Friday, July 30, 2010

Building Your Support System

The road to recovery from depression can be rough. For most people, it's more complicated than taking a pill and magically feeling better. There are highs and lows along the way. Until you find your personal solution, you will need the support of those around you.

Take the time to come up with a list of people to call when you hit low points in your treatment. That list of people is your support system. At he top of the list are people you turn to first, when you have minor problems coping. The bottom of the list consists of people/entities you contact if the situation is dire. Everyone's support system is different, but hopefully you can find a reliable combination of friends, family, and medical professionals to help you in your times of need.

Your support system should look something like this:
  1. Friends
  2. Spouse/Significant Other/Parent/Family Member
  3. Counselor/Therapist/Doctor/Medical Professional
  4. Hospital Emergency Room
Write down the list. Put it in your wallet. Keep it by the phone. If you going through a particularly dark time, physically seeing the list will help you focus on your treatment. And no matter how silly it may seem to write down "ER," do it anyway. You need to know that there is always that option. You may "know" that the option is there, but it is more likely you will actually use it when you need it if you see it on the list.

And this is the most important thing. Say it to your family and friends. It needs to be known, and we need to speak about it...

If you ever have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, call 911 immediately.

Follow the instructions the dispatcher gives you. Once you are at the hospital, tell them you need to see the psychiatrist on call.

Don't worry about what anyone will think of you. If you are ever thinking about ending your life, that is an emergency, and you need to seek help immediately. It is literally a decision between life and death.

Do not be afraid to go to the hospital to seek treatment. Know that every person in your support system cares about you (even the people at the hospital), and genuinely wants you to get better.

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