For a long while I have been battling depression, it all started back in 2006 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, after I was told about my mother’s illness I shut down and this led to the lost my job and girlfriend within a couple of months, afterward I spent 2 years in and out of therapy and taking medication. After those 2 years I started feeling well again, until earlier this year. It all started with the sudden passing of my grandmother, who I was not very close with which is something I regret in an almost daily basis, after a couple of months of my grandmother’s passing my mother was diagnosed with cancer again, this time around I tried my best to continue with my life and not let it affect me as bad as it did back in 2006, I continued to go out with my friends and work, however I didn’t feel well, since then things just seem to be collapsing all around me, I started going out with someone and after not all that long the relationship fell apart over something that at least to me seems to not make any sense, last month I lost the better paying of my 2 jobs and since then I have felt like I am worthless and have no purpose, I have thought about suicide before and I don’t feel like I would ever be able to go through with it.

A: I am sorry you are feeling so depressed for such a long time. Because you are having feelings of suicide I will encourage you to address this depression sooner rather than later. I am glad you were able to write to us.

The number of losses you’ve experienced in a short period of time is profound. Depression is most often activated by feelings of helplessness, and these feelings occur when something happens we do not have control over. There are three things that I believe you can do to help bring more control back into your life and feel better:

  1. You mentioned medicine and psychotherapy in the past. These worked for you. Nearly every study done on the best combination of coping with depression identifies a combination of an antidepressant and psychotherapy. You can find a link to a therapist in your area by clicking on the find help tab above.
  2. Coping with depression is like walking up a down escalator: You have to keep pace with coping using a variety of techniques. I have identified these in an article The Seven Habits of Highly Corrective People you may find helpful.
  3. The research on daily gratitude for the good things in your life is convincing. Here is an article on cultivating more gratitude into your mornings.

While the losses are profound there is still a great deal you can do to reclaim some control back in your life and allow you to deal effectively with the depression.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan