How Can I Get Out of Depression?


I have been depressed for what seems like forever. My life took a terrible turn a few months ago: first my boyfriend broke up with me (and took all the money from our shared account, leaving me broke), then my dog had to be put down, then I fell and injured my leg and had to have surgery, then I got terribly sick, then I lost my job for having too take too much time off. I cannot catch a break.

I just want to sleep all the time and don’t want to do anything anymore. I don’t answer the phone when friends call. I can’t concentrate. Sometimes I go to a very dark place and just want to end it all.

When I feel this hopeless, it’s hard to see any kind of light at the end of the tunnel. I have been told to “just hang in there, it will get better” more times than I care to remember. I keep hanging in there and it’s not getting better! I don’t know what to do. Is there a way to get out of depression without catching some sort of break like winning the lottery and Prince Charming showing up at my door with a puppy? —Down in the Dumps

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Dear Down,

You have experienced a tremendous amount of loss in a relatively short period of time; considering this, I would be more surprised if you weren’t struggling to cope. I hope you are showing yourself some compassion. It’s hard to imagine anyone going through what you’ve gone through and bouncing back quickly. This may be somewhat cold comfort, but allowing ourselves to feel our pain is what ultimately allows us to process our grief. Even when it’s possible to set our pain aside without processing it, it finds its way back into our lives sooner or later.

In some instances people do go through difficult periods and experience some depressive features, and as the difficulty subsides, so do the depressive features. This hasn’t been the case for you. I think the problem with the notion of “hanging in there” and waiting for it get better on its own is that you have lost huge parts of your support system—your partner, your pet, your job, your savings, even your health.

I think the problem with the notion of “hanging in there” and waiting for it get better on its own is that you have lost huge parts of your support system—your partner, your pet, your job, your savings, even your health.

While time might be all that is required for your body to heal from injury and illness, you will need to take active steps to address the other losses you’ve experienced. Before you can begin rebuilding your life, you need to focus on healing from these losses. I would strongly encourage you to seek out a therapist who you can partner with to begin to process these losses and heal. Given the “dark place” your thoughts sometimes wander to, it’s especially important that you know help is available and people do care.

As your depressive symptoms remit, you will be in a better position to figure out what you would like your life to look like and how to go about creating that for yourself. Continuing to work with a therapist throughout this process will provide you with the support of the therapeutic relationship as you take risks and try on new behaviors. This will not be an easy process, but it is one that may bring you relief and then empower you to build and live the life you deserve.

Best wishes,

Sarah Noel, MS, LMHC

Sarah Noel, MS, LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in working with people who are struggling through depression, anxiety, trauma, and major life transitions. She approaches her work from a person-centered perspective, always acknowledging the people she works with as experts on themselves. She is honored and humbled on a daily basis to be able to partner with people at such critical points in their unique journeys.
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  • Ty

    March 26th, 2018 at 2:18 PM

    I’ve been through almost all of what you describe. You wrote here so I think you’re a fighter like me. So a couple of observations.
    Seek a therapist, but if they don’t ask you how you feel at the start of the session, as opposed to what you think or what did you do, move on to another one. (You may do this often). You need to feel and many people, including therapists, are afraid of feelings and reveal their fear by not facing up immediately to the subject of your hurt. While you are healing your feelings need come first, thinking comes later. You’ll know if you are with the right person if, when you leave your session, you feel physically better somehow. You could have talked all kinds of trash but if you feel better you are on the road to well-being. There are no such thing as correct feelings or incorrect feelings. They all serve a purpose. They all have a message. Sometimes you can ignore that message and tell them “I’ve got this.” and other times you need to listen hard to what they are trying to tell you. So check in with your feelings regularly.
    Get another dog. A dog fact… You may not believe this but there are more good dogs on this earth than good men. Unbelievable but true. Another dog fact. Dog kisses cure every ailment known to man. It’s science, you can look it up. Yet another fact. Dogs make you get out of bed to go outside so they can poop. If you wish to join them that’s your business. Caring for another creature is the most noble thing you can do.
    The ultimate goal in relationships is to WANT other people but not NEED other people. I, an incomplete stranger, so wish you the happiness you seek.

  • Kari

    March 27th, 2018 at 7:21 PM

    Good points here ty
    When I was depressed 2 years ago I would NEVER open up about my feelings at all I didn’t even acknowlege them. Made everything worse I realise now, but didn’t then
    When it comes to the bad feelings face your fears you can do it and for me other people helped me do it

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