Managing Depression: Overcoming Barriers and Getting Help
For many people with depression, getting help begins with accepting that you need help.
"One of the barriers is the old one of stigma. It's a mental illness, and there is a stigma about having a mental illness. It's embarrassing, it feels like it's humiliating."
"I have a diagnosed mental illness, and there's nothing I can do about that. Now I have to deal with it responsibly, so that's what I'm going to do."
"I always thought that if something was wrong with you, you couldn't let people know. You had to keep it a secret. "
Sometimes it's easier to believe that a physical problem is all that you're dealing with, and once the physical issues go away, so will the depression.
"Maybe I have a physical illness. Maybe that's what's going on, why I'm having all these headaches and feel low energy, don't feel like doing things, having trouble sleeping. I just don't feel right. "
There are other barriers. Some people diagnose and treat themselves with over-the-counter drugs or unproven natural medicines.
"I escaped through substance abuse, mainly alcohol because alcohol made me feel better."
Whatever reason you might be using for delaying treatment, having depression is not something you can control. You can't will away. If it goes untreated, an episode can last for months or even years.
"I had gone through two marriages by the time I was forty years old, and was about to go through a third. "
In addition to understanding that you need help, getting support from both family and friends can make a big difference in your treatment.
"If you don't mind listening to me ramble on, I'd appreciate it."
"The relationship I have with my wife - it's been very good, and it was built on a very strong foundation. And so her patience has played a big part. When I said, 'Okay, I'm ready to go talk to a doctor,' first thing out of her mouth was, 'Would you like me to go with you?'"
If you are living with someone battling depression, you may need support yourself. Depression can affect the whole family. There is also community, online, and telephone support resources that many people find useful.
Accepting you need help is the first step toward overcoming depression. Talk to your healthcare provider, and together you'll determine the treatment or treatments that will help you most.
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