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Tips to deal with depression

GEHA | September 8, 2020

Mental health
Get help at home with MDLIVE.

We all have a bad day now and again. But when a bad day becomes a bad week and a bad week becomes a bad month, you might be experiencing clinical depression.

Clinical depression, also called depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that causes symptoms affecting the way you think, feel and handle daily activities.

Common signs and symptoms
While depression affects different people in different ways, the most general and frequent symptoms include:

  • Feeling anxious, hopeless, pessimistic, sad, worthless or helpless
  • Losing interest in hobbies or activities
  • Feeling slow, sluggish or fatigued
  • Experiencing difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Losing or gaining weight
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Thinking of death or suicide

If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help quickly! Call your or your loved one’s health care professional or 9-1-1 if the crisis is acute. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hours a day, toll free, at 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255).

How to get help
The first step to feeling better is to visit a physician or mental health professional. We can help you find an in-network provider.

MDLIVE, offered to GEHA medical plan members, makes it easy to get help. You can consult with a board-certified physician or licensed behavioral therapist from the privacy and convenience of your own home around the clock.

Activate your MDLIVE account.

How to help yourself and others heal
If you are diagnosed with depression, there are many treatment options, which may include an anti-depressant medication. If you are prescribed an anti-depressant, talk to your doctor about any side effects. Never stop taking your medication without speaking to your health care provider.

Your anti-depressant may take approximately two to four weeks to start working.

As you begin to feel better, you might try to do things you used to enjoy. Go easy on yourself and take a day-by-day approach.

Do’s and don’ts to help yourself

  • Do try to be active and exercise, starting slowly
  • Do break up large tasks into smaller ones
  • Do set priorities and do what you can as you can
  • Do be patient with yourself
  • Don’t make important life decisions until you feel better more consistently
  • Don’t self-medicate with alcohol or drugs
  • Don’t try to do too much all at once

Do’s and a don’t to help others

  • Do offer patience, understanding and encouragement
  • Do keep in touch, suggesting a walk or other socially distanced outing
  • Do offer support such as meals, transportation or time to simply listen
  • Do encourage your loved one, noting with time and treatment the depression will lift
  • Do not ignore comments about suicide. Get help for your loved one immediately.

“Depression basics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016.