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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
As a sufferer of clinical depression (or major depressive disorder) I have quite a list of tips that have personally helped me and many others, so hopefully these reach more people, and improve (and maybe even save) precious lives.

1) Avoid alcohol. I find having a drink can trigger the depression quite severely the following day, although it should be noted that alcohol effects everyone differently, and some drinks are worse than others. Alcohol is a depressant, so this should be taken seriously...You may love a drink, but you have to consider if it's worth it if you are a sufferer.

Avoid smoking. Regular smoking is linked to feelings of depression.

2) Consider your diet. Aside from eating healthy and drinking lots of water (which helps with everything), dark chocolate is scientifically proven to help fight depression as well as anxiety, and here's how...

Contains Tryptophan
Dark, as well as raw chocolate, contains high amounts of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that breaks down into two other very important neurotransmitters. These are serotonin and melatonin, and both help to protect you against stress. Serotonin is a natural antidepressant, which goes to work immediately to lift your spirits as well as help to stabilize your mood swings, which are associated with depression. Melatonin helps you to relax and fall into a deep sleep at night. Deep sleep is essential, as this is when your body repairs itself from the stress it encounters each day. It also helps to naturally restore the serotonin levels to help you better cope during stressful situations.

Increases Dopamine
Dopamine can help to reduce unexplained pain that is often associated with depression. It can also help to boost your brain power, help you sleep better and stabilize your moods. On top of that it will also help you to overcome social anxiety, allowing you to be more active and outgoing. Studies have shown that those who are very outgoing are the least likely to be depressed.

Contains Mono-amines
Mono-amines help to stabilize your moods by allowing the serotonin and dopamine to remain in your body for longer periods of time.

Increases Endorphins
Dark chocolate helps to increase the production of endorphins, which are small proteins that are naturally produced by the nervous system and other parts of the body. They help to reduce stress, pain, and food cravings that may contribute to your state of depression. They can help you to achieve a natural state of bliss without any side effects.

Contains Nutrients and Antioxidants
Chocolate is rich with B vitamins which help your brain to function properly. It also contains iron and magnesium which help to improve your state of happiness. Depression can cause you to feel tired and fatigued, leaving you with no energy or ambition to do anything. This may often be caused by the high amounts of free radicals in your body. Chocolate can help you to find relief from these symptoms, as the high amounts of antioxidants help to get rid of free radicals that weigh you down. If using chocolate to help lift your moods, try to opt for dark or even raw chocolate, as it contains more essential nutrients and antioxidants to help lift your moods. Those antioxidants also benefit heart health.
- Avoid all milk chocolate, white chocolate, or other chocolate that contains caramel or other high-sugar ingredients, as sugar can actually increase your state of depression. Milk dilutes the chocolate, and really slows down those good effects, or stops them from working.

So yes, chocolate!

Also taking vitamins are a good idea - Vitamin C builds up your immune system, which helps because no one feels good when they are sick, and being sick can add to the depression. Different Vitamin Bs are good as well, and they help with calmness.

Also consider Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil).

3) Another obvious one is regular exercise. Exercise helps more than a lot of people realize. A simple jog around the block can do wonders, and if you feel you can't do much then do some stretches...Stretching is better than nothing. Dance is great too, as it's a way to express ourselves while getting the heart pumping.

4) Also obvious, but important, is getting good rest. Even short naps can give us a needed boost. Many people find that their depression is worse when they feel tired, and we tend to cope better with any given situation after a good rest.

5) Don't hide away, but socialize with upbuilding people (please note upbuilding people) - and in person too, not on Facebook or Twitter. This is hard to do when you are really feeling low, but you should try to go anyway. You may worry that you might break down and cry in front of everyone, but if that happens you will soon see that other's really do care about you, and a good cry helps to soothe the mind. When you appear sad to your friends they may try to make you laugh, so allow yourself to laugh even if you don't feel like doing it - this will help you feel better, but also make your friends feel better, because they will see that they are able to help you.

- And avoid people who make you feel worse.

6) Find a mature person whom you can trust, and open up to them. You really want to make sure you find the right person for this as many people whom seem to be trustworthy are actually not, and it can be quite difficult to find someone who is, but know they do exist. It should be noted, however, that it's also important not to expect too much from people, and to realize that they have problems of their own to deal with - for example if you feel the need to call them at night there is a big difference between calling someone around 11:00pm and calling them around 3:00am.

7) Watch/read something wholesome that will make you laugh, as laughter is good medicine. Entertainment can temporarily distract our minds from our problems too, however don't sit around watching too much TV or sit on the computer for too long though, which can effect our physical, and in turn our psychological well being, and consider that if it is degrading entertainment it could very well be counter productive, as some entertainment may effect our feelings of self-worth.

8) Find some hobbies with things that you are good at. This both distracts your mind, relaxes you, and makes you feel better about yourself - even if just a little. There are many hobbies out there for all kinds of people, so don't worry if the first few things you try don't seem to work for you.

9) Listen to upbeat music. Music can effect and even change your mood, so happy music can make you feel happy - remember to be careful about what sort of lyrics are in the song though, as lyrics can put thoughts and images into our minds, and can remind us of negative things. (I'll be posting up some links to music later on in this thread)

10) Spend some quiet time somewhere peaceful where you can relax...maybe in the garden, at the park, or even just in your room. This helps put your thoughts in order. Also, anxiety is often directly associated with depression, so it's important to deal with any anxiety you feel as well.

11) Spend time outdoors, especially when it's sunny. Maybe go and explore some place.

12) Try to think positive...This is easier said then done, but it is important to try. You can start by focusing on good things you know about. Whatever you do, avoid focusing on negative things, as that can trigger depression.

13) Prayer. Not everyone is religious, but for those who are I think this is good advice...Studies have actually shown that there are benefits to prayer - I have personally found it helpful, which is why I added this to the list. At the very least I feel I am venting, and venting is important when dealing with depression as well as anxiety.


14) Keep a diary/journal. Again this is a way to vent your thoughts, and you then have the option to show someone you trust if you think it will help...This may be handy for those who find it hard to express their thoughts on the spot, or find it difficult to open up to someone else. Feel free to be creative with this, as it also works with things like poetry and prose.

15) Always remember that you are not alone - and that many others really do understand what you are going through. No one wants to feel alone, so it's good to keep this in mind.

16) Have a warm shower or bath. When we feel depression there is part of us that wants to be comforted, and there is a nice comforting factor about a warm shower or bath that helps...And of course it's always nice to feel fresh afterwards.

Cold showers. These help with so many things, such as boosting the immune system, improves circulation, boosts fertility in men, improves sleep, burns fat tho activates healthy "brown" fat, helps make skin and hairy healthier, helps reduce stress and builds on the ability to cope with stress, and of course helps relieve depression!

17) Help others. Helping people usually gets our minds off of our own situation, and we end up feeling really good when we do help people, especially those in need. Helping and looking after animals and even plants can also be beneficial - if you are considering getting a pet or plant to look after, or have already, always remember that you are responsible for their well being.

Take care of plants or a pet. Properly looking after another life makes you feel better, as it triggers positive chemicals in your brain.

18) Keep busy. Whether with work, helping others, socializing, or doing hobbies and interests (there are loads of ways to keep busy!) keeping busy is a good idea, as it puts our mind someplace else, and we simply have no time to think about our problems. It's when we are alone with nothing to do that our minds often start to think about the negative things that fuel or depression and anxiety...as mentioned earlier, it's important to have alone time too, but we should watch for when this alone time starts to make things worse - there's a balance to find.

19) Aromatherapy.
The aromas of various herbs have proved to be helpful with relaxation and improvement of mood. They may also have other health benefits.

20) Drinking tea. Certain teas have also proven to be beneficial, such as green tea, black tea, and chai tea.

21) Light therapy, such as a light box or SAD light clock. A bright light can be helpful, especially on gloomy days and during Winter.

22) Have a checklist. For example...To do: Clean up, run for 20 minutes, trim depression-beard (for those of you who have beards), etc. Try to make yourself stick to the list, and you may find it to be great motivation to get things done.

23) Allow yourself to cry when you need to. Crying is proven to relieve stress and anguish. You will feel better afterwards.

24) Get lots of hugs. This will lower your blood pressure, helps with bonding, and makes you feel better.

25) St. John's Wort. Best consult your doctor first on this one, but it is a good option for some people. Not to be taken with other medication unless directed to by your doctor.

26) Change your environment. Paint the walls yellow, place around indoor plants, or hang up pictures on the walls...All these things can help with your general mood.

27) Research to understand depression. The better you understand what you are going through, the more likely you will know what to do about treating the depression.

28) Consider wise sayings. Ever hear that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"? Wise proverbs can really encourage us and help us to see things in a more positive light.


Doing these things really do help to reduce, and cope with, depression as well as anxiety, and reduce dramatically the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. As you can see, there are many things that you can do, so don't ever give up.
We all know that it may be necessary to visit a doctor, psychologist or counselor to get professional help, and there is no shame in doing so (I have done this myself in the past). If you suffer from severe depression then this is definitely recommended! If medication is prescribed, please take note of possible side effects.

- If you have good advice for fighting depression then feel free to post in this thread...I'd be happy to add more suggestions to this list.

*IMPORTANT! With treatments such as taking medication, please first consult a doctor about it beforehand. Be aware of any allergies you may have when trying herbs or new foods. If you have thoughts of self harm then also please talk to your doctor about this, especially if these thoughts are ongoing.

Links and other Resources:

http://personalitycafe.com/general-psychology/69024-advisory-depression-its-dangers.html

http://personalitycafe.com/advice-center/326338-safe-place-sad-depressed-suicidal.html

http://personalitycafe.com/advice-center/119268-if-you-having-suicidal-thoughts.html

http://personalitycafe.com/advice-center/397586-helplines-numbers-international-directory.html

Here's the link to Jamaix's thread:
Post your favorite uplifting, inspirational, spiritual, positive message songs/quotes
And here's another thread that should be helpful in getting people feeling good: Cute clips that make you smile!

Translations of OP

Chinese: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2070592-
Korean: http://www.writing.com/main/view_ite..._id/2058402---
French: http://www.writing.com/main/view_ite...e-la-dpression
Russian: http://www.writing.com/main/view_ite...ion-in-Russian
Dutch: http://www.writing.com/main/view_ite...depressiviteit
Italian: http://www.writing.com/main/view_ite...re-depressione
 

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This is a good list about things that can keep us away from depression. However, what I would be more interested to hear is how to get up and start when you have been low more than few days or weeks or even months. Because everybody needs a reason for that. Y'll have to find it first.

So look at the little things around us; don't let yourself to drown in the ocean of hopelessness in the whole. Don't think about tomorrow and next year when you wake up in the morning. Remember you cannot let yourself stop, you cannot just sit down and think about dark matters when you know you're going to die soon if nothing changes.
And yes, this is hard. It can also help you to start your outer life again (the list above is just great at telling what you should try to include in it at this point).

And indeed, get help as soon as possible, something to help you in expressing your feelings. It's not healthy to keep things inside.

"You are strong... but you don't have to be strong alone."
 

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This is a good list, though some of these that I know I need most are the most impossible for me to do right now. Loneliness makes a lot of depression for me as my friends all live in other countries, so I can't just go see them in person. There's people living in my area, but I can't seem to connect with them to make new friends. Everything else that I don't do... it's hard to find motivators when you're depressed since nothing feels "rewarding" anymore. Even the things you used to enjoy lacks any sort of pleasure. I go up and down with my depression and on the good days, I'm able to do the things listed here, but on the bad days... I can't find the energy for any of it and I just get so hopeless that it's hard to just get out of bed every day.

One thing that has helped me is getting a dog. He helps with the loneliness, the security and keeps me physically active. He is also someone to take care of... it gives a sense of purpose and reason to move when you have someone relying on you in such a dedicated way as what a dog does. It's not the same with other animals since dogs are so loyal to you and only you; anyone can take care of any other sort of pet.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This is a good list about things that can keep us away from depression. However, what I would be more interested to hear is how to get up and start when you have been low more than few days or weeks or even months. Because everybody needs a reason for that. Y'll have to find it first.

So look at the little things around us; don't let yourself to drown in the ocean of hopelessness in the whole. Don't think about tomorrow and next year when you wake up in the morning. Remember you cannot let yourself stop, you cannot just sit down and think about dark matters when you know you're going to die soon if nothing changes.
And yes, this is hard. It can also help you to start your outer life again (the list above is just great at telling what you should try to include in it at this point).

And indeed, get help as soon as possible, something to help you in expressing your feelings. It's not healthy to keep things inside.

"You are strong... but you don't have to be strong alone."

Thank you for adding this...You are right, this is very important. We won't always be able to find someone to talk to in person, and we won't always have the resources available to give us that extra boost, so we need to find our inner strength - and we all do have that inner strength. We are often more strong than we realize.
This is why I felt the need to add "Try to think positively" to the list, because that one factor is essential for improvement. There is a danger in thinking too negatively, and it needs to be fought against, and that is hard...so very hard...but know that over time (practice makes perfect, as they say) we can gradually turn out thoughts around into positive ones, and the more we do it the easier it gets. The more we dwell on negative things, the harder they are to fight.

Keep your chin up. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is a good list, though some of these that I know I need most are the most impossible for me to do right now. Loneliness makes a lot of depression for me as my friends all live in other countries, so I can't just go see them in person. There's people living in my area, but I can't seem to connect with them to make new friends. Everything else that I don't do... it's hard to find motivators when you're depressed since nothing feels "rewarding" anymore. Even the things you used to enjoy lacks any sort of pleasure. I go up and down with my depression and on the good days, I'm able to do the things listed here, but on the bad days... I can't find the energy for any of it and I just get so hopeless that it's hard to just get out of bed every day.

One thing that has helped me is getting a dog. He helps with the loneliness, the security and keeps me physically active. He is also someone to take care of... it gives a sense of purpose and reason to move when you have someone relying on you in such a dedicated way as what a dog does. It's not the same with other animals since dogs are so loyal to you and only you; anyone can take care of any other sort of pet.

Each person's situation is different, so we won't all be able to do all those things on that list. There are those who are worse off physically, and could never take a jog around the block, but they can do plenty of other things...and like I said, even simple stretching is helpful (and even the smallest amount of help can change things for us).
Realizing your situation you've been resourceful, and found friends via the Internet - and if you can't chat in person then don't let that get you down, as we can definitely draw strength from communication through other media. I posted about not using things like Facebook because too many rely on this when they could get out and face people, but often a lack of confidence restricts them, and they don't feel the need to motivate themselves to go out of their comfort zones when they can just use Facebook. If something like Facebook is your only source of friendship with other humans, then by all means go for it.
You also got a pet dog...this was a great idea, and I'm glad to hear that this has helped you! As listed about, looking after others helps ourselves too, and that includes pets*.
Hopefully you will find some of the more accessible tips for you very helpful. Keep strong. :)



*Just a quick reminded: For those thinking about getting a pet, please remember that when you own a pet you are responsible for its well being. I'm sure you all are, but because of the importance of life, I feel the need to post this anyway.
 
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Ok, here's a few clips of uplifting, happy music...

Bob Marley - Don't worry, be happy:

VenTribe - Africa. Into The Wild:

Shakira - Waka Waka:

K'NAAN - Wavin flag:

Adam Stanton - Sumertime:


There's heaps more to find, but this should get you started if you don't already have uplifting music. ;)
 

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I have very mild depression and taking 300 milligrams's of St. John's Wort once every day works like a charm. I feel great all the time now. I also take bilberry which enhances micro perfusion (helps brain function and eye sight), L-tyrosine for focus, and vitamin D. All once a day in the morning with my coffee. Once it all starts to kick in I'm ready to kick ass and take names. :)
 

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I have very mild depression and taking 300 milligrams's of St. John's Wort once every day works like a charm. I feel great all the time now. I also take bilberry which enhances micro perfusion (helps brain function and eye sight), L-tyrosine for focus, and vitamin D. All once a day in the morning with my coffee. Once it all starts to kick in I'm ready to kick ass and take names. :)

I've heard of the positive effects of St. John's Wort, but am yet to try it...I really should get around to it and see how well it works on me. Everyone is different though, so one thing will really help one person but hardly help another at all, so it's good to try different things and see what works for us personally - with the doctor's help of course.
 
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Green Superfood powder from Whole Foods.
My secret weapon.
 

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Part of depression for me is knowing what you need to do, but not doing it anyway because of the 'what's the use' feeling.
Thank you for bringing this up.

Depression can take away our motivation, and so we need to fight for it back. This is why it is so very important to try to force ourselves to think, and keep thinking, positive thoughts - and stop thinking negative thoughts. I know how hard this can be, but we need to really try nonetheless, but focusing on the good things we know in our lives - think about what it is about yourself that you really like? One man who was born without legs or arms asked himself that same question, and he looked in a mirror one day and answered "my eyes. I really like my eyes", and that was his first step with turning around his thinking, and now he is quite famous, and tells his story to keep others strong. Without arms or legs he was able to push himself out of depression by focusing on something positive, and to do that he had to stop constantly feeling sorry for himself because of his terrible situation - he worried that he might never find a girl who could love his without limbs...imagine having those feelings?...Now he is very happily married. Things may look dubious for us at times, but that doesn't mean they will stay that way, no matter how badly things currently look...in fact some sort of change has to come sooner or later - it always does. Think about what good things there are in your life and you can change your thinking too.

Also, by following the tips provided and seeing positive results, that will make you feel less helpless and hopeless, and you will feel a little more in control, and you will probably grow in confidence too.

There is always hope. ;)
 

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I read a suggestion by another member in a different thread that accepting yourself is also an important step, and I think I agree with this. Many of us are very self-critical, and while that can be helpful for self improvement, too much of it can be stressful and can make us hate ourselves...we have to learn to love ourselves, as our lives are all precious. We might find the idea of loving ourselves a difficult concept, maybe because of doing something in our past that we really wish we could undo, and we can't forgive ourselves for it...if this is the case then remember that all that matters is right now. You can't change the past so stop holding onto it, but you can choose what you do now.
 

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Part of depression for me is knowing what you need to do, but not doing it anyway because of the 'what's the use' feeling.
I get like this a lot and I try to give myself credit for the things I have done instead of stressing over the things I haven't done yet. And that includes really simple things like brushing my teeth ("yeah good job, you brushed your teeth today!")

It sounds a little ridiculous but I think when people are really depressed even the little things like that can be extremely daunting, so you deserve to feel good about that.
 

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I get like this a lot and I try to give myself credit for the things I have done instead of stressing over the things I haven't done yet. And that includes really simple things like brushing my teeth ("yeah good job, you brushed your teeth today!")

It sounds a little ridiculous but I think when people are really depressed even the little things like that can be extremely daunting, so you deserve to feel good about that.
You are very right. Succeeding with little achievements (and they really are achievements when you have little to no motivation) leads to bigger achievements, and there's nothing wrong with starting small. Thank you for your comment. :)
 

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Thank you for this information, I do quite a bit of it already but never kept a list. I vowed to myself that I would never take medication and this is a big help. Now, I'll try to acquire a taste for dark chocolate :bored:
 

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Long-distance running and bvitamins did the trick for me... Shin Megami Tensei (Persona and Digital Devil Saga in particular) also proved beneficial and as a source of great inspiration during some of my darker times.
 

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Thank you for this information, I do quite a bit of it already but never kept a list. I vowed to myself that I would never take medication and this is a big help. Now, I'll try to acquire a taste for dark chocolate :bored:
Yes, most people find dark chocolate difficult to get used to. I'm lucky there, as I've always like dark chocolate (well I find the near raw stuff a bit strong as well, but I like 70%-85%), and I find white chocolate too sweet. Milk chocolate was hard to give up though, as I've always loved the taste.
 

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This is an excellent list. I would also add the following suggestions:

Identify the root of the depression. Is it situational, or is there something deeper? It may be one of the hardest questions you'll ever have to ask, but it's better to face things squarely.

Do what is necessary to change your life. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the current moment is all that life has to offer. Identify what you actually want from life, and what would make you content, and work towards that goal.

Realise that you are in control - of your emotions and your reactions to things, at the very least.

Find a role model. Find someone whose view of life strikes you as a sane and healthy one, and try to emulate them. (For me, Poirot and Picard - men who, although their approach to life is cerebral and intellectual, also enjoy the finer things of life, and have genuine warmth.)

Join a social group with people who have similar interests (e.g., Meetup). Check out the free activities in town - museums, lectures, festivals, film screenings, etc. Join a mental health support group (if necessary).

Actively seek out the pleasurable things in life: art, music, food. Indulge yourself occasionally (if you can afford it) - treat yourself to a good meal, go to the movies.

Watch/read something wholesome that will make you laugh, as laughter is good medicine. Entertainment can temporarily distract our minds from our problems too, however don't sit around watching too much TV or sit on the computer for too long though, which can effect our physical, and in turn our psychological well being, and consider that if it is degrading entertainment it could very well be counter productive, as some entertainment may effect our feelings of self-worth.
Yes! It gets you out of your own head. I'd suggest comedy, adventure stories, travel books, SF&F: Terry Pratchett, P.G. Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, Gerald Durrell, Tolkien, Dickens, Rabelais, Dumas, T.E. White's Once & Future King, Jonathan Stroud, George Macdonald Fraser, and detective stories. Also, try to find something that will engage you mentally - history or archaeology or a science or studying a language. It'll give your brain something to work on.


Listen to upbeat music. Music can effect and even change your mood, so happy music can make you feel happy - remember to be careful about what sort of lyrics are in the song though, as lyrics can put thoughts and images into our minds, and can remind us of negative things. (I'll be posting up some links to music later on in this thread)
If you like classical music, try Haydn, Mozart, Bach & Offenbach - and Rossini, whose music explodes with high spirits:
(Viaggio a Reims: gran pezzo concertato a 14 voci)
(Gazza Ladra overture)
(Matilde di Shabran: quintet)
(La Cenerentola: sextet)
(L'Italiana in Algeri: finale)
 
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