Okay, so I have suffered depression for 12 years, been hospitalized many times, but not for 3 years. Why? A couple of reasons.
First of all for those seeking immediate help, because you feel so terrible living hurts, your life is worth living, allow yourself a little more time.
The reason I'm posting this information is because today was one of my days.
I was in that desperate place, you know... I went from wanting to end it, to remembering I have a solution. Going through the forums today I saw others like me and I just had to offer some advice. I used to run into a lot of trouble due to my depression, drinking, and induced bipolar. I even ran into trouble with the law, was incarcerated, and am a felon. Anytime you get into trouble, you get more depressed. This applies to lashing out at loved ones too, self sabotage. It is a self repeating cycle.
1. Pick a morality or create your own ethics! You don't need to believe in anything other than that if you follow your personal ethics, over time your life will be less negatively complicated. Make rules for yourself so you don't get into any more trouble. Don't cheat on your partners, don't drink if you have a history of going crazy and creating problems (esp. when depressed), don't use illegal drugs in sketchy areas (or at all if you can), be responsible, don't spend all your money, show up for work/school, don't be mean to people (bc then they will be mean to you and make u feel shitty when you already feel like hell), don't mess with your family (even if they are messed up, don't rock the boat), dont steal, don't hang around people that get into trouble, take it easy on masterbation (I find after it makes me feel really empty and more alone + guilt for wasting time, it also just makes me feel low/pathetic somehow), try not to get up late (bc if ur like me you'll feel guilty about it), eat healthy... These are some of mine, you should think about it and create your own bc we are all diff and w/ diff problems.
2. Another aspect of this could be things to do (but don't beat yourself up if you don't do them), for me meditation helps, exercise, talking to a friend, art, writing, decorating my fish tanks (healthy addiction I have - 3 big ass tanks w/ live plans, if im upset sometimes when I do the water changes and get new plants or a fish I get into the zen of the tank maintenance because to me its a living art form), go to the ICU part of the hospital and see if they will let you talk to people who want company and are dying (it really gives you perspective and helps getting out of the self-centered aspect of depression), go into nature, play a computer game (if you have the time for it, otherwise this is not good because it will make u feel worse after for not doing things you should be doing), write a letter to someone in your family you haven't talked to in a while, etc.
3. If you are on a medication, and you feel like you can't go on and otherwise would be self-destructive or kill yourself,take refuge in sleep. You won't feel the pain so much there and maybe when you wake up you will feel a lil better. This is especially effective for bipolar people as it can offset an episode.
4. Don't give into mania, I know it feels great, but when you are manic, use your medication for it or again, try to go to sleep. A shitty thing about life is I feel for every exciting mental episode you have to pay for it with a painful one. I find that the mania will = pain later.
5. Use the mantra "This too shall pass" as a mantra, repeat it over and over and don't think about it too much just say it to block negative thoughts.
6. Take a nice warm shower, feeling dirty (when depressed we often neglect hygiene) will equate to feeling worse. Clean your room up so it doesn't look like a hell hole. Use positive colors in your room like orange, pink, green, and other favorites of yours.
7. Get a pet or pets if you don't already have one, dogs are especially wonderful. Unfortunately I don't have the money or place (I rent) to get one yet, but I used to have one and it really made me not feel so alone.
8. Personally I advise not drinking if your depressed, its just a shitty substance that fucks with us depressed folk. In fact I hadn't drank in a long time, until last night, even though it was only two glasses of wine I feel like that might have caused the despair today. Find legal herbal alternatives. The thing is, when I was younger and depressed everyone told me not to drink because it exacerbated the depression and got me into trouble with the law, I didn't listen. So idk if you will listen, but I've been through hell and honestly alcohol is just a shitty drug (mentally and physically). I'm not a fan of AA or NA, I don't preach total abstinence (I still can drink once in moderation without problems - last night being the exception, even though 2 glass of red wine isn't much I was depressed B4 and when u r depressed it is the WORST time to drink), but if you need that kinda help go there. I found the preachy judging environment annoying as hell (im not a follower) but for some it is a great place for support and socialization.
9. Do NOT overdo benzos (klonopin, zanax, valium, atavan, etc) because the next day you will feel terrible.
10. Get out of unhealthy relationships. Find a partner who treats you with respect and makes you happy. Looks and that crazy initial love are overrated. The crazy initial love can be irrational and drive you nuts, esp if the person hurts u. As for looks, first of all, we are all getting older and uglier and it is important that when you get old and wrinkled you have someone with a personality you adore, a nice personality often will translate to attractiveness over time. Don't be shallow! Remember too, there are plenty of fish in the sea. If you lost a gf, bf, or w/e, have perspective. For example, have you felt this way about another previous relationship that ended? Now you are feeling it again? Well remember how you got over the last and got into the new one. You will find someone else, if it isn't working out then it isn't meant to be, you can find someone even better - we live in a world with a few billion people! If you are in a good healthy relationship, DONT do anything to jeopardize that like cheating
11. Acts of kindness help you too.
12. Ritualize your life. Plan things out for the future so you aren't left with nothing to do and time to dwell on yourself and your problems. Also try to maintain a stable wake/sleep schedule, too much variation from day to day is not good (I know from experience and am still working on this).
13. Keep in touch with people.
14. Try to observe your negative thoughts as if you are a third person looking at your mind going at it instead of identifying with that negative mind. Once you do this you can try to be the third person in your head telling yourself positive things and refuting the negative.
15. Go to a support group of similar minds/interests.
17. Don't listen to negative music like death metal, it'll just make you feel worse. Even other music can cause nostalgia or make you feel like you should be doing something "cool" like partying. Jazz and classical are generally safe.
18. Watch a movie. They say comedy is really good but I think getting into a good sci-fi, fantasy, or deep movie can be even better. I recommend K-Pax, it is a psychology movie with Kevin Spacey.
19. Stay away from coffee, it can agitate you more.
20. Write a letter to a therapist (real or imagined) about how you feel and why you feel that way. If you plan on killing yourself, write a manifesto first, I have found that by the time I am halfway through my personal manifesto to the world of why I'm killing myself, I lost all the energy to actually do it.
21. Physical contact with family, friends, lovers can be very comforting. Let them hold you and cry if you need to cry.
22. Don't take yourself so seriously. Check out positive youtube videos, it can give you perspective and release the negativity you are holding on to.
That's all. Oh and feel free to post. I'll listen to you and help you out. We can commiserate together :)