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. I sit here, fresh from yet another crying jag that I’ve held off all day so that I didn’t have to run to the bathroom and lose my shit at my new job. It’s not a job that I want, or that I even feel really suited for, and it’s not paying what I need, but after 11 months of unemployment, you take what you can get.

    I’m not going to spill all my guts here, but life is really starting to suck for me, mostly because I’m shoulder-deep in debt and can’t see a way to scrabble myself back up. This is an important fact because with how little I make, and how much I owe, I no longer can afford health insurance.

    I can no longer afford trips to my psychiatrist. I can no longer afford the medications that keep me sane. I’m battling my depression and anxiety on my own, holding on tooth and nail just to make it through every day.

    So I very, very much needed to read this today. Depression lies. I am not useless. I am not doomed. I am not worthless.

    Depression lies. Depression lies. Depression lies.

    Dear Gods, it’s so hard to hear the truth, though.

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for this post! You really really have no idea what a blessing this post is. A few years ago, Jenny helped me realize that I didn’t have to suffer alone (I suffer from anxiety and seasonal depression) and that there are good medications out there… but your post hits on a different level that I think may resonate for certain people in my life.

    Depression, whether mild, severe, or otherwise, is a lying SOB… And I don’t care how “strong-willed” a person is, depression is a sneaky bastard and quite a bit stronger than anyone gives it credit for.

    I’m 28 years old, and though I’ve lost several friends in the last 10 years, I haven’t lost anyone to suicide yet, and hopefully with amazing posts like yours and Jenny’s speaking out against the thing that kills more people than wars each year, maybe it won’t take as many people away from us in the future.

    Side note: Absolutely adore you, Anne, and Jenny. Y’all make my day a happier place! I love watching and interacting with y’all as much as I can on Facebook and Twitter! Keep being awesome!

  3. I’m fond of telling people I don’t have depression, I have R.I.D. (Reality Induced Despair). Yep… Simpson’s fan.

    Yes, we are an overmedicated society, not because people shouldn’t get help when they are depressed, but because people use medication to make their shitty lives OK; and sometimes it’s not OK. Sometimes the depression is the only motivation for you to change.

    I became a Single Father at a young age. At 21, I found myself quitting college to get a crappy full time job, and spending every ounce of energy and money into raising a successful daughter. Now at 44, I’ve been working at a job I don’t enjoy for so many years, misery feels like a constant companion.

    As I’m fond of saying, “Even I don’t care what I want anymore”.

    I want you to love your life Wil, because many of us never will. We never found that supportive person to help us reach our dreams. Our dreams were derailed by others, and now forever out of reach. You fought, suffered defeats and had amazing victories. Some of us will never even reach the battlefield.

    It makes me very happy to see that you are enjoying your life with the help of medication. Personally, I don’t want to be OK with my life the way it is now.

    You are a great writer Will. I finished “Just a Geek” and “Dancing Barefoot” and I loved them both. Your blessings shine a tiny light in a Dark World.

    1. Oh man, Steve! Everyone has the right to live their life the way they see fit, but I just have to say, perhaps getting help for your RID will actually help you to CHANGE your life. I’ve been there. Like Wil, I finally got the help I needed to give me the energy and the hope to make the changes to my previously crappy life so now I am in a much better place. Physically AND mentally. Depression lies, Steve. It LIES.

      1. Well… thanks for reply, but if you take a look at the name… it’s oakstave not oaksteve… But your positive message is not lost on me. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  4. It’s nice to feel you are not alone… It is important to reach out to others that are suffering and try to help them realize that they too are not alone and that there is help and support.

  5. Thank you. I have realized that I have the same problem. I have not treated it, but it’s getting the better of me. I have to admit I have a problem that’s getting worse and not getting better. No more band aids, no more days off work to hide, I have to get this sorted out. Thanks Wil for your honesty and sharing. I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment.

  6. Mr. Wheaton,

    Thank you for your candor. I too have acute depression, bordering at times on the suicidal, which I keep in check and have kept in check for several years now through medication and meditation.

    One of the most valuable things that I have found in my own experience is the knowledge that I am not alone in this. I am glad that you have the support of your wife (as I have the support of mine).

    Thank you for your honesty about this subject.

    Bill Kronick

  7. A serotonin re-uptake inhibitor changed my life after surgery a few years ago. I found out there is such a thing as post-surgery depression. I was depressed, angry, and I was taking unnecessary risks. It’s strange feeling depressed when know you have no reason to be. Depression doesn’t have me either!

    1. I’d rather not say, because I don’t want to influence anyone’s personal medical decisions, and I’m not a doctor. It’s an SSRI, though, and I occasionally take a mild anti-anxiety thing for those times things just explode in my brain. Luckily for me, I don’t need that very often.

    2. No medication works for everyone; even people with the same diagnosis. However, if a medication works for a member of your biological family, it has a better chance of working for you. An anti-depressant that worked wonders for my mother and I did not work at all for my adopted sister. So, you may wish to ask your immediate family members if they have a medication that works well for them, and then discuss that with your doctor.

  8. Thank you for posting this. Especially the line about reconciling your awesome life with feeling terrible all the time. Many people assume their depression is caused by external forces and then feel helpless to do anything about it. It’s important to understand that, if you’re depressed, no amount of success or riches or fame or love is going to make that any better. But, there are solutions, and they do work (although no one solution works for everyone), and dealing with depression will make any life, successful or not, rich or poor, famous or quiet, married or single, better.

  9. 30 years ago I realized I was so depressed that I would only maim myself if I drove off a bridge. I finished the drive at a hospital with a psychiatrist who treated me.
    Although I suffer bouts of anxiety, I also manage great hilarity with my husband and daughter. I manage with medication, my friends and family to whom I owe love and loyalty. I live because I really do like getting up in the morning and seeing what’s going to happen.
    30 years ago I faced only darkness. Today that darkness means sunset.
    Keep on Wil Wheaton, and love your family. They must see something in you that makes life worthwhile.
    To all the other depressed folks, keep trying. I work in the field, every day is a new beginning, there really are new questions to the universes answer of “not today.”

  10. I’m so glad to see Wil and Jenny posting about this, and so incredibly moved to see so many people in the comments opening up about their own struggles. The insidious thing is that depression short-circuits the part of the brain that says “Something is wrong and you need to fix it,” meaning that too many sufferers suffer alone, silently, rather than reaching out. It’s diabolical.

    If you see a friend or a loved one who seems to be down, talk to them. And if they say they don’t want to talk, or that nothing’s wrong, tell them you love them and you’re there for them and if they ever DO want to talk about anything, you’re ready to listen. As many of these stories have shown, having someone 100% on your side is a critical step in finally starting the process of recovery from depression, or at least the management of it. And it IS a process – like any chronic disease, it can recur when your defenses are already down.

    Everyone here is worthy of life and happiness. Don’t ever let your screwed-up brains tell you otherwise.

  11. I also suffer from the depression/anxiety thing. While I’m not currently on any meds, Wil, your words remind me that I don’t feel as “happy” as I feel I should be, considering all the positives in my daily life. I have never considered suicide, although I had a very dark episode one day several years ago in which I got a glimpse into that portal, in which I experienced an understanding of how someone could be driven to suicide. The despair was frightening and I’ll never forget it. Thank you for bringing attention to the issue here as any amount of awareness will help someone.

  12. Hello Wil. Kinda fitting that you are writing this now. Because I’m currently on my 4th day of medication for my depression. My doctor said that I will feel worse the first two weeks. And I kinda know what she means whenever I stop and don’t do stuff. But the good thing is that I can do stuff now. Before the medication I just stayed in my bed. Almost got evicted. The side effects of the medication right now is pretty annoying as well. I can’t stay completely still without shaking and I don’t get a lot of sleep. But I guess it will get better later on..Maybe I will have a life in this strange place?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey, tombness. I’m not a fellow sufferer, but I have several friends who are in various forms, and I just want to let you know that it may take some time for you and your doctor to get the chemical mixture to be just right for your brain chemistry and avoid the bad side effects. Hang in there, and remember that you are definitely worth all the effort.

  13. Wow, Wil. I had no idea you were a member of The Club! Thank you so much for talking about it today, I hope that your simple words will encourage others to get the help they need.

    I suffered from untreated depression for 20 years. I knew something was wrong with me, but I didn’t know what. Doctor after doctor told me that it was nothing, I was fine, so I learned to put on a brave face and pretend that I really was fine. Several docs told me that if I would just lose weight, I wouldn’t feel so shitty all the time. (The last one that told me that was fired in a hail of profanity that would make a drunken sailor blush.)

    I finally went to a doc that my family has known socially for years. He listened to me crying in his office that I felt broken, that I felt like I wanted to hurt people, to set the world on fire and watch it burn, that my give-a-damn was totally busted. He asked a few gentle questions, swore under his breath when I told him what my last doc had said to me, and said “Sweetie, you’re not broken. You’re depressed, and you have been for as long as you’ve felt this way. But we can control it and help you feel better.” He put me on an SSRI.

    I’ve been on the meds for two years now, and it has been…miraculous. I can look around and see how cool the world is again. And when I smile and laugh…it’s real.

  14. I’ve struggled with severe suicidal/homicidal depression since I was about 17. I don’t have to deal with it anymore, because I’m on an antidepressant that works. There are side effects, however.

    For me, I look back on my life and see that things are very lackluster. I spent many years struggling, and I can’t at this point say that I’ve been successful at all. Life just seems to be a never-ending struggle.

    I am not any better off now than I was at 17. I think if I did kill myself at 17, I wouldn’t have missed much all these years. I certainly would have spared others from my abusive habits.

  15. A HUGE thank you for sharing that with us. I’m going to print it out and plaster it on the mirror, fridge, front door to see before I walk out, etc…Thank you.

  16. Thank you for posting this. The more of us that are “out” about living with mental illness, and what mental illness actually is, the more people who will get help for themselves. Most people I meet have no idea I’m mentally ill. Most people won’t know the hell I’ve been through unless I choose to tell them. Even though it’s painful and embarassing, I choose to talk about it because people need to know it’s possible to live a normal, successful life while managing mental illness, and that there’s nothing wrong with getting help to do so.

    Being open about this does real good. Thank you. My example encouraged one coworker to go get help. Yours will reach hundreds more people.

  17. Hugs.

    They said one possible side effect of this medication could be increased apathy. That sounded scary initially but once on the medication it didn’t bother me so much.

  18. Long time reader, first time commenter here.

    Glad to hear you’re making the best of the challenges. It’s wonderful to know that life has a fresh vibrancy for you now.

    I just started watching your show, Tabletop, tonight (and have almost wrapped up all the episodes!). Your enjoyment really sells the show, and after reading this, everything is so much more special because of that. You did well pulling through, and I’ll certainly take your words to heart.

  19. What’s particularly surprising…and even a bit alarming…is the number of people here who have spilled forth to share their stories. Have we truly become a culture of medicated (maybe over-medicated) souls?

    Whatever happened to the good ‘ol days when cognitive-behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy or even a trip to the Freudian couch would effectively teach people the effective coping, stress management and problem-solving skills to reframe their views on life and deal with stuff on a more adaptive level?

    These days any old GP can prescribe Paxil and Abilify is toted on t.v. as a mood stabilizer (it’s not really, people).

    Is that progress or just plain capitalism!

    1. I am not sure about the U.S., but here in Czechia I was offered either just therapy by psychologist or therapy/medications combo by psychiatrist (I chose the latter). And I was taken of medications when it seemed I recovered from my depression. So, perhaps, it’s not a general phenomenon, and I would recommend everybody to be suspicious of any doctor who will offer you _only_ medications.

  20. This is such a tender subject for so many people, but I really do feel that we need to share more with those that we love. My brother, whom I love dearly committed suicide last month after a long battle with depression…. depression that he hid from those around him. He thought it was something wrong with only him and that he could somehow “fix himself” on his own. I wish now that I had talked more with him about my own issues with depression and suicidal thoughts so that he knew he was not alone in this, and that there really was help out there for him.

    1. It’s not so much that depression lies, but that your self-image lies, your superego, your overly strict conscience, implanted there by your loving parents. Did you know that 80% of what we hear as children is criticism? Guess what? The voices are still there, telling you over and over and over you’re a shit, bringing you down.

      Also, @ cyberyukon: A psychiatrist friend of mine, an older Freudian guy, told me once that he could do more good with one month of Prozac than 10 years on the couch. Medications don’t preclude talk therapy. In fact, they can help make it work even better.

      1. Michael: While this is true, there are some instances where a person really isn’t chemically depressed but just has other psychological issues. For example, I’m currently on a break from five years of therapy (because I’ve been unemployed for a while and can’t afford it) and one of the reasons why I don’t think I’ll be going back to that particular therapist is the methodology of therapy that he used.

        Which relates back to cyberyukon’s comment as well. It took *five years* for me to be able to absorb the things I was discussing in therapy and use them productively in my life. Five years, two failed relationships, one lost job, several lost friends. And I still honestly don’t think I’d be at this level of self-awareness if it weren’t for a few different coincidences which lead me to my current successful relationship. But how much of that was the therapy and how much of that was just me being around a different kind of person? I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure.

  21. ATTENTION! Livingworks provides a number of comprehensive and important training resources to raise awareness and provide laypeople with the skills to recognize and –yes–administer effective crisis intervention for individuals contemplating or even engaging in suicidal behavior. Take it from a mental health professional: their “ASIST” program offers one of the best models out there. If you know someone who suffers from Major Depressive Disorder and may be suicidal this is something that you can’t pass up.

    You’ll learn more at http://www.livingworks.net.

  22. I used to be on an anti-anxiety medication and an anti-depressant. At the time they were a necessity but I knew, for me, that they were merely a tool until I could get other tools in place.

    I was on anti-anxiety medication for six months straight. I’ve been 100% medication free for a year and a half.

    Changed the way I think. Worked wonders.

  23. Sometimes I have those feelings when I imagine the path thatI am on isn’t going to work out.

    What helps me to remember is that I can always go home. Even if I were to lose everything, I know a few basements or spare bedrooms that I can crash in.

    In other words, if you’re on a dead end street, you can always turn around and go back.

  24. Thank you for making this post. I think it’s so incredibly important that we continue to talk about depression and anxiety and other similar problems, and remind people how real they are, and how much they affect people.

    I’ve suffered from severe depression and anxiety since I hit puberty around 11, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 19. I spent so long crying and hating myself and everything around me, even when my life was going well, that it was a relief when I went to a doctor and he said “you have depression. I’m going to prescribe you something”. I didn’t care if I had to take pills — it was just a relief to know I wasn’t going crazy.

    I spent another 14 years fighting with my problems, seeing psychiatrists and counsellors, and going through countless different anti-depressants. Nothing ever really worked for me, but some years were better than others. Some anti-depressants would work for awhile, like 6 months, so I had glimpses of what my life could be when I was more capable, but it never lasted. Whenever I succeeded at something, it was always short-lived — I’d invariably implode and mess it all up. (Or should I say, the depression messed it all up.) I’ve been suicidal three times in my life, and each of those moments was horrible. I am so grateful and glad that I was able to reach out to someone at each of those times, and have them hold me up and get me through it.

    Two years ago, and totally unrelatedly to my mental health, I was trying to get more healthy overall and I cut refined sugar and wheat out of my diet completely. As well as a bunch of other health improvements, I unexpectedly found that I was finally able to start climbing out of the depression pit that I had been in. For the first time in more than 20 years, for the first time since I was a child, I fully came alive, and was able to enjoy and take pleasure in my own life. It was incredibly shocking and startling to me.

    Since then, on rare occasions I’ve eaten something with refined sugar or wheat in it, and the response is instantaneous. Sugar makes me anxious, depressed, and ready to cry at the drop of a hat. Everything is overwhelming and I hide in my bedroom. This lasts for about 8 days and then I wake up one morning and it’s just gone. Wheat makes me anxious and nervous and unable to look at the bigger picture, for about a week. And weirdly, Coca-Cola specifically (including Coke Zero, which has no sugar) makes me completely apathetic to the point of just wanting to lie in my bed and stare at the ceiling, for about 3-4 days. And these are the times when I finally realised exactly what you said here — Depression lies. During those times, the thoughts that go through my head are NOT my thoughts. I am a different person, like I’m living in my head but I’m sharing it with a stranger, an alien who dominates what I think. But it wasn’t until I quit those foods and had a REAL glimpse of the real me that I was able to realise just how different I was in those times.

    I don’t know why refined sugar, or wheat, or Coke has that effect on me. But I’ve accidentally tested it enough in the last two years (since changing my diet) to be able to clearly recognise cause and effect. I have a friend who turns suicidal when she eats junk food of any kind, but is successful when she only eats whole foods. I have another friend who becomes so anxious she needs medication when she drinks Pepsi Max, but is capable and assured when she doesn’t.

    I know a lot of people will probably discount this, but… this is what changed my life. I am able to be NORMAL for the first time in my life, without medication. I’m about to do something really challenging and life-changing (build an off-grid eco-house from scratch in the middle of nowhere) and for the first time in my life I’m EXCITED about such a thing, not too overwhelmed to cope with it.

    So.. I guess I just wanted to put it out there, for you, Wil, and anyone else who might be interested. Food can have a real effect on your mental health, every bit as much as your physical health. Processed foods in particular. I can’t guarantee anything, but it’s possible that cutting them out my really change how you feel. Particularly for those who are not responding to any sort of medication. It’s worth a try after all. Say, 30 days without potential trigger foods… it’s easier than it sounds, and hey, who knows, it might change your life. Where’s the harm in that? :)

    (I hope I don’t sound like I’m evangelizing or anything. People should and can treat their depression however they see fit. It’s just that… I wish someone had told ME this years ago, but the information isn’t out there. At least if I say it, then people have the chance to make a choice for themselves?)

    Whatever else, I am really, really glad for you that the medication works, and that you are able to feel the happiness you deserve to feel. I know how horrible it is to have a good life and still feel absolutely godawful, and I am glad that you have found a way out of that. That end result is the most important thing of all, not how you got there. :)

  25. Thanks Wil.
    Let’s just say this was a pretty terrible morning for me, and you just helped. A lot.
    I just have to remember I’m not a coward for feeling stressed out, even though teaching isn’t the hardest job in the world and I have an awesome wife.
    Thanks.

  26. It was great reading this. I rejected the idea of taking medication for my depression for most of my life, but about 2 years ago it got bad enough that I had to see someone about it. Now I too just take one tablet a day, and am amazed at how it has changed my life. Sure, I still have negative thoughts and feelings, but nowhere near as often as I used to. And when they do come, now I can simply choose to not let them take over my mind for hours, or even days at a time. When life itself isn’t going so great, I don’t think that it means I’m a bad person anymore, or that I’m worthless. I can look to the future and actually look forward to things, and not always just expect more bad times ahead. For the first time ever in my life, I feel like I have as much right to exist as everyone else. Sure, emotional highs are definitely slightly dampened because of the medication, but that’s an easy price to pay to be able to be with friends and feel like I’m included because I’m wanted, and not just out of pity. Life is pretty good now, and I can’t deny that medication balanced out my neurochemistry and made me feel, as near as I can tell, like most people feel naturally. For a medication that costs about $1 a day, my life is hugely improved. I wish I had made the choice to see a doctor much sooner, and I hope anyone out there who reads this blog and is suffering goes out and does the same. Life is too short to spend in misery due to a chemical imbalance that can be so easily remedied.

  27. Thank you for that candid post. I am so glad that you have found something that works for you.

    I’ve recently become heavily addicted to listening to various podcasts. One that I discovered recently and have fallen in love with is The Mental Illness Happy hour, which I think would be of interest to you and your readers.

    “YOU ARE NOT ALONE
    Weekly online podcast interviews with comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. All exploring mental illness, addiction and depression, especially among creatives.”

    It’s endlessly facinating – and sometimes quite harrowing – to listen to the issues that other people have [had] to deal with in their lives. Paul Gilmartin is an intellient and warm and compassionate interviewer/host.

    http://mentalpod.com/

  28. Thank you. I don’t know what to say here to make it perfectly clear how very much I needed to read these words today. Revealing this side of yourself as a public figure is so incredibly generous. Thank you for reminding me to listen to the ringing. Thank you for sharing something so personal in the hope of helping others.

  29. Thank you for this, Wil. I’ve always put off medication/therapy because I convinced myself there’s some wrong outside factor that needed fixing first, but “I couldn’t reconcile my awesome life with feeling terrible all the time” has helped me accept that I know everything is actually fine, but I’m still capable of feeling wretched. This makes me think I should stop avoiding the issue or believing that it’s purely external, and get on with tackling it.

    So thanks.
    (Oh and thank you for Star Trek, TableTop, Stand By Me and everything else, of course!)

    Nick Sheridan

  30. Hi,

    first, I like your work on TableTop (which I discovered because I discovered The Guild and instantly got crush on Felicia Day recently), even though I don’t play tabletop games that much.

    Anyway, I can’t agree enough with your post. I had depression and sort of generic/social anxiety while I was in college like 10 years ago, partly induced by a really long crush on a friend and high school schoolmate of mine (I studied math/physics and now I am in almost too happy state working as a computer programmer for an American company). And I had suicide thoughts, although I fortunately never attempted suicide (today I can’t even understand how it’s possible I thought about suicide, it just seems ridiculous).

    One factor might have been that another former schoolmate of me had an accident during attempted suicide as a teenager which rendered him blind (and actually today he has probably more interesting live than me).

    But another, I think stronger, factor was that I actually understood at the time I had depression that there are medications that affect the human brain, and I was aware of serotonin mechanism (I knew this because I read it in a local science magazine). So I kinda suspected I am just low on serotonin and that the chemistry of the brain is just making me act/think irrational. So I think, at least for some types of people (more science oriented?), it may really help to know this, that there are these drugs and they are powerful, and that mind is just playing tricks.

    The real obstacle for me was to seek help, because even if you know the actual mechanism, it’s still very hard to tell that it affects your thinking and that it’s nontrivial to overcome. So I didn’t realized I need professional help until I actually started to fear to go to exams and meet other people. And even then it was complicated, I made several attempts to go to the doctor, but I always balked out of fear.

    In the end, with the help of my parents, I got to a psychiatrist, and I wasn’t worried to take medications (the psychiatrist is paid from general health insurance here in Czech Republic, the medications – fluvoxamine in my case – from about 80%). The relief came very quickly, although I suspect it was partly a placebo effect, maybe induced by the relief that I finally got some help; and it didn’t have any side effects. I felt _literally_ like being on drugs for first couple of weeks.

    So, I think it’s not good that medications have a bad rep, especially in the U.S. They certainly have helped me, even before I was actually taking them. And the fact is, the depression lies also in that it can make you think that you can handle it yourself, and you don’t actually need any outer help. It even makes you to lie to your friends, because it can make you appear quite OK on the outside. I think it should really be taught young people, that depression lies and in many cases (especially where there is an external cause to it) it is perfectly curable. So I am glad you wrote this, because people need to see successful people that fought with this and won.

  31. My depression has a definite “out.” But unfortunately it involves further possibility of depression as I will likely alienate friends, family, and work colleagues. Also the mild possibility I’ll be kicked out of my apartment, beaten, and or killed.

    1. @dckitty – The most important thing is to get yourself safe, whatever that takes. I know it’s not always that easy, I’ve lived through abuse and had to tolerate intolerable situations in the name of survival, but make a plan and carry it out. A life full of fear isn’t really living and there are better ways.

      1. Thank you, Yvette.

        It’s more a matter of just having the guts to call up a therapist about the matter. It’s one of the most terrifying things I have to do and I get anxiety attacks even thinking about it sometimes. It feels so final, and I can’t get to that point.

        1. That first step is often the hardest but the results are worth it. I’ve had about ten years of talk therapy in addition to the meds and I was able to learn a lot of coping strategies that I use even now. I think taking that first step to healing is more of a beginning than an end.

          btw, if you want to take this discussion offline or at least less public, I can be reached via email or fb message. I understand not sharing all the sordid details when you’re not sure of the reaction.

  32. I appreciate it each and every time someone talks about depression, and then someone else chimes in with a “hey, me too.” It’s a hard thing to talk about, but the more we do, the more we can wash away some of the stigma associated with it. Thank you for speaking up.

  33. This is how I describe it to people.

    When I’m not on meds, if I stub my toe on the way to the shower (if I can talk myself into showering at all), I will cry for several hours and the day is toast.

    When I’m on meds, if I stub my toe on the way to the shower, I let out a few choice colorful metaphors and go on with my day.

    Well, that works for describing the depression part. The manic part is a whole ‘nother story.

  34. Wheaton, thank you for the authentic post.

    I looked up ‘depression’ – defines as “pressing down, lowering, a depressed place or part, hollowness….”

    I am certain you will acknowledge we are spiritual beings who have a body, rather than a body that has a spirit, even if you don’t believe in God.

    Having said that, beyond addressing the physical aspects of depression with SSRI’s, such as Zoloft, which did miracles for me in preventing panic attacks, and crying spells as well as massive gobs of anxiety and depression (was diagnosed with major depressive disorder of moderate to severe character, along w/GAD), one must, must, -must- address the spiritual root/cause of depression.

    Meds alone won’t do jack for anyone, and might even feel like they aren’t working at all, unless a proper mind/heart shift takes place, a transformation of the spirit, of sorts. Without this, we revert to our old identity, habits, that got us to the point where we are now – for me it was acting out of integrity in the most sexually depraved ways, even though I’d been married for 10 years up to that time…. without going into details.

    Eventually, we all seem to reach a point where we ask ourselves that dreaded question one morning (or evening) – should I have a cup of coffee or should I kill myself? (as Albert Camus so eloquently put it).

    The -key- to addressing the real, root cause of depression, that will enable spiritual healing to take its course, is -surrender- to someone or something -OTHER THAN YOURSELF-. Who or what we choose to fully surrender to, is going to make all the difference in the quality of life we have and the healing journey that we embark on…

    In a nutshell, find God, however you do it… or perish in our inherent inability to let go and forgive.

  35. I’ve been a reader of this blog for about 10 years now. Other than the actor/celebrity thing, Wil and I have a lot in common. I’m a gamer, geocacher, father, music lover, homebrewer, and now I can add depression and anxiety sufferer to the list. His seems to manifest itself similiarly to mine too.
    Over the years, under a doctors care, I experimented with a few medications, most of which were ineffectual, or have intolerable side effects. I’m current taking an over the counter herbal type suppliment, which I’ve found to have some benefit, with no side effects. I also am involved with talk therapy. It took a while to find a therapist I clicked with, as initially I didn’t find it to be very effectual either, so I wouldn’t rule it out just because it didn’t work for Wil.

Comments are closed.