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DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional. I am simply sharing advice based on how I have gone about getting help, as well as basing this advice on the stories of others who have experienced depression. I feel it's also necessary to say that I am UK based and my advice applies to the UK as our healthcare system is kinda unique.
Although yesterday's post was extremely cathartic for me to write, I feel that writing this follow up post on how to actually get some help if you think you may be depressed actually allows me to make my own experiences useful to other people.
My first step would be to talk it through with someone you are close to and someone you trust. Not your best frenemy. An actual friend who you know cares about you, or a family member perhaps. Often talking through your thoughts and feelings with another person can help you be more objective about a situation. A friend might make you realise you're blowing things out of proportion, or they might agree there's something wrong and support you whatever move you make next.
Next - this has been the most important thing I have ever done for myself - is to see a doctor. Until I had a formal diagnosis, I refused to accept there was anything actually wrong with me. I blamed it on hormones, I blamed it on being a pathetic human being, I tried to bottle it away and well, if you read yesterday's post you know where that got me.
Unfortunately, getting a doctor to take me seriously was a hard task. I spoke to a few different doctors while I was in university who all brushed me off, including one who said because I had handed in my dissertation on time, I couldn't possibly be depressed...
When I moved back home, I had a bit more luck. I was put onto medication. However I accidentally ended up changing doctors and well, he didn't exactly invoke feelings of trust in me. He was friendly yes, but he would also Google which medications were safe to put me on. He changed the tablets I was on every time I complained which to be honest, was about as useful as not being on meds at all.
It wasn't until I moved to Hampshire that I found a doctor that not only takes me seriously and understands my complaints, but I actually trust her which is a huge deal for me.
For me, medication has always been the most important tool in my fight against depression. There's a misconception that there's a trigger for depression and that's not always true. For me, there is no reason to be depressed. I didn't have a tragic childhood. There has been no massive trauma in my past. In fact, I am acutely aware of how lucky I am. But that's not enough to stop the old black dog...
It's because I have no "reason" to be depressed that I think I've had trouble with counselling and I've never really felt like CBT actually helped. Therefore, medication has been 100% necessary for me.
Of course, this is not the case for everyone. Some people do respond to counselling and therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy and that's great. Some people just don't get along with medication. Unlike say, tonsilitus, unfortunately depression isn't just a case of chucking antibiotics at someone and it working.
It is hard to get the help you need. You need motivation and a huge desire to want to get better which is cruelly one of the hardest things to do when you are depressed. You need to be persistent, which again, is hard when depression is fogging up your head. But it's worth it. The relief you feel when your doctor wants to help and does everything they can to do so is intense.