You Can’t Fight Depression on Your Own

Image: Winged Figure by Abbott Handerson Thayer

Winged Figure by Abbott Handerson Thayer

Two things happened today that made me want to pound my head against a wall, Charlie Brown-style. The first was that I got an email from a woman who said that she is suffering from severe depression, but that friends and family want her to try to “talk herself out of it”, and not get involved with medication and therapy. Now, it is not unusual for me to get an email from someone who either (1) feels they should be able to handle their own depression without treatment (2) feels that someone close to them should be able to handle their depression on their own, or (3) is being talked out of seeking treatment by family or friends. These emails never fail to raise my blood pressure a few notches.

The stress from this communication was doubled when the second thing happened, which is that I went to the Psychology/Self-help section at my local bookstore. It seems to be the largest section in the store. As I looked for legitimate books on depression and its treatment, I couldn’t help but see all the “help yourself” titles in that section, as well as what I call the “Thank God I’m here to tell you what to do, you pathetic loser” books. Dr. Laura Schlessinger was telling me that I do 10 stupid things to mess up my life (only 10, Dr. Laura?), John Roger and Peter McWilliams were telling me that I couldn’t afford the luxury of a negative thought (gee, and I was having so much fun spoiling myself with those negative thoughts), countless others were telling me that if I just bought their book and put some effort into it, I could be happier, sexier, smarter, successful and more fulfilled. When it came to depression, there was no shortage of advice. Apparently I can embrace depression, use it as a tool for self-discovery, and run it off (at the same time I’m running off those belgian waffles, I guess – how handy). By this time I was way past pounding my head against a wall, and into the Yosemite Sam stage, in which I want to jump up and down and swear uncontrollably.

Let me pause for a moment to explain exactly what I mean when I talk about depression. I’m not referring to the normal down periods that everyone goes through once in a while, that can be brought on by a rainy day, a broken heart, the flu or even for no particular reason. We mope around, listen to sad music and feel sorry for ourselves. These moods go away within a couple of days, and we can enjoy life again. Clinical depression is much more than that, and is comparable to a down mood as much as a sneeze is comparable to pneumonia. It is an illness that affects a person in many different ways. It can affect appetite, sleep patterns, powers of concentration, and even slow down movement and speech. While the predominant feeling depression brings is often sadness or a blue mood, it can also be a numb, empty feeling, anxiety, hopelessness, loss of self-esteem or self-worth, inability to make decisions or a combination of these. Unlike a passing mood, clinical depression dominates a person’s life and brings it to a screeching halt.

Image: Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses by John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses by John William Waterhouse

Back in the bookstore, I was relieved to see that there are also many books that address depression in a responsible manner, explaining that it is an illness and encouraging the sufferer to seek treatment from a physician. It seems, however, that too often the influence of these books and other educational material about depression is drowned out by the belief that depression is simply a down mood or negative attitude that any self-respecting person should be able to overcome. I read recently of a study in which 75% of adults said that someone with depression could get better just by being more positive. Can you imagine the same 75% saying that someone who is paralyzed just needs to work out more, or that someone who is mentally challenged just needs to think “power thoughts”?

This attitude is dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, the number one cause of suicide is untreated depression. Why don’t people get treatment for depression? Probably because they are being told by society, well-meaning family and friends and their own misconceptions of mental illness that depression is just a mood that they should be able to control. They believe that a life-threatening illness can be managed by happy talk and an upbeat demeanor. I know what I’m talking about. I tried for years to defeat my (undiagnosed) depression by thinking of reasons I was lucky and telling myself that that cold empty feeling had no cause and therefore didn’t have any validity. It’s like trying to treat diabetes by skipping dessert. It doesn’t work, and it’s dangerous to your health.

The second reason this “talk yourself out of it” attitude is dangerous is that depression can be caused by an undiagnosed illness such as heart disease, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, infectious diseases and immune/autoimmune disorders. Depression can even be brought on by vitamin or mineral deficiencies or prescription and over-the-counter drugs. If you don’t treat depression as an illness and get yourself checked out by a physician or psychiatrist, you run the risk of leaving a serious illness undiagnosed.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of depression, make an appointment to see a doctor. If you know someone who seems to be showing the symptoms, encourage him or her to see a doctor. Don’t believe the myth that we can “handle” depression on our own.

Share

87 thoughts on “You Can’t Fight Depression on Your Own

  1. Pingback: You Can't Fight Depression on Your Own » Depression

  2. Hi,

    You may not be able to heal depression but you can fight it.

    I am French and first I do apologize for my mistakes.

    I was looking for some advices about ‘how to fight depression’ when I found your site.
    I have been looking for 10 years and I must say that if some advices look very tempting, good and easy, none of them really worked for me yet.
    However they helped out for a while, and gave me some good tips to cope with my every day life.

    I agree with you that depression is an illness and needs to be taken seriously.
    But I strongly disagree with the fact that if we are depressed we hopeless on our own. I am not against getting help at all, I think that is good choice. But if you cannot or don’t want to they are ways to deal with it on you own.

    Of course the book solution is not perfect but psychology has its downsides as well.

    1- What happends to people who can’t afford it?
    Are they cursed for the rest of their life?
    The help you are talking about is a long process of many years.
    It is very costly.

    2-It is also a great emotional investment and an early separation with the psychologist can be extremely hard and painful.

    3- Lots of psychologists repeat the exact same things as those books(and not the best). I heard so many horrifying things by people talking about their psychologist and I also experienced it. They can really do damaged.
    So it needs to be recommended by a trustworthy person who knows about this area.

    4- A Psychologist is not for everybody.
    Back in France I saw one for 2 years and a half. Recommended by her peers and who had a good reputation.
    I also saw one for 6 years when I was a teenager.
    It didn’t help much and costed a ludicrous amount of money.

    5-A psychotherapy is never 100% sure. People commit suicide even during or after a treatment.

    Those books you ‘re talking about,they are not all good I agree but some are if you look long enough.
    they don’t heal depression(neither will anti-depressant) but they help, they diminish the despair, .

    I do think it is possible to fight depression on your own if you want, or if you have no other choices. Maybe not heal it that ‘s true but definitely fight it.

    Marie

    • Hello excuse me for my bad writing skills.
      I am 12 and I have many almost all the symptoms for depression…I don’t know what to do…I feel bad because I sometimes just snap at my mom and it hurts after I do…I cry a lot and I just want to die but Im not gonna kill myself because I don’t want to leave my mom. I hate my appearance and I can never be happy. I was always smiling when I was younger from birth-4 years old I was happy. Then at the age of 5 I was being bullied… It affected me big time I nearly killed myself in 3rd grade but failed I sat in my restroom crying with my dog.I have been staying strong but Its hard now… Its harder because I have problems with my dad and My heart was broken by a guy who I love and I know Im young Too young to love but I know for a fact that I love him.I am a fighting soul for jesus. I just wanted to ask how can I be my happy self again :'(

      • Omg I’ve been fighting this disease most of my 42 years I can emphasise how you feel. Are you able to talk to your mom? I’m afraid I’m not and never have been. I hope you are you never know she could be the starting point towards beating this please open up to her you must be so sad I wish I could hug you.

      • Have you talked to your mom about how you feel? hang in there baby it will get better <3 🙂

    • If u can fight on your own then you must be suffering from sadness,which is not atall a clinical condition.so please dont make someone,who really have a medical condition- feel weakminded by indirectly saying that he is not strong enough to help himself.

      • Hi.

        Until now, it is still unclear to me on what truly constitutes as depression. Sadness is one of the symptoms of depression, and the list of symptoms goes on.

        For three years, I’m constantly attacked with “depression symptoms,” even in the lines of suicide contemplation (until now). Of course, I can’t officially call this “depression”, as I am not yet diagnosed by a “professional” due to financial constraints and stigmatization of depression. Due to the stigmatization, I acknowledge the need of destigmatization of depression so that it would be easier for people to go to doctors and get diagnosed.

        But not all depression stories are the same. I cannot deny the stories of people still “committing” suicide (the stigma of suicide would be for another topic) even under or after treatment.

        (Nitpicking comments)
        **
        The statement “the number one cause of suicide is untreated depression” is actually problematic for this article (and other articles who copy-paste this statement). First of all, what does it mean by “untreated?” Does this mean that the patient is diagnosed with depression but doesn’t go with the supposed treatment? If this is the case, then why advocate for going to the doctor, if the patient himself/herself wouldn’t go with the treatment? This means that the problem with depression is far deeper than simply going to the doctor.

        But if it means “untreated” the same as “undiagnosed”, I need to request the source of this statistic because no one could come up with a valid statistic about depression if there’s no way for them to count “undiagnosed” depression cases. This would be plain wrong.
        **
        (end of nitpicking comments)

        Nitpicking comments aside, not everyone can afford diagnosis, and these people aren’t a minority. To these people, their choices include asking others for help or fight it on their own. But because of the stigma, some of these people don’t have any choice but to fight it on their own. And please take note that “fighting” is not the same as “curing.” This is a response to your comment about fighting it on their own equates to sadness, because it’s not sadness. For them, it is their only choice, and luckily these survivors shared their ongoing struggles, for others to look at them as hope. The worst thing your comment could do to them is to dismiss their experiences (assuming if the person is still alive).

        And yes, I do have a lot of free time.

  3. hi, i think I’ve been feeling over stressed/depressed for years, or should i say all through my childhood to my adult years, its hurting me so badly. I don’t know how to deal with it anymore. somethings are bothering me that i never even talked about to anyone else. And i have been in a relationship with a guy for almost 3 years, and wants to know what’s been bothering me. And ever since i was a grown up, i was always afraid to talk to someone what I’m going through. I have 2 kids with the same guy I’m with for 3 years . I feel like he’s almost leaving me because of my anger and frustration. All i want for someone or anyone to ask me is that, what’s wrong with me? or what’s been happening through your childhood, no one never asked me that, not even my own mother or father, or even a friend of mine. So now , I’m really desperate to let some things out that i kept for a very long time, some are recently. I’m desperate for help.

  4. Depression, I believe all my life has just been depression, Of course there are good points in your life but for me they were even a struggle marriage, children the family, I had it all but never happy, of course the past was always in the back of your mind, Therapy at 30, divorced and court cases to do with your childhood background to a not guilty, I lived on pulled my socks up and carried on to be socially okay,great job,I am an over achiever, did very well, I new everything experienced so to say in the crap life that was handed to me, I was grateful of the person I became, of my children life was good as I new it, though I never felt I was great, attractive, a good parent or for that matter a good person, but I tried my best, and low and behold 52years old and I am sitting with so much pain,lonely, ugly, self pity just no motivation to move or fix things, life has just taken its toll on me I am tired of feeling this way I was diagnosed with severe depression, I am not alone I have a loving husband, children and grandchildren, I am also on 3 different meds, I hear that depression is an illness compared to any other illness, I have sat for 5yrs hiding from everyone trying to keep it away from effecting everyone else around me, from my past experience with therapy,group therapy and reading everything I could get my hands on the overachiever that I was.. I thought I was healed so to say… Today I read with half interest, also now it is not as easy to read and concentrate, I don’t think I or anyone for that matter can help themselves isolated, I believe with depression I probably should look for help, the problem besides cost, so disappointing that all the work I have done was for what! to get me through 20yrs, I just not sure that same energy is there anymore, and I am constantly hearing wow I would never guess you as being depressed, because I can do everything in my power to mask it, my husband is away with work 2nights a week and those are the days I just die inside… I am just not sure anymore what is the best way anymore, chemical imbalance that is the answer today but it is still depression stuck in quick sand and too tired to find help.So long story short I know I can’t fix it alone, and I guess to each his own, but if you can look deep into yourself I think we all can see we need help, it is just how to go about it is the problem. That big grey world is so different today, everyone is just busy and depression can hide and so many people just can not see it anymore, so we live, or I live on in my own world of pain.Just the energy alone that it takes to seek help is enough to just bury your head under the blankets…

    • Read,read,read and I don’t mean self help books. Read books on Human develop and behaviour. Learn why us humans can behave the way we do. Knowledge is power. Also CBT. Long road, hard work however it’s rewarding. Authors like James Oliver, Dorothy Rowe. Bowlby. etc. Also get hormone levels checked. T3 and T4 also Estrogen etc.

  5. I have come to realize how real depression is as an illness as I’ve been going through my recent experience and realizing the thoughts that go on in my mind, particularly suicide which keeps me up for fear I will actually do something to myself, even though I really don’t. Along with my thoughts I have no appetite, I feel fatigued and sleepy all the time and have no interest in anything. And doing simple things like putting on my shirt feels like an arduous ordeal. It doesn’t help either when there are one or two people who I come across that react harshly when I share what I am going through despite the 10 or more positive people that really listen and share their support. It is from these people that I have come to realize that anyone suffering with depression should find trustworthy people they can turn to and talk with to help you in your time of need. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to talk to anyone because I don’t want to burden them with MY problems. I have learned that talking things out with these people actually has helped me more than thinking I can deal with it myself. So I will agree that anyone suffering with depression in any shape or form, be it mild or severe, DO NOT deal with it or feel you have to fight it alone. Find the right people in your life that will help you even if all they do is listen. Thank You for reading and please know that you are NOT alone.

    • Also do some CBT cognitive Behavioural Therapy. If low income this can be done by self with a good friends help. Our negative thought patterns can keep us in a state of depression and anxiety. As well as hormones, good healthy diet and exercise. This can eliminate or radically reduce depression over time. Learn Positive coping strategies. Learning about human developent and behaviour. Eg. Our early experiences, age birth to 3 yrs can effect us as adults if left unaddressed. Not easy but not impossible with help and suport

    • Search your area for free groups. Library for books. Freecycle online groups to request books. CBT books to help change negative thought patterns.for example negative language “I should” negative language is a big barrier to self healing. Look for Dorothy Rowe books. Oliver James. A good friend whom you can read boops through with you and help you on CBT. I had severe depression I used many talking therapies however CBT was the only one that helped me move forwards out of my learned negative coping strategies and thoughts. It hard work but implementING it has become 2nd nature now. I still get low points but not deep deep low anymore.

  6. How do you measure or better yet qualify being in a state of depression? There seems to be a thick margin of grey that represents the ups and downs in life. Is it when you’re down more than you’re up? Do we look for that quantifiable downward trend to declare one’s depressional state? If so, is it at this point of no return that we are then clinically identied as having the disease? I guess these are some of my first thoughts as I move forward in trying to self examine why I have lost most of my interest in life. I’m not at a dangerous point (suicide), but scared that I can not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything around me is in order, but can’t seem to appreciate all that I do have; health, family, job, etc. Perhaps it’s a mid life crisis I’m going through at age 57. In reading some of the advice, the one thing I’ll start working on is the appreciation of what I do have to be thankful for. The other, is my moral compass that can hopefully steer me in the right direction.

  7. So sorry, but I have to call bullshit on you.

    I managed to live with depression for about a decade– found a spouse, had a couple of kids, built a pretty good life.

    Then I decided to seek treatment for my depression. Well. After eight months of antipsychotics and being told that I could not possibly have built this life for myself, I attempted suicide.

    Before, I had depression and Asperger’s. Now, I have depression, and Asperger’s, and GAD, and agoraphobia, and PTSD. I was a hell of a lot better off accepting depression as an inevitable consequence of Asperger’s and “fighting through it on my own.”

  8. Life sucks , nothing gets better and no one really cares or understands … Life is what it is … Its like having cancer or aids and asking why me ?? Wtf ! It just is … We are like cast aways of the world . No one cares !

    • It can feel that way, but know that you aren’t alone. I’m sorry Jess, pulled a rather harsh pity bullshit card on you. Everyone is different. It can and often does get better. Please know that I’m thinking of you tonight.
      With prayer,
      Micha

  9. Where to start? I wasn’t always like this; I used to be generally quite an outgoing person, keeping fit and having a good time. These past two years (that have gone incredibly fast and almost emphasise the fact that another decade might as well occur) have been hell for me. Only up until recently have my parents been aware of the severity of this depression which just seems to shroud everything I do or anything I can so in negativity. I barely laugh anymore and I feel like I cannot enjoy the smallest thing I did before such as watching a film or just sitting there knowing that tomorrow I will get up and have a full day ahead of me. It may seem weird that I mention those things rather than say, going out clubbing with friends or getting that paycheck from work but those were always the times when I could genuinely feel happy about myself and not have to do something to drown out my negative emotions. I started university on the wrong note – I made some great friends, I am so close to them yet so distant. My relationship with my family has dimished to the point where I have not spoken to my mother for a year now and am on the verge of begrudging my father. I am coming to the end of my second year at university and feel that my future is bleak, that I have nothing. My friends just pass around me in their own worlds – or maybe it is I that is simply trapped in mine. I am sick of always seeing my friends genuinely happy with their lives, enjoying the small things that I once cherished. I am tired of having to act like my life is good whenever I am physically around them. Life these days is so painful, that gloom is always over my shoulder, even when I am preoccupied with something – sometimes, just sometimes I forget about my worries (no surprise usually when intoxicated) but this is rare these days.
    All I see, and have let my parents know, is that I can only get worse from here. My father actually made an effort to book me in with my GP to get me some help. I was supposed to hear back from the hospital about some kind of one on one therapy sessions which I am highly sceptical about.
    Regarding the point of the article above, I would have to say that self help is a short term fix – I can give myself positive thoughts or even comfort eat (and no, I am not in the slightest overweight) in order to heighten my mood but this is only temporary and unsustainable. I do agree with the author of this article that it does get to a point that you cannot help yourself but need external help. This is because the outlook of a person with depression is always negatively skewed, even when bright. I am in no way, shape or form qualified to give advice for depression, but as a sufferer I can give my experience.
    well this is the next step guys, whether I make it or break it so to speak. I didn’t write this post to gather any sympathy but rather as to use it as a temporary vessel to releave me and to anyone that may ever read this, it is kind of helping getting this off my chest, even if it is just a post on a website.
    I know this is said time and time again but if anyone else reads this and is also in a bad place, you are not alone. I put my mind and even heart out to those also in my position at the moment. My father, when I communicate with him, tells me that there is light at the end of the tunnel – and maybe there is, I just cannot see it yet. I should be more grateful for the fact people are trying to help me and I am aware that there are people out there with less than I. It is to those people that I think about from time to time, not necessarily praying for them as I am not exactly religious, but just hoping they gain strength in their lives and see hope.

    Well that is it from me guys, I wish myself luck and I wish everyone else out there strength, I really mean that.

    • Remember hormone in balances ie low Thyroid can effect mood really badly. Go online for advice in want to ask for when getting this checked if not already done so. For me after years of depression found CBT the most helpful.

  10. thanks for this article it made more sense than those self help sites i run into when i’m feeling this way. i’ll call a doctor first thing monday morning. again thanks.

  11. Your story sounds like my story. Last Sunday I was getting stuff around for a Father’s Day picnic. Suddenly I realized I wasn’t feeling down and depressed. My energy was good and I was looking forward to company. It lasted about an hour, then the heaviness set back in. I started a new med abt 10 days ago and I am hoping that the good hour is a sign that it is starting to work. Today is a heavy day.

    Karen

  12. If you can help please email me back. Idk what is wrong with me.. I’ve been this way for a long time and its not getting better. Nothing makes me happy. I fake being happy. I can’t have friends. I can’t talk to anyone. I cry all the time. And don’t wanna get out of bed. If it wasn’t for the ppl who love me. And the pain they feel. I would be dead. Idk wat to do. But I can’t live like this anymore

    • I feel the same way..the only thing stopping me to kill myself I’d my 16 yr old son.my day ate empty, I don’t even go outside anymore..I’m hoping my new psych Dr. Will help cause its very hard to live this way

  13. Hello all. I am writing this on the heels of the death by suicide of Robin Williams. I am 46 yrs old, and have suffered with depression since I was a preteen. I am currently in a deep depression, for the last several months I have been suffering intensely. Death is always on my mind. I am only still here for the sake of my daughter, my only saving grace, but I am a disaster. I want to leave this place once and for all, I am tired of this constant, constant struggle. I started medications which ate not as effective as I had hoped, and I am still tortured. I am tired, exhausted and empty. I imagine what it will be like to leave this place, and each day I am working towards making peace with it. I can only handle each minute as it comes. I am doing the best I can. Best of luck to all the sufferers.

  14. I don’t know what to do. Am I depressed or not? I act happy around everyone but I haven’t told anyone how I really feel… Alone. Sad. Stressed. Anxious. There’s no way to describe it. I go into my room and I cry. I cry and cry And cry. I have no idea why. I know that if I tell anyone they won’t take me seriously because I always seem so happy but inside I’m broken. It seems as though there’s no reason to live. I just need someone to talk to. I’ve been feeling this way for about half a year and I need some advice. I’m a teenager. Please someone tell me what I should do.

    • Please please tell a parent,or close rerelative. If you can’t do that, or feel to uncomfortable,call your dodoctor. Ask your school nurse what you can do

      • please seek a psychiatrist immediately don’t be afraid and if u don’t like the way it treated keep looking for one that u feel comfortable with

      • Kimberly,
        Precious, I hope things have improved for you. Please know you are NOT alone. I know it can feel that way. If you haven’t done it already you should reach out and talk to someone about your feelings, your thoughts, and the conflict that you have or are experiencing. Preferably, someone close to you (And someone who is a counselor, a parent, a teacher, a pastor, a nurse, a doctor, or even an adult neighbor). You can also try a hotline which allows you to connect and talk without being troubled with locality to someone you can confide in.
        The way you are feeling or have felt is normal and quite common. You are brave to post this and I want you to know that even if you don’t feel like this right this moment, it’s important to acknowledge it with someone.
        Wishing you peace, Micha

        • don’t be afraid I have a duel disese being treated with antidepressants and antipsychotic medicine has worked for several this phone is goofing up on the spelling sorry seek medical help please love you

  15. Hi.

    I have been a patient at a clinic for 1.5 years now. They offer discounted rates for people like me who would otherwise not be able to afford treatment.

    My decision to finally seek help after 30 plus years of depression was not an easy one. Ultimately I was tired of moving through life not actually living it. I was cheating myself by ignoring the pain and the life situations that exacerbated that pain.

    I see a psychologist every two-three weeks, a psychiatrist every six weeks. Plus I have joined two groups, ACT and Mindfulness, that have helped as well. In fact those groups have provided a refuge to free myself when I otherwise would not have the opportunity. I feel more at peace going to that mental health center, than I do in “real life” and I am so grateful for it.

    Find the courage to give yourself the opportunity to address your depression and other mental health issues. Just don’t expect that a few sessions or a few pills will cure you. It is going to take hard work on your part to find your version of peace and happiness. But you will do it.

  16. Hard to know what to do when doctors only make things worse. I’ve had 1 convinced that getting off Effexor would not have any side effects despite my proof otherwise. I was on my own. Another doc just refilled a Rx for yrs with no interest in when I said I was so much worse. I managed to discover (after far too long) that a particular generic of the drug I’d taken for years was causing the far more extreme version of depression bordering on suicidal thought. I know it’s a disease, but where do you go for help when the “help” is anything but? It seems we are on our own. I’m trying the tips in The Depression Cure. The science seems sound. Time will tell.

  17. Where do you get help, when you have no friends, family is ‘the meet at Xmas and have polite stilted meaningless conversation’ type, and the doctors route is to get u to fill in a pre printed form of boxes and then ask u to go away and write down your thoughts!! While they attempt to file the form in a bulging file which they then drop on the floor and all the papers drop out in a heap! And Like they have not listened to a word you have said in the previous twenty minutes! Really?? Really??? My depression is the result of having to take extremely strong (and addictive) painkillers for over three years – (due to a failed op etc)finally stopping them abruptly when I realised my personality was changing. It’s been two-3 years since then, two of severe depression, and one slightly less so. Not a clue what to do!!

    • Hi, one place you might consider starting at is a crisis hotline. A lot of people mistakenly think they have to be in a high state of crisis or imminently suicidal in order to reach out to these lines. (sadly some lines do maintain themselves exclusively for that purpose but there are ones out there who WILL listen to you) A place to start might be the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255, (or check out their website http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ which has tons of resources)Lifeline will automatically direct your call to the closest crisis hotline based on the area code you’re calling from (don’t worry it is all still confidential it’s an automated process that the telephone counselors don’t see). And if you find that the crisis hotline they direct you to is one of those rare ones who will only give time to imminently suicidal people please feel free to call the hotline I volunteer at, Response of Suffolk County 631-751-7500, it is 24/7 and we will be there for anyone regardless of where they’re calling from. While it can’t replace therapy and/or medication, a telephone (or chat) crisis counselor can be another source of support for you as you work through the idiotic hoops our society makes us jump through in order to get treatment. Often crisis centers can provide referrals and other support services to help you navigate that maze. Take care :hugs:

  18. I’ve been depressed for quite a bit now. It has actuay come back after I’ve gotten in a relationship with the woman of my dreams. It’s really been affecting our relationship because she can’t deal with us fighting all the time because of my irritability and hostility because of my depression. I have gone through depression before without a psychologist or medication. I have attempted suited but have since realized that dying isn’t worth it. I’ve been through it by myself before so I do think that someone can do self help for their depression because I had a good long think by myself and had many realizations about my life and about my depression. I’m happy to say that I have turned myself around and that I have gotten rid of depression by myself. I’m here to tell you that it is possible for some people. Not for everyone.

  19. What about the people that can’t afford to see a doctor for depression? I have decent insurance, but to be on an antidepressant is an ongoing expense. My husband makes too much money for us to qualify for government assistance, but not enough for me to be able to go to the doctor regularly and pay for antidepressants for an extended period of time. I know I’m severely depressed, I know I need help, and I know that help should be in the form of medication…. But how do I work out the rest of it?

    • Try searching for sliding scale mental health services in your town, county or nearby city.

      There are many generic antidepressants that are affordable. Telling your doctor about the financial concerns you have, that should be enough to get one perscribed. If not, demand a generic.

      • I’m sorry but although you make some valid points, your article is very dangerous. You write on the assumption that everyone lives in an organised country that has an at least basic Health System. You also assume that the basic reason for not getting therapy is not wanting one for various reason.

        What you forget is that your web page’s visitors can come for a country where they have NO Health System, and that they may not be able to afford therapy or reach a helpline where they live. So what are they to do after reading your article? Commit suicide because their case is helpless?

        This is a sensible issue, not a harmless topic like sports or clothes! Before submiting it to publish, either include a short aknowledgment that your advice is limited to the society YOU live in, or please make a better research to suggest additional solutions.

        • Yes, let’s all rake the author over the coals for trying to help. That’s useful.

  20. im at the end of my life, have suffered with functional depression all my life. my husband is dying, not all have the good life. when life hands you difficult things no pill will take the pain away. life has its ups and down but the struggles smashed me down, among other things. depression is an illness don’t let anyone tell you its not. suicide is not the answer, everyones life is precious, there is not one person who doesn’t have something to contribute. its just finding it takes hard work. everyones depression is different but the key is to take a good look at yourself early on at any age. I just swept everything under the rug and got caught up with life. society has changed even mental professionals have issues.I’ve done the route, medicine, therapy, etc. family failed, isolated myself which is the worst thing anyone can do.! self help books are just money makers for the authors, know yourself, your background, etc find help of some kind, but be keen to professionals that are just pill pushers and others who just take your money. there are people out there that will help you just have to find it. where there is a will there is a way. find someone you can trust! ( very hard these days). start today living your life with no regrets. look up find peace in the sky and the beauty of nature, stay away from the depressing tv. news, negatively in any form. etc. difficult people. I know these words are cheap when us all are suffering. love and caring for all!

    • i feel you comments really ring out to me. I feel lost sometimes and so defeated by the choices i made in life, to losing the man of my dreams because i was married already, to mydaughers renal failure at the age of 23. I cry every day. I think about wanting to leave this world. I want to be strong for my baby. She is so brave and I just cry. I wanted to beable to donate a kidney, went through all the tests inc cat scan only to find i was not able to. It is one smash over the head after another. I feel i cant take it any longer. I have suffered through short term depression onand off but all these things are getting so over welming. I cant even begin to talk about other personal issues that have ripped the life out of me.

  21. I don’t know what to do because when I’m with my friends I have great fun and life is fine but when I’m alone in my room I don’t cry but I just feel a pang of pain and uselessness like theres no need to be here anymore please help me because i just listen to depressing songs on my own and i know i can do great things if i wasn’t feeling like this

    • Dante,
      What you are describing is what I call a persona. That person you are in front of everyone else (most anyway)- is not uncommon. Who you are is not always about how you feel. It is important to acknowledge it, though. Talk to someone about how you feel. Online support is good, but there is no comparison to having the support of others around you. Don’t be ashamed. Keep your head up; I’m proud of you for posting.

  22. I have had episodes of depression for almost 50 years, and severe intractable depression for the past 13 years. I have tried everything, and can honestly say that going to doctors has not been helpful at all. I have tried twelve different anti-depressants. None of them helped, all of them had nasty side-effects, and the last one I tried made things immeasurably worse, triggering mania and psychosis which my GP then diagnosed as “bipolar disorder” despite my never having once experienced mania during my 50 years on the planet. Withdrawal from that drug was incredibly brutal and left me seriously suicidal. When I refused to go on anti-psychotic medications (prescribed by a GP, NOT a psychiatrist) my doctor terminated my care and left me to cope alone with no replacement doctor or therapist.

    And speaking of therapy – what a joke if you don’t have the money to pay for a decent therapist. The very few sliding-scale services available in my area are ‘one size fits all’, have waiting lists 6 to 9 months long, and feature counselors who stick around for a few months before leaving for decent-paying positions in the private arena. So one is constantly starting all over again with a new counselor.

    I’ve tried meditation, yoga, exercise, vitamin therapies, diet modifications, journaling, affirmations, prayer (even though I’m not religious!), self-help books and groups … you name it, I’ve tried it. And still I am so paralyzed with depression that I can’t work, socialize or do much of anything except white-knuckle my way through endless days of gloom and suicidal ideation.

    The mantra of “seek help from a doctor” is constantly repeated in our culture but the reality is that too many of us go to doctors and either receive ineffective treatment or treatment that actually exacerbates the condition. Anti-depressant medications DON’T always work for all patients, but the public perception is that all one needs to do is take medication and the depression will be resolved.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I will keep looking for answers and fighting this. But seriously – your advice here is as simplistic as the self-help books you deride.

    • I came across to your (pl.) posts to find… a better understanding of my own plight with depression. It can be a very real presence of pain and loneliness within our lives. However, I can’t help to find that the posting is missing responses or replies (few) and that alone is reason enough for my own transparency.

      I am so sorry to read your post related to your sense of depression. Though, very real- I find it interesting that you don’t recognize how many people have depression at one point or another. Furthermore, I am happy you have posted. Perhaps when others read your story they can find peace, like myself, in knowing the journey in which we walk is not a less traveled route.

      First let me say, depression is normal. Please don’t feel this reference to be belittling, as it is transparent and sincere. All of life is unique to the one who is experiencing it. No one can know how you ought to feel as your perception, your volition, and your inner most person is really known only to you (and God). Even Jesus experienced great sadness which withdrew him from the moment of joy and community at the last supper (sounds like depression to me). No one can ever really understand your walk, your triumph, your pain, your loss, or your anxiety/fear… On the other hand, having the mastery of all things is not really your responsibility either, as that would make you as the great creator of all things.
      No one is capable in living a life alone. It requires many, near and far, to lift just one person up. Yet, more importantly, as I have discovered in my own experiences – God never leaves you alone.
      Now that’s the most significant element of all things. God is in all things. Though it does not mean we don’t long for community, understanding, insight, forgiveness, and our own personal deliverance from our present state- a depressive state at times. Often when a person cares- genuinely, they naturally take on a more depressive life. Yes, I said it- life. Hence the reason why you have trouble with depression or are prone to it… personality plays a large part in that equation. Traumatic events often are situational and those experiencing related to this is shorter lived than those to have a ‘tendency to it’. Not all things are equal, either.
      If you are the person who suffers long standing depression, know that God made you just as you are. There is nothing wrong with you. I recall my first depressive and even suicidal thought before the age of six. My life was far from perfect. I don’t dwell on this as I often reflect on how worse it could have been. Now an adult, I often have to withdraw and seek my inner peace. If I’m not successful then I do seek someone to talk to regarding my feelings, thoughts, and internal conflicts. Yet, I also fast and pray about the depressive state as well (this truly is an important concept, please don’t disregard it’s importance).
      My advice, don’t give up and find the strength if you can. We are all called to persevere- what ever we find ourselves facing. If the fight isn’t in you- asked to be carried. There is no shame in an honest spoken or written word. Everyone matters- you matter. It’s important that you understand that. God’s love is unconditional; find refuge in it. Know you have been wonderfully made and we need you here- open and transparent. Micha

  23. Kind of need some help..

    I broke up with my boyfriend who I really love since a month ago, he was my first love and since I’m lack of experience I gave him like 100% love (my mother said that I shouldn’t did that when I told her). I’m happy the way he treated me, I love to heard all of his words, I really like to see him when he do anything (even when he’s just writing), he gave me a lot of promises which sometimes he break but he said that there’re 4 promises he’ll never break (he’ll love me forever, never leave me, never give up on me, and never cheated on another girls) stupidly I believe him even now when he leaves me.
    2-3 months before the broke up happened, he changes. He really changes into someone else I didn’t know (email me if you want the detail), but I still love him that much. When we broke up, he left me without a single word and even the reason is unidentified. He just said that he wants to be single and focus on his study, games, and his relationship with God.
    The most confusing part is sometimes he gives me kind of ‘signal’ that he still keep his attention to me even sometimes with the negative way, maybe (when he broke up with a person, he’ll never pay ANY attention to his ex). And he plays everytime, everyday, every second..his grade are decreasing, he even got the low mark on his test even for the subject he really loves.
    And maybe he chased for a girl that already have a crush (?) by sending her a mysterious chocolate and a message “Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you” the I love you part is written in Korean and I hate it because I’m the one who gave him the knowledge of Korean words.
    Now I’m suffering. I’m in a deep depression and I already got to see a psychologic but I got nothing. I thought I change a lot because of this break up (already ask some of my friends and they confirming it). It affect my appetite, sleep patterns, and powers of concentration–it even slow down my speech. I can feel sadness or a blue mood, or that numb, empty feeling, anxiety, hopelessness, loss of self-esteem or self-worth like everytime even when I do something that can make me stop worrying about life.

    What should I do?

    • I’m sorry you went through that. It sounds like your boyfriend has issues that have changed him, so it’s him, not you. (Maybe he fell into drug use.)

      Personally I think it’s OK to love someone 100%. Even if you get burned in the end, I think it’s better than holding back and always living afraid.

      The depression should be temporary. Two weeks at most. (I’m guessing it’s just built into our DNA to have this reaction, which somehow was useful millennia ago so evolution included it. Maybe it keeps us from wildly rebounding uncontrollably.)

      During that time, find friends or people to be around. Whatever comforts you.