Find a quiet place. This can be your room, your kitchen table, or your back porch -- wherever you feel that you are most comfortable and can work uninterrupted for at least an hour. Try to journal for at least one hour every day.
Grab your journal. Your journal can be as simple as a composition notebook to something as fancy as a monogrammed, leather bound journal. Ultimately, your journal should be something that you can keep and review periodically.
Start by asking yourself a few pointed questions and reflecting on the answers before you start writing. A few questions to consider are things such as:
1. How do I feel?
2. How long have I felt this way?
3. Is there a specific event that made me feel this way?
4. How do I perceive myself right now? (sad, angry, frustrated, empty?)
Answer these in as much detail as you can.
Everytime you journal ask yourself these questions and review your answers from the previous journaling session, the previous week, last month, etc.
Chart your emotions. Each time you journal list your basic emotions and rate them on a scale from one to five -- five being the worst i.e. not manageable. One being the best, i.e completely manageable.
Anger - 1
Sadness - 3
Apathy - 2
Agitation - 3
Anxiety - 2
Use whatever emotions you feel are applicable to your unique situation.
Review your emotional chart and four questions every few days to see what kind of progress your making and to get a general overview of how you're feeling on a day to day basis.
Take some time to just journal. This may not come as naturally to some people as others -- but it's always worth the effort and a great way to learn more about yourself. When you journal you don't have to have a specific set of questions to answer or even a specific thought pattern -- just write down what comes to mind -- what you feel like talking about. This is a great way to let your subconscious mind loose allowing you to plumb your emotional depths.
Lastly, after reviewing your answers and emotional chart -- ask yourself if you're feeling better. Is journaling doing the trick or do you need some more help? What about a therapist? Talking to a parent or trusted friend? What about visiting clergy? Check in with your local college or university to see what services they might be able to offer.
The best thing to do when you're depressed is to be PROACTIVE! i.e. FIGHT! Don't just stay at home hiding under the covers -- get out, meet friends for coffee, most importantly -- talk to someone! You're not alone in your struggle with depression -- millions of people have been there before and millions more have successfully recovered from depression. Remember, this too shall pass. Just give it time and thought. You can do it.