What To Do If You Are Depressed

The intention of this page is to speak to those who may not yet be in, or who've recently begun, depression treatment.

If you're not getting treatment for depression

Here's what to do if you are depressed. Depression treatment, like anti-depressant medications and therapy does work. Read about getting help.Let's assume, right now, that you are reading this because you are pretty sure you have depression. I doubt that a page with this title would appeal to you, otherwise. Let's also assume that you haven't looked for depression treatment yet.

Having said that, I encourage you, as strongly as I can, to get help! Call your doctor, a crisis line (a suicide-prevention line will do--even if you aren't suicidal, they can help), a clergyman, or anyone listed in the Yellow Pages as a psychologist, social worker, or psychiatrist. Any of these people will be happy to help, either by beginning your treatment, or referring you to someone who will.

I know all of the reasons why you don't think you can, or should, do this. Here are some of the thoughts you may be having about it and my responses to them:

  • I don't have depression, this is just "a phase" which will pass.

If your lousy mood has gone on for more than a few weeks, it's not going to "pass" all by itself. Get help.

  • All I have to do is "get my act together." I can snap out of it.

Doesn't work that way. First of all, "get your act together" is meaningless. The reason you feel as though things are out of control is the depression itself. Until you address the depression, you cannot just "snap out of it." Get help.

  • I don't need a pill to make me feel better.

Anti-depressants don't "make you feel better." They simply take the edge off of the depression so that you can work your way out of it. A professional, not you, is better able to tell if medication will help. Talk to one; get help.

  • But I don't want to become addicted!

Anti-depressants are non-addicting. Get help.

  • Therapy won't do any good, I can always talk to my friends.

Really? Hmm. How is it that you are depressed, then, if the help you need is there when you want it? Obviously this approach doesn't work for you! Get help.

  • I don't feel like going to therapy and dredging up the past.

All the more reason to go. You may be depressed because of those things you don't want to talk about. Get help.

  • If people find out I'm depressed, they'll think I'm nuts.

OK, I won't lie to you here. Depression carries a stigma in our culture. There will be people whose opinions of you may change if they hear you have depression. However, are those the type of people you really want to have around you? Of course not--they are ignoramuses. Besides, getting help doesn't mean everyone has to know you are depressed. Even if some people think you are "nuts," this is nothing compared to the depression. Get help.

  • It won't work for me.

That's the depression talking. Tell it to "shut up" by getting help.

  • I deserve this, I ought to suffer, I shouldn't get rid of it.

I've heard the "punishment from God" stuff before, and believe me, it just isn't so. The God most people worship doesn't want people to suffer. He wants them to be happy. Get help.

  • I've heard it takes a long time to get better and I'm at the end of my rope, now; I can't wait.

I won't lie about this either. It will take a few weeks for you to feel noticeably better. But at least you know you're getting somewhere. Sitting around moping certainly isn't any better than trying treatment. Get help.

The National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or for a crisis center in your area, go here.

next: What To Do If You Are Suicidal
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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 3). What To Do If You Are Depressed, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: June 20, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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