What else can I do?

If you can’t work breaks into your busy schedule, why not reward yourself a little bit? It is very easy. Just pick an amount of money that is appropriate to your means, from $5 to $100; it really does not matter. Now make a commitment to spend this money each week on purchasing something fun and enjoyable for yourself. It could be a candy bar, a DVD, a book, a pair of shoes, or whatever you otherwise would not have given yourself. When you enjoy your reward, remember that you are not such a bad person after all, and with some work and a lot of common sense, you’ll soon feel right as rain.

What about marijuana? It makes me feel less depressed after I smoke it.

The general feeling among physicians is that marijuana makes depression worse in the long run. Marijuana smoking produces stimulation that morphs into sedation. It may interfere with the effectiveness of antidepressants by changing chemicals in your brain. Smoking dope may make you feel better now, but it will make it harder for you to get out of your depression in the end.

What exactly is stress?

Stress refers to any event that triggers your brain’s stress reaction, releasing stress steroid hormones and activating neurochemicals in your brain. These stress steroids and activating neurochemicals damage and kill brain cells and can throw you into an episode of depression. There is good evidence that the stress response also contributes to heart disease, lung disease, and other problems that can cause us to die too soon.

Stress is additive, meaning that several small stressors can add up to a big one. Here are examples of the most common stressful events.

• Death of a child or marriage partner
• Breakup of a marriage or a close relationship
• Sickness or death of any loved one
• Alcohol problems or drug addiction
• Serious illness or injury
• Severe financial problems
• Arguments and strife at home or work
• Demotion or loss of job
• Son or daughter leaving home
• Spiritual and religious conflict
• Disappointments and failure to achieve life goals
• Overwork
• Moving