Hi! My name is Chris, from Australia. I was depressed for years.
I tried medication but had funny side effects. NOT saying that you should stop your medication, but I tried to explore natural less expensive ways to treat myself.
I realised I wasn't sleeping well, maybe if I could improve my sleep I could improve my health and thus depression. After getting a blood test from DR and sleep study I ruled out any major issues and sleep apnea. One day, sitting at a lake during a calm peaceful time, I started to just look at myself and my situation. It then became clear, that I was spending so much time, worrying, and feeling bad for my situation, but doing pretty much NOTHING to improve it. (besides the Dr). So I decided to focus, in a gentle way on doing the following FIVE things:
1. Methodically improving my sleep. Getting information on sleep, making my room clean and comfortable (includijng washing my sheets regularly and vacuuming and tidying regularly)/. I bought fresh air plants that were used by NASA pilots (you can google it if interested), to clean the bedroom air. I bought new bedding. A new mattress (if you don't have much money, you can contact your local charity centres / ask around and they will usually have a mattress avail for pickup. If you don't have a matea with a ute just hire one for the day and grab a friend to help you move it).
Then I bought a new organic pillow. It was the key!!! I have been having great sleep, its so amazing, before I fall asleep i can even see my dreams happening while I am awake!! I went from sleeping at, say, a 3 or 4 out of 10, to a 9/10!!
(not saying that buying an organic pillow will be the key for you, but I hope all this is food for thouight. The place where you lay your head for 8 hours a night should be pleasant, comfortable and easy to breathe. Same for your room).
2. Adding two things that I do at least once a week for health. I am doing meditation, and yoga once a week.
3. Improve my diet. I gave up refined sugar and caffeine as a good friend told me he had done that and felt so much calmer, and was sleeping better and no longer anxious!!! Well I do too, and no longer get anxious easily. (YMMV). Note: finding foods that do not contain refined sugar can be tough in the U.S. But there are plenty of other ways to add flavour to foods, that taste just as good. Even sweet desserts can made without sugar
4. Lifting my spirits by meeting friends / joining a meetup group, and ATTENDING it once a week. This is so useful. Its nice to have something that makes you feel a part of society. Volunteering is also amazing at lifiting your spirit. I helped a disabled person withdraw money once after he asked me, and I tell you, just doing that one thing made my whole friggin morning. It is so humbling , and such a good feeling to help others in need that you cannot put into words. Please try it. Do a course if you have to, so you can do volunteering with people.
5. I didn't become obsessive about any of this. See, even if your depression might not even be cleared by these things. Just allow yourself to try these things, and enjoy the feeling of gain in control you get from improving your health, your sleep, your life.
Improvements can take time, don't rush, but just start instituting changes in your life bit-by-bit, and you will see they will slowly start to improve. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Best wishes and may your radiant health, help lift your spirits!