I think the healthy way of looking at a diagnosis of depression is to view it as finding out you will need glasses for the rest of your life and as something that is not curable, but treatable and livable. It is something that you will probably have for the rest of your life, and there is no cure, so looking at it as similar to getting a prescription for glasses is very apt. However, even though there is no cure, there are many treatment options and many coping skills you can learn that will lessen your pain, and that is a goal worth working toward on a daily basis. Depression is not curable, but it is treatable. When treated, depression can go into temporary remission multiple-to-many times over the years, and working toward remission is a very healthy approach to take. It is important to continue to see your psychiatrist, take your medicine on time every day, and see a therapist once a week or more if you need it, especially in times of crisis, like when you’re feeling suicidal. You also need to keep track of things you do or think that help you feel better or function better, and write them down in a centralized location. You can write each tool on its own index card, and you can store the index cards in a shoe box, so that you can build a “toolbox” of helpful ideas to rifle through when you’re in pain and need a coping tool, or as many coping tools as it takes to lessen your pain. If you build your toolbox, you will soon have a wealth of healthy coping skills that can make your life more bearable.
If you are a person with depression reading this, this is what I want to say to you: Accept your depression, make peace with it, and then move forward with the hope of treatment and remission. Stay vigilant in keeping your appointments and taking your medicine. Start to build your tool box, and use it when you’re in pain, even if that means you are using it all day, every day. You cannot be cured, but your pain can be managed. Remember that you are your best and only advocate as a patient, and you need to write things down to take to your doctors’ appointments so that they can treat you appropriately. Don’t rely on only your memory to communicate with your doctor, because memory is fickle and fallible, and doubly so with a mental illness already in play. If you become suicidal, tell someone and let them help you. Do not be afraid to go to the hospital, because that is the quickest, most effective way to improve your mental state and make your brain livable again.
Please also remember that you are the person most likely to save your life.