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Living With Depression

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: September 2023

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious mental health condition that can affect every aspect of your life. Living with this condition can be tough, but there are ways to manage it and find the help you need. You can cope with the symptoms and reach out for the support you deserve.1

Balancing life's demands

Juggling MDD alongside parenting, work, or school can feel overwhelming.


Parenting with MDD has unique challenges. Being pulled in many directions and trying to stay present can be exhausting and stressful. If there are people in your life who can help, be sure to ask them. Ask them to watch your kids for a while or make a meal for your family. Try to find the balance between giving love and attention to others and giving it to yourself.2


MDD can have a big impact on a student's school life. It can make it hard to focus on schoolwork, finish assignments, and take part in class activities. MDD can also lead to tiredness, changes in sleep, and trouble making decisions. This can all make it tough to do well in school.3,4

Individualized education plans (IEPs) and 504 plans can provide extra support at school and set up students with MDD for success. Talk to your child’s teachers and school staff about your child’s needs to get them the help and support they need.3,4

Work and finances

Major depression can affect your ability to do well at work. You may struggle with concentration, decision-making, and meeting job requirements. These can lead to decreased productivity and performance.5,6

Having trouble completing your work also may affect your income. It may lead to missing workdays or even losing your job, which can cause financial stress. But you are entitled to accommodations and disability rights in the workplace through the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). These may include adjustments to workload or work schedule.5,6

Facing sexual changes

Depression can change how people feel about themselves and their partners. This may lead to changes in their desire for sex. Some people might feel embarrassed or alone because of how society looks at mental health conditions like MDD. Also, depression can make it hard to get in the mood for sex or even want to be physically close to someone else.7

Along with the condition itself, some drugs used to treat depression can have side effects that make it tricky to enjoy sex. If you experience these issues, talk to your doctor to find ways to manage your depression while reducing sexual changes.7

Finding healthy ways to cope

Living with depression can feel like riding a roller coaster of emotions. Some days might be harder than others, and that is okay. It is not your fault. Depression is a health condition that may get better or worse at times.1

Finding healthy ways to cope can make a big difference. Plan your tasks in advance and set small, achievable goals. This can make meeting daily responsibilities more manageable. Practicing self-care and seeking professional advice are important ways to manage your mental health.8

Also, make sure to engage in things you enjoy and spend time with loved ones. Trying relaxation techniques like deep breathing or mindfulness also may help you navigate the rough patches.1

Remembering to take your medicines

Forgetting to take your medicine happens to everyone sometimes. But it is important to follow your treatment plan consistently, or your MDD symptoms may get worse. Try these ways to help you stay on track:9

  • Set an alarm on your phone for the times you need to take a pill.
  • Take your pills at the same time every day.
  • Use a pill organizer.

Take your medicines as prescribed by your doctor. Taking more or less of them can be dangerous or even life-threatening.9

Traveling with MDD

Going on a trip can be a peaceful getaway, yet it might also bring stress and impact your mental well-being. If you have MDD, traveling might make your symptoms worse. Some tips for travel include:10

  • Talk to your doctor to discuss your travel plans.
  • Consider travel insurance in case you need to cancel.
  • Bring enough medicine so you can continue to take it as directed. Many pharmacies can provide you with medicines early or help you get your medications on your trip if you are out of town.
  • Before you leave home, locate mental health services at your destination.

Breaking down barriers

Stigma can be one of the toughest parts of living with major depression. Stigma means that some people might not understand what you are going through and might judge you unfairly. This can be extra hard when it involves those closest to you.11

Your depression does not define you. Educating others about mental health and sharing your story can help break down these barriers. Surround yourself with people who support you as much as possible. It will make a positive impact on your well-being.11

Empowering yourself

While living with MDD can be challenging, self-management can empower you to take charge of your life. This involves learning about your triggers and warning signs and finding healthy ways to manage them. This also means knowing when to ask for help.12

Furthermore, self-management means adopting lifestyle habits that will improve your overall health, including:12

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Getting enough sleep

Embracing support and hope

Overall, try to find a balance between life's demands and self-care. You have the strength to face challenges, seek support, and embrace the joy in life. You deserve to live a life full of hope, support, and well-being. And remember that you are not alone in this journey. Reach out, seek help, and take each step forward with confidence – a brighter path lies ahead.

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