Patient Blogs | Depression
I Just Got Diagnosed With Depression, Now What?
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Getting diagnosed with depression can be scary if you don’t know much about it. It can also be scary if you’re familiar with depression. If you don’t have people in your life who are open about their mental health, you may not know anyone with mental illness. When I was first diagnosed, I was met with people in my life who didn’t know much about depression or how to help someone with it.

When I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 16 years old, I didn’t know anyone with mental illness, or so I thought. I felt alone in my diagnosis because I couldn’t talk to anyone in my life about what the next steps were or what to expect. If you’re in the same boat, don’t worry, I’ll tell you how it is and your next steps.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. Having a mental illness isn’t your fault. It isn’t something that should make you feel bad about yourself either. The stigma against mental illness is so unfortunate because it makes it even more difficult for those that struggle with it. It’s not your fault if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness. More people struggle with their mental health than it seems on the outside.

Embrace and utilize mental health treatment. Seeing a psychiatrist, going on medication, talking to a therapist, developing positive coping skills, and prioritizing your mental health are all very important tasks when you have a mental illness. This is something that I try to keep in mind as often as possible. When I feel my mental health start to get worse, I evaluate how much I’ve been utilizing my mental health treatment. If I have been lacking in keeping up with my treatment, I try to prioritize my mental health more. Seeing my therapist again is the first thing I do in this situation. This way I can talk through my current emotions with my therapist and see what other steps they think I should take. 

Be honest with yourself and your support system about how you’re feeling. One of the biggest reasons I was able to survive being suicidal was because I was honest with myself and my loved ones. I could have brushed it off or been in denial that I was struggling that much. Instead, I knew this wasn’t the way I should be feeling and something needed to be done about it. The way my life and treatment were going, I saw myself only getting worse.

If you feel suicidal or have suicidal thoughts, tell someone. Keep telling someone if you aren’t receiving the mental health treatment you need. I had to tell multiple people several times that I was suicidal. It is nothing against them, but it’s hard to hear that someone you love is suicidal. But continuing to tell people I was suicidal may have saved my life.

Be vulnerable, even if it’s scary. Being vulnerable first about how your mental health is doing encourages others to be open about theirs as well. You never know if the person standing in front of you has experienced depression before but doesn’t want to be the first to bring it up. 

Don’t look at this diagnosis as something that will have a complete hold on your life. It is something that is a part of your life but not your whole life. You can still live a wonderful and beautiful life with depression. 


Connect with other people who are living with depression by joining our Depression Facebook Support Group.




Photo Credit: Westend61 / Westend61 via Getty Images

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Katharine Hartleb

Katharine Hartleb

Diagnosed since 2014

Katharine Hartleb was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2014, at age 16. She has a passion for helping others and plans on becoming a mental health counselor. Hartleb lives in Charleston, SC, and is a recovery coach at a substance use disorder facility. She is also a young adult presenter for NAMI, sharing her personal story. Connect with her through her personal Instagram and her kat4kindness Instagram.

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