Depresion - Not Something one can beat with will power alone


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Lost Arrow

Trad climber
The North Ridge of the San Fernando
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 1, 2010 - 09:35am PT
For the last month I have been trying to beat my depression with will power alone. This is not working, I cannot sleep, I grow more fatigued each day and start thinking dark thoughs.

I have family mememeber telling me to just snap out of it. I wish it was that easy.

Its like getting up a climb without the necessary strenght to do the moves.

I had to call in sick to work as I sleept 1 hour.

Whats the next step I need to take. New Doctor. Hospital.

I am starting to give up hope.

A little compassion and suggestions would be very nice.


Trad climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:44am PT
Don't give up! Go see a doctor, yes, but also - go climbing if you can at all!
Exercise and fresh air = endorphins = happier, healthier mind.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:47am PT
I agree with Paulina. There is light on the other side of depression and it's not that far away.

Trad climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:14am PT
Excersise works as a temporary fix. It allows you to focus on something strenous, tires you out and produces some chemical benefits. You can't exercise forever though.

Real problems can only be addressed through hard work over a long period of time. Prepare yourself to do the work and find yourself a Dr. who will not go easy on you and force you to do it.

donini is so right. The light is closer than you think. It's all about removing the shade.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:20am PT
Exercise for sure, they also make meds for that...
ME Climb

Social climber
Behind the orange Curtain
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:33am PT
My wife has been suffering with depression for a few years. The death of her father, financial stress, changing body chemistry, dealing with an accident where a pedestrian was struck and killed, and several other things have not improved her condition. It got to the point where she became suicidal. Depression is not something you can smap out of. The people who tell you that don't understand the depth of the problem. I thought I did, but now I know I didn't have the slightest idea of how bad it is, and how the depression feeds on itself. The best analogy I can see is depression is cancer of the mind. It keeps eating away at all the good feelings and cosumes them until there is nothing left but the bad thoughts.

Her recovery began by speaking with her doctor. He recommended medication and counseling/ therapy. The meds to several months to get worked out. The first medication helped with some depression, but made her feel like she was using meth. Ultimate result was this led to increased depression. She has tried several meds until they finally got the right med and dosage. She ended up in out patient therapy and out of work for several weeks. She continues to see a counselor.

It has been a long frustrating road for us that has caused untold stress on us. She is healing and continuing to make progress. I no longer worry about what I will come home to find. She still has her bad days but not like before.

My recommendation is see a doctor, get therapy, find the right meds (if that is what is needed), stay active, make sure you don't withdraw, ask for help, and build your support system. If paying for doctors and therapy is an issue make sure you check with your local social services agency and see what resources are available.

You are not alone and help is out there. If you need anything feel free to contact me.


Trad climber
New York, NY
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:41am PT
Do whatever it takes to beat it! Go see a doctor and get medication if you think it's will help. Get laid, even if you have to pay for it. Excersize. Communicate. You can get through it and you will be as good as new once it's over!

PS. I am not a depressive kind, but I always felt that depression gotta be one of the most difficult deseases to beat. For starters, most people do even not think it's a real problem and are dismissive. In addition, even the doctors don't really know much about treating it.
Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Between the Depths of Despair & Heights of Folly
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:42am PT
Juan, depression sucks, but remember that you are not alone. Being depressed and feeling alone has got to be one of the worse places to be. Both here on ST and in the real world, there are people who care, and who you can connect with. In my experience, both professional and companion understanding, compassion, and communication will help you find a path forward. My darkest day was when I fully gave in to the idea that I suffered from depression. It was if I was swallowed up in a big black hole, one with no bottom, and I found myself tumbling down into a bottomless darkness. But you know what? It also turned out to be the one of that allowed me to ultimately experience a more vibrant life. In desperation and for the first time I opened up to those that were reaching out to me, realizing that others cared, and ultimately that I can positively impact the lives of others around me. These things became more luminously and clearly important, and gave my life a hitherto unrealized anchor and relevance. We care about you, others care about you, and you have an as yet unrealized potential to experience the miraculous world around you, and positively influence those you come in contact with.

Social climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:54am PT
Lost Arrow - Just know that you are not alone and that as long as you are alive you can change... Things will change.

Take a moment to have some wonder of life itself.

There are no secrets to overcoming your Depression. There is the will to live and if there is a spark you can get the flame going again. Step back. Take a look at the big picture.

Don't give up. The fog will lift
mark miller

Social climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:15am PT
Depression....You think your tough and can snap out off it. No way, it's like a swirling drain that keeps sucking you down further.

Get Quality medical help, Immediately.

I thought I could beat it with Spring here, but I was getting to dark. I went back on Cymbalta Monday and within 12 hours I felt like a dark veil was removed and I could deal with everything....Not much work, Bills, the world was crushing in on me and I didn't even have the energy to play guitar. I didn't realize how I bad I was, Tuesday morning my wife says " Welcome Back", scary sh#t.

Get good help stat.

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:02pm PT
People care about you. They do. Try not to lose sight of this fact.

Eric's beta is good, in that all aspects of treatment are helpful ,especially in combination with one another. 20-30 min/day of repetitive motion exercise, talk therapy, drugs for a while while things are really bad, support from your community, sunshine- the more you do these things, the better off yer gonna be.

Don't check out now. OK?
Off White

Tenino, WA
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:11pm PT
Having to take drugs to level out your brain chemistry is not a moral failing, so don't feel like willpower alone should suffice. Willpower works when what you're facing is a choice, but I'm sure your condition is not of your own choosing. Go see your doctor, the sooner the better.

best wishes for you


Big Wall climber
Tampa, Fl
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:41pm PT
Welcome Juan!!! it seems like the ST forum is overfilling with people with that suffer from depression. This may be why we all do the climbing thing after all... Anyway bro talk to a Doc and a Therapist it is the only way you will get relief.
Yeah snapping out of it is not possible, but i do understand how the other person feels and it can get frustrating. Stay positive, understand you have a serious medical condition, take the meds and ask questions. you may even find it amazing how many posts in the forum there are about us suffering from depression.
Before you go to the Doc to research on some meds like Pristique, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta. These medications have websites that you can go to and take a sort of depression test about symptons the results may very but it is also very helpful to bring up and discuss with your doc.

Depression sux! Please take seriously.


You will be back on top one day. Good luck!

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:54pm PT
"There is nothing else that will help, it is just your brain chemistry, not lack of will power, weekness of personality, a depressing situation, or any mental problem."

This has never been the case and still isn't.

There are many effective means of dealing with all of these issues. Meds are one, but you never get something for nothing with these.


Trad climber
The Tilted World
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:06pm PT
Does anyone get through depression through sheer will power?

I have always been fascinated with how different individuals deal with difficult situations.

I would appreciate hearing from folks that have worked through depression in a healthy manner, came out on the other side feeling whole, and did NOT take medication. Some folks need it, others may not.

Thanks for putting this out there. It helps me to remember a quote from Plato:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Much respect, everyone.

Apr 1, 2010 - 01:11pm PT
Hey Juan its true your not alone buddy but those of us on the internet are no substitute for life either. Ive suffered long bouts of seemed to last about 2 years but I didn't need any drugs because I changed my life. Thats not to say it'll work for everyone but it worked for me. Heres what I did the first time.

1. Left the internet. This seems stupid to most people I tell, I don't how much time you spend on the computer so this may not be for you but I was playing games and chatting all day long. Heck I really just moved my life to the computer and when I had problems it was on the computer I went to try and get them fixed. Only it doesn't work like that, we need real people in our life to talk to.

2. Went exploring. This included in the mountains, climbing, kung fu, and many things I still do. Some didn't work. I took many trips into the mountains alone before I realized I wanted to keep coming home. I started drawing and writing. Somehow the writing kept me grounded on the worst nights, I wrote more then ever on them.

3. Changed my relationship. I realized I wasn't happy in it and it took a long time to figure that out. It was hard, but necessary.

The second time was more difficult in many was. I was climbing, traveling and should have been enjoying life but just wasn't, plus I wanted to punch anyone who told me to "knock it off" or "it happens to everyone sometimes, its normal" I didn't give a damn about who else it happened to. It didn't help me any. The key was that I had to take those things that were causing it out of my life, many I didn't even really know I had until I started to change them. For you, I think its the pills, it seems you want to kick them and that is good if you think you are ready. But you have to remember why you are doing it as well and the worst thing you can do is be depressed at being depressed. You haven't done anything wrong, you don't deserve to be depressed but to some of us we don't always seem to have the choice. Its our will that drives us through. When were gone people may mourn, they will miss us and that will fill an emptyness but not for ourselves. We will be gone and missed the only chance we had to be happy.

Apr 1, 2010 - 01:17pm PT
I've been there myself, and man, it sucks! I really feel for you.

The worst for me was the "snap out of it" crowd, I hated them and they made me feel like sh!t. Worst thing is, before my own depression, I used to be one of them myself...

For me, (a little) medication combined with counseling worked. I also started doing things I like doing more, climbing, hiking, walking in the woods. I got up from that couch, even though it was hard. I got pills that helped me fall asleep, and that was golden. Sleep, for me, was key. I still get bad days, but not like before. The most important aspect I found, regarding counseling, was that the counselor was an outsider, someone I didn't know, who didn't know me, and in a sense didn't give a sh#t about me, but took me seriously.

Take care, and remember: There is light on the other side of depression and it's not that far away

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:22pm PT
I have had depression for a long time (decades?) but didn't get treatment until 3 years ago. After that I had the energy and desire to change my life and do thing I wanted. I started climbing (yay), moved to a new location, and now I am going back to school. It took me a long time to go to the doctor and say that I have depression and that I wanted help, partly because of the social stigma with depression. Stigma like a person is weak if he cannot fix this on his own, and all the people who just don't understand what it means for unhappiness to be the norm.

The good news is you can get drugs prescribed directly by your primary doctor - no referral is needed in most cases. Depression is common enough that they will give you drugs to keep you from going over the edge while you also get counseling. I never liked counseling because I couldn't seem to cry to a total stranger, and that there wasn't a single thing or bunch of things that bothered me - I was just unhappy - but after a few tweaks in drugs and dosage, I can say I am much happier and feel like I can go and do things. It does take about 2 weeks for the drug to start working and if it doesn't you will usually talk to your doctor again and try another one or another dosage.

Get help. It's the only way.


Apr 1, 2010 - 01:23pm PT
Dr. F, I think it would be best if you just stopped posting in this thread since your really not helping. In fact the pretentious nature of your post is frustration and I hope that you don't actually try to help people in this manner outside of the internet.

I felt dead, didn't really care what happened. I wanted to ask my friends for help but could only do so, we are seen as weak with such a situation. I didn't really hate anything but myself, but I didn't really care either. It was a null feeling and it felt the most dangerous to my mind since I couldn't figure out what we worth hanging around for when I no longer had anything to feel? This went on for years, personally I couldn't give a crap if you labeled me or Juan as depressed. What do you know? Juan's trying to make it in life on his own will telling his brain to make what it needs to keep going and it had damn well better make it good! I think its a great idea but I think if your feeling depressed then something is missing, look real hard Juan and try to find what that is!


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 02:42pm PT
For once, I strongly agree with Dr. F's advice: get professional help. While Largo is right (as usual) -- not all depression is the same, and not all responds to the same treatment -- depression is not something you can easily diagnose or treat yourself.

I have dealt with depression since 1994. Mine was entirely endogenous -- nothing on the outside caused it. In fact, the first symptoms manifested themselves when everything was going well. I mistakenly thought that I must be an adreneline junkie having withdrawals from risk. Not so. Mine was what Dr. F describes -- a chemical imbalance.

I've been very fortunate in that medication worked perfectly for me. Its only side effects have been vivid (and exceedingly entertaining) dreams -- and phenomenal recovery. While I was depressed, and before I got professional help, I did (or mostly failed to do) enough to cause any objective person sufficient grief to cause exogenous depression, but family, friends and professionals all helped that recovery.

As others have said, you are not alone. A great many climbers suffer from depression and don't hide it. I'm available to talk, email, or do anything else I can to help anyone who is suffering from depression, or the people who care about them.

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