I have dealt with depression for a lot of my life. I'm not sure when or how it started. As a child I had a hard time with school and interacting with other children. I learned my own coping mechanisms, and a lot of them weren't healthy. I would often withdraw, and since then I've learned that becoming isolated only makes it harder to live life. I would also hurt myself. At first it was calming and a something to focus on. I imagine it to be more like an OCD way of thought. After a while I wasn't always in control. It became dangerous, it became more like (if not) an addiction.
Important things I have learned.
Listening to my own thoughts for too long would lead to a negative spiral. The longer I spent by myself the harder it became to interact with people. There was more self doubt and social anxieties than there were initially. Also, all those things that were avoided have piled up. Now I might give myself 15 minutes to feel crappy, but then it's business as usually. Fake it until you make it.
I am not alone. Some one understands what I am feeling. Poor self esteem and/or the idea that no one else has ever felt this way is bullshit, besides, I'm not a starving artist. In a way, it's vain. It's not all about me. There is no respect in a pity party. And by denying anyone could understand can keep a person from defining it clearly. If I don't understand it myself, how can I fix it.
I have people in my life who are willing to listen. I am not emo, by any means. I'm not saying to bitch and moan about everything to anyone who will listen, but it's okay to vent. Today things built up, so I walked to my parents' and hung out with the baby for a few hours. My work is still waiting for me. (As are the chores and other things on my to do list.) Sometimes I'll call a good friend. She is very understanding. It took me 6 years of our friendship for me to realize that I don't have to feel guilty about talking about my problems with her. If I only listen I am hurting our relationship. It shows a lack of connection and trust if I don't open up in return.
Distraction works. I find reading or going for a walk can do wonders.
For a while I looked up to certain artists who lead a rough life. Who were obviously lonely and depressed. I can admire their work with out feeling the need to live like them. They may be famous, but there is nothing fantastic about living a life feeling wretched all the time, even if they are admired.
I have the ability to change the pattern of my thoughts. One day I was fed-up and thought Screw this. That little burst of defiant anger was enough to pull me out of it. It was incredibly liberating. It was difficult to duplicate because in the moment it's hard to think clearly or rationally, or even to remember the things that help. Now when I remember to (notes help) I use this as a tool. I am not helpless.
By finding old writings when I was cleaning out my room once I noticed I've felt this way before! I was able to see a pattern. Now I tell myself this isn't forever. I now know some of my triggers and how to avoid them or at least recognize them for what they are. Maybe keep some sort of a journal to understand yourself better.
I've been having higher levels of stress these last couple of days. It's lead to relationship issues as well. I was feeling quite miserable, so I decided to write this. In doing so I reminded myself of those things above. I don't feel like a million dollars now, but I am not feeding those poetically dark thoughts. Now, time to deal with a few necessities.
Here's a website I came across: http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm
It mentions a few of the things I listed, but has some new ones like managing stress and exercise. It also has quite a few suggestions for what to do to accomplish the tips listed.
If depression has burdened you, I am sorry. I do believe you are strong enough to overcome it. Don't resign yourself to living a life with depression. You can be happy. Reiki, meditation and some shamanic work has helped me believe it.