It can be a difficult time when you are diagnosed with any mental health condition, especially depression. You may have a lot of thoughts running around in your head. You might want to blame someone? You might be confused about how it could happen to you? You might be worried about what other people might think or how they will react once you have told them?
You are not the only person going through this.
I know how you feel. This was me over 9 years ago. I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 19, and I can remember the day I was told. It took me a very long time to come to terms with it. Over the years, I have learnt many ways to cope with depression, and I wish I knew some of these tips when I was first diagnosed.
Here are some ways to cope with being diagnosed with depression.
Join a support group
It can be scary to join a support group, but you must remember these people are either going through or support these who are going through a mental health issue. There are so many amazing support groups and charities out there that can help you. Some of my favourites include Mind UK, Rethink Mental Illness, Samaritans.
These three mental health charities are great for someone who has just been diagnosed with depression. They have so much information about depression, and they can point you in the right direction if you need something.
Mind has an amazing online peer group called side by side. It is a great place to talk to people in the comfortable of your home. I have used an online peer group in the past and have found them very useful.
Tell a close family member or friend
This one might be difficult to do. I would not recommend talking to everyone at once. Only tell one or two people, that you trust and know will help you when you have any problems. The first two people that knew when I was diagnosed were my mum and my grandma.
Later on, once you are more confident with depression, you can tell more people. I still haven't told all my friends and family about being diagnosed with depression, and I am selective about who knows.
Don’t be scared of your treatment
Once you have been diagnosed with depression, your doctor will discuss some treatment options such as medication and therapy. It can be scary when the doctor suggests therapy but in my own experience therapy has helped me. There are a few different types of treatment such as CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) or anti-depressants.
My top tip is to do your research and then discuss it with your GP or medical professional. Be proud of the treatment you get.
Start a routine
Once you have been diagnosed with depression, you might think that your life will be chaotic. However, it is important to establish a routine. I know there will be days where you just want to be in bed, but this is where having a routine will help you- even on the worst days.
Your routine can change over time or seasonality. I will have two different routines that I alter depending on the season. For example, during the sunnier season, I will start my morning with a sunrise run.
Change your lifestyle
This is my biggest tip of all. Look at your lifestyle and examine how much it is helping you. Do you live a healthy lifestyle or not? Do you only sleep for 4 hours a night? Do you eat a lot of junk food or fast food? What about exercising?
You don’t need to change everything if you're not ready, but making a few small changes can help, such as:
- Going for a 10 minute walk every day (you can increase this time later)
- Adding one piece of fruit or vegetable to one dish/snack per day (You can increase this later, too)
- Slowly reducing the amount of time you eat junk food.
- Reducing the amount of alcoholic and caffeine you drink
Making a small change in your lifestyle is one step closer to feeling better about yourself and your diagnosis.