I found this astute advice as part of PBS’s interview with Andrew Solomon, author of “Noonday Demon”:
1. Deal with it early. Don’t wait until it escalates out of control. Like any illness, it’s easier to treat before it becomes acute.
2. Find the right therapist and psychopharmacologist. Sometimes that’s one person and sometimes it’s two people; seek the best. There a lot of bad treatments and too many incompetent shrinks, so if you’re not getting better, try seeing someone else. It’s exhausting and annoying shopping around, but as in all other areas of life, there are some people who are highly skilled and others who just aren’t very good. There are also people who work well for one patient and aren’t right for another.
3. If you have a chronic condition, treat it in the long-term. Have the courage to stay on your meds, and don’t be tricked into thinking that brave people get better on their own. If you had lung cancer, you wouldn’t try to cure it by breathing carefully. Don’t trivialize depression. Remember that it can be fatal: A large number of depressed people commit suicide.
4. Don’t keep it all a big secret. Depression is stressful and keeping secrets is stressful. But tell people selectively and carefully. Some people can deal with it and others can’t. And get yourself a support structure. Love won’t cure depression, but it will make it a whole lot easier to tolerate.