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Unfortunately, I have been through what you are talking about. I am also trained in certain aspects of health-care. So, I am in a somewhat unique position to answer your question.

First off, if you are truly depressed, or suffering from an anxiety disorder, you need to know that this is indeed a primary health condition. That is to say that there are demonstrable physiological changes occurring both in your body and in your brain which may need to be addressed. Initially, this is often achieved via the prescription of an antidepressant. There are many types of antidepressants available on the market. The one most suitable for you can only be determined by your M.D.

The use of antidepressants is generally accepted as the first line of defense against the symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is accomplished by affecting the uptake and storage of certain neurotransmitters -mainly serotonin- in the brain. It is becoming more and more commonplace for such courses of medications to continue for at least one year. This gives more time to address the other important issues associated with depression. It also helps to minimize the chances of slipping back into depression if the meds are withdrawn too early.

For the best short-term and long-term treatment success a good councillor (preferably a psychologist) can be invaluable. Not only will a councillor help you get through the difficult early stages of depression, but they will also assist you greatly in helping to identify the psychosocial factors that lead to the condition in the first place. By doing so, one can then watch for and help prevent against future bouts of the illness.

The most important thing about depression is to understand that it IS treatable. It is a complex condition that involves physical changes inside your body. The earlier it is addressed, the easier it is to treat. One must resist the out-dated idea that depression can be solved by just "bucking up" and acting tough. Unfortunately, depression is usually not that simple, and such archaic thinking generally only serves to delay valuable treatment.
 

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MOTM Nov 2010
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I have had breakdowns caused by this, like pushing people away and isolating myself. What can somone do to combat depression, and has anyone been through it?
Go against what you immediately "feel" like doing. Go out with a group of people. It will do you wonders. Get into a group environment. Do something that means a lot to you.

I personally go on group runs, it pops the bubble of depression so quickly it's amazing. Take your friends up on their offers to come get you or to go out. Join a new class if you can. We really get better once we are around others. Even a therapist will tell you to keep things in your life you enjoy.
 

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I have to second what Pink said. For me, when I'm depressed, I want nothing more than to just hole up in my bed alone and cry, but that just makes me feel worse. If I force myself into a group setting it instantly makes me feel better-- people are what make us tick. Put yourself in a situation where you won't necessarily be forced to interact a lot, but can just be surrounded by people. It'll work wonders.
 

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Go against what you immediately "feel" like doing. Go out with a group of people. It will do you wonders. Get into a group environment. Do something that means a lot to you.

I personally go on group runs, it pops the bubble of depression so quickly it's amazing. Take your friends up on their offers to come get you or to go out. Join a new class if you can. We really get better once we are around others. Even a therapist will tell you to keep things in your life you enjoy.
What always got me out of the cycles, when they came, was to do exactly as Pink said...

When you go out with your friends... at first you'll be withdraw and sullen... but eventually they will distract you from whatever is on your mind. That's what depression needs sometimes. "Popping the bubble" of depression is an excellent metaphor.

Because once you're out of that mode, it's like the world warms up. Good luck
 

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It is worth clarifying for future readers of this thread that there is a big difference between feeling sad and depressed and actually being clinically depressed. My prior response is directed towards the latter.

People who become clinically depressed are usually suffering a depressive episode that has already lasted for many months or years. As such, getting out with friends or similar activities (all good things by the way) may have long since become almost impossible for them to manage. The effort to do so might simply be too large. The expenditure of which could leave them even more depressed in the days and weeks that follow such an outing.

Surely, "depression" is a matter of degrees. But if one is experiencing longstanding depression of any sort, competent health-care advice should be sought.
 

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I also live with depression. I have for years. I second/third Pink and Viva. I will a lot of times bring a pile of work with me to a coffee shop. This kills two birds with one stone. It allows me to be around people without having to act cheerful or interact if I don't want to. And it allows me to feel that I've accomplished something with my time. One of my biggest frustrations with depression is that it really eats a lot of time spent wallowing while work and other things pile up. As impossible as it often feels when I'm really depressed, working NEVER fails to lift my mood.

I have also learned to surround myself at all times with color and encouraging words. Having a pleasing environment and wearing fun, colorful clothes and jewelry are really shallow things, but every little lift helps when I'm really down. These things can be surprisingly encouraging.

I've never tried antidepressants, so I can't speak to that, although I did try Xanax several years ago. I don't use it anymore because I prefer to avoid prescription medication whenever possible, but it definitely helped with feelings of anxiety.
 
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