Reading books and learning actually gets me out
of depression. The biggest pleasures in my life are art, science, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj25gRwsZmE
I wonder why social anxiety is common among people who are into science... maybe it's because of the nature to over-think and doubt everything, even ourselves.
I spent about 2 years of my life without a single friend; I became literally terrified of approaching people. then I finally said "f**k it," worst that can happen is they think I'm a weirdo or don't like me.
I have plenty of friends now, but I still get that old depressive pattern of thought sometimes... like before I go to a party or something, on the way there I sometimes feel physically ill like I could almost throw up... but I go there and first thing I do is force myself to open a conversation with someone I've never met before. I'm not gonna say I don't still get anxious now and then, but now I know that it's all in my head and that people like me if a loosen up and stop worrying.
to light_bulb, if your social anxiety is so bad. all I can say is get out of your comfort zone. go to a local show and try starting a conversation with random people about the band. ask the prettiest girl you see walking down the street for directions. just random things like that can be hard as hell, but the more you do it the more you realize there's no reason to be anxious about it. at least that's what worked for me.
I agree with everything you said, only difference is I would reverse the order of that and say try therapy/counseling before medicine.—
is it obvious that I'm not too fond of medication?... I'm no Tom Cruise, there are times when it's needed, but I think people are way too over-medicated in most cases.
and that's so true about exercise, no one else mentioned it. it sounds too simple to be true, but exercise really helps depression. I feel that since I've started doing weights, not only do I get that rush after I'm done, but also overall I feel healthier and better about myself. It also increases blood-flow and the flow of oxygen so it might even help you with studying and concentrating because you're thinking more clearly.
example of when medication is definitely needed: