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Manage Your Time

Tips for Staying in Control of Your Life (Prevention) 

It is true that some forms of depression may not be preventable. That's because depression may be triggered by a chemical malfunctioning in the brain.

But the latest medical studies confirm that depression may sometimes be prevented with good health habits. Taking care of yourself by following good health habits may help you both physically and emotionally. We recommend:

  • Eating well
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking time out for fun and relaxation
  • Thinking positively, replacing negative thoughts with more positive ideas

What Else to Do When Feeling Sad or Worried 

  • Talk with someone every day, preferably face to face. Though you feel like retreating and being alone, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you.
  • Spend time with people who are not depressed or substance users. This can make you feel better.
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs. They will only make you feel worse.
  • Make a schedule for yourself every day and stick to it, even if you don’t think you have the energy or aren’t in the mood.
  • Do not skip meals or any of your CF therapies, and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Get outside or into nature for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Make time for things that bring you joy. Spend more time doing things that you enjoy.
  • Include at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Myth Busters

  • There are no cures for depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Fact: Treatment can help. Studies show that there are many highly effective treatments available. But people respond differently to different treatments. What might work for some may not work for others. This is why it's important to seek professional help to determine the right treatment program for you.

  • Depression, anxiety and substance abuse are not real medical problems.

Fact: These are all real and serious conditions. The medical community has recognized the seriousness of these disorders. So it is important to let your medical provider know if you are having trouble with any of these issues.

  • Depression and anxiety are something that strong people can “snap out of” by being positive.

Fact: No one chooses to be depressed or anxious  — just like no one chooses to have CF. People with depression or anxiety cannot just “snap out of” their problems.

  • Depression and anxiety will just go away on their own.

Fact: While for some people depression or anxiety may go away without treatment, this is not usually the case. Without treatment, symptoms of depression can continue for weeks, months or even years.

Depression can lead to suicide, the third-leading cause of death for 18 to 24-year-olds, highlighting the importance of seeking treatment. The good news is that most people do get better with treatment.

  • Medications will change your personality.

Fact: Taking medicine that changes your brain chemistry can be scary. However, antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications are designed to change only certain chemicals that cause the symptoms of depression or anxiety. They do not change your personality.

Most people who take antidepressants are actually happy to feel like themselves again, instead of feeling like a different person when depressed. It is best to speak with your doctor about the side effects of any medication.

  • Talking about depression or anxiety only makes it worse.

Fact: It is easy to understand why someone might be worried about discussing his or her depression. But being alone with your thoughts is even more harmful.

If you are hesitant to discuss difficulties you might be facing with a close family member or friend, think about other people in your life. These could be spiritual leaders or school or employee health counselors who would be willing to discuss your struggles with you. It could also be a member of your CF team.

If, at any point, you feel so overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and hopelessness that you are considering hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK for help.

  • Treatment for depression, anxiety and/or substance abuse should be a one-shot deal.

Fact: Like many other illnesses, these are usually long term. Many people often need more than one session of therapy to treat these conditions.  You may need just a few sessions to feel better and a few months later need more counseling to get through another rough patch.

  • There should be a standard treatment program for everyone.

Fact: One treatment method is not always right for everyone. The best programs develop an individual treatment plan based on a full understanding of your current problems and history. The plan may combine a variety of methods adapted to address your specific needs.

A plan may include behavioral therapy (such as counseling or cognitive therapy), medications or a combination. Referrals to other medical, psychological and social services may also be important parts of treatment.

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Updated 12/26/12

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.