Diagnosed with Depression, What To Do Next
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call emergency services immediately
One way or another, you’ve ended up in a chair across from a doctor. Whether it was through an emergency psych screening, or by your own volition. Someone thought you were a danger to yourself. The doctor then tells you they are diagnosing you with depression. Here’s what you can expect to follow, and what you should do next to start on the road to recovery.
1. Acknowledge you have a problem, and that you need help
Depression, or any mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. You are not defective, or broken. You simply have become overloaded with stress, sadness, and burdens. So much so, that you might have considered that not living was the easiest solution to ease your pain. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but that means that you have a serious problem. Life hasn’t existed for countless millennia just so we could kill ourselves. I’m not dismissing or minimizing your pain, I’m just saying that being depressed is a problem. Luckily for us, there are many ways to ease the pain and sadness, but I warn you, none are easy.
2. Develop a treatment plan
There are a few options here depending on your immediate vs long term needs. Firstly, if you are truly believed to be a danger to yourself, than the next step will always be In Patient. Where you will spend several days in a short term psychiatric facility. Take this time to really look inward and see why you became depressed in the first place. Maybe look forward, and see what you can do to treat your illness.
Treatments range from partial hospitalization programs (PHP) to private therapy. Usually with intensive outpatient and group therapy in between. You really have to sit down with your medical professional and discuss which options may be best for you.
3. Start with a psychiatrist
Whatever you and your emergency treatment team may have decided on as your treatment plan, I recommend you start your journey with a psychiatrist. Why? Because they are the only ones who can decide if medication will help you. Not all depressive episodes require medication in the treatment plan. It’s always best however, to see if it can help, before continuing with your treatment plan.
4. Develop a safety net
Make a list of the people you trust enough, and are comfortable with, to open up to in your time of need. Even maybe set them up on speed dial in your phone, just in case. Make a plan for what you will do when you start to feel yourself sinking. There is no weakness in admitting you need help. You’re just tired from carrying this weight on on your own, and could use a hand. Make sure to put your doctors and therapists on that list too.
5. Keep your head up
I know that it may be disheartening to be told that you are suffering from depression. This isn’t your run of the mill, I got dumped, a bad grade on my exam, or had a fight with a friend depression. This is I wanted to die depression, and that can be scary to think about. The key here is to always continue to move forward. Even if you feel yourself slipping, dig in and still try to make progress. It isn’t about getting farther than where you started, it’s about going forward from where you are now.
Getting a diagnosis might be relieving to some, but to most, it has a sense of impending doom. Depression might just be a word to most people, but to us, it’s victims, it’s our life. Fighting depression is an ugly and difficult war, but it’s not one you have to fight alone. Follow your treatment plan like it will save your life, because it actually might. Stay strong everyone!
Remember, we help each other out here. If you have anything you wanted to add, mention it in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Unsplash: Dev Benjamin