will still be there later on, and taking that time for yourself is doing no harm to anyone or anything.
There is a story about a man who used to go home from work and ‘hang’ all his troubles on the tree outside before he went into the house so he wouldn’t take any in to affect the family. He often found that when he left for work in the morning, and went to the tree to pick up the problems, there weren’t as many there.
I do that when I go to bed, I hang my troubles on the bannister outside my bedroom and don’t allow them in my room. It takes lots of practice, just like meditation, but it’s worth the work!!

VS's avatar

My suggestions would include the power of positive thinking and positive affirmations. Remind yourself frequently that you are not alone in this, things WILL get better with time, a certain amount of depression is to be expected in certain situations. Your friends will likely not mind you using them as a sounding board. Express your feelings and process them. Be thankful for all the positive things you have in your life, including hopefully some wonderful memories of your mom. You are already aimed in the right direction with the therapist. Good luck and my sympathy for the loss of your mother.

barry1000's avatar

Get busy. Do some exercise like walking. Then take a hot bath. Then watch a funny movie or TV show

turtlegrrrl's avatar

A Large bowl of huge yellow sunflowers. I find it impossible to stay depressed around them. I am very sorry about your mother.

Jude's avatar

@turtlegrrrl aw, those were my Mom’s favorites (she past away a few years ago). Anytime I see a sunflower, it makes me smile.

turtlegrrrl's avatar

Bless you, @jmah. I am sorry about your mother as well.

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