To ask what actually helped when you were suffering from depression?

(170 Posts)
iamelectrogirl Mon 25-Aug-14 02:32:27

Hi, quite a self explanatory title really.
Just wondering if there was anything that really made a difference to you when you were suffering from depression.
I'm really really struggling right now and I can't easily take Anti-Depressants due to pregnancy/ breastfeeding plans. I'd really like to hear if anything helped from anybody with any experience
smile

(Chose this forum due to high traffic but can delete/move)

Justgotosleepnow Mon 25-Aug-14 02:43:06

Omega oils. Good quality.
Do a bit of research but they can help as much as Prozac.

Exercise. Even just a little walk everyday.

Talking it though with a trained councillor.

Antidepressants do work, but they can be a sticky plaster when what you need is a fundamental shift of how you think & react to things.

Justgotosleepnow Mon 25-Aug-14 02:46:50

Re the councillor- did you know there is a specific mental health service for pregnant people & new mothers?
It's called the perinatal mental health team. You get referred by your GP. Your area might not fund it, but you could be lucky.

And do be aware that loads of people have antenatal depression but it seems everyone only talks about PND. And AND doesn't necessarily turn into PND, so try and not worry about that.

EmMcK Mon 25-Aug-14 03:03:29

Counselling. NLP in my case, suddenly the sky was blue again. It was wonderful. And running regularly, although that doesn't sound like an option for you right now ;-)

EmMcK Mon 25-Aug-14 03:04:36

And I second what Justgo said. I had AND, hasn't realised it even happened. Take care of yourself, I know it is scary but you will get through it x

MrsWolowitz Mon 25-Aug-14 03:16:42

Exercise.

Also my dog. It sounds a bit trite but it's true. Time walking my dog or just cuddling her was so healing for me. I'll always be grateful to her for that.

ADs help me a huge amount too. If there's a way you can take them I'd recommend doing so. Maybe chat with your GP.

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 25-Aug-14 03:25:02

I'm sorry to say that the answer for me was exercise too. Sorry because when you are feeling depressed the absolute last thing you feel like doing is getting up and exercising. But when I was in a bad place it was the single thing that made the biggest difference and now, several years on, exercise is the main thing that keeps me in a good place.

Coughle Mon 25-Aug-14 03:26:16

Sunshine and yoga.

Paddington68 Mon 25-Aug-14 03:36:45

Sunshine, talking, walking, time to myself, and a supportive partner and friends who were all brilliant.
Being told it was ok to cry, ok not to be strong. The only 'rule' my partner gave me was I had to get washed and dressed and go outside everyday.

Tikimon Mon 25-Aug-14 04:02:09

What helped me:

- Exercising
- Volunteering for a cause you believe in (for me it was animal shelters)
- Journaling to get thoughts off your chest.
- Getting a pet (which in theory, caring for a life sounds counter productive)

CoolCat2014 Mon 25-Aug-14 04:21:04

Antidepressants - sertraline
Getting out the house - exercise
Lightbox

overslept Mon 25-Aug-14 04:23:44

Second everybody who said animals have helped. If you can't or don't want to have your own pet then walking a friends dog might be helpful. I find horse riding brilliant when I'm feeling down.

Depending on if you are in introvert or extrovert, making enough time for yourself, a few hours alone a week can work absolute magic, doing anything at all you enjoy, I find if I don't get at least some time totally alone I get a bit overwhelmed. If you find social time helps you wind down then spending time laughing with a friend over coffee/outings with friends and family you don't get to catch up with regularly.

At this time of year I tend to get down, sunshine really does help. I have never tried one myself but others have suggested I try a SAD light which some people swear by.

Hope that helps

ilovelamp82 Mon 25-Aug-14 04:24:07

Exercise. It's the last thing I wanted to do but it absolutely is the best thing you can do.

MaryAnnTheDasher Mon 25-Aug-14 04:39:16

Not sure if your depression it's a long standing thing but if so, I'd highly recommend cognitive behavioural therapy, it was the only thing that worked for me after many years of depression. And yes to ADs, there are some you can take while pregnant I'm sure? Finally, walking has helped me alot in the past.

scarletforya Mon 25-Aug-14 04:41:20

Medication, cbt.

My doctor allowed me to continue medication throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding btw. Thankfully all was well with the baby. We were both monitored carefully.

Weirdly, exercise didn't help me at all. Though I was going to a gym with no natural light.

mumster79 Mon 25-Aug-14 05:44:46

Exercise, no alcohol and no processed foods / eating clean.

Worked far better for me than AD's.

Good luck!

KoalaDownUnder Mon 25-Aug-14 06:05:20

Exercise.

Sunshine.

Eating very, very well.

thanks

ithoughtofitfirst Mon 25-Aug-14 06:57:05

Medication
Exercise
Meditation
Cbt
Journal
Being my own best friend
Cleaning
Netflix

deepbluetr Mon 25-Aug-14 07:12:00

Exercise. The single most important thing.

wigglesrock Mon 25-Aug-14 07:27:57

Time
Anti depressants
Focusing on very small tasks that I could do over a day to give me some sense of doing something
Going outside for a bit every day, not necessarily huge walks but even standing at the back door, walking to the post box

polomoomin Mon 25-Aug-14 07:39:06

Sorting my diet out. I was severely depressed for six years. My diet was essentially take aways, instant noodles, Doritos, buckets upon buckets of Pepsi max and fast food. I wasn't overweight because I smoked cigarettes which suppressed hunger so often my day would be: skip breakfast, have a packet of Doritos or instant noodles and Pepsi max for lunch and then eat nothing until maybe 8 or 9pm when I'd have a pizza. I used to drink a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi max a day. Never had fresh food, fruit was completely alien to me.

Exercise too, especially yoga. That one was the toughest to break because as a depressive I never wanted to leave the house. Just wanted to sit around smoking and drinking the Pepsi all day, maybe watching a film or listening to the smiths and slipping further and further into a dark hole. Very rarely left the house. So I started really slowly, introduced yoga at first so I could do it at home. At first I was completely sceptical but after a couple of weeks of both that and sorting my diet out- introducing fresh foods, cutting back on the ciggies (which I eventually quit and stayed off!) and Pepsi max, I started to notice the difference in my mood.

I tried two different anti depressants and counselling but neither seemed to work. I'm completely sold on diet and exercise being main causes, especially artificial sweeteners and additives. I know a lot think it's mumbo jumbo but I'm kind of living proof it isn't. flowers anyway, hope you're lifted out of the darkness soon.

Elisheva Mon 25-Aug-14 07:56:13

Time, supportive friends, CBT, art therapy, fresh air and exercise, and structure - planning my days so it wasn't all one big black hole. I'd plan one activity for morning and afternoon, even if it was just have a bath, go and buy and read a magazine, watch a DVD etc.
Having something to look forward to in the future, dinner with friends, trip to the cinema, visiting family.
Giving myself treats/rewards for achieving something e.g. Have a shower and get dressed and you can go to Waitrose and choose a cake from the cake counter smile
I found easy craft activities very soothing, things like hama beads or paint by numbers.
Having a list of ideas for lunch and dinner pinned up so I didn't have to think too much and ate a variety of healthy foods.

CatteLady Mon 25-Aug-14 08:02:10

Psychotherapy. Drugs. Time off work. Some future plans (but nothing anxiety inducing). Rewatching old comedies. Simple crafts. Reading when I could concentrate. Writing.

Hope things get better soon!

googoodolly Mon 25-Aug-14 08:03:35

CBT, getting out everyday and doing something "for me" everyday as well.

McPie Mon 25-Aug-14 08:10:37

As many others have said exercise, I really didn't want to but knew I had to and in less than 12 months I had a huge group of people I talked to on a daily basis (where before I was lucky to say hello to a couple of mums at the nursery) and one of whom is now a very, very good friend and my training buddy and I was off my tablets.

reup Mon 25-Aug-14 08:15:33

Oh god I have a dog and go running, done NLP counselling (though that was for worrying and anxiety) and they havent helped. There's must be no hope!

CrohnicallyDepressed Mon 25-Aug-14 08:25:36

Getting out and about, even if only for a walk to the shops. I spend a lot of time with family (some but not all of them know about my depression) and the normality of it helps. Besides, I have a tendency to shut myself away when depressed and it definitely makes me feel worse.
CBT.
Anti depressants- I am continuing to breastfeed on them so that needn't be an issue.

KingJoffreysBloodshotEye Mon 25-Aug-14 08:40:21

Definitely animals.

When I had depression my cat kindly gave birth to two plump, long haired kittens.

Helping bring them up gave me something else to think about/do.

KingJoffreysBloodshotEye Mon 25-Aug-14 08:40:33

Definitely animals.

When I had depression my cat kindly gave birth to two plump, long haired kittens.

Helping bring them up gave me something else to think about/do.

19lottie82 Mon 25-Aug-14 08:44:10

Another one here for exercise. Also getting out and about with my friends.
You may not feel like either, but you will appreciate them when you make the effort.

gamerwidow Mon 25-Aug-14 08:44:49

CBT
citalopram
no alcohol
and accepting I am not super woman and it's ok to make mistakes sometimes.

Cherrypi Mon 25-Aug-14 08:48:33

Giving up my job, time and getting pregnant again.

sashh Mon 25-Aug-14 08:49:37

The pills.

Animals, I fostered cats for years, then got my own but I watch kittens online. The cam I watch has people from around the world watching and we chat sometimes.

Sorry to bring down the thread, but nothing

Am on antidepressants that take the edge off. CBT made no difference, nor exercise (when i could, which i cant now)

I think this is just me.

As in, I've been depressed my entire adult life, and as a teenager before that. Maybe thats just what is normal for me.

Standinginline Mon 25-Aug-14 09:04:32

I've recently read a book called "The Depression Cure " and covers Omega 3 ,Vitamin D ,socialising ,exercising and sleep (I think ). Basically ,this book explains how society is moving too quick for us ,how office jobs are keeping us inside for silly amount of hours ,meat is no longer enriched with omega 3 like it used to be etc... The increase in depression has been astronomical ,and during studies the author noticed that Mormon cultures and the like very rarely get depression as they still live by the old way of living (always socialising ,eating proper food ,plenty of sleep etc...).
I've been taking Omega 3 supplement for a few months now (it's not so much the omega 3 you measure it's the EPA and DHA you look out for ) I worked it out as 10 ml's a day of high strength Seven Seas omega 3 liquid gives me what they recommend (supplements usually have a lot less which would result in taking a lot of pills ). I'm also taking a vitamin d supplement ,a 100mg a day which is 4 high strength pills at 25mg each BUT it's got to be Vitamin D3 ,not the basic Vitamin D that milk is enriched with as out body can't do much with that. I've also started socialising a lot more. Even if it's saying yes to someone coming round to look at the kittens ,as opposed to cancelling it as I didn't have the energy to socialise.
I think it's really helped. I've also noticed little sleep makes me feel very down ,and when that happens your way of thinking just turns negative in general. For instance is someone ignores you you would tend to think it was you ,that would then spiral of into no one likes me ,everyone hates me etc,. Hence why that say have a good nights sleep before trying to sort out problems ,your outlook and change literally overnight.
Obviously it isn't immediate will take about a month to kick but is worth trying and not too expensive either. I feel better. I'm not saying I'm suddenly miss positive all of a sudden but I can look at things logically now and not let all my negative thoughts spiral out of control.

Standinginline Mon 25-Aug-14 09:08:56

Sorry ,that was written quickly ,bloody autocorrect ,lol.

UpUpAndAway123 Mon 25-Aug-14 09:11:20

I had PND and PTSD. What helped me: antidepressants, EMDR for PTSD, counselling and a really supportive DH.

Surfsup1 Mon 25-Aug-14 09:16:55

There was a programme on TV here (Aus) recently talking about gut health and the increasing body of research which links poor gut health to diseases including depression.
Taking a really good probiotic and increasing your dietary fibre intake could really help (and certainly can't hurt). Worth a shot!?

nethunsreject Mon 25-Aug-14 09:17:32

Time
Meds
Rest
Family and friends.
I am in a bad depressive phase just now but these things are the things that helped in the past

EmpressOfBedlam Mon 25-Aug-14 09:17:42

I had ante natal depression. It was horrendous. My midwife must have thought I was a monster as I told her I didn't want to be pregnant and wanted to die.

Luckily she arranged for an amazing counsellor to come and see me which made me feel fantastic for about a day afterwards. I didn't want to take the drugs they were recommending so I stuck it out.

The second my dd was born via elective c section! I felt fine! brilliant and I felt it lift weird to say but I honestly did feel completely elated and the depression has never come back.

So having a counsellor helped a lot but having the baby felt better. Were you depressed before you were pregnant?

KoalaDownUnder Mon 25-Aug-14 09:18:28

Surfsup1, as an Aussie who has been on anti-deps practically her whole adult life, I'd be really interested to see that. Could you provide any more info, please? Cheers!

Treasures Mon 25-Aug-14 09:18:33

Sertraline ADs
Counselling
Exercise (long fast walks)
Art Journaling
My pet cat

somewherebeyondthebarricades Mon 25-Aug-14 09:25:41

My only good phases coincide with sunny days or holidays.

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 25-Aug-14 09:32:18

Cbt and sertraline- first prescribed when breastfeeding dd1 as safest. Continued throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding dd2, wouldn't be without it

cricketpitch Mon 25-Aug-14 09:33:55

Many of the things that have been mentioned especially:
ADs,
walking/gardening,
being on my own to potter,(not being in a constantly critical/demanding work or family environment where I don't measure up);
a shower,
time
CBT - up to a point but when v depressed I tended to abandon it
a project, however small
hope

NacMacFeeglie Mon 25-Aug-14 09:38:06

Things that helped me:

The support of my friends and some family. They never gave up on me. My mum nearly became unwell herself trying to care for me.

Sertraline.

Getting a routine in place and forcing myself to do it.

Getting a dog and taking long walks every day

Private counselling

Accepting thoughts are just thoughts and rarely true when challenged.

Sheer determination to not give up.

I was very very unwell. Had a breakdown and developed severe depression and anxiety. Had psychotic thoughts and attacks that made me believe I was in hell. It was the worst time in my life so far. I never ever thought I would be myself again.

But I am smile

CordeliaScott Mon 25-Aug-14 09:39:51

Work - giving me something to focus on
Writing my feelings down
Eating even when I didn't want to
Zopiclone -
things seemed a lot better once I re established normal sleeping and eating patterns but it still took a while

Lottiedoubtie Mon 25-Aug-14 09:43:01

Structure and routine- even if it's, have a shower by x time, eat breakfast by y time, tidy living room by z time etc...

Getting outside regularly.

Not spending too much (whole days is too much for me) alone.

A tidy house- mess makes me feel hopeless and worthless.

chinamoon Mon 25-Aug-14 09:46:03

Outdoor exercise - one hour a day is a good mood enhancer
Treating depression like a physical illness and taking good physical care of self while recuperating (daily shower or bath and hair wash, get dressed, eat healthy food - loads of raw/fresh veg needed. More than normal.
CBT is wonderful. Read the first 2/3 of 'Feeling Good' by Dr Burns. (Last third is a very long medical summary of anti-depressants but the cognitive behavioural teaching tools are wonderful.)

This is just anecdotal but everyone I know who suffered Ante-natal depression lost it immediately on birth and had no signs of PND. May not always be true but it can be a hormonal imbalance during pregnancy that causes it which rights itself post-birth. One friend said literally once the baby came out she felt this heavy curtain lifting from her mood.

chinamoon Mon 25-Aug-14 09:47:30

yes to journaling and routine too.

Tidy house helps massively but tough to achieve when you feel really knocked out.

nexxa Mon 25-Aug-14 09:54:04

I have to exercise several times a week (won't out self), so I don't feel this makes a difference to me personally. Though maybe I'd feel worse without it...I don't know

I do feel making sure am awake and washed and dressed very early helps.

The tidy house helps me too. But I worry about ridiculous details (E.g. one coat hanger not facing right direction) and can't rest until I've altered it.

DearTeddyRobinson Mon 25-Aug-14 10:07:06

Antidepressants. There are several types that are ok to take while pregnant & breast feeding, I was on Efexor. I had severe depression pre-pregnancy, sorted by ADs. Stopped taking them when pregnant and felt dreadful immediately, I saw a psychiatrist (IME GPs know sod all about depression) who reassured me it was ok to go back on the meds. DS is now 18mo and very happy and healthy smile

CarbeDiem Mon 25-Aug-14 10:09:17

Exercise.
Good diet.
Writing my thoughts in a diary.
Counselling.
I've tried many different AD's and while they chemically work I found they made me numb. It often felt like I was standing on glass with my depression underneath it - it wasn't touching me but I could still see it.

I may sound a bit 'woohoo' here but it works for me so I don't mind sharing smile

- visualise a big box in your head (place it in the back of your mind) It has a big lock. If you are worrying, stressing or sad about about something lock the problem in the box, lock it and push it to it's place (to the back of your mind)
It obviously doesn't make any problems/worries magically better but can give you a break from them- to give you 10 mins peace or let you sleep, you know where they are and can choose when to take them out and deal with them.

BoffinMum Mon 25-Aug-14 10:13:03

Citalopram and a great GP.
Final step was getting proper medical treatment for the condition I had that had removed my mobility. Then all the psychological stuff all evaporated in a puff of smoke and I was my old self again.

My counsellor told me that the tidy house is a symptom not a cure ... as in, when I can't bear the mess and can't cope and my 8-year-old ends up do the washing up at 9pm because she is so desperate to help blush, then I need help. When I feel good, I can wade through piles of untidiness without noticing because I am busy doing things. It is not tidying the house that has cured the depression!
Exercise - fast walks with dog. Getting harder now it is darker in the mornings.
Homeopathy ... I know that loads of people are now going to jump in to pour scorn and ridicule upon my head (MN is such a lovely supportive place at times hmm) but it helps me. It's up to others whether they want to try it ...
Counsellor doesn't actually help much - NH referral by GP as support in my role as a carer - but homeopath has been in a similar position to me re caring, so also acts as counsellor.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 25-Aug-14 10:18:55

Therapy and anti ds

meglet Mon 25-Aug-14 10:20:48

Exercise, every single day. A mixture of martial arts, yoga, gym, pump etc. I'm naturally hyper so long walks don't touch the sides and I need something harder to relax me.

And good CBT counselling. For months, none of this silly 8 week course nonsense that seems to be handed out these days.

Having said that I'm struggling massively this summer. I'm either at work or with the dc's, not been to the gym since July and my moods are shot to pieces sad. Next time I'm booking them in to a short activity even on my days off.

jammygem Mon 25-Aug-14 10:22:38

I did a course of intensive CBT, which did help - but the most helpful thing from that was the little project my therapist asked me to do at the end. I chose to make a scrapbook, just detailing my thougths about therapy/antidepressants/things that help/triggers/what to do when suicidal/my goals...

I finished CBT nearly 3 years ago now, but still add a few pages every 6 months or so - just reading back through it I see how far I've come and it gets me through the really dark days.

redexpat Mon 25-Aug-14 10:23:58

Exercise.

Routine.If you're going on ML research what groups meet when and where. The knowledge that they are there helps.

Sleeping - when depressed I sleep for 16 hours, so try not to.

Getting out for a walk first thing in the morning.

Eating regularly.

5 portions of fruit nad veg.

Counselling - when my other fiend got a job in her field (we were the last 2 left without jobs in our circle) I booked an appointment immediately. I didnt feel down at that point, but I thought that it might adfect me, and it did.

YY to a tidy house, but I find it has to be tidy when I get up, because otherwise the day never gets going. So tidy up before you go to bed.

bebebringingup Mon 25-Aug-14 10:24:42

Meds, exercise and getting out and about.

FelineLou Mon 25-Aug-14 10:26:01

This saying helped me adjust my thoughts. A bit soft but it rang in my head in a military hospital.
................................
I wept because I had no shoes
And then I met a man who had no feet.

Poetry, in general, sums up emotions in small portions.

Oh and jam sandwiches when I came home from work! Don't try to eat sensible - comfort food can lift your mood.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 25-Aug-14 10:30:00

BTW there are a number of anti ds that you can take very safely whilst preg

1Cheesedoff Mon 25-Aug-14 10:34:03

I totally agree with you on the homoeopathy. It is the worlds best kept secret. I used to have the worse panic attacks thought I was going crazy. Use homoeopath for children too hayfever etc, REALLY WORKS! Good luck.

bananaleaf Mon 25-Aug-14 10:41:14

I have also taken a multi pronged approach over the years, so yes to exercise, yoga, walking, limiting processed foods, significantly reducing alcohol consumption. Have had ADs in the past but hated them and weaned off them.
The the most effective thing I have done however is to change the way I think. I have achieved this through a lot of reading, admittedly 'self help' type books and also meditation. This has been instrumental in:
Reminding myself this dark cloud will lift and the depressed state I'm currently in will not last. This is important for me as it's the thought of it going on and on which causes the most anxiety.
Ceasing the negative inner dialogue and constantly berating myself (Louise Hay - you can heal your life)
Asking myself if a certain negative or pessimistic thought is actually true, and if it's possible that it's not true then questioning whether I should believe it (Byron Katie - loving what is)
Asking myself if the perceived problem I am worrying about is actually a real problem I have to deal with right now. If it's something that happened in the past or might happen in the future I stop thinking about it.
Being aware of my thoughts and not allowing the mind to race along like a runaway train convincing me everything is gloom and doom. It's an interesting exercise to watch and wait for your next thought and see what it is. (Eckhart Tolle - Power of Now)
Also Depressive Illness by Chris Cantopher. This book recognises depression as a physical illness. It does talk about ADs but also addresses the way of thinking as being of critical importance and recommends further reading including the Eckhart Tolle book.
I had a baby 8 months ago and was very worried about PND and I have felt myself on the edge a few times but where in the past my thinking would have pushed me over I now don't place as much importance on the worries and what-if scenarios my mind conjures up. This is where a moment or two of meditation helps me. I don't feel complacent about this, but I do feel I have more tools at my disposal and more of a sense that it's not inevitable.

MrsGoslingWannabe Mon 25-Aug-14 10:42:38

Great advice on here but please be careful with omega 3 supplements as the high levels of vitamin A can be harmful in pregnancy.

MrsGoslingWannabe Mon 25-Aug-14 10:43:03

Great advice on here but please be careful with omega 3 supplements as the high levels of vitamin A can be harmful in pregnancy.

MrsGoslingWannabe Mon 25-Aug-14 10:43:22

Great advice on here but please be careful with omega 3 supplements as the high levels of vitamin A can be harmful in pregnancy.

MrsGoslingWannabe Mon 25-Aug-14 10:43:29

Great advice on here but please be careful with omega 3 supplements as the high levels of vitamin A can be harmful in pregnancy.

mammmamia Mon 25-Aug-14 10:43:49

Exercise
Diet
Getting enough sleep - absolutely key for me
I had psychotherapy and found it a total waste of time. Never tried CBT but I would if I needed help again.
Also changed jobs

bananaleaf Mon 25-Aug-14 10:44:22

Love that saying feline

chinamoon Mon 25-Aug-14 10:45:12

Also, if you do take Omega 3, get advice on which products. Some are in casings that trigger cystitis. Last thing you want while pregnant.

chinamoon Mon 25-Aug-14 10:48:46

Jammygem would you mind explaining more about the project/scrap book thing - the purpose of it and what your therapist suggested you include?

I absolutely loathe therapy/counselling. The few times I've tried it I felt so much worse, so quickly, for the whole time it lasted (not long!) but love some of the techniques (CBT) and this one sounds good.

Terrierterror Mon 25-Aug-14 10:48:58

Being kind to yourself.

On a day when you're feeling awful, getting up and having a shower is an achievement. Don't judge yourself because you can find things daunting. Focus on each small positive step you take.

travelswithtea Mon 25-Aug-14 10:49:47

Sorry things are so rubbish for you. Everyone has said exercise, but it is awfully hard to get motivated to do stuff like that when you are alone. Yoga etcetc is all good and well, but when getting out of bed is hard enough spending time with yourself is, well, you have to be in the 'right' mindset. I would honestly suggest you join a team instead. Netball, basketball, volleyball, football, something like that. It doesn't have to be a good team, and you don't have to be brilliant. There are leagues all over the UK and people of all abilities. My basketball team is shite (I mean it in the nicest possible way!), way down in the d-league, but it helps seeing the same people every week in a different context, running around like unfits idiots on a court and not catching the ball properly, and playing matches against other teams who you can band against together and say things like 'Whoohoo, we beat the hell out of them, now let's go have a drink!' or 'They are so up themselves and the ref obviously knows them so no wonder we lost, now let's go have a drink!' Your team relies on you, and you rely on your team, and it makes a big difference to how you think about exercise! The commitment isn't every day, so you start slowly, and you don't have to feel like a failure because you didn't do your yoga or jog or walk every single day that week.

iK8 Mon 25-Aug-14 10:51:57

I had antenatal depression. It was horrendous and i really don't think anything other than having the baby would have sorted it out.

The minute I gave birth it was as if a cloud had lifted. It was literally as though I was "me" again. I did feel a bit better when labour started but nothing compared to the sheer relief and me-ness after I delivered dd.

I'm sure in my case it was hormonal.

ppeatfruit Mon 25-Aug-14 10:52:05

Agree agree agree about eating properly, omegas, homeopathy if it works for you (whatever anyone else says grin

Also give up all spirits and smoking.

iK8 Mon 25-Aug-14 10:58:12

When I had postnatal depression (mercifully short thank goodness!) I found distraction helped so I baked a lot and took up ironing hmm grin Telling dh helped. But also saying he just had to know and not do anything and if it got worse I would go to the doctor. It also helped to acknowledge it to myself and know that it would pass.

Depression without cause is harder because you don't know when it will end. I give it a time limit and limit on severity and if either of those are breached it's a trip to the GP.

When the black dog approaches things that help ward it off for me include: time to myself, having a project to work on, mindfulness exercises, yoga, gentle outdoor exercise. Setting small goals so I can fake it through.

Selks Mon 25-Aug-14 11:03:52

Standinginline, re the book you recommend, can you remember who wrote it? Sounds interesting but there are two books on amazon with the same title. Thanks.

travelswithtea Mon 25-Aug-14 11:09:32

Oh OP if you feel suicidal, please don't mess around deciding what to try. I don't know if you are, or if you are worried you might be but if you are gEt ADs and a therapist ASAP! You need someone to take an interest in you when you are so down, so a therapist of whatever kind will be worth it just to get you over the hump. You rely on them to help you they rely on you to talk to them, or just show up. Don't spend too long deciding which kind or weighing up the cost if the NHS can't give you someone immediately, you can do that once you are feeling better and can decide more clearly what type of therapy or ADs or sport or etcetcetc might suit you better. Good luck!

Selks Mon 25-Aug-14 11:10:29

I think the key to understanding what helps is knowing what makes it WORSE. For me, understanding that If I feel low I get into a pattern of staying in, withdrawing effectively, when I am not at work makes it worse. If I find myself doing too much of that my social contact levels drop, that feeds the negative cognitions and so on.
So I know then I have to up my game a little. Make contact with friends, get out more, plan things to do, get some dates in my diary for future activities. This helps me a lot.
I admit though I don't have full blown depression, more menopause related low mood, but it can get pretty bad if I don't watch it.

MissMole Mon 25-Aug-14 11:19:30

Anti depressants-Sertraline, but also the change in my thinking that meant I took that decision to go and ask for them. And that, of course-the change in thought patterns is what can be so hard to do when you are depressed.
Now, off the pills, day to day, to stave off depression:
Music
A slightly mindless physical activity which keeps you busy but mentally sort of in time out. Mine is crochet at the moment.

iK8 Mon 25-Aug-14 11:20:16

Yes agree with pp, if you're feeling suicidal don't fuck about, get yourself to the GP straight away.

sunshine, moderate exercise that helps you be more centered/mindful such as yoga or scenic walks.
be gentle with yourself, give time some time to process and heal.

I think the single most important thing is to sleep well so you can wake up with a clear head and face the day.
You could take a sleep supplement such as valerian or passionflower to help with sleep problems.

I could never bring myself to getting into the medication cycle so I saw a naturopath and found 2 extremely potent remedies: L-theanine (sometimes sold as suntheanine & Ashwangandha ( an ayurvedic remedy)
They both act as mood stabilisers & are hormone balancing.
Really worth looking into. They quickly help take the edge off ( no more panic attacks, restful sleep, increased energy & positive outlook)
HTH!

jammygem Mon 25-Aug-14 11:21:01

chinamoon Her idea was for all her patients to do some kind of project near the end of their therapy to remind themselves of how far they've progressed - a metalworker made a butterfly (like the blue nhs mental health logo), another lady planted lots of colourful flowers in her garden... I can't remember the other examples she gave.

I decided I'd like to do a scrapbook and she thought it was a great idea. She said it was up to me to decide what was in it, but suggested a few before & after pages for therapy - goals/goals met, worries, how I felt about myself, ways I can help myself.

Surfsup1 Mon 25-Aug-14 11:28:50

Koala the recent Catalyst (2 part special) on the ABC is an excellent place to start - I'm sure it's still up on ABC IView.
There is also a specialist clinic (or group of doctors??) in Sydney that focus on treating a variety of mental health issues through diet and improving the gut. I'm sure you'd find them if you googled. I know a friend of a friend's sister went to them after years of sever depression and manic episodes and has been able to come of her meds having changed her diet and thereby her bio-chemistry.
Sorry my info isn't too specific, but there's a lot of research being done on this at the mo, so if you dig I'm sure you will come up with lots of info.
I read heaps about it around a year ago, so If I come across some of the stuff I found then I'll get back to you.

Voodoobooboo Mon 25-Aug-14 11:29:37

ADs (prozac mainly) but cutting back over time as I felt comfortable. Yoga helped a bit but not fundamentally. Therapy was key to coming through. In a weird way, becoming a lone parent (the cause) became the cure as I had to just keep putting one foot in front of the other for DS. Passage of time helped as I started to figure out how to manage through it all. The sea change was moving to the US for a couple of years though. I have an amazing family who were nothing but wonderful and supportive but over time their love and safety net was stopping my recovery. Moving DS and I for a couple of years adventure (fixed term contract) saved me as it forced me out of my safe hideaway. A form of shock treatment really and definitely not recommended for others without a lot of therapeutic support.
I look back now and don't recognise the person that depression made me but I do have a healthy fear of its return and watch my mental health very very carefully.

ArtemisiaGentileschisThumb Mon 25-Aug-14 11:30:41

i am 6 months pregnant and have crippling depression at the moment, i am having counselling but my emotions are completely out of control. i have an appointment with my GP this week and will be asking for Setraline which i have been told by many proffessionals is ok to take with pregnancy and during breast feeding.

i really wanted to manage without A/D's and have had a good go at other coping strategies but nothing is really helping. it's got to the point now where i have self harmed for the first time in years, i am being horrible to my children and am starting to feel they are better off without me. i can't consider suicide because of the baby but have had serious thoughts of leaving my lovely family because i feel they would do better without me around. it's a very dark place to be.

i'm not trying to hijack your thread but just wanted to share my experience and say that some A/D's are ok in pregnancy, if you feel suicidal or in despair please see you GP and get help; there is no need to suffer this much, there is help available (also clinging to this hope). xx

Surfsup1 Mon 25-Aug-14 11:31:16
year3onuke Mon 25-Aug-14 11:40:48

People haven't talked about music yet.

Whilst in the grip of awful anxiety/restlessness, I found I couldn't engage with music I would normally engage with. The only music I could tolerate (and thus be a bit relaxed by) was early Leonard Cohen - the stuff with about two chords and lots of repetition. I feel very grateful to him.

I suppose my contribution then is to say that your wonky brain-wiring may mean that music you expect to be relaxing isn't but you can explore till you find stuff that suits your temporary wiring.

SoggyOldBiscuit Mon 25-Aug-14 11:41:54

When it was really bad (unable to get out of bed or leave the house): Hypnotherapy

When it was moderate: CBT, getting up & going to bed at the same day every day, no alcohol ever, enough sleep, omega oils, eating decent meals at least three times a day, avoiding stressful situations & people as much as possible.

Finally, exercise. That is something I was only able to face when I was feeling quite well though, as it can be hard to get started. Once you are used to it though, definitely the best way of keeping depression at bay. Running has been the absolute best exercise for me (I am not a naturally sporty person either & surprised myself when I started to enjoy it!)

I also read a book recently called "Depression - the curse of the strong" which I found really helpful. I have read many self-help books in the past, but that one really helped me to think about the lifestyle I had before & how to change my life in future so that I have less pressure on myself.

I also think that staying away from Facebook helps! It seemed to make me feel a lot worse if I was already feeling down.

Good luck OP.

Latara Mon 25-Aug-14 12:42:40

I think that if you are really depressed and suicidal then don't delay - go to the GP and take ADs if you are offered them. They saved my life.

Tell your GP your pregnancy plans and they will give you appropriate ADs.
Then once you start to pick up you can explore other options.
ADs can kick in straight away but take several weeks to work fully so don't give up if there's no immediate improvement.

Personally I'm very biased towards medication but then I suffer from Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder with Psychosis and can't function normally without high dose ADs and Anti Psychotics. The ADs I take are 300mg Venlafaxine MR daily and are very good.

midnightagents Mon 25-Aug-14 12:51:54

Hi Op, sorry to hear you are struggling. I havent read all the posts, so apologies if i repeat/contradict other posters. This is just what works, and has seemed to work in the past for me, its still work in progress though, and some things that work sometimes dont work others so this is by no means a one size fits all solution.

First, three meals a day with 5 or more portions of fruit and veg. This is on top of anything you comfort eat with, and/or even if you REALLY dont feel like it. Dont mask your feelings by not eating at all/not eating properly. This leads to more problems down the line. Also add to this with fish oils and multivitamins.

Look after yourself, bath or shower and clean clothes/pjamas, even if you are simply spending the day in bed. And dont be hard on yourself about doing that once or twice. Sometimes we need to indulge the do nothing feeling for a day or two to get it out of your system, but any longer than that and i would suggest getting doctors appointment.

Arrange a meet up with a friend, something you can really look forward to, whatever your thing is; cinema, pub, meal, take away, chat. I know it takes a lot to do this, and you will feel like canceling, but try to push through and do it. It can clear the air for a bit, and stop you becoming reculsive and loosing more self esteem.

Meditate, i havent really been very good about doing this, but in recent bouts of deeression when i was lying in bed doing nothing i stated just trying to block out thoughts and the world, and it seemed to help. I need to stat putting time aside to do this regularly.

Some people find excersice helps, i really dont, but it might be worth a try for you.

NHS stress course was good, maybe see if there are a few round you and book in, deals more with anxiety though, but a bit about dperession.

Try to make some lists if you feel up to it, things like recipes you want to try, books you want to read, adventures you want to have etc. It can seem blank at first but if you try and focus on things you might have though in the past, things that used to make you excited and then think about how this might be different now, and the person you want to be and life you want to have in the future it can help to distract your mind for a while.

Watch easily followable tv shows like cop dramas, soaps and documentaries, that way if your mind wanders you dont have to give up on them. I tried watching films when i was ill and just wouldnt follow them and end up turning them off and sitting there doing nothing, but things like soaps and dramas that were very easy to follow served as a good distraction, same with books and magazines, sometimes you need the light and fluffy to bring you out of your depression.

Last one, a controvtial one, i used 5htp capsuals and they REALLY helped me. But it hasnt been clinically tested, and some people think it may be unsafe (although there is no proof of thi). For me its a last resort, but it does work. If you do use it start off at a low dose and work up. You can get it in holland and barrett or off the internet.

All of this is hard to do whilst working and with kids, in order to get better sometimes it is neccessary to sign off sick for a bit, take time off and ask for help.

Sorry for rushed post, and spelling mistakes.

Hope some of this helps.

ppeatfruit Mon 25-Aug-14 12:52:07

artemisia Just giving up wheat could be the answer to your emotional issues (it works for dh) I know it sounds weird but maybe try it to see how you go. `Obviously drinking spirits and smoking won't help you either.

pigwitch Mon 25-Aug-14 12:56:31

Antidepressants - I took them through one pregnancy and bf 2 children too.
Self help books.
Poetry.
Family and friends.

FunkyZebraHat Mon 25-Aug-14 13:13:12

When my depression was at it's absolutely worst I was just about coping on a daily basis (well, big style struggling but not suicidal) but the few days before my periods I'd be suicidal. GP recommended Evening Primrose Oil on top of my ADs which helped a lot. But I've no idea if that's safe in pregnancy.

ArtemisiaGentileschisThumb Mon 25-Aug-14 13:42:35

ppeatfruit i appreciate the suggestion but i have severe depression, i am in no doubt of that. i have suffered from it in the past, i am likely to suffer from it again, usually i can manage well enough but the added hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy alongside a phenominal amount of practical and emotional stress is what is is pushing me over the edge.

Although i understand that diet and physical health are major factors in emotional well being i don't think giving up wheat will be enough to stop me wanting to self harm or abandon my family to protect them from me.

grumpasaur Mon 25-Aug-14 13:44:07

Yoga.

ProudAS Mon 25-Aug-14 14:00:59

Keeping busy (but not run off feet)
Playing with DNs

bananaleaf Mon 25-Aug-14 14:25:54

surfsup1 I saw that gut health show too - very interesting.
ppeatfruit I also felt better cutting out wheat

Chwaraeteg Mon 25-Aug-14 14:47:44

Citalopram is the only thing that has ever helped me. That and my pets.

I took citalopram while pregnant and breastfeeding too but I did have to stay in hospital for three days after giving birth so the baby could be monitored.

Exercise had no effect on me beyond a temporary lift in mood for a few minutes. Up until I read this thread I always just assumed that the exercise helping thing was nonsense.

Just to follow up on surf's post….yes absolutely to probiotics and cleansing the gut. Depression require life long management. That is also one of the things you need to come to terms with sooner rather than later.
Have been reading a lot on the gut-brain connection
it makes a lot of sense. And its something you can be pro-active about as long term management.
Imagine you are dealing with diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Its an imbalance in your body that you need to learn to manage long term. Ward off if you can or manage physical symptoms when there is a flare up.
Good nutrition, appropriate sleep patterns, exercise, routine etc are all tools you need to learn to use to keep it at bay.

Agree wholeheartedly with those who say that if you feel you are on the brink see your GP, get referred and take the meds. But in the long run, if you have it in you to hang on day by day (and God knows how extraordinarily resilient we can prove to be if we accept the challenge one day at a time), try exploring good life hygiene, nutrition, supplements etc….
Do talk to your GP anyway. Its good to know someone is already aware and watching your back if you ever feel you need urgent care.
X

enormouse Mon 25-Aug-14 14:58:09

Fluoextine - really gave me the boost I needed to make good changes to my life
Eating well - fruit, veg and lots of water. I'm also cutting down on caffeine
Exercise - I'm doing c25k which is helping me get out the house regularly
Sleep - not always great but I've been given tamezepan and its slowly improving
Recognising when I'm tired and need to stop pushing myself
Spending time doing what I like - reading, having a bath, sketching, listening to music, watching dvds etc. Basically, doing the stuff I've always enjoyed but have let fall by the wayside.

ppeatfruit I can only imagine that with the amount of pain you allude to it sounds futile……

I found anti-depressants to just be a sticking plaster & hated the side effects .
CBT is currently working wonders for me & I'm so glad I sought it out,as I was losing hope sad
Also walking the dogs everyday & kundalini yoga.

StarSwirl92 Mon 25-Aug-14 15:03:45

Validation. Someone who told me that I felt bad and that wad Ok because it wasn't my fault. There wasn't something I was doing causing it. I just felt this way and I could do things to make it better but that didn't make it my fault. People who accept depression and don't blame the person who is depressed are worth their weight in gold.

ArtemisiaGentileschisThumb Mon 25-Aug-14 15:20:43

totally agree starswirl92 i have had so many friends try to 'fix' me or unable to understand why i can't just look on the bright side and cheer myself up that it just confirms exisiting feelings of failure. self acceptance is key to battling depression, its so hard to acheive at a point when you loathe yourself though.

OP i hope you are ok and finding some helpful advice here or at least feeling that you are not alone

iamelectrogirl Mon 25-Aug-14 15:21:49

Thank you so much for everybody that's responded- I can't believe that so many people took the time to share but it's very very appreciated.
I'm just writing down a list of everybody's suggestions so I can work through it later and see what I find helpful- I'll also tell my midwife and try to get a dr's appointment to talk about some medication.
Again, thankyou everybody for all of the support smile

SunshineEski Mon 25-Aug-14 15:35:15

I found that some days if i couldn't manage actually leaving the house I would open the front door for a while and listen to the birds/breathe in the fresh air etc, it used to take a lot of time to build up to that. gradually i would build up and go for a run if i fancied.

I still take ADs and have up and down days and periods where I feel like it is all coming back but the funny little things like the fresh air help, along with always having books read in the house and always having ingredients to bake with, that way if you find you have the energy to do something there is nothing stopping you.

it will pass

RuckAndRoll Mon 25-Aug-14 15:45:55

Definitely talk to your MW. I was very lucky and there is a brilliant Perinatal MH team in my area so was seeing someone whilst pregnant, and taking ADs during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

I've found counselling, time, rest, and a supportive DH have been brilliant.

meggy22 Mon 25-Aug-14 15:51:57

Exercise
Getting out of the house every day
Eating healthy
Organising
Making plans to do things
Talking to friends/family about anything except my mood/problems
Avoiding spending time with negative ppl if possible

Hope you feel better soon

ChangelingToday Mon 25-Aug-14 15:52:02

For me walking is the only thing that works. I go for long walks by myself by the sea. If I don't get out a few times a week I get very low.

ChangelingToday Mon 25-Aug-14 15:53:43

Oh yea and avoid negative people as other posters have said too. I've stopped going to il's house and not seeing mil every week has made such an impact!

Haven't read all the replies, adding my experience:

When my dog was alive, she was my lifesaver. In a way people, even loved ones, could never be.

Going out for a walk in the park - the tough bit was getting out; not always possible in the dark days.

Medication - at times it was the only way.

Therapy - but i went through some really crap therapists before i found a fantastic one.

I know it doesn't mean much now, but it does, it does pass, and life becomes not just bearable but also beautiful (or just okay!)

DiaDuit Mon 25-Aug-14 16:16:48

long thread and probably been said already but these are my daily survival tips to stave off and get me back from an episode of depression.

firstly, eat well. you may not always feel like it but on those times when you do, make double and freeze healthy, tasty meals that you will look forward to eating. I found one of the main reasons my diet went downhill whilst depressed was that I would get to dinnertime ad have bought nothing due to indecision about what I wanted. really because I had no appetite so didn't actually want anything. it helped to know that there were 3/4 of my favourite dishes in the freezer that I could just reheat. no effort/energy required. very good when energy was at an all time low.

2) get good sleep each night. have a routine. whether that be bath, read then bed or yoga then bed. whatever. as long as you are getting good quality sleep each night. your mornings (which set the tone for the day) will start out far better if you have had enough sleep.

3) take a few minutes when you wake up each day to get your bearings, wake up slowly, read something inspirational, drink tea/coffee/juice, recite a mantra that gives you some positive feeling, do some wake up yoga. even just five minutes to yourself before you start doing things for other people.

4) shower/bath every day. when I was really bad with depression I wasn't doing this and it mad me feel even worse. less inclined to leave the house and so become even more isolated and depressed. works best for me if I do it in the morning as I don't feel ready for the day til I am showered and dressed.

5) get outside. I find the earlier in the day this happens the sooner I feel 'normal'. even if it's just drinking my tea in the garden and listening to the world waking up. have a dander about and stretch your arms and legs and take slow deep breaths of the fresh air.

6) exercise. again, the earlier this happens, the better I feel. even just a 15 minute walk.

7) talk to people. either have people over to yours or get out to the corner shop and just have some chit chat. it really helps. even the school run helped me, chatting for 30 seconds at the gate to another mum I didn't know very well made me feel normal. make plans to see people you like. I used to try and plan all my errands for one day to avoid having to go out too often but now I do one a day means I am forced to go out every day and talk to people. it really helps and isn't so much of an effort after a very short while

(no's 5, 6 and 7 can all be combined- brisk walk to the shop/park/school/wherever)

8) join a support group/see a counsellor or even just find support in friends who have been there. (there are so many people who have!) it is important to talk these feelings through and feel validated.

9) go easy on yourself. accept that you are ill and there will be things you will struggle to do and days you wont feel like doing much at all. this is all fine and part of the illness. it isn't possible to tell from one day to the next how you will feel so don't be too hard on yourself if you feel you need to cancel plans as you just aren't up to it.

CagneynotLacey Mon 25-Aug-14 16:37:17

I've noticed that quite a few people have mentioned avoiding spirits - why is that? I know that all alcohol is a depressant but are spirits particularly bad?

ppeatfruit Mon 25-Aug-14 16:44:36

Cagney Spirits are so much stronger and affect your liver much worse than the odd glass of red wine or beer. The liver is the seat of our emotions. It's easy to become addicted to the shots that a lot of people neck without a thought when bingeing.

KateSpade Mon 25-Aug-14 16:47:11

Reading this thread has given me a kick up the ass which I certainly need.

I do find that being productive helps, but not letting the issues fall by the wayside.

I am going to try & do c25k starting tomorrow, I am also going to write down all the things that are bothering me (though I'm not sure how to solve them)

Also, I would love some self-help book recommendations? I know theirs been a few but anymore is welcome!

MrsAtticus Mon 25-Aug-14 16:47:51

St. Johns Wort, I took it while breastfeeding and had no problems.

Egghead68 Mon 25-Aug-14 16:52:03

The evidence supports:
1. Exercise
2. Something called "behavioural activation" which essentially means scheduling things you enjoy and things you get a sense of achievement from into your week and then doing them
3. Giving up/reducing alcohol

The David Burns books are good as well as the "Overcoming Depression" book from the overcoming series.

If you want to do some online CBT it is available at:
www.moodgym.anu.edu.au
www.ecouch.anu.edu.au
www.llttf.com

In many areas you can also self-refer for talking therapy at your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service.

heraldgerald Mon 25-Aug-14 16:55:52

Such a helpful thread. Not wishing to derail but as a partner of someone with depression, what can I do to help?

DiaDuit Mon 25-Aug-14 16:58:27

I am also going to write down all the things that are bothering me (though I'm not sure how to solve them)

this is a good idea. I have trained myself to stop and think when I am feeling low or in a bad mood of some sort and ask myself what it is that I am annoyed/sad about. I usually work out the source very quickly and the solution either comes to me over the course of the day with little attention given to it or I already know the solution but am not in a position to fix it. accepting that I will fix it when I can seems to help take it off my mind and let me feel a bit happier.

ppeatfruit Mon 25-Aug-14 17:07:15

Banana leaf said it helped her as well artemisia it isn't as odd as it sounds. and worth trying. IMO and E (my dh has it sometimes). Depression is like losing weight; as other posters have said it's down to just breaking a habit that has a bad effect, so it can be changed too.

MexicanSpringtime Mon 25-Aug-14 17:41:52

Thinking positively. It was hard at first, it felt like a lie, but I forced myself to think positively and on the bad days just rode the feelings, didn't delve into them.

I never try to analyse my life or myself when I am depressed, because my life always ends up having been terrible and I unloveable.

scarletforya Mon 25-Aug-14 18:06:02

Surfsup1 interesting you should mention the brain/gut connection. I've been reading about that a lot online recently. Seems gut health is far more important than we ever realised! Makes sense too.

I've been eating sauerkraut recently as fermented foods are supposed to help!

ArtemisiaGentileschisThumb Mon 25-Aug-14 18:36:28

ppeatfruit it does not sound odd however there is not just one type of depression, it is not always down to just breaking a habit. i have cut out wheat in the past for different reasons and it has had no effect on my mood. i am aware of the causes for my depression, they are not diet related but the symptoms are exasperated by the difficulties i experience in pregnancy.

There is no one answer for anyone, we must all find what helps us individually. i know what i need and it is not cutting out wheat.

aoife24 Mon 25-Aug-14 18:46:42

Citalopram. I find talking about things very difficult so basically rely on medication to keep me relatively steady. It works reasonably well.

BobbyDazzler1 Mon 25-Aug-14 19:29:47

Go out each day. If you do, your home feels like a sanctuary to retreat to; if you don't, your home starts to feel a bit like a prison.
It's hard to mix when you're depressed as your confidence is so low and you feel everyone else is the perfect, confident parent but you (when you look back, you'll see that wAsn't true, but that's how it feels). But if you can get the courage to see folks each day, it will be a distraction and will pass the time. Then you can retreat home to a cup of tea.
Anti depressants feel horrid at first but you do adjust and they really do work. I used them with breast feeding no problem. Ask your GP. I was only on them 5 months but they can lift you through a difficult time. A short term measure that really help.
All the best with your recovery x

PistolWhipped Mon 25-Aug-14 20:05:07

Seroxat.

Egghead68 Mon 25-Aug-14 20:26:40

Mindfulness is good for recurrent depression.

DodgerJam Mon 25-Aug-14 20:28:39

Making life changes which didn't necessarily address the route cause but did mean I had new things to focus on and a fresh start. Along with this, generally get out and be busy. Have little treat to look forward to every day e.g. popping into the supermarket and buying a nice meal.
Viewing the counsellor as a friend who is good at listening and helping me help myself through it rather than as someone who would solve it all.

sunnyspot Mon 25-Aug-14 20:31:45

How about offering to walk rescue dogs at a local animal shelter?
Get exercise and some animal therapy (the dogs really are grateful!) at the same time. Or just sit and keep the cats company - they love it too.
Definitely gives you a "feel good factor".

CeeloWeevil Mon 25-Aug-14 21:39:12

the four Ss work for me:

1. Seratonin. AD daily and at least one banana a day.

2. Sleep. Plenty of it.

3. Support. Plenty of it and not being afraid to ask for it.

4. Stress. Minimise it in whatever ways you can!

I am also a big fan of exercise in beating depression, but can't think of a word beginning with S to use in my list!

alemci Mon 25-Aug-14 21:42:28

I took up a new hobby and avoided places and people that I associated with the past and the events. retail therapy helped. I went to counselling.

also a situation changed and things got better

VSeth Mon 25-Aug-14 21:46:20

Basics for me, eating well, plenty of asleep and exercise. At least 20 minutes of an angry run/cross train.

Avoiding alcohol and keeping very busy helped too.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 25-Aug-14 21:46:39

CBT , Citalopram , very little alcohol.

ithoughtofitfirst Mon 25-Aug-14 22:20:06

Being dehydrated makes me go a tad loopy. I drink fuckloads of water constantly and i think it really helps

threecheersforourside Mon 25-Aug-14 22:51:26

Things that helped me:
Music. I couldn't be bothered listening to it but it lifted my mood when I did.
Sunshine
Doing creative stuff eg baking
Social contact. Crap conversation about telly, music, random silliness, Nerd Stuff etc. Not to get drunk, I'd only have one drink or (yum!) ginger beer. Ex-p worked on a project investigating well-being in the elderly and they found that those with active social contact reported better levels of well-being; I don't see why it would be any different for younger people. As with everything else though I had to force myself to do it.
St John's Wort
The knowledge that every other period of depression I'd had, had ended eventually and it was just a case of waiting it out.
getting rid of ex-p, yeeeha!

Nikkijo31 Mon 25-Aug-14 22:52:59

The mood gym (online CBT), keeping a diary, exercise and healthy diet helped me x hope you manage to get it under control and take a day at a time x smile

kennyp Mon 25-Aug-14 22:56:38

i saw a therapist and take citalopram which helps me hugely. "friends" tell me i shouldn't be on anti depressants (why?????!?!?!?!) - they help me loads. plus i cried loads and loads and went to bed early for months (bed before 8pm). it was an awful time and i hope you get the support you need/want, etc etc.

BertieBotts Mon 25-Aug-14 22:59:00

Knowing that other people experienced the same thing. A couple of times I'd just see or read something which hit the right nerve at the right time and it helped.

Music, definitely. Exercise, yes a bit but it was hard because when I feel low it's the last thing I want to do but it's good as a preventative.

Cleaning - ugh but it's good and physical and doesn't require thinking especially if you have a set place to start and you just begin there and don't stop.

Rationalising it - I know the worst part of depression is not being able to rationalise so that doesn't seem to make sense but being able to admit "I know I am not being rational, and that doesn't matter. It's okay to be sad, this is just my brain and it will get better." When you wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep and there is nobody to talk to, writing it down.

A walk away from everything with a cigarette, and a shower. Can interrupt a negative thought spiral sometimes.

YY to animals as well. A big one like a dog or a cat, possibly a horse (I've never had a horse).

LRB978 Tue 26-Aug-14 00:28:05

Not sure whether it will be safe while you are breastfeeding, but super strength dose of vit D3 each day (20,000 iu). Exercise also helps (when I do some, but it is something I really should focus on increasing). Being out in the good weather.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Aug-14 01:01:22

Turning off all screens and reading light, funny books. Sometimes I listened to CDs or radio at the same time.

It helped me sleep and think better.

differentkindofpenguin Tue 26-Aug-14 02:38:11

CBT

Are you sure you can totally rule out drugs? I managed to last out the pregnancy without any but had to start a low dose of paroxetine once baby was born, and breastfed for a year with no problems. It just helped me hold my head above water until I got better

Being outdoors

Doing things that make you happy

frumpet Tue 26-Aug-14 11:04:54

When i was first diagnosed , the drugs were the only thing that helped , then as they kicked in and i felt a bit more human , the therapy helped , not sure what type it was and it was only for six weeks , but just being able to have a good old purge of my inner thoughts helped me see most of them for what they were , utter rubbish .

Since that time i have hovered on the periphery of depression quite a few times , but now i am able to take steps to drag myself back from the abyss . The first thing i do is talk to someone , another person in my life who understands what depression is , this is usually the main thing that helps me.

I set myself little daily goals and if i manage more i feel ridiculously pleased with myself .

I prioritise what needs my input , if it can wait till tomorrow , next week , next month etc , then that's when i will deal with , otherwise it doesn't get head space , this i actually find the hardest because by nature i am an organised person , but if you can bear to do it , it really does take some pressure off .

I also let those around me know how i am feeling , this has become a lot easier to do over time , i don't go in to lots of details , just ' I'm really not good today ' usually suffices and also takes a bit of pressure off .

Hope you get the help you need OP smile

ChatEnOeuf Tue 26-Aug-14 11:41:09

Talking
ADs
Getting outside
Sunshine
Leaving the workplace that was not helpful and joining one that was

Surfsup1 Tue 26-Aug-14 11:45:59

For those who are interested but can't access the Australian website here is the 2 part program about gut health. Absolutely fascinating stuff!

PART 1

PART 2

KinkyDorito Tue 26-Aug-14 13:04:46

thanks for this thread. smile

normalishdude Tue 26-Aug-14 13:34:00

exercise, exercise, exercise.

LaQueenOnHerHolibobs Tue 26-Aug-14 13:39:34

It's always worth getting your hormones thoroughly checked out. Far too many women end up on ADs when actually they need hormone therapy.

I felt fantastic while pregnant with DD1, but within hours of her birth I felt this awful black cloud descend over me. After 3 days I wanted to leave DD1 behind at the hospital and pretend she hadn't happened. A week later I was suffering crippling anxiety and waves of despair.

I was treated with ADs for over 2 years (took them all the while pregnant with DD2), but not so sure they helped? They shut off all emotion so I functioned like a robot.

Under a gynaecologist at the moment, due to struggling with peri menopausal symptoms and she says I should have been treated with hormone therapy when I had PND as my body cannot tolerate any changes in my hormone levels.

It's worth considering?

WhoeverYouWantMeToBe Tue 26-Aug-14 15:17:28

A book called 'Stop thinking and start living'. Search on Amazon for it, I have it on kindle and it's very good.

RainbowSpiral Tue 26-Aug-14 15:23:36

I'm sorry to say I tried loads of things and none of them worked. Including a lot of the things listed above.

Finally after years I was diagnosed with bipolar, not just depression. Took (and still take) lithium and I'm very happy, balanced and achieving loads.

So for me it was chemical imbalance in the brain and a lot of the advice I got in my younger years was in retrospect really not helpful.

I did take meds under psych supervision in my second pregnancy with no ill effects.

Devora Tue 26-Aug-14 20:33:49

Prozac - wonderful stuff. It doesn't make you happy, but it lifts that awful soul-sapping lethargy and hopelessness enough for you to be able to tackle whatever it is that needs tackling. I have been on it a few times, each time short term - enough to give me strength to get myself exercising, making life changes etc.

I know you say you can't take anti-ds because of pregnancy plans, but have you discussed this with your doctor? Because some are ok to take while pregnant. In any case, it might be that a short course might help you put in place support strategies to get you through a drug-free pregnancy. Personally, when I'm depressed I can't even think about going for walks, certainly I wouldn't have the emotional strength for counselling. But of course we're all different.

Very best of luck to you.

minimalisthoarder Tue 26-Aug-14 20:34:56

Another vote for CBT. Still use some of the tricks now when I feel the black fog reaching its grasping claws at my back. It's amazing how well it works (or did for me anyway). Counselling for me just brought up a lot more issues to feel bad about and didn't really give me a way to deal with them.

Weirdly, I'm a loner, but when depressed what I need is non-demanding company. And as a previous poster said, doing something for someone else - volunteering, helping a friend, something to take the focus off yourself and restore the idea that you have something to offer to the world.

ADs were useful for me in the short term, acutely they were literally life-savers, it was like being thrown a life-jacket in a stormy sea, but you have to learn to calm the seas and swim. I found (paroxetine) hard to stop taking - the withdrawal made me like a robot - and as others have said they cut off some of the joy too. I also think they affect bonding, with my then-new partner in my case.

Good luck x

Mammuzza Tue 26-Aug-14 20:37:55

this Moodgym, from the Australian National University.

And once that got me to a better place I was able to use other stratagies like exercise, music, improved diet, routines etc to push myself out the other side.

bessie84 Tue 26-Aug-14 20:39:56

tears streaming whilst reading all this.

ive suffered with anxiety / depression for years. since been a teenager, i grew older, got married, had babies - then seperated after 11 years. since leaving my then husband, i came off tablets and eventually met my mr perfect.i thought i was doing good for 4 years, BUT recently anxiety&depression has kicked in. its been going on ages. we're going thru fertility treatment. consultant said he'd rather me have no meds.

its got to a point now where i fear going out. i just want all the bad thoughts / depression / anxiety attacks to stop. its awful. ive had pnd with all my children with last hubby and now having a bad time before we even concieve.

what can i take (ask gp for) that is safe to take whilst ttc/pregnancy ? (just writing that was hard)

i dont feel i can go on without meds or something, everything in the infertility world goes soooooooooooooooo slow, the waiting and wondering is the worst and im sure this is what has brought it all on. we're so close to starting IUI now (about another month)

what did/are you taking whilst pregnant?

LaQueenOnHerHolibobs Tue 26-Aug-14 20:59:25

*Bessie" I took amitriptyline all through my pregnancy with DD2. It was absolutely fine and DD2 born perfect and healthy.

Can I ask, are you already on fertility medication? You say you suffered with PND so it could be you have little tolerance for hormonal changes, and your fertility meds are causing the anxiety/depression?

sookshi13 Tue 26-Aug-14 21:55:13

Hi
I was suffering from depression 12 yrs back and wanted to kill myself due to personal family problems. I came across very interesting Art of Living course which completely changed my outlook towards life. I am now working full time in Belfast with happy family and it has never come and touched me since then.
Art of living have introductory workshop 'Manage your mind' on 31st Aug'14 at Crescenct arts centre form 2pm - 4pm Please do join them and am sure it will definitely help

Keep Smiling

JoInScotland Tue 26-Aug-14 23:30:55

Doing something just for me helps. Not for my DP or DS, just for me. I like to sew. So for me, that's spending even 30 minutes making something, or drawing a picture of a project I plan to make. Doing a bit of embroidery. How I would love to knit, but I don't know how! So reading a book on how to do it (why can't I then actually do it?!?). That sort of thing. And the actual anti-depressants, once you find the right ones, really do help.

RonaldMcDonald Wed 27-Aug-14 00:14:36

I second LaQueen

I took amitriptyline throughout my pregnancy.
I was under the care of the peri natal mental health team. They were excellent and knew everything absolutely everything about anti Ds and pregnancy and breastfeeding
I had a brilliant CPN and an excellent psychiatrist. Your GP will be able to refer you to a service

amitriptyline has been used safely during pregnancy for generations and is an excellent drug

I wish you better days

RonaldMcDonald Wed 27-Aug-14 00:30:00

Also whilst this is obvs for many exercise and healthy eating is literally beyond the grasp of very many depressed people in the beginning

every time it is trotted out as a suggestion it can make a depressed person feel that this is just one more thing they aren't doing right or are failing at iyswim

working up to getting dressed everyday might be a huge multi-layered step in the beginning
I'm not saying exercise hasn't helped many people make their way through treatment for depression but it needs to be suggested at the right time, encouraged properly and appropriately undertaken.

Surfsup1 Wed 27-Aug-14 01:48:57

So true RonaldMacdonald.
Though it is worth keeping in mind so that if you find yourself able to cope by using meds you could then focus on changing your diet so that you might be able to more effectively reduce those meds and be able to consider increasing exercise?

Astonway Wed 27-Aug-14 08:15:29

Read up on Mindfulness - a really simple but effective way to alter your perspective plus useful for birth too! All the best smile

Justgotosleepnow Wed 27-Aug-14 08:25:24

Ronald you are right about the exercise. When I say exercise I mega putting shoes on getting your house keys, go out the front door and walk for 10 mins. Then turn round and come back.
I find that achievable. Not kit required. No faffing. All you need is your shoes on.

Justgotosleepnow Wed 27-Aug-14 08:25:51

*mean not mega sorry

NK3aa9f5b5X1278a0a3989 Wed 27-Aug-14 09:15:12

Meds (and I was b/f)
Friends turning up with their lunch - and extra for me - now and again
Feel-good cosy escapist movies - my own fave was Cheaper By the Dozen 2 - I watched it so many times. Also re-runs of Friends
My mum

londonrach Wed 27-Aug-14 09:20:03

When I was lonely and very sad I bought a kinder egg a day and the surprise cheered me up. (Wasn't depression, just sadness due to relationship breakup and leaving home). At uni had a a friend with sad who had a light box, went for a walk every day and popped into see friends (including me) every day to get her through the winter. X

bessie84 Wed 27-Aug-14 09:46:53

laqueen not on fertility drugs yet.... at beginning of year we were on clomid, i blamed that, but not been on that since march.... and its just got worse. we're just to start injections in a month....

thank you for you reply x

DertieBertie Wed 27-Aug-14 10:10:12

Another vote for sertraline and moodgym, excellent stuff.

I think the thing that helped me the most, even more than doing things for myself (which is also great), was to take a long hard look at my life, find the bits which made things worse, and either eliminate them or minimise them. When you prioritise your wellbeing over say, practicality, you end up with very different results.

Things that have helped me.

Walking my dog (now passed)

Thinking neutral. So if I am in a negative thought spiral I telly self to STOP and to look around. Look out of the window, notice the colour of every car that goes by. Force your mind to stay neutral.

Setting myself small goals one day at a time. First day I might have three goals, to smile once, to go out in the garden, to eat something. At the end of the day tick off goals achieved. The next day add another goal. And so on.

Trying to remember perspective gets lost when you feel anxious. When you are not anxious things are back in perspective.

Good luck and best wishes. You are not alone.

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