"Very very hard, it's a constant battle."
How I did it: I got counseling, took 3 different anti-depressants, and finally I just got out of my old relationship and learned to live for myself. I'm still discovering who I am and what I am going to do in my life, but the negative thoughts, feelings of loneliness, unworthiness and such have left. I'm not sure what actually worked and I'd like to think it was a combo of all the different methods I used to battle depression.
For counseling I saw about 3 different therapists, some more skilled than others. I've never really had a problem sharing personal things, so the type of therapy they practiced wasn't very effective for me. I think I would have preferred if they offered more feedback or gave me "homework" like constructive things I could do to help my situation. The anti-depressants I took game me crappy side effects like sleepiness/tiredness, which just worsened my depression. It was like I was wasting my life, sleeping all day and feeling unmotivated to do anything. The last drug I took that seemed to help a bit was zoloft. But that was just me. Everyone is different.
Also tried group therapy and I enjoyed the experience. It is comforting to see that there are others dealing with problems in their life. The details and circumstances may be different, but we share the same underlying issue of not knowing how to cope. We supported each other and you could say that it's what gave me the courage and motivation to live for myself.
After my breakup, I started branching out and making a new circle of friends. I made plans for my future that had only me in mind and I moved 9 months later with a friend to orange county. New job, new house, new friends, new life. This is not to say that I have no problems or that my life is perfect. I still get blue. I still cry. But the overwhelming feeling of sadness, the dark cloud lingering over me in my everyday life, and the hopelessness I felt have vanished. It's hard and I am still scared that one day I may fall back into depression, but I remind myself of how far I have come and that I can keep fighting it.
Lessons & tips: Tips...hmm... I guess don't be alone in fighting it! Use any available resources to your advantage, even if you think it won't work for you. That's how I felt with group therapy, but it actually did, in its own way. Get help from family, friends, school, peers, community resources, online support groups, etc. When people invite you out, go! It helps. And don't think this is going to happen overnight. It takes time. Please do not be discouraged, it will get better =]
**On a side note, I read online that the kind of birth control I was taking could lead to depression. In the message boards I read accounts from women who were experiencing the same thoughts and feelings that I was. The BC is Ortho Tri-Cylin Lo. After my breakup, I stopped taking it, so that may possibly be another factor in beating my depression. I do think I had a milder depression before starting Ortho Tri though.
Resources: My university's counseling center, support groups, my friends, family, writing poetry, keeping a journal, anti-depressants. Tried Lexapro, side-effects were sleepiness. Zoloft worked for me, but all anti-depressants take at least one month to kick in and have different reactions for different people. It's tedious, but don't give up if one didn't work for you. It took 3 for me! Also the 1-800-SUICIDE hotline helped during my darkest days...it was good to hear a voice that was willing to listen and sympathize with what was going on in my life, especially since I was alone and my family was 300+ miles away.
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