Last modified on 6 April 2010, at 11:17

Living With Depression/Getting help

This book is all about the things you can do to help yourself, but don't forget to get help from other people too. Clinical depression is a serious mental illness that can be seriously debilitating and even fatal. It's very important to get the professional help you need and to make the most of whatever services are available to you. Health systems vary widely from country to country, but the basic advice here still applies.

First time?

Some people may be afraid of getting help in the first place. It's common to feel embarrassed or ashamed; you may be unwilling to admit that you can't "cope". Or you may think that your problems aren't serious enough to bother the doctor with, or that they'll think you're being silly. Some people may try to tell you that people choose to be depressed, or that you just need to "pull yourself together". Although they often mean well, usually these people don't have any first hand experience of serious mental health issues. They don't know what you're feeling, only you do. If your depression is making your life unbearable, or having a negative effect on your relationships, job or family life, then it's time to get help. Make an appointment to see your GP or family doctor and tell them how you feel. If you're worried about getting it out once you're in front of them, write a few things down that you want to say before you go in. Doctors nowadays are very experienced with dealing with people with mental health problems, and often have some training in this area. Attitudes have changed dramatically over the last few decades. You won't be laughed out of the door, or carted off to the asylum. Remember too, that doctors are human, and may not give you the exact response you would hope for. If your doctor is dismissive or unhelpful, try and see a different one.