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The Sister Scoop

Making Sense of Depression: 9 Ways to Manage

We have had an inordinate number of Anxiety Sisters write to us lately about feeling depressed—really depressed. Not being able to get out of bed depressed. Not washing their hair or brushing their teeth depressed. Not able to eat depressed. We’re not sure why all of a sudden we are hearing so much of this hopelessness, but we do understand all too well exactly what these women are experiencing.

Mags always says that anxiety makes you feel revved up (in the worst possible way, but revved up, nonetheless)—that, on some level, it is energizing. This makes sense because anxiety causes the body to engage the sympathetic nervous system whose job it is to prep for “fight or flight.” Thus the tense muscles, higher heart rate, etc.

Depression, on the other hand, makes you feel energy-less. Sucked dry. Flatlined, while still breathing. This explains the extreme fatigue, and general listlessness Depression Sisters report. (Which is not to say that anxiety can’t make you feel depleted or that depression can’t make you feel anger or other “energizing” emotions.)

Many of us feel, not only paralyzed when we are depressed, but also lacking a desire to do anything. What’s the point? we often find ourselves asking. Living in a joyless state doesn’t feel like living at all. For me, when I am depressed, I cannot see bright colors. Everything is muted and varying shades of brown and grey. And my body aches all over—like I have the flu.

So, despite having the same part of the brain affected (the amygdala) and the same medical treatments often prescribed (SSRIs, SNRIs and Benzos), anxiety and depression are usually experienced differently.

Before we talk about specific treatment strategies, we should mention that there are risk factors for depression including (1) trauma (2) grief (3) prior experience of anxiety (4) relocation and (5) drugs. While the connection between trauma and grief and depression may seem self-evident, the others require a bit of explanation. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), those who experience anxiety have a 60% chance of developing depression at some point thereafter. There are lots of theories about why this is the case, but the predominant assumption is that, once your amygdala becomes trigger happy, it becomes vulnerable to other disorders.

Relocation is a huge predictor of depression, especially in women, who often are pulled from a social support network when they move. Depression, like many brain disorders, is a very isolating condition. And, while anxiety sufferers often recognize how lonely they are, depression sufferers may not be aware of the extent of their alienation; that lack of energy mentioned above makes it difficult to distinguish precise feelings and even more difficult to try to do anything about them. Lack of connection to others both causes and exacerbates depressive symptoms.

Finally, although we must remind our readers that we are not medically trained, we feel it would be irresponsible not to mention that certain drugs are known to cause depression, namely Beta blockers, Statins (cholesterol meds), Proton pump inhibitors (stomach acid reducers like Prilosec and Nexium), Corticosteroids like prednisone, Hormones, and Anticonvulsants.

Ready for some irony? Benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium and Klonopin and SSRIs like Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro are notorious for causing depression, especially after long-term usage. Yes, you read that right: antidepressants cause depression for some people.

So, what can you do to help you manage your depression? Lots of things!

  1. Ask your prescriber to either change your dosage or switch your medication to a different drug in the same class if you think it is making you [more] depressed.
  2. Boost your Brain Vitamins: B6, B9 (Folic Acid) and B12. Go easy on the B6 if you are not used to taking it—sometimes it can make people anxious.
  3. Try a Light Therapy Box or just spending time in the sunlight, which increases your body’s Vitamin D levels.
  4. Limit or abstain from using recreational pot and alcohol, both of which are depressants.
  5. Try Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive and painless treatment (you basically sit under what looks like a hair dryer while your nerve cells get stimulated) which has shown much promise in research studies.
  6. Connect with another human being every day—face to face is best but phone calls work too. I have a buddy who stops by and checks on me every day when I’m going through a depression. Set one up now—even if you aren’t depressed. It makes a huge difference. If you can muster the energy, volunteering can really help with depression as it not only promotes social contact, but also gives you a sense of purpose and worth.
  7. Connect with a furry being. Petting a dog or cat (or rabbit or ferret or hamster) releases your body’s feel good chemical Oxytocin. The benefits are astounding including reduced blood pressure and a decrease in depression. If you don’t own a pet, visit one at a friend’s or neighbor’s or the local pet store or shelter.
  8. Join a support group. Excellent resources for this include:

9. Lastly, if you are in crisis and need help immediately, you can always text HELP to 741741, which is the free, confidential Crisis Text Line, open 24/7/365. If you text this service, you will immediately be connected with a trained counselor.

We hope this is helpful for all of our Depression Sisters out there. Please stay in touch with us–don’t go it alone!



  • Christina
    April 2, 2019

    Self-care is really important too!

  • Aretha Morce
    April 18, 2019

    Hi guys, I was just looking around and went across this thread. I was diagnosed to have severe depression 3 years ago and tried almost everything out there that “could” help. The only medication that worked best for me is medical cannabis. I perfectly understand that it’s not legal everywhere. At first, I was doubtful so I started doing my own research and read articles about marijuana. I found out that each marijuana strain has different uses for different diseases.

    • Abs
      May 1, 2019

      Yes, cannabis can be quite helpful for many people — especially the right strain. We have interviewed the Marijuana Mommy and we have a podcast with her. She has so much information about cannabis. Thanks for writing about your experience.
      mags and abs

  • Janeth L.
    May 30, 2019

    This article i s great and beneficial to people suffering depression.

  • Jamie Chapman
    July 16, 2019

    I’m so depressed. I’m tired of living this way.

    • Abs
      July 28, 2019

      Hi Jamie–

      We completely understand how you are feeling. Are you being treated for your depression?

      Sending love and hugs,
      Abs & Mags

    • Lynda Teue
      September 30, 2022

      I feel the same way. I’ve been on anti depressants and in Therapy For decades and I still wake up every morning wishing it Was all over..

  • Mikaela Smiths
    January 14, 2020

    Medical Marijuana can be used for Mental disorders, depression and bipolar disorder. Before using the Medical Marijuana, you should consult with license cannabis doctor. Taking marijuana without doctors prescription may cause many problems. If you choose Medical Marijuana, start “low and slow” to see how it responds. You should not expect an instant improvement in mood when starting it.

    • Kathleen Kubic
      September 1, 2021

      Good advice! There are so many strains – it’s important to take one that won’t make you feel worse.

  • Nikhil Deora
    August 6, 2020

    Your blog is really owesome and very helpful. I also write a blog on anxiety

  • Lisa Kent
    August 10, 2020

    Depressants can cause more anxiety and depression with some physical problems also. They can also cause a sense of inferiority in some people.

  • Caroline Archer
    September 6, 2020

    Great article!
    I have had agoraphobia for over 30 years now and have managed to carve out a life that gives me what I want for the most part. But around menopause depression hit and that I can’t fight as there simply is nothing in me to fight that with. I rather have agoraphobia! Ever since cannabis became legal here in Canada I’ve been taking THC oil and that is the only thing that will pull me out of a depressive episode. It seems to allow my brain to finally relax. I am still on meds for my agoraphobia, been on them for 15 or so years now so that may have played a role in getting depression.

    • Kathleen Kubic
      September 1, 2021

      Sending love! Menopause was a tough one for me – ugh . . . I take a THC tincture, and find that it helps calm my mind, as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathleen Kubic
    September 1, 2021

    Taking an antidepressant helps with my anxiety, but not much for depression. I can usually tell when my depression is “chemical” or caused by something going on in my life. I’m very interested in trying Psilocybin, as I’ve heard it can help with depression, in small doses. Has anyone tried it?

    Also, the last couple years have been really tough (ie; pandemic), and I do believe that has caused some of my depression lately. Best wishes to everyone that is struggling!

  • Vicki
    July 21, 2022

    Has anyone had success with Ketamine infusion treatments?
    I have major depression as well as GAD. Lucky me. Hard to differentiate sometimes between them. Been a lifelong ride with some periods of relief, but now unrelenting in my old age…75

  • Cecile Wall
    October 16, 2022

    Thx for article n distinguishing between depression n anxiety. Definitely full anxiety. No symp of depression. Definitely a benzo trea for years n do extended release so takes me through entire day functional n leveled. Do take beta blocker N statin med n didnt know that those and digestive meds could contribute to depression even mildly. I have some seasonal effective disorder n Take Vitamin D n try to get daily sunshine when possible


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