General Question

minolta's avatar

How do you combat depression? other than taking pills.

Asked by minolta (328points) June 24th, 2009

Easily getting depressed should be a sign of having depression. What are some good ways of combatting it, to stay happier throughout the day?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

SirBailey's avatar

First of all, real depression is a medical disease (I’m talking chronic depression. Not depression from (ex.) gaining 2 pounds [which should pass]).

Having said that, you would no more combat REAL depression without pills then you would combat diabetes without pills.

And, again if you’re talking real depression, get talk therapy in addition to those pills.

With a fleeting depression, I remind myself that it will pass and I’ll laugh at the situation eventually. That usually helps me make it pass faster.

frdelrosario's avatar

Don’t discount taking pills, because it works.

Besides taking pills, exercising (I hear that works, but hell if I’m ever going to try it), and getting outside in the sunlight. One reason the seasonally affected are seasonally affected is because the daylight hours are fewer.

MrGV's avatar

Friends, Families, Working out, Laughter, and Environment all play big roles in your mood.

cookieman's avatar

Non-Clinical Depression:
aka: the blues
• Keep Busy. House projects are great for me.
• Lots of rest. Go to bed early.
• Get outside. Preferably in the sun.
• Listen to music. Helps me work through the emotions.
• Fluther. No joke. It has been a form of therapy for me.

Clinical Depression:
I don’t know as I’ve never been diagnosed. I don’t think I have been clinically depressed.

dynamicduo's avatar

I tried for a long time to simply will myself out of my depression periods. What I’ve learned in these past few months is that sometimes it is simply impossible to will your way out of it, because the problem can be related to a change in your brain chemistry and no amount of willpower can supersede that beast.

Acknowledging that you need help via medication, and seeking and accepting that help, is not admitting you are weak or flawed nor does it make you any less of a person. In fact, going on medication combined with therapy to get at the underlying reason of your unhappiness, is often a great two pronged approach to making yourself whole again. Sometimes you just need that medication to give you that boost to get yourself asking for help and talking with a therapist.

Depression is a disease just like any other. As such it should be diagnosed and treated with the supervision of a qualified expert. Start with your family or local doctor and do what they say. They can offer you much information on how to deal with depression without medication. They can also give you a referral to a therapist where you can delve deeper into the underlying issues of your depression. You’d be surprised how much benefit one talking session with a trained person can have.

If your depression starts staying with you long term, please get help.

kevbo's avatar

1. Rule out a medical cause, such as a thyroid deficiency. It can make all the difference in the world if the cause is physical/medical and that gets due treatment.
2. Get the right therapist (probably one who uses cognitive-behavioral techniques). A shortcut is to talk about your situation to the director of a behavioral health program who can recommend someone who is more likely to be a good fit.
3. Learn how to observe your thoughts and slow them down—basically creating space between the thought and the reaction, so you can turn the thought around and dictate a different reaction. There are tools to do this that one can gain through therapy, such as learning to ask “What’s one thing I can do right now to feel better?”

Jude's avatar

I’m doing just that right now. My therapist recommended Effexor. I got the prescription filled, but, haven’t taken any. I’m trying to beat this sh*t on my own. I find that exercise works wonders. But, that’s just me, though… really seems to be working.

SirBailey's avatar

Listen! That could happen!!! Even with the example I gave, the diabetic can watch what he eats and exercise such that there’s no need for the meds either in some cases. Good luck!

cookieman's avatar

@SirBailey: This is true. I’m a type-2 diabetic and it can be beat through diet and exercise. I’m working on it now.

I’ve cut my initial medication dosage in half through dietary changes. If I was more diligent about it and actually exercised, my doctor tells me I could eliminate them all-together.

I’m not sure this equates to clinical depression however.

aliisyourfriend's avatar

I take an anti-depressant/anxiety medication. Have been for a long time and fully expect that to continue. That’s just the way I’m wired. That said, I find that the medication is more effective and my overall mental health is better when I’m exercising regularly and eating well.

Don’t count out therapy, either. I no longer feel the need to see a therapist, but it was very helpful during those first few years after being diagnosed with clinical depression.

wundayatta's avatar

Exercise is very helpful. Eating regularly and healthily; sleeping regularly and fully, and helping other people are all things that can help alleviate depression, if not bring you back to a more reasonable state. These things do work on brain chemistry, and I understand people who prefer to try to fix themselves, physically or mentally, without drugs. However, foods can contain the same thing as a drug contains. Exercise and helping others is important whether you are taking drugs or not.

I wonder if not wanting to take drugs is a sign of depression itself. It’s kind of like saying you’re bad, and you don’t deserve to feel better if you can’t do it yourself. I.e., you should be suffering. This is typical of people with low self-esteem, and depression usually causes low self-esteem.

Depressed people “like” to beat up on themselves and often think they don’t deserve to feel better. The desire to feel better may even be a self-delusion, arising from a desire to receive some social approval even as they secretly (even from themselves) sabotage themselves. They often avoid doing things that will help them, like taking appropriate drugs, exercising, or getting out of the house and helping others. Or getting therapy, for that matter. It’s a kind a kind of sick machismo. Misplaced and misused machismo, in my opinion.

Depression can be a very tricky and subtle beast. No wonder that, in the past, people blamed it on the devil, and attempted to cure it by casting out the devil.

Dog's avatar

Considering your other questions here and here I strongly recommend you follow the advice above regarding ruling out thyroid malfunction or another glandular disorder as the root of your depression.

It is vital to have an accurate diagnosis of what you are facing in order to know how best to treat it.

Think of it as facing a dragon. You need to size it up. Some Dragons are small enough to beat through will and strength.
Some might be beat by becoming healthier and more physically fit.
But some require a weapon- be it hormone therapy or an anti- depressant.

Only a doctor can properly diagnose you. So please be sure to write down all your symptoms no matter how insignificant they may seem and bring the list to the doctor so he or she can best help you.

Oh- and Welcome to Fluther!

minolta's avatar

thank you for all these answers.. they are helpful and I often find myself feeling much better after I fluther too. I am taking the necessary steps to fix myself, but often I find I am not quite doing everything I should be doing. This helps though, and I do see better days ahead.

casheroo's avatar

@jmah Do some research on Effexor before you take it. It’s one of the nasty drugs. It helps depression, but the effects are not worth it, IME.

@minolta I have depression and haven’t taken medicine in over 2 years. Me coming off my meds was supervised by a therapist and psychiatrist for over a year.
I began taking care of myself. I ate healthier, exercised, realized that I was allowed to be very sad about things in my life and that it didn’t mean I was depressed. I went to therapy and worked on my coping techniques (I had none) I needed to cope with my strong feelings of sadness, and anxiety. I was able to work through them.
Whenever I start feeling like I’m slipping, I tell family immediately. They listen. They let me cry. They know my battle and they know that one day I may slip and not be able to get back up without help. It’s okay to ask for help. Just remember that.

I understand not wanting to be on medication. So talk to a therapist. It can really help!

btko's avatar

There have been studies with nutrition. Your body could be missing key vitamins or minerals. Just an idea and worth a try I think. You can go get some blood work done and see if you have some low levels of anything,

Darwin's avatar

Exercise, sing, look in the mirror and force yourself to smile, have sex, talk to people you like, get involved in a project, get some sun.

lloydbird's avatar

Hemp is good for that. See what Jack Herer has to say on the subject.Plus what Kevbo recommended.

msright1981's avatar

Go camping on the mountain & leave your self to nature. A great way to relax & rebuild your steam like magic.

bcstrummer's avatar

Dude I’m gonna tell you what I tell every depressed person I know, forget what’s bothering or at least fix it and go drink, have fun, and party

msright1981's avatar

@bcstrummer haha maybe you forgot blowing a joint :P.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther