Depression is not fun. It's the opposite, actually; depression is characterized by symptoms such as decreased energy, fatigue, moving or talking more slowly, loss of interest in hobbies, and other not-fun things. Because depression is a seemingly endless assault of having your identity stripped away, it can be hard to try and do anything to combat the disease. I am well-aware of this, from experiencing my own and witnessing my friends struggle with theirs. And because I understand the struggle, I would like to share my favorite piece of advice: "Fake it 'til you make it."

It is advice often heard in show business. A counselor at the University of Iowa gave me this advice during our session. The advice didn't settle well with me at first. I wasn't a fan of the word "fake." It made the premise seem, well, fake. However, I applied his advice to my daily life and, over the course of the weekend, my low mood began to improve. I wasn't cured, but I had a new tool to use. My approach was this: do something that involved being social that, under normal circumstances, you would want to do, but your depression is making you want to hide away in your room.

Here are some examples of "faking it" that I've gotten good results from:

1. Hang out with your friends.

Sarah Bridgeport

Go to the movies. Go to a friend's house. Go to brunch. Even though it's hard, leaving your house helps. Do fun things with your friends that you all like, i.e. cooking or watching comedy on Netflix. Netflix with friends is better than Netflix alone.

2. Go to a party.

Sarah Bridgeport

I am, personally, someone who would rather stay in than go to a party. However, parties can serve as a gateway for hanging out with friends. Sometimes, the best part of a party is the afterparty, where groups split off to go things like hang out and get milkshakes.

3. Go to class (and/or work).

coffee, tea, beer, pizza, cake
Victoria Li

You'd be surprised at how your favorite professor can light up your day with a witty remark. Plus, it's always nice to check in with sleeping kid in the back, make sure he's doing okay. But seriously, depression doesn't deserve to keep you from your classes. Your education matters. And your job is a place that will keep you busy, which can be a nice distraction. Like your mother said, stay in school.

4. Work out.

pizza, tea, cake, coffee
Jenny Whidden

It's been scientifically proven that working out improves mood. It's a great excuse to listen to that new album you bought, or watch that new season of the show you love on Netflix.

5. Shower.

coffee, egg
Li Stalder

It seems simple, but when depression is around, taking care of yourself can be hard. So plan on a long, warm shower. Listen to music, sing along, vibe on those great acoustics. Eat an orange, if that's your thing. Or, if you're not feeling those options, just let the warm water wash over you.

I hope that faking it serves you well. And, if all else fails, just remember that you are not alone.