A question from my Tumblr ask thingy:
I was just wondering, how did you feel when your doctor suggested going on anti-depressants? My therapist of several months suggested it to me today and while logically I know it’s probably a good idea, I can’t help but feel like I’m broken, you know? Like, I’m worse than I thought I was. Did you feel like this or know anyone who felt something similar?
First of all, Depression Lies. It tells you that you’re weak and unworthy and terrible and that you’re never going to be able to get out from under it.
Depression lies like that because it wants to protect itself and keep on controlling your life.
Depression is a dick, and I want to encourage you to listen to your therapist and let him or her help you.
Now I want you to imagine that you have a fever, and your whole body hurts, and you’ve been coughing up all sorts of awful gunk for days. You’re miserable, so you go to the doctor.
The doctor says, “oh, you have this terrible infection in your body, so I’m going to give you some medicine to help your body get better, and some other medicine to help you not suffer while your body works on that.”
Imagine that you then say, “I don’t want to do that, because I feel sort of broken if I take those medications. I feel like I’m weak or something, and if I take those medications that you know will help me feel better, I’m admitting that my body needs some help so I can stop suffering. I think I’ll keep on suffering and hope it gets better.”
Or you go to your doctor because you’ve been feeling crummy and she runs some tests and she says, “Well, it turns out that you have diabetes, but you’re in luck! You can take some medicine, and it’ll treat it. You’ll probably have to take it for a long time, maybe even your whole life, but you’ll get well and feel better!”
Do you say, “No, I think I’ll just deal with it,” and continue suffering?
Of course not! You would treat any illness with medication if you could, and you’d put a cast on a broken leg and walk with crutches if you needed to, because walking on a broken leg really really really hurts, and you don’t need to suffer through that pain!
Mental illness is exactly the same as a physical illness. Your body has something that’s out of whack – in our case, it’s how our brains handle neurochemicals and stuff – and there’s medication that can help us help ourselves feel better.
You’re not broken, and you’re not weak, and if you’re now thinking that you’re worse than you thought you were? Well, that’s really awesome, because it means that you recognize that your brain needs some help to get healthy, and your doctor is there to help you do that.
It takes courage to take the chance on medication, and the first one you try may not work, because brains are all different and incredibly complicated, but something will work, and you will feel better, and you will be so glad that you took the step to take care of yourself.
Please check in with me in a month or so, and let me know how you’re doing.
I answer a lot of questions about living with mental illness on my Tumblr thing, if you want to go take a look.
And please, remember, if you live with mental illness like I do: you are ok.
Post script: It’s been about 24 hours since I published this, and there are a lot of comments here, a lot of people sharing their own experiences and stories. That’s wonderful. Something that has come up a lot, which I know but failed to write here originally, is that medication for mental illness isn’t a magic wand. We live in a society that too frequently says, “here, take this pill” instead of “let’s look at what’s going on, and see how you can be helped, including but not limited to taking medication.” For me, personally, a combination of ongoing talk therapy plus medication gave me my life back. That may be different for you or someone you know. Brains are complicated, as I said, and what works for one person may not work for another. What works for you now may not be as effective at some point in the future. My goal in writing this post yesterday was to dispel the myth that says mental illness = weakness, because I believe that myth is demonstrably harmful to countless people. There are lots of ways to get help for Depression and Anxiety, and I hope to encourage anyone who is suffering to please seek help, because you don’t have to suffer. The comparison I made between physical illness and mental illness is one way I try to do that.
191 thoughts on “You’re not broken, and you’re not weak. Depression lies because Depression is a dick.”
I have major depression. My problem is that my medication stops working every 6 to 8 months every year. It takes about a month to find a new medication that works. My arnp has suggested ect but I’m scared to death of that. What do you recommend?
Melissa, I’m not a doctor and I can’t prescribe; I can only share my experience. I’m taking the maximum dose of two antidepressants. When I started sliding down into another depressive cycle, there was really no way to up my meds, so my doc suggested I try a lightbox (I bought one from Sunbox, which has no damaging UV rays and is highly recommended by the medical community). Medical studies have shown a synergistic effect between medication and light therapy. I was skeptical at first, but I used the lightbox as prescribed, and… I am no longer depressed. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I hope this information helps…
Meds work for me, but ect is the only thing that works for my cousin and it has given her a new lease on life. It is not like the old movies at all these days.
I also had that problem. My psychiatrist gave me a med for epilepsy (which I don’t suffer from) that’s also used for mood stabilizing in addition to the antidepressants and I’ve been stable ever since. Maybe bring that up with your doc? It’s called Lamotrigin. http://whatmeds.stanford.edu/medications/lamotrigine.html
Be aware of the side effects. I noticed a few things the first week but dismissed them because they immediately disappeared or I could attribute them to my other conditions. 7 weeks later almost endef up in the hospital. That’s true with alleds, really. I hope that you find something that works long term!
Melissa: I can concur with Jeanne, especially if the point at which they seem to stop working is somewhere around September through November. There is a good chance you have (as I do) Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as SAD. During the winter months we are further from the sun, and for some of us that drop in energy from the sun results in a drop in our own energy.
I use the lights as well (usually an hour in the morning and sometimes an extra half hour after work if I’m lagging), and would recommend you talk to your therapist about either that, or an adjunct drug for the three or four months when efficacy decreases, or a combination of both.
TMS is something that can be tried before ECT. The theory is that like ECT, it jump-starts the prefrontal cortex with pin-pointed magnetic waves instead of electric current.
Right, but how do you get it? Is it covered by insurance?
You are good to reach out. Taking the time to help someone else is not something everyone will do. I commend you Wil Wheaton, no matter what Sheldon says about you.
I don’t understand talk therapy. You talk. They listen. No talking back. Is it just repeating the same stories and hope one day you get used to it. I take my meds. There are three different ones. If I so much as cut back on one I will be crying in about three weeks about everything. How does talking about this to a total stranger ever going to help. My depression stems from the death of my son. Outside of my meds, nothing helps. So explain how it helps to “talk about it” since it will not change anything
Donna, the “talk therapy” that I received consisted of my talking, and my psychiatrist TALKING BACK. I received a lot of information I needed in order to deal with traumatic memories and negative thoughts, plus good information about taking care of myself physically. Good therapy is a give-and-take. I couldn’t have recovered without it. It’s simply not true that there’s “no talking back.”
PS Donna, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your son. I want you to know that part of the reason I was in therapy was because both of my sisters chose suicide, one of them recently, and I couldn’t claw my way out of the grief. I hope that you are able to find someone compassionate, as I was–whether it’s in a group setting or with a therapist–who can help you heal. There is help out there, and it’s strong, not weak, to go out there and find it. I know that my sisters would have been very glad that I got some.
I hit the jackpot with my 4th therapist. They are not one size fits all. Keep “shopping” until you find one that is your fit. Regrettably, insurance can make that a bit challenging, but it is worth the struggle to find someone who can help you. When you find that fit, talk therapy will make a lot more sense.
Cognitive behavior therapy works for me. It teaches you to identify your negative thought patterns, what triggers them, and how to reframe your negative thoughts. Essentially retraining your brain. With practice it becomes automatic. Look up The Feeling Good Handbook. Easier with a therapist on board trained in CBT.
How Do you get your CBT? I am desperate to try it but nobody in New York takes any kind of insurance and it is fantastically, prohibitively expensive.
I’ve been trying to get CBT, but the VA is less than supportive in providing it. Plus it’s an hour and a half drive.
Donna talking works when there are then actions and active changes with it. Especially for grief there are activities to help you process your grief. I can say also from personal experience it takes a lot of time, but ultimately if you put in the work then healing happens. Talk therapy is just used to distinguish from play therapy or art or expressive therapy which do not always involve verbal processing of events.
Yeah, but IS this work you speak of? What am I supposed to do? I really wish someone would tell me so I could get on with it. All I do is talk until my pot is all stirred up and then they send me out the door until next week wound tighter than when I came in.
Donna without me hearing your story I cannot say what you in particular need to do. That being said I have a few suggestions. 1. If it is not working with your current therapist, tell them. Discuss it and togethet decide if pethaps another thetapist may have a different approach. Not all therapy and therapists approach each isdue the same. 2. Look up on amazon the bunch of books on grief and healing. Many of them are very helpful. 2. Journal 3. Sign up at Allnutt for the 365 days of healing. Read what they send and actually do the daily exercises. ahttp://www.allnutt.com/grief-and-healing/ 4. Alongside #3 set aside time everyday to be quiet, reflect, and journal. 5. Do something life giving everyday. Something that builds you up as a person. 6. Find something that gives life meaning. This could be working at a homeless shelter. Reading to children. Working at a church. Being a Big Sister. Ie find something to actively give back. The above is a start to the process. Hope it gives you some active steps. I pray that you find the peace you are seeking. I want to be clear that I am not saying do not take medication. Medication is an incredible tool. If you have found the peace and healing you are seeking with it that is good. The above are suggestions if you are looking for more alongside the medication you mentioned.
My therapist gave me a great way to think about meds that really helped me. She said that meds help you create a strong foundation to build on with therapy. I resisted for a year or so, and I’ve had to change the specific medications a couple of times, but it’s always helped me to shore myself up.
I believe you are a good man. Also I love your various projects. But that good man thing will mean a lot more in the long run, I suspect.
Well I don’t just have depression, I have bipolar disorder and also aspergers! So… I’ve basically been having mood swings in such a way, I would otherwise be a little worse off with out my meds. I think rethinking my position on this matter, while i do agree… Best I stay on my meds. Otherwise I would be in a straight jacket or in a hospital. I don’t know how else I would be treated. These mental issues that I have completely contradict each other! I really just need to be on an even keel so I am happy. If I do get sad, it’s not bad like if it’s my late night. Or if I missed a dose. Then if I do get sad, it’s a really bad overreaction. So, maybe not everyone needs to “not take their prescriptions”… Might not be for everyone.
i take generic welbutrin and generic prozac. i think they work mostly because i think they work. a placebo would probably work if i believed it was working. i don’t know. it’s depressing not knowing because that’s what depression is like.
Thank you for saying what needed to be said. You’re a good person. I think most people with depression always want to help people because they know what it is to feel bad.
for me, i have been in therapy for 2 years and have had the medication talk 3 times. i am anti-meds for personal reasons but i still continue to feel that i am broken even without that conversation. the other feeling i felt was validated. That what i felt was not just in my head. that it was real and someone else was noticing. i am a closet depressive with self-harm tendencies which yes when the medication conversation comes up or the talk about being in therapy twice a week instead of once was frightening, but also made everything seem real.
there was a time in my life that depression took a vacation for about 10 yrs but then life’s stresses got hard and it came back worse than ever. i shouldn’t have lived through 2011 and most days i still question why. but it was time to get help. that help comes in various and personal forms.
Wil your post “and I am nothing of a builder” held the words that described exactly how i feel. it was the first time i felt that i wasn’t alone.
thank you to everyone for talking about such a difficult subject.
Oh, it so worries me to see someone say that they have thoughts of self-harm and still continues to feel broken, but resists medication.
I really don’t think talk-therapy alone is sufficient treatment for chronic depression. Situational depression, perhaps, but recurring depression? No. What it can do, though, is make you feel like a failure– as if you simply aren’t trying hard enough not to be depressed, which is not how chronic depression works. “Force of will” does not cure depression, and depression is not a personal failing.
Each individual who could benefit from medication needs a specialized approach. I.e., not your G.P., not your ObGyn, etc. A psychiatrist who will help determine what “flavor” of depression you have (anxious, angry, or despondent) and any other medical conditions that might affect treatment, and help you try medications until you find the one that works best for you (not what’s “popular”).
This could change your life. You could stop battling the depression itself and start living your life based on your own choices and not the corners you find yourself backed into by the depression and its side-effects.
I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you find a treatment that really helps you.
Thank you for your kind words @HALFSHELLVENUS. it is a long road. Someday it will all be ok. — for all of us.
My apologies if i misquoted the title of the blog post stated above. i am trying to find it on here but am having some trouble searching for it.
I have taken antidepression meds for nearly twenty years, after my son died! If I don’t take them I go right back ”in the black hole” & it is hard to get out. I have taken several kinds, but now am on Pristiq. I can cope, more happy days than sad!!
I absolutely love this read!! Mr Wheaton it is one of my favorites that sort of hit home for me. I suffered a stroke at 35 years old a developed anxiety that I am controlling on my own, in my own way. I also started feeling depressed but I hide that away which I know is not healthy. I was blessed this year with my first child a beautiful little girl. I look at my little girl for a natural medication, sounds strange but it works for me for the time being. I don’t wish any of this on anyone. I don’t want that crutch feeling of relying on medications but I do know eventually I will have to.
I would also tell this nice person, that if the meds are working don’t stop them. That happened to me of course what i have apparently one of the symptoms is the doubt that i have it, but what if i don’t? and I ended up becoming super paranoid and afraid of spies and people trying to poison me. so I called my mom crying one night really scared and she helped me get everything, and I’m taking them for now because its been so soon after that happening, that i know how much it sucked. I honestly can’t say a year from now, part of me knows I need them but another part is like nope there’s nothing wrong with you. And for me that’s a constant battle It’s not something you or anyone else can be like yes or no and me believe you.
p.s. the fact that i’m doing better on them after 2 months proves that what i’m dxed with is probably legit.
Thank you for this lovely post. Thank you for being open about your journey.
Therapy + meds ftw!
I agree, up to a point.
A lot of people do avoid getting treatment for physical illnesses. Heart disease is one great example. People want to deny that there’s a problem, because it means getting older, getting weaker, having something wrong with you. Something that wasn’t there before.
Or a cough that’s “nothing” but goes on for months. But turns out to be cancer. Maybe they thought deep down that it was more serious, but don’t really want to know.
The first time that I went on medication for my neuro-atypicality, it was pretty scary. Because it’s not the same as taking a medication to lower cholesterol, or an antibiotic. It’s something that can very drastically change how you think and who you are. And change your body, too.
On top of that, I thought it was depression that I needed help with, and I did. But there were parts of my condition that I simply didn’t think I could tell them, because they might think I’m crazy-crazy, and not just going through a rough patch and needing a little help. What if they want to lock me up?
So I ended up on the wrong meds, and it had some pretty serious repercussions. And once they knew there was more to the story, it was close to a year before I really found a medication that worked, and that was out of my price range.
It’s not as simple as a physical illnes.
I found this at the exact moment I needed it.
My counselor gave me a referral in our first session to see a psychiatrist about medication, and I kept putting it off. I had a handful of reasons not to go, (My copay is kind of high, what if the side effects make it worse, etc, etc) but I knew that it was the idea of “defeat” that really kept me from taking the next step. Yesterday, after reading this, I finally made that call, and today I start my first medication after 20 years of battling depression (It started when I was 7).
Reading your stories, I have hope that with proper commitment I can regain more good days, as you and the many other commenters have before me.
Thank you, Wil.
Wil, thank you for you honesty and for helping to remove the silence and the stigma that surround depression. The son of a friend of mine died by suicide as a result of depression nine months ago today, so it seems appropriate to share this piece I wrote for his mother: http://parade.com/422126/parade/7-things-i-want-you-to-know-about-my-son-and-suicide/
YES!!! I’ve been telling people this for 30 years. You wouldn’t see a dentist for a broken arm. You wouldn’t treat diabetes with baby aspirin. Let’s break the stigma regarding psychiatric needs. God made us all perfect!
I agree that mental illness needs to be treated with the same respect as physical illness. That being said, in order to truly treat it with the respect it deserves and needs, it requires more than just a script. Therapy is vital. Our insurance carriers make it so difficult to get therapy, our families often don’t understand the need. So, when you talk about treating mental illness with respect, please include therapy as a fundamental component. Entirely too many primary care docs are writing scripts without referrals to mental health professionals and people aren’t recovering as well as they could be.
I have a thyroid condition, and part of that, the worst part in my mind, is it aggravates my depression. Unfortunately, I’m currently unemployed, lab tests are bloody expensive, and the safety net sucks, so no thyroid meds for me right now! It’s so hard and frustrating, knowing that a simple, 16 cent a day pill would help me sooo much (as I know from prior experience), but in order to get that pill I have to jump through 8 million hoops, all while I have 0 energy and don’t want to do anything except cry and sleep. And I can only be amused by the irony that if I were employed, and on my meds, I would have much more energy for the job hunt! All I can say is thank goodness for my cats….those furry bastards give me hope and a reason to keep going!
Thank you for helping me understand the people in my life who have depression through your Tumblr links and writings.
You should write another book and call it “Depression Lies”. It would be hard to write but I bet it would help a lot of people!
Ringing in to say I’ve had the exact same experiences and feelings, and was enabled to move forward when my doctor made the comparison to crutches. I was hoping you’d mention it, and was glad when you did. “I concur.”
With regard to combining meds with talk therapy, another useful remark I once read somewhere was that the meds “allow therapy to take hold.” It perfectly describes the proper relationship between the two. (I also just love the imagery in it — as though Depression (or whatever you have) is a sort of old-time County Fair-style greased pig, and the medication is giving Therapy a set of spiky gauntlets to get a grip through the grease. I’d love to see this illustrated.)
As a psychiatric nurse, it sometimes helps if you think of it like this: with mental illnesses there are no blood tests that can tell you what medications will work for you–it’s entirely possible that things we think of as one thing (depression, schizophrenia, etc.) are really many different things that only look alike. Psychiatrists are forced to treat mental illness empirically and this means that you might find that a medicine that works for one person will not work at all for another. This happens in other areas of medicine as well, but there is usually a last resort to some kind of scan or expensive lab test that can narrow the possible options somewhat. Psychiatry doesn’t have anything like that.
I cannot thank you enough for this. May 11 2015 I lost my 18 year old son to suicide. He battled with depression most of his life and sadly he lost that battle. If this post helps just one person then it is worth sharing! Thank you
I don’t know how to thank you Wil, for taking the time to post about depression. Right now, I am battling alcoholism, bipolar II and OCD, and I am currently on meds. I have to add that the meds and therapy have helped a great deal, that’s were my blog http://TonysBlog.net/ comes in. With my blog, I can get the crazy thoughts out of my head and stay sane. There are good days and there are bad days. But I have met so many great people online, that are going through similar situations that I am and we support each other. Again, thanks a million for this post. I really appreciate it.
Love what you wrote here, Wil! I agree that having depression doesn’t make you a weak person. Asking for help means that you are strong enough to fight all the bias’ that our society has ignorantly placed on those who realize that something’s not right and needs help.
Just wanted to bring one other thing up that people, including most “hand out pills like candy” doctors, often overlook. Sometimes, the talk therapy sans the medication is the best bet, depending on the person. Most meds have serious and very real side effects that aren’t just “minimal risk” (even when doctors and psychiatrists, often paid off by the pharmaceutical industry to do this, try to downplay that). Often, suicides, serious health complications, and other problems crop up once a person has been on them for a few months (whether it’s the old Prozac/Paxil series or not, though those are the two largest offenders). The reason this happens is that antidepressants just mask one’s ability to actively and reactively feel what they normally would in various daily situations. If you lower the dose too quickly or if you forget to take them for a day (this happened to me), you become suicidal because all the pain that you subconsciously felt, but couldn’t experience consciously, for all those months you were on the antidepressants, suddenly hits you like a speeding train – and it runs over you for the whole day. By evening, you really do start looking for ways to kill yourself (this is why those suicides often happen at night).
Fortunately, I realized what was happening to me, many years ago and I chose to just live through it until the next morning, though that was extremely hard. By the next morning, I wouldn’t touch the stuff I’d been prescribed again, and was so angry about what it had done to me that I never did use it again. I was a teen, so I just hid the pills daily and lied to my mom and told her I was still taking them. Eventually, she forgot to take me to get refills and new scrips from the doctor, so it was all good in the end. Anyway, I’ve been much better for -not- taking the antidepressants I was prescribed. The emotional “high” they give a person (by fooling them into thinking they’re now feeling “normal”) is just as bad for a person as if they were taking hallucinogenic drugs, as far as I’m concerned, though obviously, the effect is different.
Each to their own, and I’m sure they don’t all affect everyone the same way that I and many others have been affected by them, but I think it’s important to remember all those people who’ve lost the battle after taking antidepressants for several months and then, seemingly out of nowhere, killed themselves (or had a death-by-cop). That’s real, and the cause is real, even if the pharma-culture refuses to admit this ugly truth. A person has to be extremely careful when dosing and needs to be aware of why they’re feeling like killing themselves if they are feeling that after taking these prescriptions for awhile (probably a minimum of a few weeks) – either their dosing needs have changed, the actual dosing itself has recently been changed, or they forgot to take their emotional-“normalization” fix that morning. Because, in the end, that’s all it really is. The other thing to remember is that psychiatrists are kind of stupid in one respect: they’re putting chemicals into all their patients’ systems without giving them blood tests or even doing brain scans first to a) make sure this is actually needed and b) make sure it’s actually safe for the individual patient. There may be factors in a person’s blood work or on their brain scans that can show conclusively that those drugs would either not be helpful, not safe for that individual, or both, but since psychiatrists don’t bother to study that, they have no idea and they just mindlessly prescribe these things under the one-size-fits-all assumption that those drugs will work for everyone and have the same perfect results “someday, I don’t know when.”
Finally, it’s good to remember that anything that a person has to be on for an entire lifetime is something that won’t actually “fix” anything. It’s just another thing that people use as a crutch. If that’s without the talk therapy, it definitely will have negative effects on their health because of long-term use. If it’s with the talk therapy, eventually, they may not need the drugs as a crutch anymore (that would be the most ideal situation). For some of us, though, this assumption that drugs are necessary “or else” is extremely wrong and definitely a path to death itself. They don’t prolong the inevitable: they cause it. I do hope that one day psychiatrists will wise up and start testing people for drug necessity and drug safety (for them as individuals) prior to prescribing them. Until they do that, they as professionals get my thumbs-way-down. It’s only a happenstance that those drugs don’t kill everyone. Again, that’s because each individual is different and will respond differently to them. When they do a good service, and a person can be successfully weaned off of them over time, due to lack of necessity, they get my thumbs up. Else-wise, forget it – something else needs to be tried. Depression isn’t diabetes (type 1), and shouldn’t last a lifetime. The fact that we’ve all been told that it can and that somehow, that’s “ok” or to be expected in some cases – that doesn’t make it right. It makes that an excuse for the pharmaceutical companies to keep buying off the psychiatrists who prescribe expensive meds that people are made to believe they’ll have to keep forking out for, for the rest of their lives. Talk about life-long customers! Psychiatric drugs can be helpful, on the short term, but when they’re expected to be taken for a lifetime? That’s just big-business talking…
Definitely: talk therapy, either by itself or in conjunction with the antidepressants on the short-term. I can’t support life-long use of them without the talk therapy (which should be useful in helping a person work through the real causes of the depression so they won’t need the prescriptions after awhile).
Also, there are alternative teas and such that people can use – an herbologist can help a person determine what will work for them and what’s safe to use. Those can be very safe and effective, again, depending on the person. Some have serious side effects, other are so harmless yet effective that it’s just silly not to use them. I’ve used a couple of them in the past and I do know this: I never felt suicidal while using them, nor after I just didn’t feel the need to use them anymore. I also didn’t have my emotional responses masked – it was just easier to calm down, rest, relax, etc., and throw in some real logic at the same time so I could see my way through various difficult situations as they came up. If things get out of hand, I do use a cup of those teas here and there, but it’s not daily or even weekly anymore. It’s just “whenever” on an as-needed basis. I wouldn’t call that a cure to depression, but I would say that it’s such a vast improvement in my life that it’s been worth it that I started using those. I won’t name those here (that would be unethical, as far as I know), but as I said, and herbologist can help those who are interested figure out what’s right for them.
In the end, lots of options out there! Just wanted to mention a couple of them that seemed to not have come up much yet on this page. (If I missed that in the comments, my apologies.) Again, thank you for posting this blog, and reminding everyone that depression is a lying dick. It really is.
A couple of things here:
My doctor and clinic made me wait to get my Rx until I could provide them with proper bloodwork and analysis from my MD. I hated them at the time because I was so desperate for some form of relief and I had resisted meds for so long and now here I was finally asking for them and they made me jump through this hoop. I think there are plenty of Drs out there who know what they’re doing and plenty of drugs that can help people.
Antidepressants are know to increase suicide risk in teenagers and young adults because of their impulse control is not fully developed. I am REALLY GLAD you managed to resist killing yourself but going rouge and going off your meds could have been just as dangerous. There’s also maybe something out there that could have helped you which you hadn’t tried. I understand why an experience like that might make weary and distrustful of meds and the Dr but it sounds to me like you didn’t have the right dr and reviling meds wholesale doesn’t seem productive for you or anyone else here. They’re a tool. A hammer can build someone a house or bash someone’s head in. Neither is the hammers fault.
I do agree with you though that meds should not be a forever solution. There is a lot of complacency for people who are just like “Oh, I just have a chemical imbalance, there’s no way around it.” This may be true for a handful of people, but most of us are suffering from something it should be possible to recover from IF we’re given proper treatment. Good treatment is unfortunately very hard to come by today in our society as it does not turn as much of a profit as selling antidepressants does, I’ll grant you, but you are a a part of that treatment and you can always demand/seek better.
I have depression and anxiety I’m trying to deal with, and now I am exhausted all the time and don’t know why, so I plan to see a doctor about that. I feel pretty broken right now, but like you I see it as equivalent to being sick or having a broken bone. It REALLY fucking sucks to have your body taking over your life, but its not my fault that I feel this way and I’m pretty determined to get to the bottom of it all. Thanks for posting this sort of thing and helping to dispel some of the myths society has of mental health.
Thanks for talking about depression Wil (if I may be so informal). You’ve obviously thought a lot about this and done a lot of good work. I’d like to share a bit of my story in case it might help others.
In hindsight, I’d say my depression first reared its ugly head when I was about 9. It took years (until my 20s) to realize that it wasn’t just my personality. It took another five years or so before I tried medication. It made a huge difference, but it still didn’t make everything perfect. Over the next 20 years my medication has been changed a few times. All this time I’ve continued to go to therapy (essential to grow and take advantage of the benefits of the medication). It was only a few years ago when a new psychiatrist made some tweaks to my medication that I again made a big leap and feel nearly “well adjusted.”
The moral of my long winded story is that it can take time. Not just to work yourself but to find the right combinations of therapist, psychiatrist, medication, etc.to get where you’d like to be. Keep trying until you figure it out.
Sir, I have never met you but I wish that I could clap you on the back, buy you lunch and cheer you on… but I guess that I will have to settle for just the latter.
If you are able to release yourself of the deepest depths of depression, by holding onto the light that is within you, you will find that there are more holistic ways of increasing the low vibration that is depression and reheighten your sense of life by escaping that mind set. Exercising, clean eating, finding new CONSTRUCTIVE hobbies, I.e. Playing an instrument, sewing, doing puzzles, meditating, etc., surrounding yourself with positive people, and spending time in nature, can increase your overall happiness. Challenge yourself to do at least two of those things. I guarantee it will uplift you. You can rise above it and you can succeed without medication. DISCLAIMER: with that being said, some cases of life, particularly what I refer to as the black hole depression that does seem to just bring you down down down, may need a little boost that is Prozac or Zoloft or Effexor or whatever may float your boat to help you battle. There are some people that need that extra boost and there is no shame in that. I’m just saying,please realize that you truly have the majority of the power to change your mindset thus your entire life and vice versa… Hope this helps, coming from a person who felt the same way about not wanting to rely entirely on a medication. –find your medium, talk doses with your doctor once you get a feel for it, maybe take a small dose and incorporate those life changes. You’ll figure it out!
wil, very cool of you to post this. Depression runs in my family. My mom had 2 suicide attempts while I was a teen, I suffer from it, I used to cut, and I’m hoping my daughters will be OK. I also have aunts,uncles and cousins who have had problems with it. A few years back my oldest cousin hung himself.he had had problems since his teens with depression. Of all the things to pass on through the generations, right? It is very cool of you and Zach Levi to be open about it, being in the public eye helps bring attention to the fact that you have depression, but don’t belong in a padded room. You are smart guys and can handle living your lives with a little bit of help from a Dr. and maybe some meds. Thank you for not being afraid to speak up.
The same goes for addiction. You are not weak because you ask for help. You CANNOT do it alone. Addiction is a liar and a dick too!
I’m an 18 year Army vet and was medically retired and sent to the VA for treatment. in two and half years(30 months) I received therapy 23 time to work on my issues and saw my psychiatrist(medication doctor) 32 time. In that time I planned my suicide 5 time and cut almost every month I was also prescribed 42 different medication for PTSD, depression and suicidal behavior. I went in the VA hospital once during this time for being suicidal and that was over a year ago and received zero treatment while I was in there. So I stop telling them pretty much anything after that and just a few months ago I told them that I was no longer will be using their services. They tried everything under the sun to make me stay with them, even treating to have my benefits stopped. I’m now seeing a private therapist and psychiatrist I’m now taking a quarter of the meds I was with the VA. during my time with the VA they refused to let me see a marriage counselor on my own instead they used my therapy time and again not working on main problem(PTSD, Depression). there is much more that I could say but I’m lazy and don’t want to type anymore. please choose you doctors carefully and pay for them out of your pocket if you have to. Remember the VA is only here to give those who have sacrificed their bodies and minds for their country a 2nd chance to die for their country.
Thanks for sharing your story, Wil. It helps to hear a fellow voice in the midst of a downswing.
A phrase that popped into what’s passing for my mind: “emotional amnesia”. Describes the overwhelming feeling when down that things have always been, will always be this way.
For me, the key to surviving the downswings has been to disrupt the inner narrator. Simple techniques like deep breathing and making lists of small things to do that help rebuild my sense of self-worth. Also, as difficult as it is, listening to those that love you. Humility is a bitch in the short-term, but a wonder in the longer.
Take care yourself, everyone.
I keep this tab open in my browser at all times. Thank you, Wil.
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