Another day passes by, and you can’t feel the joy you once did. You struggle to get out of bed every morning. You feel like isolating yourself from the world. It’s as if a huge cloud of sadness is following you around. Globally, it’s estimated that 264 million people around the world are dealing with depression. Depression is an ugly, powerful thing, but you can survive it.

You matter. You are not alone.

The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as a common, serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. It’s not the same as having “off” or “down” days.

Depression is different. To be classified as depression, your symptoms must last for at least two weeks. If you have lost interest in things you used to enjoy, or your eating habits have changed, and you sleep too much or too little, you could have depression.

How can you make it easier on yourself? Does it help if you stay alone? Is there a treatment for depression?

Yes, there are things you can do to feel better.

Step 1: Speak up

If you think you might have depression, go and see your doctor. Be honest with your doc, and yourself, about how you feel. Sharing that something is wrong is the most important thing you can do for yourself. And it’s the best way to start feeling good again. It’s an incredibly brave thing to do, and it’s worth doing, because YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Step 2: Surround yourself with caring people

You don’t have to do this alone. Find people who care about you, and who can handle hearing that you have depression, and tell them how you feel. You never know who is going through the same thing. Form a support group that you can trust to help you find a way to cope with your depression. Let them check in on you, and accept their offers of help. Remember, they care about you.

Step 3: Do things you enjoy

Make a list of the things that make you happy. It could be big things that you are proud of, like achievements or goals you have accomplished. Or it could be things like funny videos of animals, or your favourite show. List anything positive that makes you feel good, even if it’s just for a moment Your list is worth keeping on hand so you can see it. Remember, the darkness doesn’t last forever. Nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass. You can, and will, have good times again.

Step 4: Get some fresh air

Spend more time outdoors. Fresh air can really boost your mood. This works especially well on days where you feel trapped, and things are really rough. Go out for a walk, or do any other form of exercise. It will release hormones that can change your mood, and ease your stress. It only takes a short walk for those mood boosting hormones to kick in.

Step 5: KEEP AT IT

Whatever happens, and no matter how bad things get, never give up on yourself. You are not a failure because you are feeling this way. Don’t let sadness blind you from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or make you believe that this world will never get better. There’s always hope. And if you give them a chance, there’s always someone who’s willing to help and ready to listen.

Step 6: Remember you are not alone

Depression can be overcome, and you aren’t the only person going through this. It can affect anyone, despite their status or wealth. Even famous people have depression, like Kristen Bell, the star of The Good Place. Chris Evans a.k.a Captain America, has depression linked to his anxiety. Even Lady Gaga, and tough Dwayne Johnson have depression. It can happen to anyone.

Depression can be treated, and there are many treatment options, including medication and different kinds of therapy. It’s important to take care of yourself. It’s not your fault, so there is no reason to suffer in silence.

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