I can't seem to sleep tonight. My mind has been busy thinking about how I have learned to deal with the depression.
So, here are my tips of things I've learned from counseling, my doctor and my own experiences:
1) When things get bad, TALK. You don't have to talk about the depression, just talking in general to distract you momentarily from the depression. Isolating yourself only makes things worse. Even though that is one of your urges is to shut the world out, it lets your thoughts (especially rational ones) get away from you. Talking and socializing helps recenter you.
2) Find a hobby/ something you enjoy doing. This is something both my counselor and my doctor have talked to me about. For me, it is doing crafty things (making jewelry, painting a sign or home decor project). Another important thing though, is to make sure you don't completely absorb yourself in it. If you need to set a timer for 1 hour. When it goes off, you have to stop and do something like laundry, cook dinner, or so on. You can also use it as a reward. You go your dishes done, so you get 30 minutes of your hobby.
3) Exercise! I have heard that 60 minutes of exercise a day works just as good for depression as 1 anti-depressant pill. This can be hard for me to do, but I still try my hardest. Sometimes I only exercise a few days a week for 20 minutes, but it is better than nothing.
4) Find the right medication. There is no magic, cure-all pill for depression. I found one that worked for me, but gave me other side effects that made it unrealistic to use long term. I tried a few others and they didn't work as well (3 to be exact). After I had surgery I was able to go back on the one that works best for me and have been on it ever since. Sometime there is a lot of trial and error in finding the right one and the right dosage.
One of my struggles is sleep. My body wants to sleep 24/7! It is hard to get out of bed. Still, even if I have no where to go, I force myself to get up!
Years ago before I started dealing with the depression, when I let it take over my life, I literally slept all the time! I would go to sleep around 4 am and get up around 2 pm! When I was awake I did nothing! I spent my time playing guitar hero. That's it. That is all I did. I didn't cook, I didn't clean. I didn't exercise. I didn't do any crafts. I slept and played guitar hero. It was VERY unhealthy, but I survived, which is the important part!