We all respond differently to information about our health. After being diagnosed with depression, you might be upset, scared, or even relieved to have answers that explain why you've been feeling sad, hopeless, or anxious. No matter what you’re feeling, you’re not alone. On MyDepressionTeam, there are thousands of others who have been in your shoes.
You can’t figure out everything about depression at once, and you don’t need to. Taking small steps to adjust to the reality of your diagnosis can be empowering. According to the American Psychological Association, active coping strategies like getting organized and making a plan for managing your health can improve mental and emotional well-being.
Create Space for Depression
It’s normal to feel out of control or hopeless when you're living with depression. You may have pamphlets crowding your kitchen table or a head full of questions that you forget the moment you set foot in a doctor’s office. You can begin to tame the chaos by implementing very simple organizational techniques that will help you address depression.
Put Everything in One Place
Storing any documents or resources from your mental healthcare provider in a designated spot can help create some order and help you find information when you need it. You don’t need a fancy filing system - a kitchen drawer, an old binder, or simply an orderly stack on your bedside table can make a big difference. In addition to helping you keep track of important papers, there is evidence that controlling clutter is associated with better moods.
Remember Your Questions or Concerns
Keep a list of questions or concerns about depression and other mental health symptoms for your therapist in a dedicated notebook or on your smartphone. Jot down your questions as you think of them and bring your list to your appointments so you can remember your questions and write down the answers.
Manage Your Appointments
If you already rely on a digital calendar or paper planner to manage work and family obligations, stick with that method for managing any new appointments. If keeping a calendar is new to you, consider using what you’ve already got at home, such as a grocery list notepad or a piece of paper and a magnet on the fridge. You can also ask your doctor’s office about phone call or text message reminders that can help you keep on top of appointments.
Track Your Medications
Using an old-fashioned pill organizer is a great way to keep track of any oral medications you may take to treat depression. You can also use a paper medication tracker. If you’re comfortable using a smartphone, consider downloading a medication tracking app.
Reach Out for Support
You don’t have to face depression alone. Support from loved ones, your mental health provider, and other people with depression is crucial as you embark on a treatment plan. There are a few basic steps you can take to start building your network of support.
You may not be ready to talk about depression with your loved ones. You may also not have time or be comfortable joining an in-person support group. That’s ok. Connecting with members on MyDepressionTeam can be a first step towards finding support. Your community on MyDepressionTeam can provide an ongoing emotional boost whenever you feel worried or overwhelmed about life with depression or want to celebrate a victory.
Many hospitals and medical practices offer resources that extend beyond your medical appointments. These may include chaplaincy services, health education classes, patient liaisons or nurse navigators, on-site support groups, and referrals to other services.
Friends and Family
Sharing your depression diagnosis with friends and family can be hard. They may misunderstand depression and struggle to react in a helpful way. Try to remember that everyone is doing their best with difficult news. If you’re able, let your loved ones know how they can be most helpful to you during this time, whether that’s helping with household chores or offering a listening ear.
Learn More About Depression
You might not have known much about depression before facing it yourself, but now you probably want to learn more. Your healthcare provider or therapist is a great resource for information, but you may also want to do your own research. Remember to be cautious of what you read online, especially if someone is offering a quick fix or selling a cure. You can always reach out to your therapist or healthcare provider if you have questions about something you’ve read.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
You never have to feel alone when you’re living with depression. Members on MyDepressionTeam are always available to answer questions and offer encouragement when things get rough.
Here are some conversations from members on MyDepressionTeam about facing a new diagnosis:
If you have a pressing question, you can go straight to the Q+A section.
You can also read more about how to get started on MyDepressionTeam.
For the newly diagnosed, what information are you seeking?
For the depression veterans, what do you wish you knew when you first began experiencing symptoms or started treatment? Share in the comments below or directly on MyDepressionTeam.