I have a simple rule when struggling with symptoms of depression: quit drinking immediately (at least, temporarily)!
When feeling overwhelmed by depressive symptoms, stop consuming alcohol (and/or taking drugs) immediately. Though a seemingly obvious point to make, it is easy to rationalize reaching for ‘a drink’ when stricken with painful symptoms, like hopelessness, guilt, regret – and especially, suicidal thinking. It can be very difficult to resist the bottle when symptoms are ‘throbbing’, but I believe it is a critical step to healing. At least, this was my experience. During the 13 months in counseling, for example, I gave up drinking. Anytime for that matter, when I felt my symptoms intensifying, I avoided alcohol. I didn’t trust exposing what I would describe during these times was a fragile and vulnerable state of mind to external chemical influence. As difficult as these ‘low’ points were in my life, I attribute my success in healing in my disorder (in part) to this very rule!