Other Talk "Otterville"

Depression

Old 06-07-14, 09:01 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 41,717
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Depression

So ... I want to kind of come out of the closet. No, I'm not gay. But for the last few years, I've been suffering from depression.

I'm not sure exactly when it started, but it got really bad over the last year or so. A number of things -- the details aren't important -- started causing extreme stress in my life. And I reacted to it by going into a depression. I shut down emotionally. My entire life, for the better part of a year, consisted of going to work, coming home, sitting on the couch surfing the internet, and trying not to feel anything. More nights than not, I would drink in order to hide from my emotions.

The smart thing to do would have been to get some help. I wasn't smart. Why not? Partly, it was because I know people -- in particular, my wife -- who suffer from physiological mental illness (bipolar disorder), and so I felt my problems weren't "real." Partly, it was because I felt I needed to be "strong" for my wife, and I thought admitting I was depressed would be letting her down. And partly it was because I viewed having to go to therapy as another source of stress, so I hid from it.

Things came to a head about a month ago. I hit rock bottom. My marriage was damaged during my depression, and while I don't think the damage was entirely my fault, I do think if I had been getting help, my marriage would have survived. Instead, I'm a month into a separation and my wife hasn't decided if she wants to come back.

So when she left, I finally realized I needed to get help. And I've been getting help. And even though my circumstances right now are not what I would like (besides my marriage issues, I'm job hunting and haven't had the success I would like), I feel like I'm dealing with things in a much healthier way than I have in years, possibly in my whole life.

So why did I post this?

Because I was a dumb-ass for so long. And because I was a dumb-ass, I did a lot of damage to myself, to my marriage, and to various other relationships. But I'm not the only dumb-ass in the world.

Generally, society tells us (especially men) that we should be able to tough things out. That if work is grinding us down (my boss was the true Queen of the Assholes, and she made it known every day) that we just suck it up and work harder. That if there are problems at home (my wife really hated where we lived for some very legitimate reasons, but we weren't in a financial position to move), just keep your head down and plow ahead. That psychiatry is for schizophrenics and people with multiple personalities. And weaklings.

But there's nothing weak about admitting you need help. It took me way too long to realize that, but I have. I've come to realize that depression is like pneumonia. We all have stress, and we all get worn down by it sometimes. That's the common cold, and most of the time, it will work itself out on its own.

But sometimes, the common cold doesn't work itself out on its own. Sometimes, it gets in your lungs and turns into pneumonia. And if you don't get it treated, you're not going to shake that cough on your own. You're not going to be able to breathe freely until you get to a doctor and get the right medication. And there's no shame in that. Depression is the pneumonia of being stressed out.

May was apparently Mental Health Awareness month, but to be honest, I wasn't ready to make a post like this in May. So, better late than never, I wanted to share my story in the hopes that it helps somebody who's reading this, and who is dealing with depression -- either first hand, or seeing it in someone they care about. If you're dealing with depression and trying to tough it out on your own like I did, I urge you to get some help. Whether it's a therapist or just your family doctor, your clergy, or a trusted friend or relative, get some help. Lean on someone. Hell, feel free to send me a PM. But don't feel like you have to go it alone, because it's about a million times harder to get through something like depression when you're going it alone.

And thanks for reading this super long post.
Old 06-07-14, 09:02 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: MA
Posts: 7,370
Received 129 Likes on 104 Posts
Re: Depression

sorry I stopped reading at No, I'm not gay
Old 06-07-14, 09:03 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk God
 
Deftones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Arizona
Posts: 77,384
Received 461 Likes on 332 Posts
Re: Depression

Good on you for realizing you need help. Hope it gets better for you.
Old 06-07-14, 09:09 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Cardsfan111's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 17,833
Likes: 0
Received 116 Likes on 86 Posts
Re: Depression

I appreciate your openness and wise words to others going through similar issues, Jason. Wishing you the best in the days ahead.
Old 06-07-14, 09:15 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 6,356
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: Depression

I was in a rough patch in 2000 when I found hobbies and other things (like DVDTalk) to occupy my time, and things got better. It takes time to really get out of a funk like that.
Old 06-07-14, 09:20 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Kurt D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 8,678
Received 277 Likes on 195 Posts
Re: Depression

Big thumbs up. Talking with an impartial someone who you trust is always the best, first step, and way more people than think they need to could stand to do just that.
Old 06-07-14, 09:21 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 20,765
Likes: 0
Received 13 Likes on 6 Posts
Re: Depression

Hey man, everybody has their low points. You'll get through it.
Old 06-07-14, 09:23 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Legend
 
astrochimp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 17,803
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Depression

I'm bipolar(non-medicated) and I understand the depression. I did the self medication thing for a long time and up until a relapse this year I'd gone 7 years without drinking.

Glad you are getting some help. I should maybe try that one day.

Best of luck to ya
Old 06-07-14, 09:26 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,679
Received 287 Likes on 223 Posts
Re: Depression

Thanks for your very insightful post and laying yourself bare for the hopeful benefit of others. I know it will get better, time is a great healer, and things will work out to great advantage.
Old 06-07-14, 09:26 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 41,717
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Depression

Thanks guys!
Old 06-07-14, 09:27 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Kurt D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 8,678
Received 277 Likes on 195 Posts
Re: Depression

Full disclosure, have seen an LCSW of and on for over 20 years, and took zoloft for about 3 years. You gotta do what you gotta do to be healthy, and mental health is just as important as physical health, maybe even more-so.
Old 06-07-14, 09:37 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 41,717
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Depression

Originally Posted by Kurtie Dee View Post
Full disclosure, have seen an LCSW of and on for over 20 years, and took zoloft for about 3 years. You gotta do what you gotta do to be healthy, and mental health is just as important as physical health, maybe even more-so.
Yeah, it took me a long time to realize that. Or, more accurately, a long time to realize that it was just as important for me to take care of my situational depression as it was for my wife to treat her bipolar disorder.
Old 06-07-14, 09:37 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 1,771
Received 24 Likes on 18 Posts
Re: Depression

3 things helped me out.

1. Excercising more

2. Going out with friends, even when you feel blah and want to stay home. Social interaction gets your intellectual juices going IMO.

3. Meditation. Some might say meditation has to involve religion, which turns people off. This is not true and it can be a wonderful way to find introspection on what's bothering you (when it happens).

Good luck Jason. Pain is temporary and life is beautiful.
Old 06-07-14, 09:42 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Michael T Hudson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Formerly known as "BigDaddy"/Austin, TX
Posts: 11,474
Likes: 0
Received 19 Likes on 10 Posts
Re: Depression

Good luck man.
Old 06-07-14, 09:50 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 41,717
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Depression

Originally Posted by Ringmaster View Post
3 things helped me out.

1. Excercising more

2. Going out with friends, even when you feel blah and want to stay home. Social interaction gets your intellectual juices going IMO.

3. Meditation. Some might say meditation has to involve religion, which turns people off. This is not true and it can be a wonderful way to find introspection on what's bothering you (when it happens).

Good luck Jason. Pain is temporary and life is beautiful.
Thanks Ringmaster. I'm actually doing all three, and all three have helped.

One thing that contributed significantly to my depression is I moved about 40 miles away from Chicago for a job. So it's close enough that I'm still in the Chicago area, but far enough that I never really saw any of my friends. But the good news is I was never able to sell my place in Chicago, so I'm going to move back there in the next week or two (for once, being upside-down in a bad real estate market worked out for me!). So that will enable me to socialize more.

The other thing that really helped -- surprisingly -- was getting out in nature. I had been exercising at the gym and my counselor suggested going for a walk through the forest preserve instead (my part of the world has a bunch of forest preserves with hiking trails). I expected to not enjoy it, but it really helped far more than just walking on a treadmill or walking around the neighborhood. I don't get it because I've never been a fan of nature, but damned if it doesn't help.
Old 06-07-14, 09:51 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Norm de Plume's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Toronto
Posts: 17,573
Received 225 Likes on 175 Posts
Re: Depression

I applaud your candour, Jason. I hope you can get the right help and keep your marriage together. I don't know what the right thing for you is, but I would start with a psychiatrist or some kind of therapist or counselling. Do not feel ashamed of seeking help. It is not a sign of weakness.
If your depression is situational and transitory, not chronic, you should/might get by without medication. Nevertheless, medication is definitely not the end of the world. Believe me, I've been on various anti-depressants (mainly SSRIs) for more than 25 years (and I'm 39). They are not addictive, but their effect subsides over time. I now take Cymbalta, a relatively new drug, for depression and Clonazepam (for me, a true lifesaver) for anxiety. In my case, medications have not been life-changingly successful by any means, but they have heretofore prevented what I think would have been inevitable: suicide.
I think drinking is something you'll want to avoid at all costs. No good can come of it, especially in concert with psychiatric medications. I must have at least a modicum of psychological strength, because I have never had a drop of alcohol or taken any illegal drugs in my life, despite being chronically depressed.

Best of luck. You should be able to get it worked out, since it sounds circumstantial, from my layman's perspective.
Old 06-07-14, 10:05 PM
  #17  
Psi
DVD Talk Legend
 
Psi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Texas
Posts: 12,675
Received 117 Likes on 76 Posts
Re: Depression

You have one of the sharpest minds on this forum. Just need to stay strong too. And good luck with the job search.
Old 06-07-14, 10:11 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 41,717
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Re: Depression

Originally Posted by Norm de Plume View Post
I applaud your candour, Jason. I hope you can get the right help and keep your marriage together. I don't know what the right thing for you is, but I would start with a psychiatrist or some kind of therapist or counselling. Do not feel ashamed of seeking help. It is not a sign of weakness.
If your depression is situational and transitory, not chronic, you should/might get by without medication. Nevertheless, medication is definitely not the end of the world. Believe me, I've been on various anti-depressants (mainly SSRIs) for more than 25 years (and I'm 39). They are not addictive, but their effect subsides over time. I now take Cymbalta, a relatively new drug, for depression and Clonazepam (for me, a true lifesaver) for anxiety. In my case, medications have not been life-changingly successful by any means, but they have heretofore prevented what I think would have been inevitable: suicide.
I think drinking is something you'll want to avoid at all costs. No good can come of it, especially in concert with psychiatric medications. I must have at least a modicum of psychological strength, because I have never had a drop of alcohol or taken any illegal drugs in my life, despite being chronically depressed.

Best of luck. You should be able to get it worked out, since it sounds circumstantial, from my layman's perspective.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure my depression is situational/circumstantial. Regardless, I've been going to a counselor for about a month now and I plan to continue for the foreseeable future. Probably forever, even if I get to a point where I treat it like a dentist (go once or twice a year for a check-up unless there's a problem).

I can relate to your medication situation -- my wife's story is very similar; over the last 15 years or so, she's been on a bunch of different medications, swapping them out as they lose their effectiveness. It's definitely frustrating because we (scientists/doctors) don't really understand much about why/how anti-depressants work, why some of them work better for some people than others, and why each given one tends to lose its effectiveness over time. I'm glad that the ones your on now are helping you.

Thanks for your support, and for your own candor.
Old 06-07-14, 10:34 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Mrs. Danger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: With Nick Danger
Posts: 18,753
Received 323 Likes on 188 Posts
Re: Depression

Depression sucks.

What it sucks is the enjoyment out of everything.

It wants you to shrivel up and die.

What I do is get mad at it. I get mad, stomp around the house and swear at it. A good rant seems to stir up the brain and metabolism, and intimidate the depression.
Old 06-07-14, 10:47 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Unknown
Posts: 4,091
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Depression

Thanks for sharing Jason. It takes courage and strength to know when to seek help. And it helps for people to talk about it and hear about it. The stigma has diminished quite a bit, but it's still there. It sounds like you are on the right path. Close to 90% of all people who seek therapy for depression walk away feeling happier, healthier, and more fullfilled. It's definitely not an easy process, but getting through the door for the first appointment is half the work.

I wish you the best on your journey to better health!
Old 06-07-14, 11:04 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Trelach24's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2,964
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Depression

Eh, I'll just live with it.
Old 06-07-14, 11:18 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 25,058
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Depression

Depression sucks. Glad that you're getting better.
Old 06-07-14, 11:24 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Depression

Oh great, now I feel like king of the a-holes for arguing with you in the politics forum recently.

Reading up on the symptoms, I don't think I suffer from clinical depression, but I'm definitely a social introvert and struggle with my own issues. As has been mentioned, I find making the effort to exercise, and to force myself to get out and do things, either with other people or even by myself, to help a lot. I also agree with you that getting out into nature is very helpful.
Old 06-07-14, 11:25 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
fumanstan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 55,349
Received 20 Likes on 8 Posts
Re: Depression

Good luck JasonF. A couple years ago I found out that a very good friend of mine that I had known since high school had depression and had been dealing with it for awhile, which was a complete shock to me. I had no idea, and never would have guessed. We've had some talks about it since then, especially about the stress of life and family weighing on him and contributing to it. As a friend, I felt like just being there to listen was a help and I hope you've got some good support around you. With you moving back closer to friends, I hope thats the case.
Old 06-07-14, 11:26 PM
  #25  
Admin
 
VinVega's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Herding cats
Posts: 34,709
Received 298 Likes on 192 Posts
Re: Depression

I'm sorry you're going through a tough depression, but I'm happy that you are dealing with it in a responsible manner. I hope everything works out well for you Jason.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.