Depression. I haven't talked frankly about this in a long time.
Firstly, let me say it is very important to have a professional opinion about Depression.
Secondly, my advice (which obviously is not professional) is if you decide that you want prescription help is to talk with a psychiatrist and not a family practioiner or obgyn. I believe they will have a better knowledge of what is available for you and how to help-with you-to decide what to try.
Also, my advice on therapy is the pick one who teaches great coping tools. It is awesome to have someone to cry to and who will listen but at the same time you will be in time able to learn tools to help manage (beyond medication) depression.
In short. The First time I felt really depressed was in 2006. And after quite a few big life changes-in 2010 I was diagnosed with clinical depression and treated medicinally.
I sought out help from a therapist first to avoid medication and then ultimately medication with a psychiatrist.
I didn't feel depressed that whole span of 2006 to 2010 but it wasn't until 2010 that I reached a low point one night that it scared me.
It literally felt like my soul hurt and I couldn't imagine it ever going away. That was the darkest scariest time in my life.
I am not a really grouchy person. I am naturally a fun loving, quirky, sassy and at times prissy gal.
I remember seeing an advertisement for depression that said "Depression hurts" and I thought "That is so true!"
I don't like the term mentally ill either. Or using of the terms Mental Health. I don't have a great alternative for it but I think it has such a negative connotation.
I was on a prescription for depression for about 18 months and a little over a year ago I weaned off. What might be described as "successfully".
I know people who I love, admire and respect who do not plan on ever weaning of a medication. It has become and needfully so their daily routine.
Its easy to say to someone "If you had a bacterial infection you wouldn't refuse an antibiotic would you?" in describing why they should take an antidepressant but really. A bacterial infection isn't something that is kind of looked down upon.
I have not had a relapse or felt the need for medication since being off but I have become extra aware of myself.
For instance around lady business times of the month I don't sleep well and I get extra moody. So I have a regimen of diet that I try to keep.
Also, I've come to peace about talking about it with other people even with those who disagree or don't understand it. Like the person who might say-even though they love you-"well if you are depressed get up and do something, go work out, get over it". Its not that simple.
I read scriptures which bring me spiritual strength. Everyone finds their center. Where they feel peaceful. Find what brings you peace. And do that everyday.
Do an act of kindness. Some of the best and worst advice I got all growing up and still to this day when I'm complaining is "Sounds like you are thinking too much about yourself go and do something for someone else". Now if you are a homemaker, this doesn't mean making dinner for your family (unless you don't do it already) its something beyond your normal tasks of service*.
If you have a partner, significant other, girlfriend, boyfriend, parent etc who does not understand or is not sympathetic toward your plight in depression. Don't be dismayed (yes that is an order!) As frustrating as it is to not feel validated by some of the people we love the most don't shortchange yourself. Ideally you can get support from everyone you loved but its okay if you can't, I don't think most people can. Find a support group online or call a mental health hotline or suicide hotline (I called twice and they were very nice and informative).
I believe that Depression is something that might always come and go in my life. I might be more prone to it (especially looking back at the gene pool) Life circumstances change etc.
I am grateful for a psychiatrist who held me accountable for things that I could change. It is not a good idea when you see a therapist who insists the other person changes to help you. It is not empowering.
This is a helpful website http://www.suicideispreventable.org
* I would like to note that service can be a great way to make new friends which may lead to an opportunity to strengthen support through a close friendship. However, I have come to realize that there should be a two way street when it comes to serving. When you are continually serving someone else without reciprocating from them its not a supporting relationship. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't keep reaching out to them but make sure you have ample support and time to nurture relationships that are supportive to you.