If you are reading this, your doctor might have recently diagnosed you with depression. Although your own experience may be different, this diagnosis is typically difficult for people to accept.
The first challenge you face in order to be on your way to feeling better may be simply coming to terms with the situation. People may go into denial about a depression diagnosis initially and may need some time to come to terms with their perceived loss of health. This process can be similar to the five stages of grief — denial (this can't be happening to me), anger (why is this happening to me?), bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...), sadness (I don't care anymore), and finally, acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes). Once you reach the acceptance stage, you're ready to learn about depression and start working on feeling better.
Your doctor might have reviewed information about depression with you. However, you may have been feeling overwhelmed at the time and have difficulty remembering what was said. This article attempts to fill in any gaps you may have in your understanding of depression by answering common questions people ask their doctors. It is meant to be your companion on the road to feeling better.
No matter how you are feeling right now, it may help to keep three things in mind. First, being diagnosed with depression is not a sign of a character flaw — any more than a diagnosis of diabetes, asthma, or heart disease would be. Depression is a medical condition. What's more, almost everyone goes through difficult periods of feeling down and depressed at different times in their lives. Depression is a more severe, more prolonged "down" that includes emotional, physical, and thinking difficulties.
Second, remember that you are certainly not alone. Millions of people suffer from depression. While people of all ages — from children to seniors — are diagnosed with depression each year, the condition is seen most often in adults of working age; that is, ages 25 to 64. Fortunately, your doctor has effective treatments to help you feel better. One of the most important things you can do to overcome depression is to form and maintain a strong alliance or partnership with your health care professional and with people you trust.
Finally, no matter how difficult things are for you right now, there is hope — and that's what this article is about.