PSA to anyone in the Knoxville area who might need a therapist: Nancy Davis at East Tennessee Behavioral Health is really, really good. With me she does pretty much straight CBT (that's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you perverts! *grinlet*), but I'd be willing to bet she has a range of techniques for different people and different issues.
ETA: fatfred asked about the tools I use to recognize and cope. I'm copying the comment I left, since I think it's important, and this will make it easier for me to find it again when I need it.
The tools came from therapy. My pdoc, Nancy Davis, is really sharp, and she doesn't let me get away with shit. With me, she uses primarily Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which operates from the premise that thoughts basically control emotions, and that by reframing thought, a person can reshape emotional response. Obviously, that's not a 100% correlation, but for me (and, apparently, a lot of other people) it's a sufficiently good model.
A very basic example of CBT might be dealing with how a person feels after making a mistake. This is not exaggerated; I'm speaking from my own history.
Pre-therapy: I can't do anything right. I suck. The world would be a better place without me. I'm an awful person and don't deserve my good job or my friends or anything (and on and on and on).
Post-therapy (and assuming a reasonably stable neurochem state): Well, that wasn't one of my better moves. How can I fix it? Can I keep it from happening again?
So for dealing with the ongoing neurochem depression, I take an antidepressant. Right now, that's Prozac. For dealing with the bouts of Depression, some of the tools involved:
- Being more self-conscious/self-aware. Not in the shy, "Everyone's staring at me" way, but in the "keeping track of my state" way. Kind of like Scanners, in the short story "Scanners Live in Vain".
- Learning to recognize the patterns of actions that Depression causes: I can see those before I become aware of the mental/emotional state, if that makes sense.
- Training myself to believe that which I do know intellectually: This will pass.
- Training myself to "fake it 'til I make it"; that is, to follow my routine: get up, eat food, take meds, go to work, shuffle paper. *grin*
- Training myself to, once I recognize the onset of Depression, run everything I say through a conscious, intellectual filter. That's the hardest. I spend a lot of time biting my tongue (or sitting on my hands) in order to filter out the self-destructive / hateful stuff and only pass the neutral or constructive bits.