At what point do I decide that nothing is going to make me any better?

Unipolar major depression makes it seem that you cannot escape the prison of your thoughts and feelings. However, people overcome the most severe depression, and you can too. Believe in yourself, fight hard, and good luck! Remember that unipolar major depression is only beyond hope if you give up.

Here are some tips for success in your fight against depression:

• Recognize that unipolar major depression is a serious but treatable clinical disorder.
• Recognize that unipolar major depression is a disease of the nervous system, not the product of bad luck, weak will, personality flaws, past sins, or personal inadequacy.
• Get evaluated by a psychiatrist or other experienced doctor to see if you have a diagnosis of unipolar major depression. Get a physical examination to rule out covert internal disease.
• Form an alliance with a good doctor and therapist to provide antidepressant therapy, appropriate psychotherapy, or better yet, both. Use the self-therapy programs presented in Appendix D of this book.
• Develop healthy habits of nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or addicting stimulants.
• Learn and use stress reduction and meditation techniques to minimize the damaging effects of stress on yourself, your life, and your health.
• Use your social support system, take part in outside activities, and follow your faith.
• Be prepared in advance for crises, and know what to do to prevent or stop suicidal tendencies.