depression lies

When he was 23, my friend Steve killed himself, and though I don’t think of him every day, I do think of him often, and I wonder what kind of life he’d have now if he’d gotten help for his Depression. Being 40 and recalling being 23, I can’t imagine a person ending a life that is just beginning.

I thought about Steve today when I read Jenny Lawson’s post about suicide and depression.

Jenny says:

Talking about suicide makes me think suicidal thoughts, which is probably one of the stupidest triggers in the history of the world.

 

Nonetheless, it’s important that we do speak up and that we’re aware of the dangers inherent in the world we live in.  And it’s not just about those of us with mental illness.  About one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.  That means if you think about your 10 favorite people in the whole world two of them could be at risk of suicide.  That’s why it’s so important to recognize the warning signs and to know how to get help for yourself or others.  If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide call 800-273-TALK, or click here for resources.

 

But for today let’s talk about the positives.  Let’s talk about why we’re still here.  Let’s talk about the words that help us get through.  Let’s talk about the pictures and places and songs that saved us, because maybe they can save others.

 

I’m here because my daughter saves me every day.

 

The words that help me make it through are “Depression lies.”

 

I haven’t ever talked about this in public, but today’s a good day to start.

I haven’t ever felt suicidal, but I do have Depression and Anxiety. I suffered for no good reason for decades, until I couldn’t reconcile my awesome life with feeling terrible all the time. Talking therapy wasn’t ever enough for me, and I was very resistant to medication, because I believed (and continue to believe) that we are an over-medicated culture.

But, still, I wouldn’t just sit around and suffer if I had a treatable non-mental illness, so I went to a doctor, and I got better. Now, I take some medication every morning, and it has made all the difference in my life.

I remember the first week after I started meds, Anne and I were out for a walk. I felt her hand in mine, and realized that I didn’t have any lingering tension or unhappiness just buzzing around in my skull. I was just enjoying a walk with my wife, and holding her hand.

And I began to cry, because I was so happy.

“It’s like I was in a loud room for so long, I didn’t know how loud it was,” I said, “and all I have now is the ringing in my ears.”

She squeezed my hand and I said, “I’m going to remember that ringing in my ears, so I never go back into that room again.”

That was about four years ago, and I’m happy to say that I’ve stayed out of the room. I can actually enjoy my friends, my family, and my life. I have bad days from time to time, but I know they’ll pass, and — most important of all — I may have Depression, but Depression doesn’t have me. I know that’s sort of corny, but it’s pretty accurate, too.

So, please, if you or someone you know suffer from Depression — with or without thoughts of suicide — please talk to someone, and get help from a doctor. As Jenny says, Depression lies, and you don’t need to let it control your life.

324 thoughts on “depression lies”

  1. Beautifully written. The lies of depression took my 20 year old nephew – it’s as real of a disease as cancer, yet society still doesn’t want to acknowledge it.
    I’ve suffered, as you have, from depression and anxiety, and while never suicidal, I ache for the years that weren’t ‘completely there’- and the effects it must have had on my children. They are both wonderful young adults now, and proud geeks!, and I try not to worry too much about every time they express some sadness …
    Thank you for your post.

  2. This shocks me, and then again, it doesn’t. I mean, you come across as a pretty upbeat, happy guy. I wouldn’t have thought you would suffer from depression. On the other hand, I know how pervasive depression is, as I too, have dealt with it for many years, and many people have told me they, too, suffer from it. This is just one more thing you and I have in common (there are several!). I guess I know why I enjoy following your blog so much. Thanks for telling us about this. It was a courageous thing to do.

    1. The thing is, is that sometimes it’s the upbeatedness that we use to hide our incipient depression. I know I do. I’ve been lucky enough not to sink low enough to need medication (I think, (ex) loved ones may think differently), but I’m slowly coming around to the fact that they’re not a sign of giving in. More a sign that you’re willing to fight for your (quality of) life.

  3. TIL that I helped keep a friend that’s like a little brother from making any ultimately drastic decisions 6 years ago… and… I never knew just how ultimate those drastic decisions might have been until just tonight. And then I read this post (Wil, I knew you were awesome to begin with, but really, thank you for showing me something that otherwise would’ve taken me a long time to realize) and the comments below and I just… wow. I don’t know what to say. Wish I could give him a hug… but he’s 400 miles away. :(

  4. Depression does lie. And I very much needed this tonight, thank you Wil Wheaton. I was, for lack of a better word, having an episode. I was down, and thinking of using bad coping methods. But then I got on Facebook and found the link to this post. And I read it, and I read the comments. It helped. So thank you. It also convinced me that I need to finally take that plunge and ask for medication. I can’t go through life in that room, which is, honestly, a good description for how it feels. So thank you for that as well.

  5. I am Mohican Indian and I was first diagnosed with PTSD when I was 23 years old. Shortly after I was also diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee as a way to start my recovery by pursuing my passion in the fine arts specializing in drawing and painting. While at the university I met a Blackfoot Indian art student who ironically was in every class of my first semester. We became natural study partners. He shared with me that he too had PTSD. He became my dear friend. One day I called his house and discovered that the line was disconnected. I had a sinking feeling and searched the obituaries. I unfortunately found his obituary. I didn’t know what happened for sure when I remembered he had a sister that went to his same high school. So I searched a site online and found her and wrote to her. She gave me her number and I called her in California from Wisconsin. She confirmed my worst nightmare, that my friend had committed suicide. I haven’t really painted ever since then. I had to go to a grief support group years later to deal with the tragedy. He was a beautiful creative soul. I miss him dearly still.

  6. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have also struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life, but am now on meds which help. I also have a Psychiatric Service Dog, and she makes all the difference.

    I recently discovered an awesome public awareness campaign, Bring Change 2 Mind. http://bringchange2mind.org/ I took their pledge to stand up against the stigma of mental illness. It’s scary, but I’m getting better at being open about it.

    I’ve signed up for a fundraising walk for mental health awareness, the 2012 NAMI Walks — National Alliance on Mental Illness — I’ve joined the Bring Change 2 Mind walking team. Could you please help spread the word about this fundraiser? Visit http://namiwalks.org/ for more info.

    And here’s the link to my fundraising page: http://namiwalks.nami.org/IziEziWalkSponsorship
    =”/ I hope that’s okay to share also.

  7. I’ve made a couple attempts to kill myself. First was foiled by a bad firing pin. Second was foiled by projectile vomiting (the cleanup is unpleasant enough to resist similar attempts). There’s been some days that I’m glad neither time worked. But unfortunately, more days than not, I wish it had. Most nights, I go to bed, hoping that I won’t wake up the next day, disgusted with myself that I can’t find the guts to try again and do it right. Medication has never worked right. Sometimes it makes things worse, usually it just does nothing but cost money and taste bad, maybe make me a little sick in the stomach. The doctors that accept my Frankensurance seem to fall into one of only two camps… those who give a damn, but are so overworked they’re not really capable of making a difference, or those who don’t give a damn, and just want to get an hour of billing for 5 minutes of small talk. I don’t have family to turn to, and most of my friends aren’t very close either, and even if they aren’t of a mindset that they just can’t understand someone wanting to kill themselves, or react by claiming, “If you were serious about this you’d just do it instead of talking about it,” they just get frustrated when a few cliches they learned in an after school special don’t magically make everything all better right away.

    I live most of my life feeling like I’m riding a bus and missed my stop, but I can’t bring myself to get off now in the middle of nowhere, even though the bus isn’t going anywhere, but just getting further from where I was supposed to be.

    Please, don’t waste time begging me to “seek help” or call hotlines, that’s not why I shared this. It’s just so some of you who read this may get a better idea that for some people, there’s no easy solution, no magic pill, not therapy group or support network that’s going to make the problems go away. I’m going to live with my suffering until a day comes along when I can stop living with it. It’s highly unlikely that I’m the only one who has to feel like this all the time, some others probably do as well. So when you interact with them, try not to be a dick and give them shit about “it’s all just a cry for attention” or some bs like that, and also don’t assume that because you’re happy and fine, that nagging someone else to cheer up and be happy is going to work, or even going to not make them feel worse. Tread carefully with your loved ones when they suffer from depression, suicidal or not. No matter what you think you know, you probably don’t know what they are going through.

  8. Thank you. These sorts of revelations and stories of getting through are like the blazes hikers paint on trees along a trail. They leave it to you to get there, but point the way with assurance that others have made it.
    Many years ago. I pulled a knife from my suicidal brother’s hand. I was six and couldn’t understand what happened except that it was bad. Months ago I pulled another knife from my son’s hand when he turned to it after a devastating loss. We’re all linked by the same bad brain chemistry and all help each other to find the light when the ro goes dark.

    With blogs like this, the helping hands increase in number and increase the likelihood that something someone says will lead another to put down their knife when it counts.

  9. Great post Wil. Breaking the silence on mental health issues such as depression can inspire others do the same and seek help, as I am sure was your intention on suicide prevention day. http://www.mindcheck.ca is another great resource, especially for those who may be reluctant to seek help or unsure if they should. Dr. David Aboussafy, R.Psych. Clinical Psychologist

  10. Thanks for sharing. Depression is an ass of a problem to live with. I have to constantly remind myself that I have an amazing life and to be positive. Ups and downs happen, but sometimes we just focus on the downs.

    It helps to know you are not alone out there.

  11. I don’t know how I feel about this post, though I’m glad you felt comfortable on your 2nd day back home to really get your feet wet – because thats why I read your blogs. I only admit my confused feelings because a year and a half ago my mother committed suicide, and I don’t know how I feel about that, still. A VERY large part of me is VERY angry at her, and on some level I’m sure she was depressed, but to go into the details of her mental illness and over-medicated life would be too long of a comment. But this is also the first time I’ve ever written about it online – to a bunch of people that don’t know me, won’t talk to me and won’t judge me about my intense anger towards her for, what I perceive to be, her selfishness. At least, I don’t think you’ll judge me.

      1. dbrunin – I appreciate that sentiment, but honestly? I don’t know how sorry I am, so I always feel totally awkward when someone says that because I instantly dismiss it with “oh its no big deal.” – when clearly it is one. I thought it was interesting Wil posted this when he did, my mother’s birthday was on 9/9, she would’ve been 55 years old. And just typing out “would’ve been” irritates me to no end and the cycle just continues on. My entire family splintered apart when she died, so now no one talks to each other and my sister that “helped take care of her while she was sick” holds it against me that I didn’t support my mother’s decision to kill herself – cause THAT makes sense right? – so I spent the day sitting alone on my couch watching Battlestar Galactica because my sister and my stepfather went scuba diving down to Miami where her headstone was made part of the living reef down there. Which is cool, except I don’t dive and have no interest in it. So I can’t even go see that. :( I was considering going to some random headstone at some random cemetery – what do you think?

  12. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your experience. My 23 yr old nephew committed suicide after a failed relationship. He was (we thought) a happy go lucky guy who never let anything get him down. Eight years later his 12 year old daughter attempted to follow his example. Thankfully she failed, finally received the help she was in desperate need of (her dr at the time didn’t believe a 12 year old would attempt suicide, despite her history). The experience of losing someone we loved and cared about, opened our eyes to the realities of depression and how many ways it lies to us. My own eyes were opened again when I began taking Zoloft several years ago. I had no idea how unhappy/anxious/depressed I had become until shortly after. Ten days into the meds 16 year old daughter told me flat out “You are so much calmer and fun to be around now. Never go off your meds Mom!” Ouch… but other than regular an occasional med change and counseling, I’m still calmer and fun to be around 12 years later:-)
    Suck it up and put on a happy face only works for so long, when it stops working it’s okay to seek help.

  13. And yet through all of this nobody has mentioned (I don’t think–there’s a liitle TL;DR going on in my head here) that September is National Suicide Awareness month.

    1. …and I can’t tell you how many times i’ve worked the crisis line or have done screenings in emergency rooms. It’s always immensely emotional, particularly when it’s soneone young. Part chemistry, part culture, part mind and part heart. Support your local community Suicide Prevention services. Help spread the word.

  14. Thank you for sharing this, especially mentioning anxiety. I have pretty severe anxiety problems, which goes hand in hand with depression i guess. I don’t feel like i have a reason to be this way, and i’m nineteen so it scares me to think i might always have it. Its weird how physical the pain can be, the constant anxiety feels like a mechanical squid latched on to my stomach and heart. Odd simile, but never mind. Thank you, again, for sharing.

    1. I have anxiety disorder, and mine showed up when I was nineteen. It doesn’t go away, but it’s manageable. I’m now 27, since it hit I finished college, got a master’s degree, and moved half way across the country for a kick-ass job. I got help a few months after the anxiety disorder first hit me, and meds got me over the worst of it then. I got help again again three years later when it flared up with a vengeance, did some cognitive behavioral therapy to actually treat the anxiety, and got it to the point that I don’t need meds to manage it. It still flares up from time to time, but nothing like it used to. Now it’s kind of like having a bum knee that aches when the weather is bad. Sure it can be annoying, but it’s manageable.

  15. Thank you Wil. I think if someone like you explains that you can’t just “pull yourself together and decide to be happy”, it helps a lot for other people affected with depression. There are situations in which you can fight your own brain, and situations in which you cannot.

    Now here I was, planning to write “thankfully I never was so depressed or anxious I had to take meds”, then I remembered that I actually did take an antidepressant some years ago hoping it would help with the social anxiety that made me unable to work for some months. I just don’t feel “sick enough” to make qualified comments about it. I’m really not depressed, I’m just sometimes-sad-with-no-reason, and (most of the time) scared of people, and I would probably end up drinking at work (because I have to talk to people) if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m driving there and I’ll never drink + drive. No matter how scary life is, it doesn’t get better when you do stupid/unreasonable/dangerous things. (Luckily in my case this thought has also been sufficient to keep me from SI for years. I know there are others for whom it is not that easy. On the other hand, “it could be worse” doesn’t really help me when I’m scared of going to the office kitchen to get coffee because there are PEOPLE in there. Meh.)

    And this is why I should stick to Twitter. The character limit keeps me from writing too much. ;p
    (Why should I even post this? Will it help anybody? Will it help me? Well, maybe someone will reply with “hey I’m only half mentally ill, too, and here’s a solution for all your problems: $solution. BTW you use too many brackets.”)

  16. Good to know I’m not alone with this. Although my depression is connected to the fact that I was diagnosed with MS two years ago and every time the illness strikes me the depression does as well and nothing really helps against it. Or at least nothing the doctors have found so far…

  17. Thank you, Will, for sharing this. I too would never have thought you to be person suffering from depression, but it feels ‘good’ to know that we’re not alone in this.

    I too have been suffering from depression in the past, even though medication never worked for me, I have grown out of it over de years it seems. Only after some drastic changes in my life, like going from high school to university and cutting all ties with my past, except for family, everything seemed to get better. However, until somewhere at the end of last year I never realized how much of a disease depression really is and that it’s not your own fault you are suffering from it. I’ve heard a million times that there are people that are worse off than me and I yes, during that time I have always wondered if I it was imaginary and if I wasn’t exaggerating everything. Still, I was suicidal and automutilation wasn’t strange to me either.

    Not until somewhere at the end of last year I realized I’ve had some down moment in the past years which were actually caused by things going on at that moment (abusive relationship, near burn out), but even though I sometimes thought everything would be easier if I just wasn’t here, I have never felt that complete hopelessness I’ve felt during my years of depression. This made me realize that depression really is a disease and that depression really does lie.

    Now I hope I never have to deal with this disease myself again, even though statistics are against me and chances of a recurring disease are very well there. I know I have my ups and downs, but never have they gotten as worse as when I was having a real depression and I hope it stays this way.

  18. It’s actually tragic, given how many people suffer from depression at least once in their lives, how much we still stigmatise sufferers and make people try to keep their feelings buried. It always helps when people like you, who many people look up to and admire, are open and honest about their feelings. Even if you never know it, Wil, this post may have saved someone. Thanks.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s important for people to know that depression can hit anyone. I’ve dealt with depression for over 20 years with both talk therapy and medication. I’ve been suicidal a few times and gotten help as needed. The most important thing I’ve learned (after getting help) is to just hold on, that that worst feelings pass if you just give it time.

  20. I am probably going to be late for work because I am posting this, but Wil- I now have more respect and actual emotion for you now because of this post. I have suffered from depression since I can remember (not exagerrating, I remember being sad all the time in the 1st grade) my family has told me that I’m “going through a phase” and to basically get over it and grow up. I too tried therapy and found it lacking, I have been on every anti-depressant known to man, and found that the zombie-fication of me unhelpful. I have since settled on meds for when i feel an anexiety attack coming on and meds for insomnia. I survive everyday. Someday I would like to truly Live. My anexiety and depression have strained my marriage,to the point that I don’t really have one anymore. I am the perfect example of the person you know-that you don’t realize has a mental illness, because their mask is so well placed. I long for the day when the world looks technicolor instead of greyscale. Thanks for the post,Wil.

  21. I’ve just been through a devastating break up from a 1 yr relationship with someone I fell in love with HARD. Before that I was single for 6 yrs because before that I was in a 7yr relationship before he cheated on me and left. It’s been incredibly rough. The most recent break up has been made all the harder by the fact that he really is an incredible guy who just realized he didn’t love me, but stayed with me because he couldn’t stand to break my heart. We’re trying to be friends, but as you can imagine without going through an ‘I hate you’ period, it’s hard to separate ‘friend’ feelings from ‘love’ feelings.
    The reason I give you this back story is because it seems as though the ‘little twig in my head’ has snapped, or coming close to snapping. I feel depressed every day. Have no motivation to do anything, no desire.
    The ex has been seeing a therapist after our break up to better be able to move on from what he happened between us, and to help him better understand my point of view and not get frustrated as to why I can’t deal.
    He’s suggested that I see a therapist and I did try a couple of sessions, but it’s just not for me. And I share your view on medications, I’m already on 4 medications for hereditary high blood pressure/cholesterol. So I don’t really want to add any more to my daily regime.
    So right now I’m stuck in this flux of trying REALLY HARD to be uber happy and then sailing straight down into a dark depressing place. I can’t seem to unstick myself from yo-yoing between the two.
    After reading your post though, I think I’m willing to give it another go. Maybe just by talking to my doctor and getting something prescribed to help me through until I can do it on my own might be helpful.
    I’m not saying that your post gave me a great epiphany, but then again, maybe it did. It definitely made me cry because what you say I can relate to. Thank you for showing me that it doesn’t matter who you are, these things can affect you. And it’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

  22. Thank you for sharing this Wil.
    I suffered from social anxiety and fought depression for most of my life, until about 7 years ago. I could be in a room full of people….friends…and feel completely alone. Fear gripped me, all I could see were the dark roads that COULD be if I risked anything. After finally having enough of it I went to my doctor and he prescribed a simple little pill. I am not over medicated, or in a fog, or a zombie or any other cliche that often gets attached to mental illness. The pill merely allows me to see the sun that seems to be tanning everyone else. If you are suffering, speak to your doctor….please! I didn’t do it until I was 32, Please do not wait as long as I did.

  23. Thank you very much for posting this Wil. I also felt the need yesterday to share my experiences. I put information up on Facebook to get out what I needed to get out, and it was really refreshing and comforting to see other people, especially someone so much in the pubilc eye as yourself, to be publicly drawing attention to this. I really just want to say thank you, but since I put my post up several people have been in touch to say thank you as well – something I never considered. So perhaps it will be helpful for others?


    In light of today being World Suicide Prevention Day, and my recent experiences, I thought it would be helpful if I put something up here. I wanted to find a good article to link to but I think that could take a while (the first I read mentioned that suicide was ‘treatable’ and not ‘preventable’ so I’m gonna leave that alone). Although most people on here who know me probably know that I suffer from depression, they likely have no idea the extent to which this is the case, and if anything are simply aware of me as being antisocial or that they may go for long periods of time without seeing me. I don’t blog, I don’t keep a diary, and I thought it would be good for me to say something publicly.

    I suffer from depression. I have, for most of my life, experienced vast swings in emotions. I have had confusing and recurring cyclical thought patterns that, although they don’t stand up to outside inspection from reality, for someone who is ruled by his emotions and discerns truth viscerally, are at times the only truth available. I have convinced myself that my self worth is defined solely by others and allowed many of those people to treat me horribly because I believed it to be justified. I have shut myself away from people. I have pushed people away. I have hurt myself. I have done so many things of which I am ashamed and regretful, the worst of which hurt other people. And the worst of that is that when this happens, when you do something that is truly harmful to someone else in the deepest levels of depression, the only people left around you are the ones that you love and who truly love you as well. I have, fortunately, never allowed myself to attempt suicide, which is (obviously?) one of the main reasons that I am still here.

    The other reason is that I have amazing and loving friends and family. And I mean this: amazing. And loving. I know so many different people who act and experience and express in completely different ways, but to a one I know that their core is love. Almost everyone who knows me today has in some way or another contributed to my continuing to be here. I cannot possibly list everyone here but I am sure that at some time I have told all of those closest to me how important they are, how much I love them and how much they have helped me. Even when I know that they themselves were suffering, or are suffering.

    I am truly sorry that I wasn’t always there for these people in the same way. I hope that in the future I can be the person that I know I am and can give something back to everyone who has given me their friendship. I know that it has often been difficult.

    But I’m writing this now, today, because I now actually think in terms of the future. I now, regardless of what else is going on, look forward to the future. For the first time in my life since I was a teenager I can honestly say that I would rather be alive than dead. And I wanted to tell all of those people who I know have worried about me for so long: I’m ok. Thank you. I’ll see you soon. I love you.

    I hope that other people reading this can find something in it, like they did in what you wrote. Again, thank you. This is extremely personal but as many people have noted needs to be much more public as well.

  24. Thanks for sharing your story Wil!

    I’ve always been at least low-level anxious and just assumed that’s how I just was. I was able to manage it, more or less, until I witnessed a violent crime and developed PTSD. It’s been a few years and I’ve come a long way, but therapy and behavioral stuff only helped so much and I plateaued at a place I was not happy at. I started wellbutrin about two months ago and it’s just been so much better. A weight has been lifted. No more constant ridiculous “what-ifs” and out of control kopfkino and everything else. What a relief.

  25. Hi Wil. Just wanted to say that it’s been abig boost to me to see you bring this subject into the light. I’m 27 now but I’ve been suffering from depression and anxiety since my early teens. A few months ago I found myself standing on a bridge ready to jump. Only the thought of my friends and family stopped me and I’ve been getting help through counciling and medication ever since. I’m not to where you are yet but I know what you mean. I’m still in a loud room but I’m close to finding the door. Thanks for letting me know that it can be done. And thanks for being awesome in general.

  26. Wil, thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s important to recognize that depression is a heavy burden to bear, whether it’s recently developed & discovered or a life-long condition. The focus has to be what are we doing now to get a handle on it and make our lives better.

    I’ve dealt with past bouts of depression with some wicked humor & music and I managed to get by until recently. I had a knock-down, drag-out fight with breast cancer. I won the battle (YAY!) but, because I have to take Tamoxifen to shut down my estrogen production to keep the cancer from coming back, my hormone levels are totally screwed up. Between that and the stress I was under, I spent weeks under the heaviest despair I’ve ever felt in my entire life. My coping mechanisms didn’t work anymore. I was (& still am) suffering chemo brain and I was very afraid. I finally asked for help. In my case, all it took was one tiny, little pill to turn my world around. My doctor started me on a daily dose of Ativan. It leveled me out and I had the added benefit of it calming my stomach from my chemo treatments.

    I know it’s not as simple as that for most people but I guess what I’m trying to say is not to give up. There has to be something to help. It may just be a matter of digging around and experimenting until you find a combo that works well for you. Keep trying! <3

    Nikki
    (aka Nemosyne from The 'Box)

  27. This was a great post, Wil, and somewhat hits home quite strongly. A close family member has been on the verge of committing suicide 3 times within the last year (to the point where I had to hide medication) and is currently in the hospital after I prevented the 3rd attempt. She is on medication again and she was drugged up beyond belief before, but a new doctor has modified the meds and reduced it by about 50% so she is not as foggy and is now getting additional counselling and help she needs. Thank you very much for posting this.

  28. Thank you for this post. It came at a time when I’m struggling to be motivated enough to get help.

    I’ve been suffering from depression for the past 10-12 years (basically all my adult life), and only realized that I had a problem recently. I have the added hurdle of not having health insurance so getting treatment has been very difficult.

    Like you, I have the same resistance to medication, but I’ve decided that I’m going to give it a try. I finally found enough willpower to apply for the county’s insurance plan for working low-income people, and once that goes through I’m going to find a doctor and get help.

    It’s really encouraging to hear about people with depression who are happy and successful. If they can do it, so can I.

    Thank you.

  29. Thank you. My own experience with it manifested itself as the seasonal version which I developed along with a serious vitamin D deficiency up here in the oh so grey Pacific Northwest. I can’t tell you how glad I am that my treatment is as simple and effective as taking vitamin D and indulging myself with as much sunlight as possible. I know not everyone is so lucky as to have it treated so quickly and easily.

  30. I have been struggling with depression for three years now. I had developed cubital tunnel syndrome so severe it required surgery. Unfortunately I have a soft tissue disorder that causes me to over generate scar tissue. Seven surgeries later I am in constant nerve pain that I will most likely have to live with for the rest of my life. Depression set up shop once that really hit home. I take meds for it, and they do help to an extent, but it is a struggle every day to just get out of bed.

  31. I always thought of suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There’s always an option. It might suck in the short to medium term, but it’s better than nothing.

  32. Yes, some things in our society are over-medicated. But depression, anxiety, OCD, shizophrenia, and other mental and emotional disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and body. And science can counter those imbalances and they can make your life Better. Wil, I’m glad you realized that meds can be and are okay, and thank you for sharing that with others. Honesty about the benefits of meds is one way to encourage people who need them but are hesitant to give them a try.

    Also, remember that meds for Anxiety and Depression often take some time to adjust to, and may take some balancing of dosage to get the levels just right. They aren’t an instant-fix, and they should be started and stopped with care and medical supervision. I say this from watching a friend decide when she needed to be on or off the meds for years, and the bouncing around and physical side-effects damn near wrecked her marriage. She finally listened to us and was consistent about taking them, even if she thought they were not needed, and this year she’ll celebrate her twentieth wedding anniversary.

  33. I know that this is going to be one of many comments but even if you never get to read it I still have to write this: thank you.
    Today was the day I asked my doctor for help and she gave me a list of therapists to call, people she has handpicked for her patients and that she knows are good at what they do. I know I’ll have to wait a long time for an appointment and that made me wonder again: why should I even try?
    I just came home to find your post and it has encouraged me, made me more determined and diminished my doubts and fears about having to wait. I am worth the wait and the work. Everybody is. So thank you for this post. It really helped me today.

  34. Thank you for this, Wil! I have suffered from the same thing all my life, both in dark times and in times like now, when my career is taking off. Talk therapy was more stressful than depression the couple times I’ve tried it, and I work in a creative industry (well, YOUR industry actually =P I’m an editor) so I’ve been terrified of taking medication and dampening my instincts in any way. Did you just go to a regular doctor? The whole process of finding a “special” doctor seems exhausting and intimidating, but if a regular doctor can possibly help as well, I’d be much more likely to seek that out…

    1. “Regular” doctors can prescribe antidepressants, but finding the right dose and med can be tricky. If you do go to a regular doctor for meds, ask for a recommendation for a psychiatrist too. It’s really helpful to talk to someone who understands how the meds and brain chemistry interact. You’re more likely to end up on the right med that way.

  35. Lovely writing Wil. I have also suffered with the D&A in adult life. I also wanted to avoid taking medication but am so glad that I do. It’s not the answer to everything, exercise and positive activity are also crucial. It’s great to see you being open and honest about this issue.

  36. Thank you so much Wil for sharing this. I’ve been a long time fan and this post compelled me to finally say something.
    So many people just don’t understand how difficult a mental health or developmental disorder can be. Fortunately, through people like you coming forward, the general public is more aware and it helps.
    My daughter, who suffers from both mental health and developmental disorders struggles with how these interact and affect every aspect of her life. Through assistance, both medicinal and supportive, she is in a much better place than she was even just a couple of years ago.
    I firmly believe that it is because of the growing awareness and willingness to help those with these “hidden” issues, that she has been able to find a lot of the help that she needs.
    Thank you!!

  37. Thank you Wil. Thank you Jenny who I only know of through Wil’s posts Thank you Paul and Storm and Jonathan Coulton, Mike and Jerry and Scott and Kris, Thank you Chris Hardwick, thank you Felicia Day. Thank you to all of the people with podcasts and webshows and albums and tshirts and comics who didn’t used to be anyone famous or maybe they were but they didn’t like that person that they were. I don’t really know any of you, but at a time when I was afraid to talk to my friends and my family because I didn’t want them to worry about how I felt, I could listen to your songs and jokes and conversations on podcasts and read your comics and blog posts about your real lives and things that were completely made up, and they would help me get through the day. That even successful creative people, people who were my heros still struggled with addiction and depression and anxiety. But they slowly got over it and they talked to people and they took medication and it helped and it didn’t stop them from being creative successful people. That they had careers and families and issues and slowly made me realize I wasn’t different, I was the same. I was the same as all my heroes and I could get over this shit too. So thank you.

  38. In my early 20s I had a suicide attempt that, luckily for me, was thwarted by an unexpected day off for my roommate. 10 years later I was on the other end when the man who was my step-dad held my hand while I was force fed charcoal and strapped to a hospital bed killed himself with a gunshot to the heart. To this day I’m baffled at how and why he did it. I wonder if I planted the idea in his head sometimes too in fits of guilt and remorse. One thing my Mom kept asking me when he died was “how could he do this? Why?” I tried to explain to her that depression doesn’t recognize friends or family. I told her it’s like standing in a forest so thick the sun is blocked out. You kind of know the sun is there and that others have seen it by moving to a different spot but after living in that darkness for so long, the idea of ever seeing it again disappears. I now take joy in my son who wouldn’t have been and take joy in the stress and craziness of being a single mom working for a degree because it means I see a future for me and one I want to be a part of. You are also blessed as well with your wife and son and I truly hope you realize that you deserve happiness even if it takes a tiny daily pill to make it be seen easier. Sorry about the novel :)

Comments are closed.