This the first time I have written something like this, so please bear with me.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression about 4 months ago, although I think I had the symptoms as long ago as 5 years.
Once diagnosed, I was prescribed anti-depressants, however due to my very low mood I also had to take time off work. I found that with depression my moods lowered and so did my motivation to do things, even the things I really enjoyed, decreased. In time I ended doing nothing and in turn this lead to more anxiety, stress and even lower moods. This was a cycle that I found difficult to escape from.
However, there was help, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The first exercise I had to complete was a Behavioural Activation Diary. By using the diary I was able to plan my week in advance that meant I was able to do the things I wanted to do as well as the things I had to do.
The diary is broken down into seven days, and each day is broken down into Morning, Afternoon and Evening. All I had to do was put an activity in each i.e. had to do - Breakfast, housework, gardening, shopping, cooking. Wanted to do – Walking, photography, and reading. These tasks I was supposed to complete no matter what my mood was, hopefully that would break the cycle.
I must admit to start with I did not feel any benefit from it, however as the weeks passed I found that I was gaining pleasure and achievement from the diary. I am not going to say it works all the time, sometimes when in a very low mood, nothing helps.
I have just completed week 10 of 12, and I now score the activities on my diary out of ten for pleasure and achievement, this alone has shown me that having a goal to work towards has helped and I can see an improvement with myself in that short period. Obviously the tasks have become more challenging over the weeks.
I started CBT hoping it would help me, I went with an open mind and decided to put as much effort into it as I possibly could. It may not suit everyone but I have found it a very useful resource and hopefully will have the tools to help me through this and any future periods of depression.