Depression and Caregiving

Strategies to Help Yourself

Depressive disorders can make one feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings make some people feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and may not accurately reflect the situation. Below are guidelines adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health offering recommendations for dealing with depression. Set realistic goals in light of the depression. You may not be able to accomplish as much as you are accustomed to when you are feeling well.

  • Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to be with other people and to confide in someone you know and trust; it is often better than suffering alone.
  • Participate in activities that may make you feel better, such as exercise, going to a movie or ballgame, or attending a religious, social, or community event.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Feeling better takes time.
  • It is advisable to postpone important decisions until the depression has lifted. Before deciding to make a significant transition—change jobs, get married or divorced—discuss it with others who know you well and can offer another view of your situation.
  • People rarely “snap out of” a depression. People who expect you to do this are misguided in their understanding of your condition.
  • Remember, positive thinking and the practice of new coping patterns will replace the negative thinking that is part of the depression. The negative thinking will be reduced as your depression responds to treatment.
  • Say “yes” to offers of help and engagement by family and friends who you know and trust.
  • If depression persists, consult a physician or professional counselor.