While you are waiting for the illness to go away, there are certain things you can do to make yourself feel better. You won’t feel like following all these suggestions right away, but start with a few of the more palatable ideas and build up gradually. It’s probably better to focus on doing some activities, even if they seem mundane. Brooding and ruminating about how awful you feel, and wondering why this is happening to you, doesn’t help at all. Take a small step at a time, and don’t expect to get better suddenly. You will gradually improve each day. Recovery from a major depressive episode takes a while.
Try not to make major decisions about your life until after the depression lifts. The job that seems unbearable or the partner who seems insensitive may not look so bad when you are less miserable. If things still look grim when you are feeling better, you can change your situation then.
Let yourself make use of help that is offered; spend time with family and friends, and talk about your feelings. People like to help, and it’s all right to let them know you need them. Try to take some initiative each day, but be realistic about what you can manage. Sometimes it helps to break tasks up into small bits. That way you won’t feel so overwhelmed. For example, Jane had been unable to go to work for several days because she just couldn’t drag herself out of bed in the morning. It sometimes took until one or two in the afternoon before she could get showered and dressed. She didn’t feel hungry and couldn’t bear the thought of making a meal for herself. But Jane had experienced a major depression before, so she realized what was happening. She asked her friend Maria, who worked with her, to come over with some food, talk to the people at work, and arrange to take her for a doctor’s appointment later that week. Maria was glad to help; her own sister had been severely depressed, so she knew how incapacitated Jane felt.
While you gradually get your life back together, you can do activities that make you feel better. Try to be nice to yourself. Take a short walk, draw a picture, relax in a hot bath, bake biscuits and eat them, watch a funny film, book a massage, buy some flowers and scented candles, breathe deeply, meditate, play your favourite music, exercise, play with your pet, or just rest and drink herbal tea. Nutritional meal supplements, available in tins or bars at your grocery or chemists, can tide you over until you are ready to cook balanced meals again. Ask your doctor or chemist to recommend some brands.