T Nation

Treating Depression


#1

So getting right to the point:

I feel like shit, I have no 'vitality' and I go to sleep of a night hoping I don't wake up the next morning. I know have plenty to live for, I'm in good health, smart, relatively good looking I guess, but I just can't shake this feeling of emptiness I've had for the last 6 months or so.

Does anyone have any advice for getting over this sort of thing? I feel that it would be a bit of a dramatic step to go see a psychiatrist.

P.S. I still go to the gym, 12 times a week lately, mostly because I can shut my brain off and not think about anything.


#2

Yes, I deal with this frequently.

Here's the bottom line (and trust me, I've tried the alternatives):

You need to go to a psychiatrist. It's not dramatic. You need medication. You're going to the gym 12 times a week because you're trying to escape, and you're not dealing with the issue.

I don't envy you. You're going to have to try out different medications and doses for the next few weeks. It might get rough.

Hang in there, man. This is manageable. Don't ignore it; to do so would be as stupid as ignoring an infection.


#3

Definitely see a qualified physician. There is absolutely no shame and it is a manageable condition.

In the meanwhile, some definite do's and don'ts:

Do go to the gym, exercise, take walks. Get outside whenever possible and engage in your environment. Might sound silly, but touch things. Trees, cars, buildings, touch them and examine them as you go. It helps you to get out of your own head and be more kinesthetic. Do watch your diet and clean it up. Lots of fish and healthy oils.

Don't drink or do drugs as they will only worsen the condition. Especially stay away from uppers of any kind. Some gravitate to them during down towns as a way to pull themselves out of the funk, but come down is very much worse when using these drugs. Don't let yourself get caught up in "what if" loops. "What if it gets worse." "What if I lose my ________." Instead ask yourself positive open ended questions. "What could I do today that would be fun?" "Who could I call and catch up with that I have delayed for too long."

Hang in there. It sucks but it is not permanent. Remember that.


#4

I agree with the above posters. I've been their too - you can beat it. But get as much help as you can - from family, friends, medical doctors, counselling, whatever it takes. If its been six months you are at the point where you need some outside perspective - and outside help.


#5

Is medication necessary? Really not keen on dealing with the inevitable side-effects...


#6

Do not self-medicate. See a psychiatrist, be completely open and honest with him/her and don't be afraid to share this with your family and loved ones.


#7

There's quite a few meds that have side effects that are pretty mild. It depends on the person and how severe your depression is.


#8

My advice is DO something and hope it will change something in your head. Might sound stupid but NO information from reading or thinking or talking changed shit for me.

I haven't taken meds but from what I have read, it seems only really useful when shit is really, really bad (like not being able to function at all, sleeping all day, etc.). Otherwise, it seems a bad gamble. Having said that, I'm considering a visit to a psychiatrist if things go bad again.

ps: hard running sessions help me; lifting doesn't.


#9
  1. Obviously go see a doc asap

Get 15 mins daylight everyday minimum.

Get some goals in your life and commit to them.

Take part in a social actitvity like a dance class or a team sport. You're in london? -I highly recommend salsa there's a big scene, lots of upbeat people and you'll meet a shit-load of girls.


#10

Take vitamin D, you may be deficient. Deficiency leads to depression.

I don't get depressed but I'm definitely not as happy/upbeat in the winter as I am in the summer.

I think it's in large part due to the lack of sunlight exposure in the winter. I take 8000 IUs of vitamin D daily plus a spoon of cod liver oil.


#11

I don't want to confront you in a bad way, but has this helped anyone during dark times?

For me (crucial of course), this type of advice is utterly worthless when in the grip of despair.

To put it bluntly, how can one commit to goals when you want to die?

ps: Reminds me of a song text by Eels

"And I could try
But waking up is harder
When you wanna die"


#12

i had the same thing, but even weirder was i thought that i actualy would die in my sleep. like i was a constantly wrong psychic. i had other symptoms of depression. social anxiety, avoiding eye contact, inbability to make a decision, rarely laughing, sensitivity to critisism. i did get on antidepressants and it did help.

most surpisingly i was able to communicate more comfortably with people. which is a skill i have lost(i tried to keep it) when i stopped taking my medication because my insurance kicked me off and left me with a terrible withdrawal. it felt like a two week hangover(and i was weaning off gradualy). they got their money i dont see why they screwed me over.

i only got two side effects. the first was not being sure if i was currently experiencing a side effect. the second was having a lot of trouble reaching orgasm. you will need somebody to help you out with that. but when you get there it will be well worth it. it is like a rollercoaster when you are slowly climing higher, antidepressants will make the ascent even higher and take longer to get to the top, but when you do get to the top you go down alot faster.

i never took physics but i think that was accurate.
-i dont know if meeting strangers is a good method to improve ones mood. i think it could make somebody more jaded


#13

Man, not to be a dick, but have you ever had clinical depression? "Get some goals in your life and commit to them?" If only it was that easy. When it has a hold of you, getting out of bed can seem like the hardest thing in the world, followed closely by taking a shower. Those are the big goals you can hope to achieve on a day to day basis when it has you. Fucking salsa class? WTH?

I'm bipolar. My meds have control of the mania, but the depression still comes once or twice a year. I've been on many different antidepressants. The most common side effect in not being able to orgasm. And I do mean NOT being able to. Even when masturbating, even with the best head you've ever had, even with great sex. That doesn't help with depression. There are plenty of antidepressants that don't have that side effect, though. You have to experiment, which sucks.

I don't have any answers, as I still go through this over and over. I have a list of stuff that I know I should do when it sets in, but sticking to it seems impossible at times. Simple things like going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday. Getting in the shower or going to the gym FIRST thing after waking up. Not drinking. Eating decently. Exercising several times a week. Taking my meds. Drinking green tea. Vitamin D. Fish oil. Folic acid. Sunlight.

Definitely see a shrink. A counselor/psychologist can help at times (although I'm a crier and I fucking hate talking about this shit in person). The shrink is a must, though.

Good luck, man.


#14

It helped me. Granted, it was when bottomed out from alcohol and drug abuse, so not technically depression- but definitely one of the darkest and most hopeless times a person can experience.

The goal was getting sober, and the commitment was to actively participate every day in the means to that end.

edit- as others have said, seek or consult professional help first and foremost.


#15

Most likely not. From your original post it seems (obviously the psychiatrist will conclude this) your depression is mild. For mild depression the evidence for anti depressants or cognitive behavioral therapy ("the talking") is the same. However if your depression is severe you NEED anti depressants.
Definitely go to a psychiatrist. Depression is way under rated, according to the WHO the only disease with a higher "burden of disease" is ischemic heart disease.

Take a look on youtube at "Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy", especially professor Mark Williams' stuff. This technique is a bit of a hype in psychiatry at the moment, with very promising results. This is basically the CBT I've talked about combined with a form of meditation. This meditation type of thing is really worth it to avoid having relapses (extremely common in the case of depressions).

Good luck.


#16

Was about to post a thread relating to depression related medication to see what others have experienced , its amazing how many man it actually affects even though our lives seem near perfect to others.

Anyone seen a psychiatrist who particularly didnt want too but it ended up helping them anyway? I just feel this one person is just going to judge me and not actually going to be able to me so I've been ignoring the opportunity for the last few months.


#17

No you do not need medication at least not in your case, go out and purchase the Power of Now and practice mindfulness.... The process is longer then meds or not depending on you.. but it is the only thing that will help with staying well in the long term rather then a band aid that gives a TON of side effects.. I was on medication gabapentin at 600mg 3 x a day and celexa at 40mg, I did that for about four or five years and all because of something I could have easily cured myself, it was just panic attacks.. Getting off the meds was a nightmare but I finally weened off everything while practicing presence and never felt better...

Before you even think about using medication and I tell this to anyone with depression.. Go purchase Dr. David Burns book "Feel Good" It probally contains everything you need and is worth trying before going the meds route.. Another really great read is Victor Frankls Mans Search for Meaning.. Going to the gym 12 days a week as well as the added strain from your emotional state will over train you pretty quick leading to worse feelings of depression FYI


#18

I'd be interested in hearing from people who have managed it through natural remedies. I would think that its possible? Anyway, I don't know if I'd say I'm depressed (maybe I don't want to admit it?) I don't struggle to get out of bed or anything.

I definitely don't have the motivation I once had though, and my once healthy libido is pretty much non-existent now. Physically, I'm a strong healthy 28yr old male, but I just don't have "it" anymore.

Anyway, I really hate turning to big pharma. I think the medicine field needs to get back to putting more effort in natural remedies versus popping the pill. Unfortunately, thats not where the money is. Its not fun watching your Grandpa become a completely different person due to drugs.


#19

I'll try the vitamin D thing for a couple weeks (fuck british weather) as well as trying to balance out my diet a bit more, if things don't get better I'll go see someone.


#20

Sounds more like a hormonal thing than depression. Check out the TN's HRT subforum on here - there are knowledgeable and helpful posters there.