Since I began blogging I’ve received a number of inquiries about what people should do if they’re feeling depressed. These are the only emails I respond to promptly. I thought maybe I should talk about it openly in case other people could benefit.
I am not a doctor. If you have had “the blues” for more than 3 weeks, or just haven’t been feeling yourself–haven’t been enjoying your usual activities, etc.– TELL YOUR DOCTOR. Depression is an illness. Like many illnesses, it is created by a chemical imbalance. There are ways of correcting this imbalance, but if you let it slide and don’t get treatment it can escalate. Let flourish in your body unabated, depression can kill you.
There are a number of reasons people don’t go to the doctor about depression, and I’ll address two of them here. 1. People feel ashamed to admit that they’re depressed and don’t want to talk about it. But a doctor is going to be the best person to talk to in such a situation. They understand that it’s not lack of character that makes you depressed, but the depletion of certain chemicals. They may also refer you to someone who you can “talk to about your feelings,” which can be useful. But just going to see the doctor is not going to become an entrenched therapy session. 2. People don’t want “fancy” drugs. I will discuss how these drugs work in a later post, and you might change your mind about their effectiveness. But if you’re dead-set against prescription drugs and it’s keeping you from going to the doctor, remember that you can tell your doctor that you’d like to try herbal remedies and lifestyle changes first.
I will have more to say about treating depression, but this is key: depression is a potentially fatal medical condition that should be treated by a doctor.
A few general resources: NIH, Wikipedia, crazymeds.org (sounds weird, but is actually really good about explaining how things work). If you think depression is something that can be treated by Cosmo, you can take this quiz, but bear in mind that if you think you need to take this quiz you should probably be talking to your doctor.