In the United States, about 19 million teens and adults have depression, which can get in the way of daily life.

Though people experience depression differently, those with severe depression have difficulty with work, home life and social events. Depression can be treated. Talk with your doctor if you think you might be depressed.

Here are some ways that our members are dealing with their depression.

Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.

I have dealt with depression on and off over decades of my life. I have been fortunate to receive help from others at extreme states. I take medication and constantly work at controlling my thoughts.

When I start to reflect on my history of mistakes, I tell my brain to think of something good that I did. It’s an ongoing mental battle that must be fought, or else the black hole will consume me. 

The most important thing is to remind myself that it DOES NOT LAST FOREVER. It will subside in time. I repeat this many times in my head until I’m feeling better.

Exercise and healthy eating habits along with taking vitamins helps, too. The simple answer for dealing with depression is to battle the bad thoughts with good thoughts. And stay the course because depression is a stubborn, greedy black hole, so you must be determined to win.

Please ask for help from others when you first sense your depression is heading out of control. It is very important that seeking help from outside be part of your main battle strategy.

— Ed C.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression in July 1996. I was in the hospital for a week and outpatient treatment for two weeks.

Up to that time, I was bedridden most of the day, miserable because I couldn’t eat or enjoy my hobbies; and I wasn’t doing what I knew I was capable of at my job either. Boy did that hurt.

Taking anti-depressants and seeing a psychologist helped immensely with therapy.

I figure that I'm at about 90 percent capacity because I just experience a low level of anxiety for half of the day. Glad I never gave up!!

— Janet L.

I suffer from depression. It’s not easy, and those who say “just shake if off” have no idea what depression is really about and what those of us who suffer are going through.

Depression can’t be shaken off, and it definitely should not be ignored.

If you ignore your symptoms and don’t get help, it could lead to thoughts of suicide. I’ve suffered with depression for the last 16 years, and some days it’s still not easy to cope with. There are times when I just don’t want to leave my house, talk to anyone or do anything but lay in bed and hide from the world.

Don’t do this! Make yourself get out of bed, leave the house and go out into the world.

Here are some things that have helped me in the past and that I would suggest anyone with depression do.

First and foremost, if you EVER have thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. Your life does matter!

Talk to your doctor. Your doctor will do an assessment and may put you on an antidepressant medicine. If you are put on medicine for depression, it does take at least two weeks for most of them to begin to work. If after week three you don’t see any improvement, call your doctor. It may take a few tries to get the correct antidepressant. It took four tries before we found that one that works for me.

Find a counselor to talk to. This was hard for me. Talking to a stranger about your life is really awkward at first, but as time goes by and you get more comfortable with the counselor, you begin to open up without even thinking about it. Every counselor is a bit different, and you need to make sure that you are comfortable with this person.

Although awkwardness is expected at first, if you never get comfortable with the person, try to find a different counselor. I’ve seen three different ones so far. You don’t have to see these counselors forever, just long enough to help you through the beginnings of the depression. Then if something happens later on and your depression gets worse for any reason, I suggest you may want to start seeing the counselor again.

Take time to be with friends and family. The more time you can spend with family and friends, the better. They are the people to lean on and talk to. Whether you just talk about life in general or the more detailed parts of what you are going through, it’s helpful.

Find a hobby. Find a hobby that makes you happy when you’re doing it. I found that I like to take photographs, mostly of nature. Not only are the photos beautiful, but I get outdoors in the fresh air and get a little exercise in the process.

Depression may or may not ever go away. I do have recurring bouts where my depression gets worse. I try to start from the beginning of my list of things that I have suggested above.

I wish you all the best. And remember: Don’t give up on yourself!

— April S.