Coping with Depression

There are ways to beat depression

There are ways to beat depression

Carsyn Hall

Coping with Depression
Part 3 of a 3 Part Series
Carsyn Hall

“When I start having bad thoughts or feeling down, I immediately do things to keep myself occupied. I try and hang out with my sister or my friends, or even just leave my room,” Said Lauren Geller, a student at Blythewood High who was diagnosed with depression in April of 2019.

Psych Central states that new research shows that people with depression use music in different ways depending on their styles of coping. It has shown to boost mood, act as a source of comfort, and encourages social bonds. During her interview, Lauren said, “I always play piano or the ukulele to keep myself busy and to cope with my depression. It makes me happier because it’s something I love to do.”

Research from Mayo Clinic about depression and anxiety show that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Exercise releases endogenous cannabinoids, also known as feel-good hormones. Not only does exercise boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals, it triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections, just like antidepressants do, according to Help Guide. This method of coping is a healthy way of trying to better your situation as it improves your emotional and physical health. “When I go through depressive periods, I like to go to the gym because it gets my mind off of my problems and makes me feel better about myself,” says Mackenzie Davis, a student at Blythewood High.

For those who struggle with severe depression, antidepressant medication can be one of the first lines of treatment. A common fear is that these medications will make you forget your problems rather than deal with them. However, therapists have reported that their patients make more progress in psychotherapy when taking antidepressants. Four out of 10 people treated with antidepressants improve with the first one they try, according to Web MD. If the first antidepressant medication doesn’t help, the second or third often will. Laura Geller said that she tried a medication called Prozac, which made her depression worse. However, she started to see a positive change in herself after switching to Zoloft.

Though seeking out help can be difficult, the American Psychological Association states that psychotherapy has been shown to help individuals recover from depression, especially those with mild to moderate depression. Therapy can help you work to find the roots of your depression, help you understand why you feel a certain way, what your triggers are for depression, and what you can do to stay healthy.

Though often thought of as cliche, taking that extra step to take care of yourself can help manage depression. In Amy Marlow’s article from Healthline, she explains her steps of self care to cope with her major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. She takes precautions to stay tuned in to her body, to breathe deeply, change the way she looks at herself, and engages her senses. “I have come to realize that self-care isn’t a brilliant epiphany or a single life-improving hack. Rather, it is a series of small choices that add up to a healthier lifestyle,” said Marlow.

Though depression can be treated and symptoms can be reduced, the disease isn’t curable. However, there are ways to manage depressive disorder for a healthier and easier way of life. As Amy Marlow said, “I remind myself that I can cope with mental illness and that I always have a choice of how to handle my symptoms. I reconnect with two important truths: that I deserve to love myself and that I, indeed, am worth it.”