What to do When You're Depressed

Whether you are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), or going through a personal crisis, or honestly if you're just human--you'll be depressed at times. The depression may range from mild blues to not being able to get out of bed. So, what do you do when you find yourself in a position where everything seems gray and like nothing will ever get better? I have a few tips today that might help you out. Everyone experiences depression in different ways, so these won't necessarily apply to everyone. However, I truly believe that at least one of these tips can help you out in a time of depression.

What to do When You're Depressed:

Step 1. Rate your symptoms. I usually do this on a "1 to 10" scale, one being the worst, ten being the best:

      10. Things are perfectly awesome. No need to worry.
        9. Things are pretty great. Not everything is perfect, but you're getting along just fine.
        8. Things are pretty good. Not too much to complain about, though nothing is perfect.
        7. Things are good, but getting closer to the "meh" side of things. You're trudging along and having a pretty good time for the most part.
        6. Things aren't necessarily the best. They aren't bad, but they aren't good. Things aren't quite going your way and you're a bit discouraged at times.
        5. Things are "meh". You don't really want to do much, but you go about your daily routine out of necessity, hoping things will get better.
        4. Things aren't very good. You consider calling in sick to work because you're just not feeling up to handling life today. You follow most of routine, but it is extremely difficult.
        3. You call in sick to work and to all of your obligations. You can't seem to get out of bed. You have a constant stream of negative thoughts that you can't seem to push away. Everything that usually sounds good doesn't sound good at all. Your body feels heavy and you mind feels sluggish. If you go to a psychiatrist, now might be a good time to call your doctor, or to call your therapist.
        2. You are extremely low. All of the symptoms of 3 plus suicidal thoughts and feelings. You almost feel numb at times. You definitely should call your doctor and/or therapist.If you don't have a psychiatrist, call your normal general physician.
        1. You are making suicide plans. At this point, you should call you doctor and go into the hospital.

(Now, I am no medical or psychiatric professional. This scale is based on my own personal experiences, so please keep that in mind.)

Step 2. Now that you have rated where you're at, you'll be able to make the necessary adjustments to start feeling better. For the next steps 3-9, I'm going to address ratings 5 through 3. If you can't move past a step, congratulate yourself for making it to that step and rest. If later on you can keep pushing forward to the next step, great! If not, stay proud of yourself for accomplishing what you have.

Step 3. Stand up. It sounds silly, but just do it. Stand up and walk into a different room. Getting your blood flowing will surprisingly help your mood.

Step 4. Take a shower or change your clothes. Taking a shower always helps me clear my head a bit and relax. If you aren't up to a shower, change your clothes. Changing your clothes helps your mind recognize that you're trying to change up your perspective.

Step 5. Get ready for the day, even if you aren't going to leave your bed. Feeling ready can help you feel accomplished and better about yourself. Whenever I'm having a bad day, I try to make it to this step. If I make it to this step, I feel somewhat better, even if I don't move onto step 6.

Step 6. Get outside. Even if you just step out onto your porch, get outside for just a minute. Cabin fever is a real thing, my friends. Getting a tiny bit of fresh air for just a minute can do wonders.

Step 7. Go somewhere. Go on a walk. Go on a drive. One of my favorite things to do is to go to Sonic and grab a Diet Coke. Not necessarily a "healthy" habit, but it gets me out of my house and helps me feel better.

Step 8. Try to do one act of service. Text a friend you know is having a hard time. Call a family member and tell them you love them. Don't yell at the person who cuts you off. (That's my kind of service) Give a dollar or two to that person on the corner. Do something. Do something for someone, no matter how small.

Step 9. Move on to doing what obligations you can for the rest of the day. Do what you can, then get some rest. Sleep is important for mental health, especially for those who suffer from MDD or other disorders.

Now, for ratings 2-1:

Step 3. Call a trusted friend or family member and alert them to what is going on. Even if you're afraid to or don't want to "bug them". Please just call them. It is important to have a support system. (If you feel like you don't have anyone to turn to, you can email me! yellowinthegray@gmail.com)

Step 4. Call your doctor, therapist, and/or the suicide hotline. 1-800-273-8255. Don't stay dwelling on suicidal thoughts and feelings. Now is the time to get help. Be brave enough to pick up the phone and get the help you need.

Step 5. Follow the directions of your friend/family member, doctor, therapist, or other professional you got in touch with.

Now, I'm not a professional when it comes to these things. However, I do have a lot of experience. I have a lot of experience with not being able to get out of bed. I am well versed in negative thoughts that hold me back from being happy. I know what it's like to feel like gravity is dragging me down and that nothing will ever get better. But I also know that these steps help! They have helped me overcome depression day to day, and I think they'll help you too.

Do you have any other tips? Comment them below!


  1. These are amazing tips! You must interact with others in case you are feeling depressed. Interacting can solve your problems, discussing with your friends, sharing with them helps a lot in case of depression. Also you can take counseling in case of serious depression level.

    Lung | e-counseling.com

    1. So true! Interaction can definitely help me when I'm depressed. Thanks for the awesome tip!