You need to go back to the doctor or therapist and get more help, assuming you have gotten professional help before, which I hope you have. It’s no good just leaving depression go – it just goes on and on and you miss some of the benchmarks of a happy life when depression persists – screws up relationships, career, having children, going on vacation, personal accomplishments like hobbies or sports, etc. Etc. I’ll give you my self-help tips – maybe some of those will help. But most people who cut really need professional help. In the meantime, if you want to cut, hold an ice cube in your hand, or put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it, or slap your leg with the flat of a ruler.
OK my self help tips – they just help you deal with the depression better, won’t FIX it. PRINT THIS OUT
If your depression seems to be more of a problem in the winter, try to get more sun. You could have seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, or your depression could have a seasonal component. A light box is good if you can afford one (about $300 online, don’t get it at a local store, they will charge more for a light 1/2 as bright). Since I will always have a mood disorder, I have put in extra windows, keep the drapes mounted so they don’t cover them, make sure I spend a lot of time in southern rooms, painted the walls peach and yellow. I even have a skylight ( it helps a lot!!!!!)
Try meditation tapes like progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery. They may seem silly at first, but they work!! They help reduce stress, which makes depression worse. See The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook for some that you can make a recording of.
***** #1 MOST HELPFUL TIP Go out with friends, and if you don’t have any, find a club to join and MAKE yourself go until you actually look forward to it. “Isolating” makes depression worse.
Exercise at least 1/2 hour a day, and anytime you feel really hyper or depressed. Exercise is a great mood stabilizer and cuts down on anxiety a lot.
If your depression makes it hard for you to sleep, here are some”sleep hygiene” tips. Go to bed and get up about the same time each day, even weekends. Don’t use your bedroom to watch TV and read and use the computer-just use the room as a bedroom. Don’t do stuff that pumps you up right before bed, like exercising and using the computer. You want to use that last hour to wind down-Take a bath? Make the bedroom very dark, cover up the clock so the light doesn’t shine at you. If you live in the city, use a noise machine (makes wave sounds etc.) to cover up the city sounds. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Try soundsleeping.com for free relaxing sounds downloads for your MP3 player.
Put a lot of colorful, happy things around the house and let the sun in. Get yourself some flowers. Put on some nice clothes. OK that was for the ladies. Make a list of things that make you happy. Here’s some things on my list: A basket full of fluffy kittens, bread fresh from the oven, Fireworks popping on a warm summer evening, The first fireflies of the season, the scent of Jergen’s cherry almond lotion, The crisp sound of a saltine cracker breaking, fresh sheets on the bed, standing in the boat flicking topwater lures out onto the water, etc. Use all your senses and read that list when you are breaking down
Work on time management if being overwhelmed and late for things is getting to you. Cut back on other responsibilities temporarily so you can spend more restorative time with friends and family. Ask for help if your depression makes it hard to keep up with chores.
You got a significant other? Extra physical touch is very helpful. Most people in the US or UK are touch deprived, so hold hands more, hug more, give shoulder rubs, etc. A pet is good, too, if your home situation allows you to get one. (don’t if you can’t commit to it for 15 years)
Make sure you are NOT listening to sad music! It is so easy to fall into doing that, but it makes things worse! Listen to upbeat stuff. Do the same with movies.
Distract yourself when the hurting is worst. Read a novel, watch a comedy, go out with friends, play cards, play a video game, whatever is mentally all-consuming. This is a VERY helpful tip that works!!
Volunteer for things. Research shows that helping others makes you feel better about yourself. It also would keep you more involved in the community, also a good thing. Many people find comfort being involved in religion, as well.
I have severe psychiatric symptoms from bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. And I am able to feel somewhat better using these tricks, because the meds have not been effective for me. If I didn’t do stuff like the above, I would be dead. So please try some of these things and they may help some. Pills or counseling alone are not as effective as pills plus counseling. Cognitive Behavioral therapy is the gold standard for depression treatment, so look into that.