Dear Dr. Expert,
I don’t know what is wrong with me. I’m just so sad all the time and feel like crying. I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning and I just don’t feel like doing anything anymore. I used to have lots of friends, took dance classes, and got straight As. Over the past year, things just seem to have gone downhill. Now, my friends don’t want to hang out with me and to be honest, I don’t blame them. I’m no fun at all! And, I dropped out of dance and my grades are slipping because I don’t feel like doing my homework. I don’t really care about anything anymore. Please help me get out of this slump!
Down in Duncan
Dr. Expert: Dear Down in Duncan,
Sounds like you’re feeling depressed. The best way to improve your mood is get up and start doing things even if you don’t feel like it. We know that the more we do, the better we tend to feel. Think about the things you used to enjoy – dancing, hanging with friends, or listening to music. Whatever it was, try to push yourself to do some of those fun things again, even in small chunks of time. Do it, even if your heart isn’t in it. At first, it probably won’t feel the same as it used to. But, with time, you may realize that you are actually enjoying life again.
There are many other coping skills that can help with depression. For example, learning to change overly negative thoughts to more balanced ones. Check out this free workbook to help you with these skills http://www.comh.ca/publications/pages/dwd/. Know that you are not alone, and there are people out there who can help you. Your family doctor can also point you in the right direction. If you are feeling really bad, and are having thoughts of killing yourself, that you need to tell a trusted adult or call the Crises Centre (1 800 SUICIDE).