If You Can’t Escape Depression, You Can Try Making Do

Inability to Escape Depression

It’s hard to escape depression when it dominates your mind. The illness has many faces, but its most visible one is your own. You see it everywhere because you can’t stop thinking about what’s wrong with you.

The illness is filtering out everything that would disturb your isolation – like brighter feelings, hope, the reaching out of a loved one, self-confidence, the energy to connect with people. It keeps your mind roiling with your flops, dumb mistakes, broken relationships, and acid self-contempt.

When you’re well, you can lose yourself in the daily flow of living, but when you’re depressed you never lose yourself.

Depression’s Vivid Memories

Depression is supposed to interfere with your concentration and memory, but I think those symptoms apply mostly to external things, like trying to get your work done or listening to a friend.

When it comes to your internal world of depression, you’re all attention. Your memory for miseries is sharp. Every detail of recent and past experience is as vivid as if it were occurring at this moment.

You’re living in the flow of experience all right, but it’s a catalog of past sins and catastrophes. They’re alive in your sizzling gut, and it doesn’t matter that they’re all in the past and beyond your ability to change.

The intensity of the experience keeps them close. You’re busy with shame all the time. Escaping yourself seems impossible. You could probably swim the Atlantic with all the displaced energy that wears you down, body and soul.

Neural Maps of Depression

Daniel Siegel has a great way of putting this in Mindsight. He visualizes the neuroscience of awareness in terms of maps.

When visual cues are picked up by our senses, they travel across neural circuits that activate areas of the brain that put them together in pictures we can identify, patterns of sounds that take on meaning, smells, tastes and touches that trigger memories. But the brain doesn’t stop with individual perceptions. Continuing neural firing takes them to other areas of the brain where they’re put together in more complicated wholes. We see a child whom we recognize, understand relationships with people, respond to what we take in from them.

These are the maps that guide us through each moment of living.

When you’re depressed, all you have in mind is your me-map. It stands out in bold relief and full color. But you have minimal awareness of your connections with others. The you-map and the we-map are barely visible. You’re not making real contact with anyone else.

The We-Map

Having a we-map requires that many levels of perception in your brain are working well together. You’re sensitive to the sound of your partner’s voice, the tiny changes of expression in the eyes, the gestures of hands or posture, the tones of meaning in spoken words.

There’s a constant interchange of these signals between the two of you, and you’re responding to each other in many ways. The constant back-and-forth flow between two people creates a shared understanding.

The connection deepens and the sense of togetherness, of a “we” emerges. That map of connection, the we-map, generated by thousands of coordinated neural responses and interpretations of mindful feeling – all that is lost during deep depression. The signals can’t get through.

You can’t shift your awareness and brain functions to focus outside yourself.

When I’m depressed, life outside my mind and feelings seems to be happening on the other side of a soundproof glass wall. I watch it dumbly, detached, without feeling. All the while I’m obsessing about everything that’s burning in my mind.

If I react at all to the life around me, it’s only to feel yet more guilt or self-contempt for not being able to participate, to be a real-live human being.

Where You Are, Where You Want to Be

So what can you do to get your life back, to get out of that self-prison? Much of the advice on how to get better falls flat.

Get out there and do things. Action is the antidote to depression. It’s the only thing that breaks down the paralysis of isolation and loss of will. Lose yourself in a higher purpose, find your calling that will give meaning to your life and build hope in the future.

In other words, do all those things you can’t possibly do when you’re severely depressed. Whatever insight might lie behind such advice, the recommended programs often boil down to a set of directives that sound like platitudes.

Learning to Cope

Getting your life back isn’t so much a matter of ending depression altogether – though that blessed event can happen. For most people, it’s a problem of adapting to the reality of the illness.

I don’t want to suggest that you shouldn’t try to recover, but if you wait for total healing your life could collapse in the meantime. To begin with, you need to find ways to get through each day despite the illness.

When I’ve been depressed, getting through the day has been the biggest challenge I could handle. I usually started out with a belief that things would likely not go so well during the day ahead. After all, today was going to be a follow-up to yesterday, and that couldn’t have been much worse. So I convinced myself that I would have similar troubles this time around.

I tend to stay in this circuit of frustration as long as a serious episode lasts. My only hope is that I’ll finally heal and be done with the problem. Until then, I limp along.

I see the possibilities as all or nothing. Either I’ll continue in the misery of isolation and failure, or I’ll come out of depression completely healed. It’s harder to imagine that I’ll have to handle the day as well as I can while still preoccupied with depression.

That’s not my ultimate goal. Full recovery is what I want so that I can get my life back. But daily coping with its modest victories is the only place to begin.

For the time being I can’t escape self-confinement in depression, but I can try to make do for now, even if all I can manage is getting up and out the door. Or, as Therese Borchard once put it: I will be depressed outside today. Sometimes that feels like a great accomplishment.

How do you manage to get through a day when you’re depressed and can’t stop thinking how bad everything is?

Image by Vincepal at Flickr

141 Responses to “If You Can’t Escape Depression, You Can Try Making Do”

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  1. Mattie says:

    I have suffered with anxiety/panic and depression since a very yong age. After an exhausting and depressive season in life of trying to rescue an addict teen I succumbs to severe anxiety and panic. I chose to try medicine to help me. After years of feeling well and. Good about myself I weaned off of them. I suffered withdrawals yes but after a while I resumed to feel like my old self again. I have to say living in such a state is more difficult now that I know what it is like to feel well. I cant even work or be motivated to do nearly what I could when well.

    So I must ask why we say no to anti depressant and try so hard to fight this endless battle alone?

  2. Tim says:

    “Get out there and do things. Action is the antidote to depression. It’s the only thing that breaks down the paralysis of isolation and loss of will. Lose yourself in a higher purpose, find your calling that will give meaning to your life and build hope in the future.” In other words, do all those things you can’t possibly do when you’re severely depressed. Whatever insight might lie behind such advice, the recommended programs often boil down to a set of directives that sound like platitudes

    So right. I am sick of being told that the best way to solve depression is not being depressed. It is just such a stupid thing for people to say and totally lacks insight.

    I also like your idea of the we-map and that feeling of being locked out. My personal belief is that chronic depression (ie someone who is basically always depressed) stems from trauma early in life which prevents the development of that we-map EVER. Personally the only time I have felt like what it might be like to have a we-map is back in my early 20s when I used to take LSD and would have this incredible warmth and peacefulness from a feeling of connection with the world and people around me. I have never experienced that otherwise. No feelings of love and never any intimate relationship in my life.

  3. kendy says:

    I believe that depression is the result of being taught, whether by actions or words, that we are unlovable, ugly, not good enough, incapable, or whatever ugliness another decides to unload on us. I also strongly believe that sexual abuse is almost always involved, whether the sufferer remembers the abuse or not.

    With that foundation, how does one go about feeling better? What works and what doesn’t? I’m 54, have had two major depressive episodes, and most of the rest of my life has been defined by milder chronic depression, when not self-distracting in a destructive way. I’m functioning, but not very excited or hopeful about life or the future.

    What works? Getting a dog? Moving to a sunny location? Doing charity work? Meds? If you’ve found something that works for you, please share.

  4. Olivia says:

    I am only 24 years old. Since I can remember, I have suffered from severe depression and anxiety. My parents hated each other, belittled each other constantly, disrupting holidays and every day with their loud cursing and hateful arguments. As a child, as early as age 5 or 6, I would run my hands and wrists under hot tap water, while assuring myself that I “deserved” to feel pain or be punished.

    I remember at age 12, walking through the mall with my family, believing that I would never be as happy as everyone else seemed to be. I would sneak into the bathroom in the middle of the night and cry silently, trying not to wake my family.

    At age 14, my depression worsened dramatically. I confessed suicidal thoughts to a friend, and she told her mother, who told my mother. I was soon referred to a psychologist, who treated me with cognitive-behavioral therapy. I was valedictorian in high school, despite my severe depression. I would eat alone during lunch, or simply skip lunch altogether to cry silently in the bathroom stall. The smallest sights would send me spiraling downward – getting a ‘B’ in biology, not feeling as popular or as pretty as other girls in my high school.

    I desperately wanted to feel desired and loved by anyone, and after a chain of failed romantic flings, my depression peaked again at age 19. In college, my depression finally interfered with my academic success, preventing me from getting out of bed to go to class or complete important assignments. My grades dropped and I stopped caring about striving for academic perfection. I would sneak off to my car to cry and scream as loudly as I could, doing this often.

    My family, as I’ve grown to realize, also suffers from severe depression. My mother worked long hours and slept very little just to stay busy. My father was an alcoholic who blamed himself for his mother’s death when he was sixteen. He later became homeless for a time. My stepfather lost his mother as a child and his father was abusive. My mother and stepfather don’t sleep in the same bed, or in a bed at all – my mother sleeps on the couch with the dogs and my stepfather sleeps in a recliner in his office. They have four dogs and allow the dogs to urinate and defecate anywhere they please. Family no longer visits the home, except for an uncle who has also confessed to me that he once contemplated suicide. My twin brother has also admitted feeling suicidal to me, feeling that he is a failure in love and in life.

    My family is supportive, but as I’ve just explained, they too suffer from their own severe depression so I hesitate to lean on them too heavily. I suffered from severe recurring panic attacks while attending nursing school. I would clutch at my chest, my blanket, my husband, whatever was near me, feeling as though I could not breathe and that I was certainly going to die. After graduating and getting a job as a nurse, my life appeared to be getting so much better. We bought our first home and it is beautiful. My husband and I both held steady careers that paid very well. We spoke about having a baby with excitement nearly every single day.

    Life, though, has had other plans. My husband and I both face losing our jobs, possibly our home, and are facing an extremely expensive legal battle. I’m unsure whether or not I wanted to be married anymore. Once again, depression and anxiety have come to rule over my life. Night sweats, panic attacks, no appetite whatsoever, no interest in the things I once enjoyed. I’m afraid to leave my home, afraid to be in public, and afraid to socialize with most people. I often wonder if this is simply the kind of life I was always going to live – anxious, depressed, fearful. Even though I am young, I often wonder if it will ever get better than this, or if I will forever battle with what seems to be my normal state. I used to dream of having a baby and creating a family of my own – one that looked nothing like the life I had as a child. But now, I shudder to imagine being another depressed mother, and raising another depressed family. I don’t know what I want, if anything, anymore.

  5. D. C. says:

    No one even knows I exist anymore. I sit alone in hell and fear homelessness constantly. It’s beyond major depression. Each breath is a miracle that wont last. Social isolation. I used to be an amazing person, now I won’t live for too long. There is no way out of the invisible bubble. People attack when they sense weirdness..this is unacceptable. You become a monster and no matter what you do, no matter how much you try, you can’t get help or escape the prison of social isolation and depression.

    • Bonnie says:

      D.C., I feel the same, though I don’t have the homelessness fear you have. I am adopted (adopted as an infant, now 51 years old) and I’ve never really felt I’ve had anyone in my life really love me. I know the parents who raised me love me, but it’s always felt conditional, that is to say that they love me as long as I’m doing/being what works best for them. Most of the time that’s not a challenge, since I’m pretty typical, but even so it hurts knowing that if I step out of bounds the love will be gone. It’s unsurprising I’ve repeated the patterns of my childhood and married a man who is the same– zero tolerance if I’m sick, or tired, or troubled. You’re right, people sense it, and kick you when you’re down and no one helps. The people who should notice don’t, because they don’t care enough to notice and certainly don’t want to be inconvenienced if they do. I would kill myself today but I am afraid to botch it, become disabled, and then be unable to try again.

      • Tim says:

        @Bonnie & DC, I have the same feelings as I was also adopted as a baby that I have never been loved and the care from my parents was conditional. I have never had a romantic relationship and didn’t even have sex from the age of 28 to 44.

        People do kick you when you and therein lies the clue to survival for me personally at least – ANGER! Depression is the flip side of anger – it is suppressed anger. As we mature to express anger becomes riskier and riskier. However if you really are at bottom then it is worth adopting a “fuck the lot of you” attitude to provide a bit of energy for self preservation nad hopefully eventually improvement in life.

        • Don says:

          I like that Tim. Anger. Use it, like a sith lord lol. If we can channel our anger into exercise, be it at home, or outside in nature, or a gym, if we just channel it all into getting the body we’ve always dreamed of, I bet we’d shape up mentally too. Get a job as a personal trainer if anything, just for the money so that homelessness isn’t an issue, but seeing the potential life changing effects a body transformation can do for people being a personal trainer sounds great. I’d caution against using anger in any other way, only for exercise and self defense of course.

    • Yessy says:

      When i’m there in this world, it became the big trouble of my parents.Illegitimate child, others said that and that’s me. I always feeling sadness. I’ve never really felt I’ve had anyone in my life really love me too. Maybe some people trying to love me, but now they’ve surrender. My life is so complicated. For a several time i think “maybe it will be better if i never there”. Nobody really care about me. Im too selfish. Always feel envy to other that ever loved me. Now, i really disapointed them. Guilt follow me everywhere. I’m stuck. Even i have no job now.Making i have too free as a girl. Still young but hopeless. I hope my life could be better than now, i Hope i could pay for my sin. I hope for the better life and wanna try for one more time. Struggle

    • Ginger says:

      D.C. I realize your post is from 2 years ago, but I feel the same as you do. I don’t know that I can find a way to not feel this way. People do not respond well to me anymore and that’s even when I am being friendly, etc. People not only attack but just ignore you. I don’t trust how people are going to treat me or acknowledge I exist. I don’t trust my own judgements either. You are an amazing person still, just as I am and was. I think we both do not know how to live with this problem. I have worked on this problem for years and I believe it is getting worse just as my life circumstances are.

  6. Lynn says:

    Thanks for the article. On one hand, it’s annoying when depression hits because I’ve got to make some adjustments to my expectations for the day. On the other hand, having depression is teaching me to be more patient with myself. I wouldn’t berate someone with chronic back pain if he/she suddenly had a flair up and couldn’t accomplish all the things planned for the day. So, why should I be so harsh on myself for having chronic depression? Instead of focusing all my efforts on stopping depression, I think it might be more fruitful for me to try planning ahead for the times when depression hits.

  7. Michael says:

    I have lived if you can call it that with severe bouts of depression since i was about 10. There has never been a positive diagnosis as far as bipolar is concerned but with the deep deep lows i experience at any time with no warning i believe i am bipolar. It has taken over my life driving most people away and destroying everything. I feel many times daily that death would relieve me of all my troubles and pain. The problem being that all my failed treatments have left me unable to end it all because they enforce the stigma of such actions with comments tat it is selfish to do so. This leaves me more guilty about my thoughts mixed with hate for myself and my life. They have just made the whole situation worse and i put everyone and everything before myself. I feel dead inside and out. Like a walking corpse. Every day i wake up disappointed that i had done so. I face living hell every day with no sign of hope or escape. Holidays christmas and birthday make me more depressed and i tell people not to get me presents and cards as i feel guilty for receiving them. I see no hope or way out

    • Michele says:

      You are valuable even if you don’t feel like it. We must train ourselves to not believe everything we think. You haven’t had your breakthrough yet but don’t give up and don’t hate yourself. We talk so negative to ourselves it is no wonder we feel so hopeless.
      Most times when we are down we isolate ourselves,being alone is not good. I find that when I volunteer, it shows me there are people or pets or whatever that need me and my abilities. regardless of how insignificant I think they are. Visit the veterans, or the childrens cancenter,or a animal shelter, homeless shelter etc. You will see you value and perhaps find your purpose. You were fearfully and wonderfully made says God. The enemy comes to steal your joy and destroy your life. I know you will rise above this. There is a song by Nicole Nordemen called “even then” that helps me. Music helps because you can’t talk to yourself while your singing.????

  8. Zoe says:

    A problem shared is a problem halved so they say.

    Since 3 years I’ve been bi-polar. Since I made the worst decision of my life to leave my ex husband. He was my support my anchor my life, we met young and I followed him to Switzerland. Amazing life amazing guy. Did everything to make me happy, I suffered from depression and bulimaia at that point.

    He would make me feel better. I then wanted to find my own passion which at that time was yoga. I became obsessed I thought it was the cure I thought if I just did everything they said I would be cured from the thoughts. I got so extreme I pushed my husband away forced the divorce on him from one day to the next ran off. I was so evil I thought he was the cause but he was a big cure. I only woke up to the fact 6months later when I couldn’t move and the memory’s came but with a different perspective. I was in shock.

    Then I lost my job, my friends another job, disconnected with my family (living away 10 years) and can’t motivate myself to walk. Just in bed reading different ways to die.

    I can’t escape the thoughts of the past and the judgment I have of people and myself every waking second. The anxiety the hatered the disgust.

    Oh and but he way to top it all for the past three years I have been extrem bi polar meaning in this small town of zurich – for the times I was high I went to every opening, every bar all the scene places thinking I was one of them. Telling fabrications of what I do for a living. So everyone knows me and sees me out thinking I’m a high flier and I really believed it.

    However this is the last time I want to wake up to the truth which is I left my husband through a selfish craze of wanting to rid these thoughts forever – realizing he helped it and kept me safe in a rythm with a roof over my head and loved me for WHO I was.

    No knee ever will again I know that, all I do now is wait for another reason to Kill myself, I don’t have any hobbies, interests as I just copied others all my life & by at least copying my ex I was on a good path (saving buying a house stable etc) I will never meet anyone like him nor will I find a job as nice as the one I has or find friends like I had.

    So what is the point? Can I just not give my organs do euthanasia it’s torture. Please I wish we could all just get together and help each other in some way. I’m sorry if my troubles aren’t as bad but it’s my brain everything is a comparison to him and he was one of these no problem can do anything sport work stress resilient clergy financially and the kindest guy you would ever meet. So I thought I had ally to compare and be sad about before the fact is I just never appreciated.

    • Joel says:

      I also feel your pain. I am also bi-polar and having a hard time getting thru the year, month, day, and hour. Especially this hour. You are not alone.

      I have a Postit note on my desk that I read every hour. It says “You will be ok, even if you don’t feel ok all the time”. So, be kind to yourself. As long as you stay alive, this is true. We need to believe this.

    • Lucy Marie says:

      Did you lose your job because of the depression?

  9. Johnny says:

    This site feels like words words words. Xanax addiction and HORRIBLE withdrawals, Crohn’s disease, twenty cavities and no money, struggling to pay bills, struggling to eat every month…just lost my grandmother who was like a mother. My mother doesn’t give a shit about me. I am 51 and have failed to make any money or have a real relationship. Now type a clever strategy to keep me from thinking about suicide every day.

    • Ann says:

      Johnny I hear your pain. Life is excruciatingly painful. Mine too. We seem to be at the bottom of a deep black pit with no way out. And yet there must be a way out. Just because we are here means we count for something. We have worth and value because we didn’t get here by ourselves or by accident. We have been called into existence by a power greater than ourselves and surely we will not be abandoned in our hour of need. I call on my Maker as often as I can and while suicidal like you I am still here. That must mean something. My Maker has not abandoned me and yours does not abandon you either. Just keep going. Keep reaching out for help. Leaving this life seems so attractive when life is so bad…but what if it is worse on the other side and there is no way back… So we have no choice but to keep going… Besides there are many many others like us who also don’t want to be here but are…If only we could all band together and keep one another going… I will remember you Johnny and ask my higher Power to encourage you and reveal to you how precious unique and unreplaceable you are…there is no-one else on the planet with your personality or talent or make-up. You are a one off and cannot be photocopied…stay here Johnny and trust that it will be OK…

      • Johnny says:

        That is extremely kind of you. My very best to you as well. Let’s try to hang on and hope there is a blessing waiting for us. My very best Ann, JE

        • Joan says:

          Johnny. I am in the same boat. A lifetime of severe depression and the last 4.5 years of it unbearable. Don’t know how to hang on anymore. Lost all friends and family now. What to do? It’s just not lifting like it used to. No treatment of any kind ever worked. If you are better off than me (all readers) thank God for that. If anyone knows of a site or email service to make contact, let me know. I never did find one.

          • charlie says:

            To alI those who have taken time to write your true feelings, at the expense of sounding even more pathetic than we already feel, i sincerely THANK you. It is 12:07 am and I can’t sleep AGAIN. To Johnny i say try being 61 and In the condition you describe yourself in. Yes there is always someone worse off than we are and that FACT brings us little to no comfort, only more guilt for it not
            mattering to us…we are indeed in a pathetic state BUT I find some comfort in the “WE” part of this statement. You all have and are helping me this very minute to COPE with all you
            describe. Thanks to you and Joan for your honest insites and for shareing your pain. I am being serious. To me, Standing together in our misery “feels” better than
            standing alone. My favorite saying is ” with breath there’s hope” PLEASE don’t ANYONE give up because if nothing more, I need you! Thanks.

  10. C. Jones says:

    Finally, someone who thinks that this horror we live with might be the truth rather than the exception in our view of the world’s cruelties. I don’t believe in God, I’ve found Buddhism to help me the most, but people are evil and I think that we must recognize that and then seek to change our behaviors and outlook.

    Making children into soldiers in an army is the perfect example. That is nothing but evil, but if enough people think it’s okay, then it is accepted as normal.

    Thank you for this blog. I’m 67, married 48 years, and still feel totally alone.

  11. Daniel says:

    Been suffering from depression since i was a kid.nobody understands me especially my family.they label me as crazy,different from them & insensitive. 10 yrs ago, i was diagnosed with this disease called depression.i am currently on drugs and they do help sometimes.but i want to stop using & depending on them and lead a normal life. i have a daughter aged 9 yrs and she is the one i live for,after separating from her mother 2 yrs ago. life sometimes feels empty and i nearly give up,but i live on hope,that tomorrow will be a better day.any help will be welcome.

  12. Tom says:

    I won’t bore everyone with my own story other than to say I’m a professional who works in cognitive science. It’s known that there are lifelong neurological variations in brain physiology and anatomy that appear associated with suicidal ideation. When sufficient life stressors interact with certain brain conformations, suicide risks seem to rise, assuming individuals are able to act on their thoughts. But it is also true that other natural neurological and cognitive variations are associated with other societally variably-valued outcomes, like the propensity for mathematical facility, or exceptional artistic capacity, or… Yet we don’t pathologize other temperaments and worldviews. Maybe we do with the predilection for suicidal ideation because of the apparent statistical association with depression, which mental health pundits consider to be a disease. I wonder, though, why depression must be a disease. It seems at least as likely that it involves a natural variation in perceiving and evaluating the world–a variation that happens to be a minority representation of ways of seeing the world because, perhaps, of evolutionary survival and gene frequencies dynamics.

    In the absence of any empirical evidence of objective good or bad, free minds are likely to judge life differently–some perceiving it to be an overall good thing, and others perceiving it to be an overall bad thing. Just because most people share certain value judgments doesn’t logically translate into those judgments being objectively true. We humans are mortal animals. We’re all going to die. I think there is a case to be made for otherwise cogent adults being entitled to act on their own evaluations of life in general, their own lives in particular, and their decisions about whether they wish to continue existing, the variations in neural structure and physiology and (possibly) consequential life outlooks notwithstanding.

    It is one thing for modern medicine and cognitive science to demonstrate variations in genes and phenotypes associated with certain feelings and ways of thinking. And in the interest of personal autonomy, it’s also understandable that, ultimately, if these associations are well clarified, causation can be established, and effective medical tools engineered, citizens might be offered the options of possible mind-altering interventions. However, it would be an affront to personal freedom if, in the spirit of existing legal privileges allowing the forcible detention of people who choose to take their own lives, “treatment” is eventually imposed on adult private citizens, regardless our will.

    I am not suicidal today. However, I want the freedom, regardless the mechanics underlying my feelings and thoughts, to be able to determine the when and how of my own inevitable death. There may come a time when I cannot cope any longer with life challenges. When that happens, I do not want others standing in my way of doing for myself what I deem best, justified only on the basis of their moral evaluations.

    • charlie says:

      Jesus Tom are you serious?! You obviously dont suffer from True depression…true being not of the temporary external types all humans experience like when a loved one dies or one goes thru a divorce or things like that but rather the type that most on this these post are describing. To suggest that we that suffer with true or clinical depression are simply a minority “variation” due to evolutionary or purely learned traits is really very unloving and small minded in my opinion. I suspect that you frame yourself as an “intellectual” and that your higher learning has lead you astray. Your denying the reality of the feelings of people who dont WANT TO DIE but don’t want to live in the painful state we find ourselves in. That is obvious to most, a real medical problem that is just recently getting the empirical evidence you say is lacking. Lots of reasons why it’s taken this long to even get to where they are in science and treatments. You sound like the people who think global warming
      Is not really a problem but rather just a weather cycle of sorts. Regardless, I’m surprised they allowed your comment in since these post are more about people that recognize something is wrong with them and are crying out for help, not looking for […] intellectual blabbering about the lack of imperial study’s and such. As far as a persons right to choose to die with dignity in the case of legitimate impending death I would agree, HOWEVER that’s not what we are talking about here. Its not just loving or ok to stand by and allow much less advocate the suicide of somebody with depression! Surely you can see the difference can’t you? Remember too that suicide of a depressed person doesn’t only affect that person. In this case “we are our brothers keepers” or should be.
      Also I might have been out of line on that […] comment.lol…please, prove me wrong. Sincerely.

      • Tom says:

        Charlie, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that, despite your ad hominem, you do not mean to attack me in particular, but rather defend those suffering from depression against various common social depredations. So I’ll respond respectfully–a courtesy I wish you’d extended to me.

        1) You cannot draw a valid conclusion about anyone’s experience with depression based on her/his verifiable claims about the lack of a strong cellular and biomolecular causal model of depression. Nor can you conclude what history someone has with depression based on her/his worldview regarding the value of life and personal autonomy in end of life decision-making. Considering the lack of civility and courtesy you feel comfortable exhibiting to someone who you seem to believe expresses opinions about something he appears never to have experienced, concluding on others’ mental frameworks and value systems is egregiously hypocritical.

        2) My comments about human genetic and mood variations derive from empirical evidence you can find for free in PubMed and in other professional journals. It’s your prerogative to disagree, but minimally inspect the evidence before dismissing assertions.

        3) Your claims about what “is loving” are irrelevant, no disrespect meant. Those aren’t objective statements, but rather opinions and feelings. They have no place in arguments on policy where restricting others’ freedoms to decide on their own lives and bodies is concerned.

        4) As for whom else a suicide affects, again, that is at best a tangential consideration. Just as we don’t force people to remain married despite the often catastrophic effects of infidelity or divorce on spouses, children, and communities out of recognition of the greater evaluative freedom of the individual to decide on his own life, forcing a human being who consistently expresses a wish not to be alive is abusive and inhumane, “good intentions” notwithstanding. Yes, that is also a personal judgment, but in erring on the side of imposing others’ will on another or accepting a personal judgment about one’s own life others may not agree with, the latter is more aligned with the primacy of personal autonomy. You may argue there are cases in which non-criminal, otherwise cogent adults should be restricted regarding their own bodies. We will have to disagree there.

        5) People may not want to die, but they do want a cessation of suffering. I agree that if society can provide the latter, this is a good thing, and that ideally people should not want to seek out death. However, there are very many reasons someone may find life chronically doesn’t supply her/his needs (let alone reasonable desires). If such a person has faithfully sought out professional intervention (if this is affordable and available) but it has over long stretches of time failed, forcing her/him to remain in a state of suffering–as only the individual can determine–is cruel.

        6) Your stipulations about when it is appropriate for another human being to pursue something with her own body, his own life, are utterly irrelevant, again. You own only yourself. Decide for yourself what you consider appropriate for you and allow others the same freedoms.

        7) You claim we are our brothers’ keepers. It’s hard to believe, given history and current events, one would seriously make that claim. If we were our brothers’ keepers, I am confident far fewer human beings would seek out death in the first place. Assuming, of course, our inclinations to “keep” were universally benign and agreeable. Instead, our world is surfeited with myriad ills–unemployment, social disequities, racism, sexism, ageism… People are abandoned by the millions to isolation and dereliction. Mother Teresa said loneliness is the world’s greatest poverty. Global estimates of loneliness show alarming increases. And these are just a few reasons people suffer terribly, while academicians and professional psychologists publish papers and the lay talks about being “our brothers’ keepers.” Hypocrisy.

        In fact, there is significant evidence from the biomedical community across the globe that very much depression results from the embedding of social experience. That is not to say depression isn’t real. The pain of depression activates the same neural circuitry as corporeal pain. Its experience is real. But clinical depression, despite the narrative the pharmaceutical and professional psychology communities tout, has as yet no cohesive bimolecular causal model, and much of the published literature on psychotropic drug effectiveness, as revealed in several comprehensive reviews over the past decade, suffers from a publication bias that in medicine would have been scandalous but in psychiatry/psychology somehow survived for decades–begging the question just what legitimate cellular pathology could be masked easily by hiding data. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share it.

        I don’t mean to trigger bad feelings, but where psychology purports to pronounce on physiology (“disease”), it should not exist outside the bounds of rigorous empirical evidence (cognitive neurosciences…), including evidence for neurological causation–not just statistical associational arguments.

        One final point: discovering truth–society in general–is not served by censoring respectful dialog. You may find it surprising my comments haven’t been taken down. While you may disagree with my position, I hope you can respect the freedom to dissent and to draw attention to other perspectives.

        Sorry for my many typos. It’s late here. Best to you.

        • charlie says:

          Tom…I’m really not feeling well enough to banter back and forth with you and your Ill logic on several subjects…yes I realize that that is MY opinion. If we were face to face or verbally able to banter I’m might bother to refute most of what you say. And yes if I did banter it would be for the benefit of those that have no doubt been offended(hurt)as was I, with your point of view BECAUSE anyone who says “feelings dont matter” is not someone I want to associate with […]. Your intellect has lead you astray or really more likely your pride. You think using big words makes you smart and better than others, that we simpeltons are ignorant and need your enlightenment. I for one dont. […] I have a feeling or would you rather me say…my life’s experience, has shown me that people like you can’t be taught anything of real value because you believe you already know it all. You may call that being un civil. I call it being strait. I don’t even have to ask you if you believe in a God to KNOW you dont. This to would be opening up a whole other(or is it “nother”) can of worms. I’m not in the mood for worms right now Tom. I don’t think I really have to worry to much about your “feeling” being hurt, maybe your pride, but then I believe seriously that your price NEEDS taken down a notch or 3. I guess my only real question is why you are on this form? … Are you looking for help?(i highly doubt it) are you looking to help depressed people with their depression? If you are, you are truly missing the Mark. … Anyway you helped me get tired enough to maybe get an hour of sleep so i guess I should THANK you for that. Its 4:25 am. I bid you fair well.( interesting expression).

          • Tom says:

            Charlie, you are, like every other free citizen in our lovely United States of America, free not to associate with whomever you wish. You are also free to hold your opinions. However, an opinion is not a fact merely by dint of one holding to the opinion firmly.

            Your repeated insults to me, I want to be frank with you, do not in the least hurt my feelings or deter my point of view. If it makes you feel better to speculate about others or insult them because they see the world differently from you, have at it. This is another freedom we all enjoy, though I think it a counterproductive way to dialog.

            You feel I cannot “be taught anything of real value”? Putting aside the me here, suppose someone has extremely different values to yours, but she is a successful civil engineer who participates in building community infrastructures that serve millions, allowing people to survive to have the luxury of holding and philosophizing about different world views. Is it your position that she cannot “be taught anything of real value,” or that her engineering skills represent, what?, non-real value?

            I am not trying to banter with you, but very many rational adults will take exception with that perspective, and more generally, with the perspective that there is a universal, objective “value” where evaluative judgments are concerned. If I am wrong–and I am just as open to being wrong here as I would be to being wrong about some empirical statement–then it should be a simple matter to provide non-emotion/personal-values driven evidence in support of a counter-thesis. What is the universal value that exists beyond individual or cultural or species perspective?

            And finally, you betray your hand. You mention “God” in a discussion on values and individuals’ freedoms to decide about our own bodies and lives. I do not wish to offend anyone’s values or beliefs, however, religion has no place in deciding public policy in a culture that formally separates church and state, even if the former insinuates itself both subtly and directly in the latter. If you disagree, then there is nothing to discuss because you will have set the foundation of your arguments in direct, fundamental opposition to arguments which rely on objectivity and empiricism, to the extent possible, in forming legislation all citizens are bound by.

            We disagree on these matters. That’s OK. I think it serves to build productive social dialog. I’m very sorry you feel the need to insult me to get your point across. Ad hominem not only weakens arguments, it can also dissuade some readers/listeners–which, I’d think from what you’ve written–you don’t wish to do.

            Have a terrific 2017, Charlie.

  13. Mark says:

    To quote psychologist Larry Crabb…”Does our insistence that this life provide more satisfaction than it can and our determination to figure out some way to get it, lie beneath what we call psychological disorder?”

    I think so. I sometimes wonder if we who suffer with depression are the “normal” people because we’re aware that things aren’t as they should be. God has rigged this world and this life so we cannot find true satisfaction in anything or anyone other than Him. I have suffered with depression my whole life and I find that when it’s worse is when my hope and expectations and focus are horizontal and not vertical. It’s a daily struggle.

    There’s a book that’s helped me tremendously called The Pressures Off.

  14. Jeff says:

    I want it to stop.. I’ve suffered with depression, anxiety, OCD, low self esteem and self worth my whole life. I think I have borderline personalty disorder. My childhood was challenging and I endured a lot of emotional neglect and abuse growing up. My parents deny it whenever I brought it up(especially my father who self loathes and hates himself) so I just stopped. I bottled it up and then would explode usually on my ex wife. I stopped talking to them for 6 years, got help and was doing well for awhile. Sadly, the depression got worse mainly because I have such a poor relationship with myself. I eventually pushed her away, lost my marriage, my dog and home. I’ve tried everything, GOD, pills, support groups, therapy and nothing seems to work. I have a business which is the only thing keeping me going but even that’s gotten hard. I see no end in sight and am giving up. I bought my first pack of cigs today and I’m almost 40! I think about death almost daily but I know deep down I don’t have the nerve to do it. I feel stuck and I can’t seem to let go. If I can’t accept myself, my mistakes, my sins and past then what’s the point I feel.

    • Joel says:

      Hello Jeff, I understand completely what your going thru, and now looking back I still can’t believe why and how any of this happened. I’ve been dealing with agoraphobia for years and it has also destroyed my business for the last three years.I’ve decided to leave the prozac scene ( 20mgs /day over 25 years ) to try other medication.I hope you find a path that will help you, never give up,there’s a whole world out there to explore.

      Best of luck to you , Joel

      • Michele says:

        I can’t keep going on. 2 years of depression and anxiety and meds. No relief in sight. I am checking out

        • Joan says:

          Hi Michele, I’ve never written to anyone on any of these sights but your comment hit me hard because I feel the EXACT Same way. How are you coping? I’m in bed right now trying to decide what to do. Minutes seem like hours.. Days. It never gets better. Thought maybe we could talk

          • Michele says:

            I have been feeling better over the past month. I have good days and bad. I have gotten off most meds. Only on one now

  15. Arthur says:

    Hey guys, i am young and ambitious but i lost a desire to study few weeks ago, i tried in many ways to handle it,, but I think is exceeding my power, and now I am approaching examinations and still studying and not studying is as same as synonyms please without your words i dead. Helllp

  16. filipa says:

    im dealing with that too

    try not to be proud because you are not.

    you dont give a shit about children

    children reply and see you in that horrible place

    lets deal with it

    maybe thats true

    you are all depressed with a corrious sense of lack of distraction or a perturbative act of being

    being selfish doesn t always mean being happy

    being selfish doesnt always mean being coperante

    sorry i dont like you any more~

    missing you doesnt mean i love you

    missing you doesnt mean i have to coop

    actually we have to coperate

    your words doesnt flow in the right connection.

    pricks will always be pricks

    waking up to a life who is harder to understand doesnt mean you are being honest

    do you understand

    i tend to agree with my older friends

    and i tend to serve them

    feeding is nice

    what about a pijama party?

    my grandmother is just dead

    you are out of my life

    sorry guys

  17. Kate says:

    I’d love to know how to get through the day, I’m seeking out this advice as I type haha, I was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, Anxiety and OCD, so the depression hits me quite badly. Could be a trigger sometimes but mostly I wake up unable to move, even other personalities refuse to budge. I managed to quash the worst symptom a few years ago which was extreme impulse, used to make suicide attempts every month at one point. Once you stop that, you’re just left with the dark depression, knowing that you must stay here yet how do you get through that? If I didn’t have a child I would certainly be a goner. I wouldn’t say go have a child though haha. I find that if I let myself cry, yes it might go on for hours, but it feels like accepting what is really wrong with me. Strangely, it helps. I also force myself to make cups of teas when I can so I can sit in my little daze and feel like I’m at least doing something. The best thing to do, although I accept how hard it is, is to have a shower. Just feeling clean makes you feel alive. My therapist tries to encourage me to stand outside my back door and let the sun warm my forehead, she obviously wants me to sit in my garden but theres no way yet haha. Please let me know if anything has helped you so I can give them a try!! I wish you well 🙂

    • Carol says:

      Walking helps me sometimes although I have to work at it since I am still trying to get strength back from my last few surgeries. (two on my neck and 3rd one on my back in 2014).
      I have 2 grandsons and it helps when I’m around them.
      I have other issues but I won’t go into them now.
      Reading what you wrote helps me not to feel alone even though I know I’m not.

    • Mary says:

      Lost my home, my husband, my mother And had a heart attack and open heart surgery . My husband was everything to me

      ,He was the so supportive and loving , good to me. Can’t get over him. Cry every night
      I go to
      Call ma
      Mama and. Remember she’s gone. Eight years and things are worse. I’m too weak to work around the house.because of vascular disease.

    • Shell says:

      I feel I’m in the same day to day as you, or similar. I don’t want to compare. We all struggle differently. The one line that stood out to me is, if you didn’t have a child, you’d be a goner. I truly believe it the only reason I’m still here. My kids are grown and gone, and feel as if everyone would be better if I was gone. Been through many health issues, which has been hard on everyone. Don’t think I could take my own life, but sometimes wish health or an accident would take me. I have tried to talk to many psychs and have pretty much tried every combo of meds, and no difference. Sometimes even showers are hard, even though I feel better after. Can I ask Kate, how did you get to the point of not doing feeling and thinking that anymore?? I pray since you have written this, you are doing amazing.

      • Kristal says:

        I feel the same about my daughter. If I didn’t have her I’d probably be gone by now.

        I lost my mother due to a car accident at the age if 10. So, I know how hard it is to live life without my mother and refuse to put my still minor daughter through that.

        I hate for her to have to see me struggle so hard!

        My depression has become an everyday struggle now. I struggle to just get in the shower knowing if I can get there I’d feel better.

        I want to wake up feeling good about the day.. I want to have the energy to get in the shower and start my day refreshed.. I want to work and to succeed financially in life as I always have done in the past..

        I just don’t understand why I’m having such a hard time jumping that first hurdle. I know what I want in life. I know how to succeed. I know what I have to do to get there and feel better about life and myself.

        My problem is I can’t get out of my own way. I’m the only one standing in my way of a successful and happy life for both me and my daughter.

        What is stopping me from doing what I already know I have to do??

        Desperately seeking answers!
        Thank you

  18. Mike says:

    I want to end it all, I’m a single father with a personality that people hate. I hate…. I have no family no friends and the only reason I haven’t is because my 7 year old daughter. Tried pills and tried Jesus I am suffering

    • Eduardo says:

      Hello Mike. I am dealing with depression myself. Dont ever talk about ending your life. Your daughter needs you to always be there

      • Tom says:

        Seriously, Eduardo? Your advice to someone who’s severely depressed is, “Don’t ever talk about…”? Not talking about something doesn’t change the way we feel, nor address the roots–the causes–of problems. I’m sure you meant well, but I’m also sure that if someone had terminal cancer , your advice wouldn’t be, “Don’t ever give in to the biological process of cancer.” Do you think depression is a mere matter of choice? I’m not trying to be argumentative or rude. But honestly, man, telling people what to feel or what to say only exacerbates the problem by forcing them to hide what’s going on.

        • Jane says:

          Tom, I couldn’t agree more. People are SO crass and opinionated when it comes to depression. I have met really unhelpful attitudes towards depression and suicidal wishes. People seem to take it so personally, instead of being there for you. I find I have to be really careful what I say to my partner as he finds it very difficult to deal with my depression. And of course, is when depression is so hideously bad, when anxiety joins in and makes every waking moment a living nightmare when you want to scream, cry, break things, etc, then of COURSE anyone even vaguely sensible will consider suicide, just as a way to make it all stop.

          I’ve had cancer, and the one thing people kept on saying was that the most important thing was to Stay Positive. Why? I asked. Will Staying Positive kill the cancer off? What about all those people who’ve died from cancer? Was that their fault because they weren’t Positive enough? What about me? If I die from my cancer, is it my fault, because I wasn’t cheerful enough about it? – My point being in relation to what you said to Eduardo about not giving in to the biological process of cancer. People are, apparently, just bloody ignorant and selfish when it comes to dealing with long term chronic illness, mental or physical.

          I think human beings are badly designed. There should be an Off button that we can press when we really have had enough. When we see a much loved pet suffering, we do the compassionate thing and have them put to sleep. With people, even though they may be suferring horribly, either mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, or some other way, our current barbaric “health” system insists on squeezing every last drop of life, of keeping the heart and lungs going long after any reasonable quality of life has left that person. Why??? What is the point of doing that? If someone did that to their dog, everyone would be in uproar about the cruelty involved.

          Where I think life is especially cruel is that when you want to die, you can’t, and when you want to live, you die. I’d try switching my attitude in case that helped me die, but I haven’t got the energy to sustain it. I go to sleep every night hoping I won’t wake up. Then I wake up and think Fuck it, I’m still here. Why can’t we go when we want to?

          People are left in agony of all types for decades sometimes, whilst their bodies refuse to die. Poor old Brian Rix is one example, and I was pleased for him to see just recently that he did die, after decades of wishing he would. He had a Down’s daughter, and her potential vulnerability made him vote against the assisted suicide bill in the House. He later changed his mind when he found himself in the situation where he could get no respite from his illness but his body continued to live, to breathe, to make his heart beat, despite destroying any ability he once had to enjoy life.

          Even Dignitas insist that you must have a terminal illness before they will assist anyone’s suicide. Why can’t anyone access assisted suicide help/programmes with technically non-terminal illnesses? All illness, all life, is ultimately terminal. I don’t see why each person can’t choose the time and the manner of their leaving. I never thought I’d ever say anything like that, having seen Logan’s Run when I was a kid and thinking it so, so wrong, but I kind of see tge point of it now. Getting older, being permanently ill, disabled, disfigured, depressed, anxious, unable to support myself, just lying in bed day after day being a massive burden to my partner, well, it sucks aand I hate it. Every day I have to try and find ways of getting through yet another unwanted day. Every day I have to find a way to manage the deptession, the anxiety, the fear, the physical pain and nausea, my myriad of symptoms caused by the cancer treatments. I often wish the cancer had killed me off. Ironic, really – maybe I WAS too positive…….

          I wish I was braver. It’s one thing to want to die because life is unbearable and shows no sign of improving, ever, but it’s quite another to actually take steps to kill yourself. Wanting to die is not the same thing as wanting to kill yourself. I don’t want to kill myself, I just want to stop feeling so awful, so exhausted, so ill, in pain, anxious and depressed.

          Oh, and a good big fat part of it is that I am so chemically sensitive that all (and I mean all) antidepressants make me eventually worse, along with throwing up, massive migraines, weird thoughts, all that sort of stuff, so anyone who thinks that prescription drugs are the answer is just plain wrong, be ause I’ve been trying that path since sometime in the 1970’s. My system reacts badly to the vast majority of prescription drugs, antidepressants included. In fact, if I ever did really want to kill myself, taking anti d’s would probably change my brain chemistry enough to make me actively try it.

          Does any of this long old rant make any sense?


          • Jane says:

            PS Tom – I don’t believe that Eduardo can be suffering from any significant level of deptession otherwise he wouldn’t say such insensitive, thoughtless things. It’s the sort of nonsense that I hear from well-meaning people who are lucky enough to have never suferred from “endogenous” depression in their lives – as opposed to “reactive” depression that I think literally everyone goes through at some point.

            Reactive depression is what hapoens when somethimg awful happens and you react to it. Endogenous depression is the dreadful stuff that comes from inside and doesn’t pass with time.


          • Tom says:

            Jane, thank you for being so honest, vulnerable, and thoughtful in what you shared. I agree with just about EVERYthing you wrote. First, yes, people can be breathtakingly insensitive in dealing with others’ illnesses. When I was younger, I thought I’d befriend mostly people who were experiencing or had experienced depression like me. Quickly I learned: (1) just because someone is her-/himself dealing with depression doesn’t mean at all that she/he will empathize with you regarding what you’re experiencing, and (2) usually, once someone has “overcome” her/his experience with life struggles (at least from my experiences), she/he forgets the immobilizing horrors and, on meeting you in a similar position, will lecture you about doing what they did to get better–even when there’s little evidence to support their conclusion that getting better resulted from X. And like you’ve said, people who’ve not experienced anything similar to what we have cannot empathize with us. So I’ve learned to keep my experiences to myself (except for the odd online post). All my personal relationships ended because, as you’ve said, again, I couldn’t be cheery enough as people needed me to be.

            You’re also right that it’s “cruel” that people who want to live die, and many of us who want to leave life have to face the horror of violently ending our own lives, or failing (and suffering the consequences of) other methods. And like you said, many of us will just linger for decades, waiting, waiting, waiting, as things in our lives get objectively worse every year.

            Again, you’re right that in addition to dealing with depression, many of us have to juggle crippling anxiety, often the result of the way our communities (including family) respond to the depressed us. But you’ll notice all the online experts tell us to seek community. Yeah, right.

            Jane, I’m terribly sorry that in addition to ALL THAT, you’re also dealing with the very many challenges of a cancer diagnosis. And all of this for so long… You’re a soldier.

            Do you ever wonder about the irrationality of our modern social system, in which we almost universally assert how others should be self sufficient, despite the dearth of jobs and other resources FOR everyone to become self sufficient–and our vilifying and casting out those who happen to lose the money game–yet we refuse to let those who recognize they’re not cut out for life to leave? We say, “Drop dead!” to people, and yet when some of those we’ve just dismissed as worthless say, “OK” back, we demand they stick around. Yes, you’re right that humans weren’t “designed” well…

      • rem says:

        Hi..can u please explain these two paragraph.i am confused totally.thanks in advance 😉

        Learning to Cope
        Getting your life back isn’t so much a matter of ending depression altogether – though that blessed event can happen. For most people, it’s a problem of adapting to the reality of the illness.
        I don’t want to suggest that you shouldn’t try to recover, but if you wait for total healing your life could collapse in the meantime. To begin with, you need to find ways to get through each day despite the illness.

      • Jane says:

        Eduardo, did you not read what Mike wrote? He said he wanted to end his life but hadn’t got any further than that BECAUSE of his daughter. “The only reason I haven’t is because [of] my 7 year old daughter.”

        The pills he has tried aren’t to kill himself with, they’re to deal with his feelings, or he wouldn’t have put trying Jesus and the fact that he’s suferring all in the same sentence.

        The man deserves a medal for wanting to kill himself and yet not doing so because of his daughter.

        What made you so judgemental?

    • jeremy says:

      Mike, 1) how is it that real f*ckwits don’t have problems with themselves? You know, the kind that wouldn’t give a damn for their daughter’s future. 2) there’s only one person you’ll spent every moment of your life with – you, so regardless of your faults / failings/… ask yourself are you really worse than any one else? You’ve tried pills & you’ve tried Jesus? My wife has treatment resistant depression. She’s been going to psychiatrists for over 10 years – ie don’t give up fighting this. Her treatments change. Some she seems fine on, then gets changed off them because she isn’t achieving Breakthrough. Depression is ugly & it requires you to find a new perspective of what makes you successful / valuable. This process is blocked by you condemning yourself. Nor is it helped by the fact that it isn’t clear to others – such as if you had lost a leg & people could admire your courage for persisting despite the handicap. So a) please start by trying to be more understanding of yourself. Please try to get medical help. I’ve found doctors will usually dish out antidepressants willy nilly. Don’t be put off by their insensitivity when you ask for a referral. The inside out way that the treatment process works is that at a time when you most need help (to start counteracting depression), is the time when you most have to do this for yourself. At least motivate yourself by saying that you must do this for your daughter. Depression can put you into an eternal limbo & when / if you wake from it, you’ll be surprised how much of your life you’ve wasted. Obviously your daughter is special to you, be proud of her. Delight in her development & watch people approach you. Hope this helps

    • kristy says:

      Mike, I am married with a young son, and also a personality that people evidently hate and that I hate. I take pills when I can for a numb. When I don’t have those I am on my knees talking to Jesus. I know that I should just stay on my knees talking to Jesus, but haven’t yet. Please don’t end it all. Please just accept it and keep trying Jesus and never giving up. A miracle might happen.

    • Kate says:

      Hey Mike, I’m sorry you’re feeling like that. It’s not wrong to feel like that just because you have a child. It actually makes things worse when people tell you that, like you’re just supposed to get on with the pain? I’ve attempted suicide more than ten times, many different attempts. I have a young son. It does help to have a child to hold onto but when depression grips you feel like they’re better off. My sister was constantly told how selfish she was being depressed around her son and she ended up hanging herself. I am so angry at people who don’t know the effects of what they say. If you can get through the feeling of impulse to commit suicide, you can then deal with the issues ahead. All you can do is try, try hard. Actually having a child and feeling like that can spin you into a cycle of guilt which feeds suicidal thoughts, so please don’t let that happen. And don’t listen to nasty comments. Talk to people, kind people who understand. Ignore those that don’t. If you can, try see a good therapist. That’s what I’ve been doing. I hate myself too, but you’ve gotta try and repel it and force some arrogance into your personality even if it’s just pretend. I joke that I’m amazing but I know it’s a lie, it’s just a distraction to how I really feel. It’s better than struggling with the hate

    • Shell says:

      I wish I could give you the answers Mike, I’ve struggled with those thoughts longer than I can remember. When people have physical illnesses that can be seen, they are talked about and sympathized, but deep dark depression can not be seen, nor is it understood or excepted. We are to feel weak, which escalates “our lives”. I pray that you are doing amazing since your posts. I wish there were places that groups of people could meet, to share, ask, cry, scream, or just be quiet with. There are so many groups for addicts, and I am grateful for that, having people I know committed to those and still doing great. Therapists are hard for me, I would love for them to say they feel the same way. Anyway Mike, I do wish you well. Shell

    • Karen B says:

      Why do you hate yourself? Why do you think / assume everyone hates your personality. That is the depression talking , its part of the disease , the way self denial is part of alcoholism. Your daughter loves you and down’t hate you. There is unconditional love. This stuff is so hard to deal with I deal with / challenge myself every day about why I have become isolated and lost friends and am distant from my only remaining family. I didn’t have a child, I am alone. But challenge your thoughts you must because you are not what you think. This is the mind and all its glorious negativity but thoughts can be changed. We can learn to become mindful and present and learn to spot the damaging harmful thoughts . But you need to start with a teacher of mindfulness practice and a group that will offer support. I found that I forget really easily about the coping strategies I learned in mindfulness but thee are techniques that can help. Neuroscience is only just catching on to what Buddhism has been teaching for thousands of years. We can tame this mind of ours. But it takes work. Helping others also helps me feel better. Just writing this which I hope is helpful is making me feel lighter and more positive. Please look into it.

  19. Kiki says:

    I think im just about ready to give up myself. I am 34 and am going through a break up with the ONLY person Ive ever been with and we were together for 18 yrs. We have a son together via insemination (domestic partners) and she just left us both for an older woman 56yrs old. Its going on 2 yrs now and I cannot seem to let go of this relationship and get over this depression. I have tried everything my therapist has put out there including meds (which I feel made me worse and suicidal), group therapy, cognitive thinking exercises, etc. My son only has me because I moved here with my ex and her family was all we had and now we have no one since we broke up. she does not call for him, come see him, nothing, so all he has is me but I still dont want to me here. I feel like im being tortured to stay living bcuz i have a child and thats not fair. She just abandoned our family and doesnt care about either of our feelings. She is just free and has no responsibilities whatsoever. The holidays really crushed me and are continuing to take me overboard. I’d love nothing but for this pain to go away but each day is a struggle! Struggle to get up, struggle to get my son to school, struggle to get thru work, struggle to get home and do hw, feed, etc. for my son. Im exhausted and just want to end things. She will not come back but i feel thats the only thing that will make me better. I seriously think im done living…….I dont think anything else will help me 🙁

    • Ryan says:

      Do YOU think you are done living or does your mind think you are done living?Recognize they are not the same. You are the being typing out your thoughts, not the thoughts themselves which at this moment are being controlled by the dark entity known as depression. This is why there is slight relief in sharing your story, because YOU are fighting back against this negative energy that is trying to take full control of your thoughts. The more you recognize this the easier it becomes to shoo away. Continue the fight. Imagine a life with your son free of worry from your thoughts and tell your depression to fuck off every time you catch those negative thoughts arising.

      • Kiki says:

        OMG thank u so much for that.

        • Ryan says:

          You’re welcome. I know first hand that these thoughts will continue to creep back in and take over. Just know that EVERY time you catch them you are making progress towards being free of them. This is the elegant teaching of Eckhart Tolle that I’m referring to, not my own. All the best.

          • Karen B says:

            There’s a great teacher called Ram Das who said once a friend called him to tell him she was going to kill herself. He said : I don’t want to talk to this person I want to talk to the person that decided to pick up the phone and call me because that person is obviously the one who knows what is best for you. In other words. You are not your thoughts. And the only way to really experience that is to start doing some kind of mindfulness or meditation practice. Or listen to people like him , read Jack Kornfield The path with heart. These are all about taming our minds. If you are into Buddhism check out Sogyal Rinpoche – an amazing inspirational Tibetan Lama. As I write this it is reminding me to do this as well – every day. A few minutes. Just sit and watch your breath and watch your thoughts. Don’t follow them. Just go back to watch your breath. Then the thoughts will come and you go off with them , Just come back to your breath every time. Find more space around the thoughts. They will never stop. The point is not to stop them, By watching and engaging with your breath and body and everything that moves with the breath, you come away from the ever controlling mind and create some space around the thoughts – then hopefully you can start to remember. Aha there’s that negative thought about how awful I am … and you can dismiss it as false to fact. Challenge those thoughts. I am awful! Is that true? Is it just a thought? So say: I am having the thought that everyone hates me. Distance yourself. Re train. There’s a book called The Happiness Trap. Its very helpful for coping strategies. Believe in yourself and you own good heart.

  20. Allan says:

    I’m finished. Lost my job of 15 years 5 years ago, haven’t been able to get back into the field. At the same time, my Mother was put in a home with Alzheimers/dementia. She suffered for 2.5 years before passing, then right after my father died. Working making peanuts with a mortgage and debt. I just can’t go on anymore, there is no hope, no one cares about a 50 year old. It’s only a matter of time before I do something to end it all. I wish life was good again. I wish I was happy again. I wish I wish….it never ends. Depression is the worst thing to deal with and most people do not understand. My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering from this. Maybe in the after life, it will be better…I don’t know but I will miss everyone.

    • Brit says:


      I can relate to how you feel. I am doing my best to hold it together here at the age of 33. I have been praying to God thru Jesus to restore my life. When I get the means I will help other suffering because I have compassion and know what it feels like to feel hopeless. It is my faith in God to work miracles that keeps me going. I will pray for you. God bless. And it is true there is an afterlife there is a God.

    • TFM says:


      At 50 years old I felt like you, now well into my 60s I still feel that way. That’s depression. We live with an illness. You will miss everyone and everyone will miss you. I am glad I did not check out years ago. I now know what I would have missed. The afterlife will come and it might suck worse than this.

      • Lee says:

        My wife suffers from this most evil of evils and i know that even on her worst days, by offering unconditional love without judgement , she can at least delete the feelings of guilt that build up inside. Understand that things are not always as they seem! Good bad or worse. We can all see the rainbow but is it really there! The world is not going to be better without you, your here for a reason and that reason is still building . At 50 ( the new 27) everything awaits share your information helping others will help yourself no matter how simple or complex its the act .

        • elizabeth says:

          Hello , I am new here , I need some help
          how can I help my ex , he broke up with me due to his anger and depression , I send him all type the info , I push him to seek help and he accept it . but he left me 2 wks after treatment .now I just send him poems or links about information or information on this blog.
          sometimes he get very angry and sometimes he don’t respond my texts , he said he need his space and peace. I wonder if you guys could guide me on how to approach , I told him I wouldn’t going to give up on him, that we will be ok and that I am here for him . ww talk on the phone for business and he is nice but when I tell him how much I love him or how much I miss him he get out of control with too much rage , I don’t know why he hate me that much … how can I take that pain from him? how or what can I say? is this normal ? please thank you
          any response any word will help me
          thank you

          • Logan says:

            He feels like he doesn’t deserve to be happy and he is trying to spare you the pain because he feels like it might be contagious. I think he is doing it because he feels like it’s in your best interest to get away from him while you still can. No matter how wrong he might be. He feels right. Hang in there. He might come around someday after he realizes it might be too late. Whether he is or not is up to you. Good luck.

          • Lee says:

            Hi Elizabeth. He doesn’t hate you. He probably doesn’t like himself and whilst he struggles with his depression, he pushes all he loves away. He has to sort his journey/depression out alone. Don’t take it personally. Be there to support him when he does reach out. You seem to need him more than he needs you right now. My advice is to seek professional counselling to talk about how you are feeling and coping with the separation. Don’t send him poems and love notes, rather just let him know you are there if and when he is ready to reach out. My 21 year old daughter has severe depression and reacts badly to anti-depressants. it is so hard for me to sit back and watch her pain and not be able to save her from drowning. The mental health system is horrific and at best you can encourage and support and pray they work it out. God bless you Elizabeth.

          • elizabeth says:

            thank you for the nice reply, once depression leave , do you think he will know I was even there ? I want him happy , its very hard seeing the person you love have pain , sometimes I feel I am responsible for it , because he will never treat nobody like his does me , I am who trigger his anger and I wish I could change who he feel, I do need to leave him alone , but what if if he needs someone ? omg I pray all day for him . sorry I am pathetic

    • Lee says:

      Allan STOP! Let’s talk about this devil of a depression. My estranged mother once said,” when you think you’ve hit rock bottom” there’s only one place you can go and that is up. My 21 year old daughter suffers severe depression and I live with her struggle each day. It’s difficult watching her drown when I can’t help but support her through her darkness. My advice is simple: Reach out as you have done now by writing on this blog. It is hard but to feel alive and supported you need to trust people and let complete strangers who do not judge you. There is not an overnight solution, but with hope there is sunlight waiting. I have not had my family around for 11 years due to a family breakdown so noone talks to me including sisters, mum, and step-father. I just keep busy to distract my pain and now I’m emotionally numb. How much can one cry. It hirts so much as we were a close knit bunch. My daughter suffers as a result.

      Back to you. At 50, you re hardly old. I’m 52. Life has more to offer and it aint all bad. You are in a dark place at the moment and that in turn will make you much stronger because you have been chosen to jump through hoops and huge challenges. Not your friends or neighbour but YOU. Feel privileged if anything and try little by little to change your negative mindset to tiny droplets of positive affirmations. Simple: step 1. Get out of bed and go to the mirror and tell yourself you love you and wrap your big, strong arms around and give yourself the biggest bear hug while saying how bloody fantastic you are. Step 2: Go back and sulk and be down for a bit.Permission granted. Step 3: Get back to that mirror and repeat step 1 but this time hug a little longer and scream how bloody much you love yourself. That’s day 1. Stay with us Allan. It’s uphill in tiny steps from here.

  21. Christine says:

    I have been in bed now for 2 years with this darkness called depression. Anxiety, isolation, panic attacks. I want to leave this world. I cannot handle my mind anymore. It hurts, it hurts so bad . I have already lost my job. I had a breakdown 2 years ago, pre suicide attempt. This time I drove myself to the ER. I have sufferred since a child. 4 attempts to date.

    I am dying anyway. It hurts, everything hurts. This is the longest bout I have had. I am 55 now.

    I am losing everything, my husband, my children, my career, now my home. Zero income. Dealing with the state is impossible.

    I trying positive thought. My depression is so strong. I try. I try so hard it physically exhausts me. I just want to sleep.

    I am so sad, so very sad.

    Lost my family friends. I cant stand the torture anymore! It hurts! HELP!

    • Davina says:

      My heart goes out to you and your suffering. I can so understand what you are going through and I want to tell you-you don’t deserve to go through this and already you are so so brave.
      Depression is the most misunderstood and stigmatized condition in the world, so the emotional needs of many people like yourself get over looked.
      Depression and anxiety are things I can really understand what they feel like as I live with them myself.
      I like to help people who going through similar experiences as this in turn helps myself. I would like to reach out to you to forward me an email and I will do my best to help as best as you can. I am not religious-but hope is on the horizon for you, just when you thought it was not possible.
      I know how hard it is to maintain positive thinking and how stubborn depression is. Send me an email if you wish. Kind Regards, Davina

  22. sammy says:

    interesting thoughts going though the comments on here. It seems depression gets worse and then better and then worse again. Its hard to have positive thoughts when we only see the bad. my husband tried for three years before he finally succeeded to end his life. I tried all I could to help him stay positive, often doing things he wanted that honestly made me feel ashamed, even to this day. while he was experiencing this depression, we had a full time business which ran 7 days a week 8am to 12pm, 2 small sons, and of course all life’s other details. I barely had time to sleep, and I was on constant watch to insure my husband was living, and of course to keep his depression hidden from the public. I had him in hospitals, tried different therapies, vacations etc. along with minimizing our sons exposure to his often volatile moods. Do I feel guility that I could not save him? Yes. But there is also relief that it is over, I could finally relax and not sleep with one eye open. My sons are grown now and they consider their father was a great person and talk fondly of him, which is as it should be. They remember some of what their father did but they were young, and I tried to keep them sheltered from the worst of it.

    Now, 10 years later, I am suffering depression, have been since about a year after my husband died. Much of this I keep from my sons also, but of course, depression can be seen. I have never tried to commit sucide nor would I since I had to watch my husband do it. But depression is very real, having no desire to move forward, no attempt to find happiness, lost in business dealings, lost of standard of living, lost of friendliness until I have nothing left and I don’t really care. My sons figure I’m crazy, though I never hurt or put them in harms ways because of my depression but I don’t see them much but they are doing well for themselves and that is the main objective. They have a good positive start on their lives and I try to keep that in mind that I at least helped give them that. It hurts that they blame me for their harder lives and I only get a text message for my birthday and Christmas, but yet they honour their fathers memory each day, and remember only the good times with him and only bad times with me. Depression….it is not a joke, it’s real, it’s pain and it hurts every day to either try to sleep or get out of bed.

    • Jess says:


      It’s sad to hear this. I’m not in depression as I mentioned in he previous reply. I just have a boyfriend who is in severe depression and he is also treatment resistant.

      Yes there are some people who don’t understand depression and they cannot accept this. But please remember there are still a lot of people who are willing to know more about you, about the illness and try to understand you.
      Let your sons know more about the illness or if it seems impossible for you, try to talk to people that do understand and u will find out you are not alone.
      Hope you find your peace.

      • sammy says:

        Thank you for your time. I have recently moved to be closer to my sister and her family and hoping to start over in this new city. Depression is a strange “illness” with many different symptoms, and of course feelings.

        • Jess says:

          It’s a good start! But you should also be prepared that things will change or get better in a blink. But don’t lose hope or faith even things are not going smoothly.

          I wish my boyfriend has the courage like you to start over. He is now in the states to receive treatment but his doctor just told him that doesn’t work on him. It’s so frustrating that he tried so many things but nth works. And I don’t even know how to stay with him and support him.

          Anyway, good to know there is one more friend is trying to get better. And will get better.

          • Lee says:

            Jess I feel your angst and frustration. My 21 year old has severe depression and a multiple of other symptoms that are a complex melting pot. I struggle daily as if I have depression. It began with my mother and I and our family breakdown 11 years ago. She struggles daily and talks of not wanting to be here and anger outbursts and indecisiveness, procrastination and much more. She has dropped out of uni and works 3 days a week. She needs the routine she says. She has only ever tried 2 anti-depressants that landed her in hospital both times with suicidal episodes. She has been in a program with disordered eating and now seeing a mood psychologist. I am alternative as far as meds go but certain nutrients havent worked either. I hope your partner tries as many therapies as he can. One will work. My friend says EMDR has helped her get through and I will try to find one who specialises for my daughter. Keep hoping.

  23. Ann says:

    I just dont care anymore.

    • Jess says:


      If you don’t mind I would love to talk to you. Please don’t give up. After reading so many materials online, I found out its so difficult to just ask the depressed one to have their old lives back. What they have to do is to find a new way to live, to go on. Ans please remember there are always people out there staying with you and support you.

      All the best.

    • Halfquarter says:

      Hi Ann,
      I just wanted to see how you were doing

  24. Franklin says:

    I’m about 50 years old. I live with a woman for almost thirty years but we are not married. I did not have children. Ten years ago I lost a good job and are no longer been able to keep a job for more than 4 to 12 months.
    During periods of no work when I’m alone I let go the tears. This is of no help.

    Lately health worsened. I fall asleep with difficulty, my arrhythmia come most often, problems with wound healing, increased what was rare heartburn, can not meet deadlines and my face is more and more sad.
    So I always lose more opportunities to every job interview.
    At home I can not even do small repairs at home. I have sold the tv set to pay someone to fix the small repairs.

    I tried a structured guide to rebuild esteem and changing habits alimentarie and also avoid bad habits that detract sleep hours.
    For a month or two no results then when I was just a little better I succumbed.

    I feel distracted driving the vehicle and two months ago I was about to perish in a incidenta drive. I did not have quick reflexes that time. Otherwise I would have saved the car and instead was destroyed. Unemployed without a car is still less work so I spent the last savings to have one. But no job, no money, no estimate I feel a wreck.

    The partner (wife) tried to help against low esteem and poor planning. But I also I have moved away from her in the intimate life. I believe that love affair, which has survived so many hardships, now it is drowning in isolation that I’m procuring alone.

    She looks a bit of TV on a small tv she belongs: she has told me that I can not sell even that TV. He said it would be better for me to go away permanently from his house to follow therapy.

    • Jess says:

      Hi Franklin,

      I don’t know what to say to your situation because I’m not in depression. Only my boyfriend is. I’m still trying to help him. To stay with him. I can only tell you for a close one to the depressed one, it’s sometimes not easy, they will be confused, sad and don’t know what to do. But believe me, a lot of them (including me)want to stay and help the depressed to get better.

      So please don’t give up. I’m saying this to you as I’m saying it to my boyfriend. We love you. Stay strong.

  25. Vicki L says:

    Hi, you have a brilliant way of articulating the truth of depression. Your articles have been a great help to me in understnding the distortions and insidiousness of depressive phenomena, and a constant reminder that I can choose wellness over illness much of the time. Thankyou from the bottom of my heart for your contribution to other people through your writing.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Thank you, Vicki –

      I really appreciate hearing from you and wish you well as you deal with depression.


  26. nancys says:

    I am in the grip of depression. It has been with my for all my adult life, over 20 yrs, but it has gotten worse in my 30s, and at this stage I do feel like I have lost hope and am just getting through. I am on my own therefore if I am to keep ‘living’, I have to go out to work. It is dark and cold where I am at this time of year, and I would like to stay under the bed covers and not face the world. But every day I don’t face the work, and am tormented by my neighbours, is another day I have wasted, so work kind of saves me. I do feel like I am going through the motions, and I don’t want to do that for the next 20 yrs, but for now it’s all I can do.

  27. The Strongest Nobody says:

    Sitting here at work in my own shame, guilt, shame cycle…barely able to lift my arms to type, much less concentrate on the tasks I should be completing. So I did a search for “I can barely do anything” and this post was the top hit. It’s a little step to hear someone else’s words echo my own feelings so well. My poor family can’t understand this, and I’ve had some pretty bad scares with depression in the past, and I don’t want to drag them into this again. Therapy is out of reach, and there’s no one I can talk to without them putting me on a suicide watch and handling my every word with kid gloves, which just makes me feel even more selfish, ashamed, and guilty, and thus the cycle continues. So I’m pretty much on my own with all my swirling self hate, going through the day with a plastic smile and a professional quietness that most mistake for efficiency. Someone asks “Are you ok?” and the person in my mind screams, “NO NO NO I AM SO VERY FAR FROM OK!!!! PLEASE LISTEN TO ME AND HELP ME!” But the grown-up wife and mother says “I’m fine, thank you. Just a little tired,” and walks on down the hall trying to hold my tears until I get around the corner.
    So thank you for at least helping me know on this day that I am not the only one.

    • Sharon says:

      You are not alone at all. I too feel exactly the same as you. I daren’t tell anyone the truth because I don’t want them to think me weak. I don’t want out of this world, I just want some relief from the torment that is depression. I feel like I need a break from life to a place where I will be cared for and be given time to heal.

      • Annie says:

        I have used the exact same words so many times: “I need a break from life.”
        My depression is an abyss. No end at all, total darkness, and immense pressure.
        It’s so hard to pretend everyday that I’m ok. If this is the rest of my life, I’d rather meet my Maker now. I made the decision today to check myself in to a Psychiatric hospital.

  28. pluto says:

    inspiring. truly needed this…

  29. Lebohang says:

    Hey everybody! Well my story is as follows: I have lately had this amazing crush on my friend and told him but he rejected it. I know I must move on but I cant. I have become so anxious to fall inlove with a guy but I do not see where it goes. The problem is, my entire family, cousins and friends are so not bisexual friendly and if they find out that I might be back to my roots they will get disappointed. It comes to a point where I just want to go far away from all the people and just listen to myself. I really love my Family atlarge so I thnk I should stay hetero and comprimise my happiness!

  30. manpreet says:

    i work hard for my exams but i dont get results as i expected .please tell me what to do .i always get less marks .

  31. Nadir says:

    Hello everyone!

    Just now i couldn’t sleep and like always was going through this trance of me in my past being self critical telling myself why this why that and then i was like “well may b i deserve this” …and then suddenly i got up, which is unusual, saying to myself ,enough, and started looking up to find a solution to this problem.

    Finally came across this website. The moment i read the article i realized that this is me and the following comments all of them really deep and depressing just like a typical depressed individual. And then it came to me (like an eureka moment) that what depression is really and how to actually control it and overcome it.

    Honestly speaking, before reading these symptoms and comments i never knew that its depression that is keeping me awake at nights and dreaming during days making me under achieve at almost everything good in life.

    If i can have the attention of anyone who is reading this please pay attention to this because if this made sense to you now it can most certainly change things for good.

    Okay, here it goes:

    Depression is an emotional state which we create ourselves! we talk to ourselves;

    Our inner-mind or the inner person or the subconscious what ever you may call it, will talk to us in a way that is like someone condoling a great misfortune or something. It will slowly and gradually hypnotize us over time into believing that we are incapable, worthless , losers in extreme cases and similar demoralizing things that will effect us and eventually in the long run we are completely brainwashed by ourselves into believing all this and in some cases some people are so affected by this that they decide to sadly end their lives.

    Okay i am assuming this theory is making sense to all of yous. So, whats the point right ….
    the point is that it takes a lot of effort, seriously a lot of effort. Years of self talking and inducing this emotional state and then living in the memories of the horrible past it does take a lot of effort and the result is perfect without realizing we are depressed and thanks to ourselves.

    Okay here comes the solution; keeping all this in your mind now start talking to yourself of the exact opposite things that are all great and fun and full of life all the things you want to achieve, excite yourselves make the effort this time for the better not for the worse do this for as long as you have to. Make your inner mind listen, tell yourself that you are powerful and your heart beats, things are still there is your life left unexplored no matter what age you are in. If you believe in God then that’s also good gather your power from your faith make it stronger all the negative talking that you’ve been doing took a lot of effort accumulate all the anger inside you and fight it with positive talk back .

    This will stop your from more damage by halting the poisoning and then with regular positive conversations to yourself will start to reverse the venom. Depression is killing yourself with a slow poison. So start as soon as you can and get motivated. I am not a scholar or a preacher just a regular person who is going through the same thing, i didnt write what i go through or what mistakes i regret or how bad i want things to change because all of us already know that. Dont we!

    I wish for everyone to get free from this prison of invisible chains and walls and torture, bless you all. Love life its priceless use it very wisely because its yours and only one!

    I hope I was of help to at least someone of you, if i have offended anyone believe me it wasn’t my intention and i deeply apologize for it.

    Thank you for reading and i am open to any feedback.Cheers!

    • jaron says:

      Thank you so much for this! I totally agree. I was in much the same scenario when i came to this site too. I’m so glad to see it is very possible to overcome depression. It sometime seems, at least to me, that rather than finding a way to heal, these site can often become a place for us to kind of ‘share’ our misery. I’m in no way saying that finding someone to trust and confide in is bad. As a matter of fact, it is so important to share our experiences, our struggles with people. I just love that you took it a step farther, and shared how we can overcome, or at least begin to overcome it.
      It may seem crazy that to win the battle, you’ve got to do the hardest thing you could possibly do, but with the hardest work comes the biggest reward! You can feel better about yourself. It is possible to live life again. you are worth it. And if you try now and fall back into old mindsets and habits, don’t give up! It’s not over. You’ve tried once, you can try again. As long as you put forth some effort, you are succeeding. And let your faith fuel you.
      Thank you again so very much, and good bless:)

    • Tub3 says:

      Intellectually… I get it.

      But emotionally it breaks my heart.

      ”I wish for everyone to get free from this prison of invisible chains and walls and torture, bless you all. Love life its priceless use it very wisely because its yours and only one! ”

      May I second that emotion…


    • aarzoo says:

      thanx nadir…i found ur message here to be really helpful

    • Victoria says:

      Thank you – happened on this while looking for ways to “escape”. This powerful

    • Kimberly says:

      Thank you for your encouraging words. Today, i found myself looking for a reason, anything to give me hope. Reaching for an answer to why this feeling has consumed me, drained my being and dissolved any feelings of being human I may have ever had. I am at the end of a spiraling downfall, If I could just find meaning; a reason for living. I have been lost for so very long that I can’t bare to see my children, friends or family be drug through anymore. I am going to print your words and re-read them over and over. So thank you again and I pray I find a way out of my darkness.

    • J Ann says:

      I have heard your message or variations of it, come into my mind when I have been very low and desperately searching for relief. I have also read experiences of others who have tried this method of action to fight their depression and when consistently practiced, have good results. I find the barrier I hit up against when trying this way of thinking, is almost a guilt reaction, or self talk saying that I’m deluding myself with “positive thinking”, and thus further messing up my mind. Then on one occasion I seemed to break through that barrier with the thought that, either way – saturating my mind with negative, depressive thoughts, or with positive, hopeful thinking – I may or may not be “deluding” myself….so why not CHOOSE to “delude” myself with happy hopeful thoughts. I think the chances of life changing for the better, a bit at a time, are at least a possibility, by choosing happy thoughts. The other way, as you say, is slow self poisoning, and almost always leads to a downward spiral. My son who studied neuroscience, said that study’s show that “What fires together, wires together” (referring to the way the brain’s neurotransmitters interact to form thoughts) so the thought “pathways” that are persistent, can and will turn into thought “ruts”, that become easier and easier to fall into. Especially on those days we’re on “autopilot” and not putting much effort into watching and guiding our thinking. I find it does help when I do this, and makes the depression pass quicker. Thanks for sharing.

      • Tina says:

        I’m really trying to come out of this depression because I’ve been stuck in it for far too long. I’m going through some burnout from work and I probably just need to rest more and today I was told they would help me with “reasonable accommodations” at work and reduced hours if necessary. But California is expensive and I could get some extra money from SDI, if only I felt like I was worthy of the help they’re offering me. Depression is such a pain in the butt! I really liked that saying, “What fires together, wires together.” I’m going to remember that. I mean to change my ways of thinking but it’s so difficult…I don’t understand why I keep defaulting back but we have to keep trying. I’ve been through so much emotional pain at times, as have all of you. I think we can beat this if we try. I know we can and I pray for you all to find some inner peace and beauty to ponder. Thanks to you all for your comments and insights and helping me to realize I’m not alone in this. Good luck to everyone.

  32. Emma says:

    I am really struck by listening to all of your pain and it helps me to have some empathy for my own. I feel so bad and wish I could really help others climb out of their hell even though I can’t climb out of my own. My heart is really with you. I feel you!
    I am not “clinically”depressed but have been a tortured soul my whole life. I have fought my entire adult life to climb out of this abyss that seems to grow deeper as time goes on. I am now 54 and my life has been not just a living hell every day, but has been wasted. Have not been able so far to utilize my potential, talents, gifts, etc. Have never found a career, a decade’s long nemesis. I have seen 160 therapists, read over 50 books dealing with this subject, I have gone in hospitals, have had suicidal ideations many times, which is always sitting on a shelf over there. Although I do much contemplating about it, since the age of 16, I recently realized I don’t have the constitution for it. I am gripping on to life and trying to rescue myself too tightly to give up. I don’t have enough of a Self to do it. Perhaps suffering and inner torture is a long time friend that I can’t abandon. Get busy dying or get busy living but it seems the depressed have to slowly boil alive in between the two. And, for me it feels like I got locked in a vault from when I was very young. I see how wonderful life is and can be, but I can’t access it. Yes, deep down I believe I have the key to get out but I can’t find it. I have attended courses and classes and workshops, climbed mountains, rock climbed, a solo in the desert, walked on hot coals, tried 15 different therapeutic modalities, 12 step meetings and countless and endless attempts at trying to climb to freedom and find my authentic real self, which I know is still there. Have explored the Spiritual side of things as much as I am able . When I was formally introduced to New Age philosophy and Spirituality 30 years ago, I instinctively and intuitively had to put it on a shelf. For me, I knew or felt, that I had to find myself through the traditional means of psychotherapy -feeling my feelings and working through them in order to be free of their claim they had over me. It took 38 years to discover I have a Massive Inner Critic, Core Identity Issues, Shame, Self hate, Trauma, Severe Abandonment issues, A complex Defense system bigger than a Roman army, Fractured Ego Structure, Internalized Rage, Hyper Sensitive to Stimulation & Arousal, Little ability to sustain and Self nurture, Emotional Safety Deprivation, Frustration Intolerance (that clearly excludes a life time of depression though), Self Alienation, Engulfed and Overwhelmed, Severe issues with Trust of Self and Others. Guess after that I don’t need “clinical” depression too! Bibliotherapy helped me as much as gaining an intellectual understanding of myself and therefore why my life isn’t working, so that was a huge help, it ended the Why which was huge. Although I would only recommend like 3 or 4, because they can’t cure and fix you and can become an obsession. My mind is my addiction. Never got into sex, drugs or any other vices. I have OCD thoughts 24/7 but that is also due to deepened self isolation. I am also aware of our parallel worlds to this mortal one that our physical bodies inhabit, so for all I know there may be other factors to seriously consider. Although Spirituality resonates with me at a heart level, I am still very much attached, to this mortal world which prevents me from delving deeper into other possibilities. Curses, arch angels, astrological dis-alignments, the paranormal, supernatural, occult, mystical, and so on. Even with all my issues stated above it just seems to feel like one particular powerful other entity may be at play here. Or it could just be the massive sum and weight of countless dynamics manifesting themselves, and so it feels like it’s singular thing. One lock. Just don’t know. I am Agnostic and a Pantheist of sorts. I realized I can’t believe in God because I am holding on too tightly to Let Go and have faith in something so emorphic. I also don’t believe that believing in a God is a substitute for the inner work one needs to do. There are no short cuts. I wish and hope us all well. Be intuitive as you can be about the “help” you receive into your life. Listen to your body and inner soul and voice, as hard as that may be when seeking assistance. Thank you for being here. Sorry for my rambling.

    • Steph says:

      Wow, everything you have mentioned resonates with me. You weren’t rambling, you have much insight. Thankyou so much for taking the time to post your comment, i know the effort it would’ve taken. Your empathy and compassion for others struggling in the same way is a wonderful by product of this insidious illness. We are filled with so much concern and care and hope of recovery for others as we know how painful it is to live with this. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I wish for you healing and continued resilience until then as I do for myself and everyone else suffering. Much love to you 🙂

      • anna says:

        Thank you Steph for your heartfelt post. I sometimes forget how many of us are struggling with this illness. I wish we could form one big support group, just to be there for each other when we need that. I think of my depression as an addiction, state you never recover from, you are always fighting with that could potentially kill you. I hate it and today has been a particularly tough day. The part I hate the most about it is the fact that I am aware that it’s ruining my life, that I’m slowly fading away and there is nothing I can do about it. I’m 30 now,and I think I’ve reached a point where I need to accept that it is not going away, despite meds, therapy, different therapists.It’s just not working out. I’m still trying to figure out a way to live despite depression.

        • Tim says:

          I feel your pain. I have struggled with this illness my entire life. I see how it effects everyone that cares about me and it only hurts more. I wonder what it feels like to be happy and healthy. I know life isn”t fair but to compound that with mental illness only makes it worse.
          Mental illness is a revolving door that I can’t seem to get out of. I have had glimpses of happiness only to be returned to its prison. It has stripped me of friendship, relationships, career goals, and any interest in life. I can’t live in the now when the negative past and the negative thouhts consume me. It is either that or I stare aimlessly at nothing. When you feel like this all the time there is no hope for a better future. I’ ve tried all methods of therapy and this fucking disease always seems to prevail. I know I am a good person I just wish I was a healthy one. It makes me sad to see my siblings and friends live happy productive lives knowing my illness has kept me from joining them. I was dealt a shitty hand at the game of life and it is getting harder and harder to play as the years go by.

        • Nic says:

          You may find that by accepting it, it lifts of its own accord. Accepting allows us to focus on other things. I have slipped into many bouts of severe depression, but with acceptance they lift after a week or so. Trouble is I have chronic anxiety as well, I accept that also, but it’s been five years now, and I’m in the middle of the worst depression I have ever experienced. On Christmas Day! My daughter and partner are out thank goodness. Best Wishes x

    • ego says:

      … I’ve had depression since I was in elementary school. Abusive life from others, and pure circumstances yet I know I’m the only one who is responsible for it and my “now.” I’m too tired to get up after the real or perceived knock downs. My memory wont release me. Especially since I keep failing at everything I try, no matter how positive I (sometimes) force myself to be. Motivation completely evaporates then I find a new goal in life. Then get ridiculed by inescapable (because I still care for them) family. Love is all I wanted, and paranoia, self hate, lack of any esteem and too vivid of an imagination keeps taking that away, I keep pushing life away, even friends. Im too observational and ask too many questions and too open and its not appreciated and ive changed so many times I come back to the old cycles that I know what to expect from. I don’t want the rest of my life to be this wasted; so many many opportunities fear shut doors upon, and most of all I’m tired of ruining the lives of those I love and am in love with, whether I trust them or not. I know that it is what I say and how I act that drives people away. Then I avoid everyone (and i dont try to talk about it anymore because either no one cares, or they have so much pain already i’d be making it worse, or complaining becomes an addiction in itself, or i’m yelled at and told its my ungrateful self that makes it all up.) I don’t bother anyone anymore. No one likes a complainer. Internet is different. Im hiding behind an invisible wall this way. I can say what I feel without inhibition, like the trolls of youtube teach us. (Haha?) Why do people look at suicide like it’s so wrong? If you’re already dead inside, no matter how stupid or shallow it sounds… What about child rapists and people with so much guilt and shame that cant be medicated or therepied away? Isnt it a service to let them finish hurting themselves and others for the last time? I know I take so much away from others, from living quarters to energy and creating worry. I know why it’s illegal, because many times it’s only a temporary disturbance, and impulsive peoples lives are at stake, thats why you cant just get euthanized. But im not impulsive, and a whole entire life of pain in one person spread to others.. what solutions are really available? I only get worse as time goes on too. Id rather people remember who I was when I was at my best times. Then forgive me for finding my escape. Selfish is a dualistic word for both sides.. the one who is being selfish, and the one who is claiming the other person as such. Im sorry, I know you’re all trying not to die and find hope.. but im tired. I dont want a single thing anymore, no desire for career, family, competition, beauty, no sexual desire, no more friend desire either. All I want is the nothing. Im just here because I was searching how to escape a depressed life in a ridiculous attempt at searching roundabout forms of painless suicide, since when its asked the same answers come up. The last time I was in a hospital for accidental deep laceration I convinced them to let me go because it was thanksgiving and I didn’t want my sort of inlaw to have a ruined day. If I stayed, what: more meds? Roulette is what meds are. A vacation paid by taxpayers? I wish I was a an old time japanese farmer with a communal purpose. But im just another complaining person, I know.

      • Deelacy says:

        WOW,is all I can say. Sounds about like my story. I don`t feel so well, so only going to say a little.You said why are you here? For people like me trying to get thru the days. god bless

  33. Joe says:

    I grab my guitar and sing whatever I’m thinking and feeling out loud. I find this to be good therapy. A preacher of the gospel I love named Perry Stone says to just visualize yourself communing with God- its not a rote routine or speech but the depths of your being desiring to embrace God- I’ve had some beautiful moments doing this. I do feel your pain just know God is bigger than your problems and I love you. Ill pray for you right now- blessings in Christ. I hope we can all connect through prayer. Find a good Bible believing Church and fellowship with God there as well. Be blessed.

  34. Gopal says:

    Hi John,
    What an accurate and wonderful description in your posts. Your words echo my own experience and can tell you that there is a solace in that. Just to know that there is someone else who goes through the same experience that you are going through is healing. So, what do I do when I feel depressed?
    There are some anchors I find to be immensely useful for me:
    (a)Therapist – A good therapist is worth her/his weight in gold. No cliche’ here. I have come to realize that even though I possess an extremely sharp mind (graduated from a top school and now work as a researcher), it can work against me when I try to intellectualize my depression and build reasons for why it exists. A therapist is more experienced and knows more than you do and she can help. Let her. If there is a particularly bad day, I try and put what I feel is the core issues bothering me in a mental container and lock it for the time being. Then I open the box during the session and we go through the contents.
    (b) Psychiatrist – Same goes for a psychiatrist. Someone who is willing to listen to you and diagnose you is important. For me, it took a year to build that trust. My “intellectual” mind and fear of any medication made me suffer severely during my depression. I was trying to minimize reporting the severity of my symptoms and that backfired because the dosage was too low. Being honest with you psychiatrist is as good as finding one who will give you medication only if he/she feels you need it.
    (c) Having good friends with whom I can be completely honest. These are people who have “earned” my trust and I can simply cry on their shoulders when I have a bad day. Just telling them about what I feel can get some of the pain out of my system. Sometimes, they will “get” you and sometimes they wont understand – so I have to exercise my judgement. But continuously reminding myself that I live in their hearts and that they are there for me is solace.
    (d) Work – This is as important as any. Having meaningful work is core to me. I got into depression because I was spending my time at home and not doing work. I work in education and I have noticed that if I dont get something authentic to work towards, I am slowly edging towards feeling low. Mind you, it is not an addiction – I dont work weekends but getting out there and going to work is critical.
    (e) Play- Having a hobby. I have a motorbike. I have a dslr camera. Great tools that have given meaning and literally build new neurons. And any act of focused creation works.Writing, photography, drawing, –anything which leads to something creative.
    Having talked of these anchors, let me share that during a rough day – it will take effort to try these anchors too. Not easy at all. Wont feel right at all. And that is all right! I deserve happiness. And sometimes i have to make a massive effort just to live through the tough times. I keep reminding myself, that with time, such times will slowly become lesser and lesser sharp and more and more bearable. I am in a good space and I am surrounded by a universe who will take care of me. The faith keeps me going somehow. Will be happy to share more if you want to email me. Just hang in there…

    • Rod says:

      Fantastic advice. I have been battling depression/anxiety off and on my entire life and recently have hit rock bottom. Thank you so much!

  35. Catherine Boyle says:

    A lot of people don’t realise that depression can be the symptom of an underactive thyroid. Sadly the Drs go by the THS test and not symptoms and so treat people for their symptoms rather than the cause. So many people are palmed off with antidepressants and told their blood tests are “normal” and their problems are nothing to do with their thyroid. I was told this myself and went to see a private specialist who was brilliant I now feel great. I saw a wonderful website called http://www.stopthethyroidmadnesss. Please check it out. Sadly we are brought up to believe our Drs know best. Believe me they don’t.

  36. Nibor says:

    Hi guys.
    Check out on YouTube with search terms “Depression” and “Anthony Robbins”. He cures depression in public within seconds. Believe me, it works. However, you have to follow up with strictly disciplined thought control and repeated targeted change of mood by imagination. But the more you practice, the more and faster it helps.

    Just do not any more allow yourself to fall into the trap of promoting noise in your head and refrain from over-analyzing and thinking negative. For example, make yourself a mantra, like “I am getting more and more happy and confident every day” and repeat it each time, the noise or negative thoughts come, such that it overrules the negative thoughts. I may not appear easy from the onset, but if you have strict self discipline, it cures you within days or weeks.

    The only thing you have to realize is whether the depression is giving you a connection to yourself that you are reluctant to give up (think about this one !), because you may have to find a substitution that gives you the same connection (Listen carefully to Robbins on this subject). For example, if you are depressed because of being alone, the depressive thoughts may be around a loving wife and family; and you may be reluctant to give up this wishful thinking, which is the core of the the depression. In this case, you have to find a substitution in order to give up the wish and the related depression. For example, you may connect more to your mother, brother, or likewise. Or you are in a family and are depressed because of lack of freedom, in which case you have to exchange the depression by creating an activity that gives you the feeling of freedom sometimes, for example going sailing or running in the open field.

    You will realize that there is no real clinical depression that needs medication. It may sound arrogant, but so it is.

    You may also promote curing by drinking energy drinks, conatinig Taurin, guarana and vitamin B. They do not help all equally, so try a selection and see what works for you.

    Good luck and do try this alternative approach, which will make the pharma industry angry.

  37. Tracy says:

    I’m new at this and I’m not good at computers. I have been suffering I guess with depression It has affected my health and vision. I can’t eat and when I do I don’t feel relief. I’m having trouble smelling anything perfumes, soap deodorants, air freshners etc, I’ve lost my will, beliefs, faith. I’ve tried to take advice to get out of this but nothing works. I have a counselor and she said without believing that she or no one can help. I work n force myself to breath. Music, tv, bathes, getting a pay check and taking care of accomplishment haven’t helped. I can’t seem to relax no matter what I do . I sometimes just want to give up. I can’t breath or escape it. I tried to visit friends, sex, food and work and it’s just not working help

    • Danielle says:

      How are you now Tracy?

    • Steph says:

      When I’m going through an episode I can barely see anything. My writing becomes jumbled as does my comprehension of the written word the same as a dyslexic. It’s amazing the various ways it affects you as a person. It truly robs you of your simple functions. At least you know as we all do here, we are not alone in this struggle.

  38. swamiji says:

    i never came across this depression in my life but when i completed 60 on 15.11.2013 it started i became sick seriously and stop doing any physical work, even mental work and to day i have become a wreck physically and mentally sick i can not broom, mop, cook, wash can not afford servant maid since i am in a big city, i am alone and the city traffic snarl is sickening so many factors have made me sick loneliness, oldage, sickness, but somehow get relief when i listen to devotional songs in my laptop i used to sing loud but now i can not god only should help i have tremendous faith in god right from childhood, i am good at so many things but unable to do anything i dont when things will improve i am getting calls to come and work but due to so many factors i am unable to take up just two months back when i got an offer to teach 4000 kilometers i jumped and took the offer but after going there i could not bear the 2.5 degree temperature cold and came back home, i hop god will be kind in a month or two he will show mercy so that i can go and teach children 36 kilometers away from my home
    god bless you
    monk and social worker

  39. Anonymous gal says:

    Great site.

  40. Anonymous gal says:

    Stumbled across this site looking for support to try and sustain a good relationship with a man who has recently, finally admitted to me that he suffers from depression. He also said that talking about it and focusing on it make it worse, but I have questions and want to open an honest dialogue so we can achieve individual and couple health. He says everytime he has talked to a partner it has been relationship ending. Yikes. Not sure if it is because others were not able to cope with the work involved, or if there are some deep dark scary secrets. I am trying to tread lightly and respect boundaries, but I am walking blind. How best to broach? I feel a need to understand what he/we are dealing with, if not all at once. That seems fair, yes?

  41. Belle says:

    Dear John,

    I just wanted to give a heartfelt thanks for this site and all you do to help others get free from depression. I cried really hard today after finding and reading this… I could have written this myself. I am 28, a divorced mother and have been depressed all my life. I knew it at 14, and was sure of it at 16 after a failed suicide attempt ( which I decided was something I could never try again because I don’t want to hurt my loved ones, or go out as a ‘selfish coward’).
    My depression (as well as side-effects from Zoloft) ruined my marriage and now the guilt I have over not being a full-time mother and breaking up our family is too much to handle most days. I only went on the medication hoping it would make me a better mom and wife in the first place. My depression only snowballed, causing me to lose a job I held for years, lose my marriage, my family , myself.
    I’m currently unemployed and have not had much motivation to find a new job despite being divorced, having a child who depends on me, being penniless, and living back home with my parents who have been a great support through this ‘fog’, I call it.
    Many times I’ve been able to relate to other depressed people online who have been brave enough to share their stories… but not in any way that gave me hope… because they were all people who had given up like me and chose to accept a life in the dark while occasionally commiserating online, believing it is their only option. But -my finding this post and this blog today renewed my long- dead hope that I, too, can recover someday through persistence, slow progress (progress nonetheless), winning over my relapses one at a time, and a lot of experience.

    Thanks so much- I am forever grateful!

  42. Steven says:

    I am 42, and have been struggling with depression since age of 21. I have gone through great seasons of joy as a result of finding help for my hurting heart. I have experienced a lot of pain in my past. As a child, I didn’t know how to deal with the pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonement. One of the most helpful experiences has been for me to feel my feelings. I started doing this with a counselor and then joined ACA( adult children of alcoholics, 12 step program) It is for people whose parents were addicts, and people who’ve had disfunctional families. I also participated in some role play therapy. I reenacted my abandonement issues and re processed them as an adult. I experienced a lot of forgiveness for people who had hurt or abandoned me and continue to pray for them to be blessed when they come into my mind today, which breaks the power of resentment. I have grieved in these groups my losses. I believe that God has a redemptive plan for my life. To use the brokenness and transform it for good. I find that sharing my story helps me greatly.
    I chose to medicate my depression with porn prior to finding 12 steps. Talking about my secrets, my addiction, my feelings, confessing sin with others struggling like me has been life changing. The 12 step program is about a spiritual awakening. My heart was awakened to the fact that I couldn’t manage my life, God can, When I turned the will and care of my life over to Him, he walked me through steps of healing and recovery.
    I see recovery as recovering myself. I had literally supressed myself as a person. I had learned to be a zero. I didn’t give myself permission to express myself. Now I have a voice that I know matters and can make a difference in others lives. I am loveable, cared for, and valuable.
    It helps me when I share this with others. I still have bad days where I am depressed. But I call mentors, friends to talk through it. I also take a newer antidepressant called Lamictol. Which has very little side affects. Processing my life with others verses isolating is very helpful. I ask to be prayed for, I ask to be reminded of who I am. I keep confessing my sin to others and to God.
    I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that he is my portion. I don’t have to feed upon resentments and the idolatry of porn. I must consume him by hearing his word, and reading it. He is life to me. I believe that He is a gracious God who forgives me when I fall. His dying on the cross for me paid the penalty of my sins. I am now His child and His Holy Spirit dwells in me. Understanding His grace has helped me immensely.
    So, I have found many joyful experiences through my search for peace. Joy that surpasses understanding at times. The four bacic feelings are gladness, anger, fear, and sadness. Shame is what binds us and keeps us from feeling. Begin to find help processing these feelings with people you can trust and feel safe with. Find people to pray for you and who have and do struggle like you. Find a counselor to talk to. Get prayed for. Also, I would suggest nurturing your grief when you can. Give the sadness in you a voice. It is healing to cry. Take it one day at a time, cause it is a long process. You are loved, I promise…..

  43. SRK says:

    All the symptoms mentioned in this post are true for me currently. I am from India and have been in depression for the past one year. And each day is a battle. I work for a famous consulting firm and my job requires me to be extrovert and outgoing. I remember being so when I started on the job after completing Masters from a premier Institution. That was 3 years back. But since the past one year, I have become a recluse. I hate talking to people and have withdrawn into a shell.
    So much so that, for the past 8 months I have started working majorly from home and even avoid going to office. I simply hate sitting with people and what normal folks would call, having a good time. It becomes so bad sometimes that I go for days without a shower or a shave. I have simply lost all motivation to live and thrive. My parents keep attributing this to my laziness. They simply don’t understand. Dad says that “It is you who have put yourself in this mess and only you can rescue yourself. You should wake up on time, eat properly, socialize and change yourself.” The problem is that getting out of bed itself is one of the biggest victories of the day, leave alone socializing 🙁
    I have lost interest in everything that I loved to do before. I used to work out regularly and took pride in my eight pack abs. The depression has cost me my abs along with 5 kg muscle body weight. Taking cue from the exercise method to suppress depression, numerous times I have tried to resume workouts. But every time something bogs me down. I have no motivation, zest or spark left to do it. It is a very painful feeling seeing my most prized possession, health, wither away like this.
    I do not see any meaning in life. No reason in anything. Its like there is no purpose to anything I do. I have no desire to continue living and I am only alive because committing suicide would be an insane thought (& painful, nonetheless, if I survive somehow & the tribulations that follow).
    I simply don’t know when or how this feeling will go and just don’t know what to do. I don’t expect an answer from you, but still, thanks for hearing me out !!!!
    Best Wishes from India.

    • Brett says:

      Can’t offer any help except that I feel the same way about life and have before too. It passed and came back, now it’s lasted longer than the good times and I have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I have quit almost all commitments in my life and have horrible physical and mental health, after being an athlete my whole life. I just tell people I’m still standing when they ask how I am. That’s all I got at this point

    • Gopal says:

      Hi SRK
      Hang in there. Have faith. You deserve happiness. I wrote a reply separately on this website (jan 24) of things which have helped me. For the time being, just focus on getting out of the house. I totally hear you when you say that you hate it. It might even be very anxiety provoking for you and you might feel that no one even understands what you feel. Yes, in india, depression is put under the carpet as if all one has to do, is become tougher and do things. So, please dont listen to even your close ones because they simply dont understand you.
      You sound like a sharp and intelligent person. Unfortunately, your intelligence works better at work than at figuring out what you feel. For the time being, get back into whatever gives you peace and happiness. If it is volunteering for an NGO, so be it. But get out of the house. Your sharp mind, a gift, needs to express itself creatively. That locked up energy is no good inside. Let it out.
      Try yoga. If you are in Mumbai, try the yoga institute in santacruz. They also have their talks on chirbit and their approach to dealing with depression is sensible.
      Finally, get a therapist. A good one. You will know after you meet him/her. So, meet a few and see what works for you. But do it for yourself. It is EXTREMELY BRAVE to ask for help. Therapy is not for the weak who continue to run away from their legitimate suffering.
      take care

    • john says:

      Hi SRK.
      All I know is I have had a great life until 7 years ago when I got depressed!! you struck a nerve with me about the fitness etc, and my kids are all into the gym etc. I can put my problems down to rejection , and failure type stuff, but am wondering why you were so healthy , and into fitness , and all of a sudden it crashed ? there must be a reason? you had a good job , etc. think back and try to find the reason when it went pear shaped? was it a relationship thing? I am still depressed , although seem to maintain a normal ( to them ) life, and hope you sort it out. cheers. jwm

  44. Nicola says:

    Hi all. I have suffered from depression since I left school. I was always a perfectionist and had to achieve the highest marks and the hottest boys. I had three episodes which were all solved with pills. Now I am suffering from depression due to a drug induced manic state. I am divorced and have A gorgeous 3 year old child. But I feel dead every day, numb, and in the vicious cycle of depression. No pills have helped me this time. I don’t do anything, just lie around my flat in isolation waiting for a day I will just snap out of it and my anxiety has killed my body. But I just know that day won’t come cos I’ve gotten so used to feeling depressed that I know it’s a habit. The psychiatrist tells me it’s not a habit but I just know it is. Boredom put me in and now I’m stuck cos I’m bored but I can’t do anything. Does anyone know that feeling? I’m lucky I got money from my divorce settlement so it’s not urgent to work but I know if I stay in my flat it’s also not helpful. Anyone stuck in that rut?

    • Marie k says:

      I knw what you r feeling , I feel trapped and I can hardly go out . I’ve been depressed for 5 months now ad sertline for 23 days ad I’m feeling worse than before . I use to love going out , gym , ad clubbing but now I can’t do none of that . I’ve no emotions . I feel tired almost everyday . I try to motivate my self but I end up getting so emotional

    • Marie k says:

      and I can hardly go out . I’ve been depressed for 5 months now ad sertline for 23 days ad I’m feeling worse than before . I use to love going out , gym , ad clubbing but now I can’t do none of that . I’ve no emotions . I feel tired almost everyday . I try to motivate my self but I end up getting so emotional

    • Tina says:

      I know ruts well. I just want to lay down and sleep in mine. I am a secretary working with extremely successful engineers making lots of money with their perfect families and they always knew what they wanted. I’ve been a single mom the whole time and now my son is thriving and getting ready to graduate college. But this whole time I’ve been struggling. I used to be so energetic and had so many interests….I feel just the opposite these days. My brother has the perfect marriage and almost all of my relationships have been extremely unhealthy. It’s hard to believe we came from the same family. I wasted so much of my potential because I felt flawed from using drugs at a young age and getting into trouble and all the bad things that happen in the world really seem to effect me adversely. I gained weight (50 lbs.) from anti-depressants which made me more depressed and I just recently got so much anxiety I had to take a week off from work and am not sure how long I can hold on. I’m really bored there. I’m 59 and wanted to wait till 62 to retire but right now that’s like saying run up Mt. Everest while carrying 500 pounds of rocks.

  45. Gabor says:

    Dear John!

    I found your blog and I am interested to know about depression as lot as possible. I tried to understand depression deeply and I have to say that my view over this thing quite different than yours and others who posted on your blog. My experience is not as old as yours and therefore I dont think it is an only valid one, but I want to highlight a few things and I really want to know your overall opinnion about the following.

    In my opinion depression is a result. Although many times we feel there is no trigger at all, but it is a result. We feel how we think. And vice versa we think how we feel – but this is not a good chice (I will try to highlight is later). Thoughts are always comes first and the feeligns just follows thoughts. It is true for me too, even many times we just not conscious about what we think really. Our emotions many times seems just popping up without any reason or cause. What we do with our emotions? I concentrate now the sad emotions. We feel them, and we think we cannot hide. We cannot hide from depression, it is follows us everywhere. We brings with us the problem. What is the problem with that? We dont want to feel this way. We dont want to be sad. We want to understand why we are sad and we want to solve our emotional state. We dont want to feel anxious. We spend enormous energy to solve our emotional state. We want to be happy. We think that if we dont have any big problems we have to be happy – like others. We see others much more happy than ourselves. But what is happening when we fail during this solving period? We lost. We feel that we lost the control over our emotional state, we cannot do anythink to feel better. We are anxious about that. We are brooding over that. Endless brooding. We cant think, eat, sleep, having sex, we are not interested anymore in anything what we have enjoyed once. We feel physical pain, emotional pain, emptyness, numbness, we feel ourselves like a robot, like a dead man. Hopeless, helpless, trapped, tyred, anxious, irritable, brooding over endlessly how we feel! The complete wreck and fail.

    Okay, this is depression isnt it?

    Lets see the professionals description: (I will mark the symptoms list with different marks, later yo will see why.)

    DSM IV

    Major Depressive Episode

    A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

    Note: Do note include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations.

    (1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood. +

    (2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others) +

    (3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains. +

    (4) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day +

    (5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down) +

    (6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day +

    (7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick) +

    (8) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others) +

    (9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide +

    B. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode.

    C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

    D. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).

    E. The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

    I have marked + the symptoms listed here because they are all anxiety related.

    1. Hopeless, helpless, trapped. „No way to get out from this hole. I am totally sick and this feeling never ends. I dont know what to do. Maybe I have to use the medications for the rest of my life. I cannot understand why I feel this way. Not a well worth thing to live anymore in this way….” Brooding over how we feel. But wait a minute! What if I do not brood anymore. I allow myself to feel this way without judge it, I dont be upset if I feel empty. Hey really! Everybody have to be happy everytime? Is it a realistic goal?
    2. This one is happens because of the 1. point. We lost the most important ability for us. Being in peace with us. No matter how interested we were in something. There is no more interest because the most precios thing – although we did not recognised it before – the feeling of peace – we lost. There is no need further explanation this feeling is the result of the 1. and the result of the tired mind because of anxiety.
    3. Why worth to eat anymore. Explanation is the same as point 2.
    4. Result of high anxiety. Brooding over why we feel this way, or brooding over what fails we have done or what we will do in the future. Brooding over what will be the result of this journey. Death? Mental institute, ECT, antidepressants for the rest of our life? Neverending anxiety.
    5. Hurry up due to anxiety, because how we feel or what we think about how we feel and what can be the result of how we feel.
    6. The torture consumpting a lot of energy. Emotionally and physically we feel completely exhausted by time. The battle costs a lot. We dont have any energy for doing simple things. Even thinking, concentrating. Doing some cretive thing? What is that? A joke? This is a result of anxiety and brooding over how we feel and why do not feel good as others seems.
    7. We do not understand why we feel this way and therefore we try to find some very clear causes. We did something or we born with some huge fail or sin which is unsolvable and the world is will be a much more better place without us. We magnify our weaknesses for finding the clear cause. We focus ont hat. This is the result of the „there is must some answer for our feeling” habit.
    8. Same as point 6.
    9. Hopeless, helpless, trapped and overly anxious. There is no other way to get out from this hole just to dye. No further explanation is needed. This is the end result of ultra high anxiety.

    All of them serving the way going to be depressed and anxious – a well known vicious cycle. As we lost our energy, our self esteem, we see our future as bad as possible. We use the medication we focus on how we feel, we test scan and monitor all of our body and soul. We focus in instead of out.

    I think that all of the above is anxiety related. Prolonged fight or flight response occurred in this state. Adrenalin, cortisol and related stress hormones are filled u pour body. Our nervous system is on the highest alert and we cannot calm anymore or sooth ourselves. Emotional containment are seems impossible. Many recent studies showed the unclear link between stress and depression. I know, you stated somwhere, the picture is not enough clear, but I started the view of the experinece of depression from the „psychiatric” or „biological” side which is not precise and not answere the real questions in my opinnion. They stated, that the listed symptoms are derepssion related but the do not answere to the very easy question: What is the cause of the listed symptoms!? The cause is anxiety and stress. Anxiety from inside, anxiety from outside, which cause stress on our emotional state and on our body. The stress has clear effects of the body and after enough time: SYMPTOMS. The listed symptoms are symptoms of stress. The result is depression, but I think, depression itself is a symptom of stress. The DSM IV and the psychiatric field simply mix them and dont answer to what is what. There is a saying: the first thing what is needed for the depressed person is not happyness, but calmness. And yes, calmness is our source of happyness through the self control which feeded by calmness.

    In my opinnion, the most harmful thing around depression and related things (which is not an illness in anyway – no matter the results which caused by the depression) is the fabricated and mystical fog around it.

    The psychiatrist said: „ I am affraid if you disontinue this medication, you will setback and you have another episode…., and therefore it would the best – regarding the future – if you will remain on the medication for more time.” Allright, how more?

    What if I do not fear of any more „episode” (the word itself: episode cause little nausea in me  – this is the part of the mystical and created root of „depressive illness”. What if I can get free of that because I accept ALL my emotions without judgement? What if I do not brood anymore over how I feel? I guess, I do not be depressed really anymore.

    The psychiatry is in big trouble, the SSRI myths are collapse lately or will collapse in time. The promises of psychiatry are not fullfilled. I dont think that there are only ways getting rid of depression, but I think, that if we fear from derpession, we brood over how we feel, we WILL depressed in time. Self fulfilling prophecies. Because brooding is thinking, and these thoughts cause stress. Stress cause symptoms and we brood more because of how we feel. Vicious cycle, not more. This is why I think, all the listed symptoms are stress-anxiety related. What cause anxiety? It depends on us to find the answer, but anxiety can come many places from inside to outside, but the very fact is, stress and anxiety cause symptoms after anough time. These symptoms not just physical, but emotional including: depression, fearfull thinking, catastrophic thinking, negative, repetitive, crazy, racing thoughts, see our future in black way and so on. But these also the results of prolonged stress.

    I was able to get rid of depression and axiety, panic attacks by myself, without medication with this view. I dont fear depression anymore. I do not need to really fear too much anything anymore. Fear for what? Death? Going crazy? Lost something or somebody? No way. I dont say, that I am completely feel good, no, but 95 % recovered, and I can contain my fears, I can sleep, eat, work, having fun and so on. I hate the fabricated myth around depression and anxiety and I think many people „just” fear and they cannot get rid of that because they „just” dont understand realy what is going on.

    Best wishes for everybody!

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Thank you, Gabor – for explaining your experience with depression in such great detail. I can’t do justice to everything you’ve written, but I like the basic concept of accepting the feelings of anxiety and depression without judgment. That wasn’t the path I followed to recovery – at least consciously – but I think acceptance is a good description of the way I handle any remaining depressive symptoms these days.

      I agree that the medication approach has limitations that should make it less widespread than it is – but both physicians and people like simple and fast remedies. I believe they’ve put far too much faith in antidepressants.

      On the other hand, I have to respect the experience of anyone who has been able to recover from depression by whatever method they have found effective. There isn’t much evidence to resolve the question of what causes depression, and the meds and therapies seem best at dealing with selected symptoms but not all the changes that depression can bring about. It’s usually up to us who live with the problem to put together the combination of treatments and changes in thinking that help us the most.

      Thanks again for giving us so much to think about. I need to think more about many of your ideas.


      • Gabor says:

        Dear John!

        Thank you for your answer. I can go back far in my life to my early childhood deeply remembering the details of my life:

        ” I could feel any kind of emotions, just like sadness with the childish awareness of the feeling. A bad mark in the school, disappointed friendship with somebody, argument with a parent or even a little broken self esteem becuse of some misunderstanding with a young girl or a bullying classmate. All of my friends have had these soo normal feelings and experineces like me. One or two days or even minutes, the feeling flight away. The time pass. No scars, no emptiness, no concentration on the feeling and no questions like: Why I feel this way? Just feel the life how it is going on and feel the vibrance which is sometimes unconfortable or even painfull.”

        What is the difference between this and defined depression? Brooding over how we FEEL. Brooding cause stress and it’s symptoms. I mean helpless, hopless and trapped BECAUSE the lost of self control, the lost of controlling the feelings. Test, scan, monitor over and over again. Tired mind, poor sleep, concentration problems are the result of emotion driven life experience. Of course, emotions are important. On the other hand, we must believe in them without any question?

        I never had derpession or anxiety before my first panic attack. It was little more than one and half year ago. I have spent nearly half year going into the tunnel with the typical experience of extreme anxiety and resulting depression, BECAUSE I did not realised what is going on. After I have found a really good online site which described the hole thing deeply and offered online support. I have learned a lot about this and finally, nearly completely recovered. I think, the body do its work well and when we feel the symptoms listed above in my first post, we just dont understand what is going on. Slowly I realised, that the symptoms are connected my mind through my bodies language. These are just symptoms of stress and before I did not realised that I symply felt hopeless and more likely dead than alive. Emotional storm all day with overlapping panic attacks. I was dizzy, felt fainting, numbness, jitterness, muscle twitched, trembling, shaking, my heart was like a race, and felt I will going to be mad at time with all day depersonalisation. As I have recognised slowly my ability of making choices of REACTING the emotional and physical symptoms, they are started to alleviate slowly, very slowly with setbacks. They come and go. Every single setback give me opportunity to practice the reaction of the event. Slowly I can feel vibrance, warm light on my face and my childish awareness of the flowing life.
        The end of the story is just the start.

        If you ask me I have used medications or not, i say I have used approx 4 months long a year ago. It was xanax and cipralex. I stopped using them because the limited effects of them. Xanax worked well – I felt like a robot. 🙂 Withdrawal was quite hard because my body and mind was in high alert so the typical withdrawal symptoms hitted me, but I did not gave up the “fight”. I have learned, learned, learned and more learned about the condition.

        I feel good. Sometimes little anxiety waves or symptoms coming up – mostly related to stresssfull events in job, but I am okay, I know now what is it – of course not in the byologic or neuroscience way, but the way of acceptance. It will pass away. Neuroplasticity is on our side.

        Best wishes,


        • John Folk-Williams says:

          Hi, Gabor –

          I’m glad to hear that you’ve come through this so well. I agree that the key thing is to be able to catch the symptom and block the usual reaction of giving into it. It took me a long time to learn that skill. Viktor Frankl calls it the moment of freedom that helps us find meaning in our lives. If we recognize that moment and can free ourselves from the reflex-like response, we see that we have the ability to make a choice. That’s been so empowering for me. Thanks for your many insights.


  46. Angie Mustard says:

    This post touched a chord with me. It almost made me cry. I have been struggling with depression since childhood, with various treatments, counselling, anti-depressants and the works. Not once, EVER, has someone ever said, “you know what? Its okay to wake up tomorrow and not be completely fixed”. Its always been about seeing how fast you could throw the bandaid on it and pretend it was all better, trying to have more good days than bad. No one ever told me it was ok to just muddle through, and just be satisfied with making it from one end of the day to the other. Reading through the above post, and coming to the realization that sometimes, just making it through the day IS a small victory, absolutely floored me.
    My biggest mistake always seems to be pretending I’m more OK than I am. I am a wife and a mother and I have a full time career, and these demands on my time and conciousness seem overwhelming a lot of the time. For my family’s sake I try to put on that happy face and try not to let it show, but all the small frustrations build up until I erupt. Then its a fireworks show followed by a relapse into that deep dark pit of self-loathing. How can I do this to my children? They don’t deserve to see me like this. What about my husband? How much longer is he going to be willing to put up with me? (For the record, my husband is incredibly supportive of me in my illness, which in turn is a source of guilt that he needs to be).
    So its nice to know that “making do” is ok, and in a misery-loves-company sort of way I guess its nice to know that other people out there are stuck “making do” as well. Its ok to be no better today than I was yesterday. Knowing that, in itself, is a big victory for me.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Angie –

      I’m glad the post offered a little help. I can sympathize with your worries, even guilt about how your depression affects the family. Especially with kids, though, I’ve always found that it’s better not to hide what you’re feeling. For one, you can’t fool kids about your emotional availability. It might work for you as it has for me to be up front with everyone, as in, I’m having a really bad, no good, rotten, miserable day, and I’m sorry I can’t be there for you as much as I’d like. But I want you to know that I love you, and I’m working on getting better… That sort of thing is probably better than keeping it in, exploding and then feeling even worse. I’m always amazed that my kids (now three grown men) weren’t more deeply affected by my depression – but part of the illness is exaggerating how bad an influence you are on everyone in your life. We have a loving relationship all round. It’s easy to forget that the core bond in a family is pretty tough.

      All my best to you —


  47. Judy says:

    “Making do” seems to be about where I am at lately and I’ve just recently become aware of what an effort every day seems to be. And, of course, there’s that, “Oh, no – not THIS again!” feeling, feeling like I’ve once again failed to beat it. The hoping that nobody notices and pretending that nothing is “off.” And the guilt for being dishonest about it, the shame of not talking about it even though I said I would and wishing to God that something else would distract me from it. Oh, things do for short spells but then it’s back to the muck. I can barely summon up the energy to use some techniques I’ve learned because right now, I find it hard to believe they’ll work. Yes, I’m sure I’ll get over this eventually but it has me questioning now my idea of trying to get off the antidepressant I’ve been on for a gazillion years – yet, is this not proof that it’s not working, anyway? So, for now, it’s putting one foot in front of the other to get dressed, get my chores done and pretend to feel like anything matters. I know, somewhere, that it does.

    • Hi, Judy –

      I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this again.The cognitive techniques sometimes work when I’m in that state, but I think it’s uphill with those. They’re too rational, and the intensity of emotionally charged depressive thinking can usually make short work of them. Deep breathing, sunlight and outdoor work help in little but important ways. I hope you can tell yourself that you haven’t failed and that you will try whatever has worked for you before. Thinking you’ve failed and that all the tricks won’t work anyway is, as you so well know, symptomatic and not remotely close to true. About the antidepressant, I have to say I’m pretty disillusioned at this point. How could it be working if depression comes back? I used to stay with antidepressants because I figured the repeat episodes would be even worse without the medication. But they were as bad as any I’d had before. Obviously, you have to be careful about getting off a drug you’ve been taking for many years, but I’m at that point of getting off and staying off, instead of moving on to the next New Thing.

      I hope you feel better soon,


  48. Donna-1 says:

    You said we could probably swim the Atlantic with all the energy displaced by depression. I think I could walk over the Atlantic on all the freely-given “hey, cheer up!” advice that has been dumped around me. You know, when I gave my “depression testimony” at your site, I was guilty of doing this. I intimated that exercise, nutrition, volunteer work, and positive thinking drove me out of depression into some semblance of recovery. But I was really just talking off the top of my head, not thinking deeply about what it was really like to try to recover. I did use any means necessary…but only when I could lift my hand from the plate and my head from the pillow. Only when I could make sense of an unbalanced checkbook register and fill out a job application. And so much of the time, I wasn’t capable of doing any of this. I was not even capable of brushing my teeth or caring what day of the week it was. Because it simply didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Except for that me-world you were discussing. Yes, my cognitive abilities were barely above zero, except when it came to writing in my morbid journal for hours every day. I could make sense for hours and never get tired of doing it. I delved into my relationship with my therapist, with my parents, with my siblings, with my psychiatrist, with friends I hadn’t even seen in years! Everything was grist for that slow-turning mill. But in that other-world that actually involved communicating with people, I could barely mumble a sentence that made any sense. I have the impression now that I was actually nurturing the depression by ruminating on it day after day. But what could I have done differently? In another way, now that I look back, it makes sense that I had to “get it all out.” Even just to a word processor. I stumbled onto many insights about myself and life that I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. I learned to express what I was feeling, and defined some of the edges and excesses of my world, even if it was for my eyes only.

    So what can you do? All you can do is all you can do. If you can get out and walk, then good for you. If you can’t do that then, well, you can’t. If you can cook a healthy meal and eat it, by all means do. If you can’t, well, you can’t. What you are able to do (what I am able to do) changes by the week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes a lot, sometimes very little. Sometimes brushing my teeth is grounds for redemption. If not, maybe I can do it tomorrow or the next day. I tend to be hard on myself and ashamed of myself if it seems I am not doing enough, or doing what I should or ought to do. But I have to be content with what I can do.

    • Hi, Donna –

      I love the way you put things: all you can do is all you can do. That about sums it up. It’s amazing how whole chunks of reality disappear in the midst of all this in the sense that they don’t matter, don’t fire anything in the brain. When they come back, you have to learn how to walk with them all over again. And whatever steps you can take on a given day are what you have to be content with. At some point, though – big hopefully here – you want to get farther along. I’ve finally managed to do that, but it’s probably due to all the painfully slow practice of relearning that went on forever. Don’t really know.


    • Gopal says:

      Hi Donna,
      So well said. The amount of advice given, rather showered, on cheering up is often enough to push one into a shame that one is not perhaps doing enough. As if depression is some weakness which can be always overcome with sheer willpower. A lot of harm has come from such “well-meaning” individuals.

      Depression has embarked me on a journey to know so much about myself that just reflection would not have brought to the surface. Yes, a day of dullness and anxiety is difficult but it teaches something. Sometime the meaning of it becomes clearer much later and I noticed how I am responsible for some of my own suffering. And that is powerful!

      I am almost at the end of my therapy and journey with depression and I understand that there is no one way which works for everyone. So trying whatever gives you a nudge ahead is your vitamin.

      “Do all you can, with all you have, in the space where you are, in the time you have” said Nkosi Johnson – a young boy who lived with AIDS. And if all you can do is get out of the house – then so be it.
      cheers to the brave souls who engage with depression!

      • Donna-1 says:

        “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

        ― John Wesley

        This, of course, applies not only to “all the people you can” out there in the undefined masses. It applies foremost to the person who is considering doing the good. I would paraphrase it this way: “Do to yourself all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. In all the relationships you can. As long as ever you can.”

        Too often, I hope that doing good to others will become goodness to myself. I feed them, I visit them, I meet their needs, I worry about their worries, and so forth. And in doing so, it is so easy to deplete all my stores of goodness. I have none left for myself. Doing good to others helps, yes. But it doesn’t make an adequate substitute for doing good to yourself. Goodness does not come out of emptiness.

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