Do you feel lost when it comes to coping with your depression? If the answer is yes, here are some helpful tips you can use in your everyday life.

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Illustration by Brittany England

Living with depression isn’t easy. Feelings of hopelessness and emptiness can cloud your thinking, judgment, and worldview. It can even make you feel like you’re working twice as hard as everyone else just to make it through the day.

If you can relate to those feelings, please know that you’re far from alone. Major depression may affect more than 7% of the adult population and is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people aged 15 to 44.

Because depression affects so many people, we’ve collected some of our best articles filled with information, tips, and strategies to help you — and many others — adopt coping methods.

It’s important not to confuse depression with sadness, and vice versa. Sadness is a normal reaction to loss, difficulty, and disappointment. It’s an emotion everyone will feel at many points in their life.

In contrast, depression is a mental health condition that is much more long-lasting than a short-term low mood. Depression can feel like hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt.

In addition to those mental and emotional symptoms of depression, the condition can also have a physical toll on your body by causing:

And while depression can definitely occur after traumatic or difficult events — known as situational depression — depression can also appear in you for what seems like no particular reason. Depression, unlike emotions such as sadness and grief, is caused by things like our genes, brain chemistry, and hormones — as well as circumstance.

If you think you might have depression, it can help to talk with a mental health professional about what you’re experiencing. They can offer guidance on treatments that can help.

You can also check out our depression test to find out if you might benefit from talking with a professional about what you’re experiencing.

Keep in mind that depression isn’t a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. If you can’t exactly relate to someone else’s experience with depression, there might be a reason for that.

Some common types of depression include:

If you think you might have depression, but you’re not sure which type, it can help to read up on different symptoms. Keeping a mood diary can help you work out your specific symptoms, what triggers them, and how frequently they appear.

Bringing your mood diary to a doctor or mental health professional can give them some insight into your experiences and help them determine which type of depression you might have.

Other medical conditions that can involve depression, or be confused with depression, include:

There is comfort in knowing that there are many options for treating depression. These can include psychotherapy (talk therapy), antidepressant medication, and natural approaches, such as eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, and following good sleep habits.

With the help of a healthcare professional, it’s up to you to decide which combination of approaches works best for you.

In one study of people with a lifetime major depressive disorder diagnosis:

  • 53.1% used medication
  • 62.5% talked with a professional
  • 14.9% received nonprofessional support (self-help, support group, etc.)
  • 11.8% were hospitalized overnight or longer

This report shows that treatment approaches are broad. If one approach doesn’t work, try to remember that there are other options for you.

Managing depression goes beyond getting an initial diagnosis and starting a treatment plan. It requires daily attention and effort to keep symptoms in check and to prevent recurrence or relapse.

Whether it’s dealing with fatigue or handling concentration difficulties at work, managing depression on a daily basis can bring unique challenges. To find day-to-day coping strategies for your depression, the articles below may be useful.

It can be painful to witness a loved one with depression. Although your first instinct may be to take away your loved one’s pain or “fix” it in some way, sometimes just being there goes a long way.

Being a loving and supportive presence in your friend’s life can make a world of difference in helping them feel seen and heard.

If you’re struggling with depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to:

  • a friend
  • a trusted health professional
  • a mental health support group

Even if it doesn’t always feel like it, there are many people ready to offer their support and a listening ear.

If you or someone you know is considering self-harm or suicide, you’re not alone.

Help is available right now:

Whether you’re educating yourself on the different types of depression, trying to learn how best to help a friend who is struggling, or experiencing depression yourself, there are plenty of resources and support groups available to you.

You never have to go it alone. Help is only a click or phone call away.