Depresion - Not Something one can beat with will power alone


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Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 12, 2014 - 11:04am PT

Mental health issues are a huge problem in the US. . .
and still looked on as 'weakness'. . .
Unfortunately they're a real disease. . .

climber a single wide......
Aug 12, 2014 - 11:07am PT
Weeg- you still sober? That sure helps. My wife stopped drinking a year ago, and over the last 3- 4 months I am down to just dribs and drabs. I like that at 10:30 at night I can practice guitar and not be all muddy headed....


Aug 12, 2014 - 11:13am PT
Yeah, the drinking has to go. 100%. So much easier and less stressful than trying to 'manage it'.

Mos def step one. Gotta get to a baseline to track the positive results of any experimentation.

I know several friends who just have a glass of wine a night or every other night but let even that low level of consumption go. They report feeling incredibly better and more vibrant - more energy in the evening - brighter i in the morning.

They're always surprised at the negative effects of even a wee bit o' the sauce.

Oh, and it goes without saying - lose the guns and pills. The stats are grim there.


Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Aug 12, 2014 - 11:17am PT
no. i hold on to my off-track love affair with beer.

but i only enjoy liaisons maybe twice a month;
the criteria being that
i have more than one day to myself.

i.e. the girls go out of town with mom,
or i'm allotted a daddy holiday in strawberry.

but basically i never drink around
anyone that i love.

i get along just fine with my inner dirtbag.
it's those around me whom love me that clash
with my filthy heart.

Trad climber
Aug 12, 2014 - 11:21am PT
Those that don't know, don't know.

Big Wall climber
Aug 12, 2014 - 11:23am PT
juan defuca will always be missed!


Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Aug 12, 2014 - 11:30am PT
If anyone ever feels that they need someone to talk to, referrals, advice, please don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail. In the essence of full disclosure, I am an MFT intern, will be graduating this Fall, and currently see clients. The common denominator in depression is feeling alone. There is a difference between being along and feeling alone. There is tons of help available, you just need to find the courage to ask.

As for the outsiders, the best thing you can do is to sit quietly and be an active listener. Ask questions to understand the person's world through their own eyes. Depression and personality disorders are a result of trauma. Most people have no idea how much the people around them are suffering. Suffering from years of physical, mental, sexual, and emotional abuse, and neglect. Don't make the conversation about yourself by telling the person how you got through a situation. You will lose that person. People don't like being told what they should and shouldn't do. Listen and have some compassion. You may just save someone's life just by simply listening and getting them to see a professional.

Gym climber
Great White North
Aug 12, 2014 - 11:31am PT
And furthermore, f*#k all these tough-love shitlords throwing around words like "cowardly" and "selfish".

If you don't have depression, you need to shut the f*#k up about suicide. Have some empathy and thank your dear lord in heaven that you don't have it because it f*#king sucks.


Aug 12, 2014 - 11:33am PT
Depression is largely genetic. The idea that it is the result of trauma - the 'you're damaged goods' theory - is dated and, in many cases, counterproductive towards achieving a better outcome.

The hard fact is - neither you nor anyone else can discern the root cause of your depression - but that doesn't matter. Searching for a cause you will not find is an utter waste of time and money. All you need to know is that you experience it, and all you need to focus on is what positive steps you can take in the present to mitigate it.

Listening is good, but dragging someone through whatever life trauma they've experienced can backfire and produce a worse outcome. Anyone want to re-experience those negative emotions based on a bunch of highly altered memories? "Understanding your past" doesn't necessarily equate to making better choices now, and that, after all, is the end game.

Such a strategy, while well-meaning, can also reinforce a victim mentality - not a great baseline for good decision making going forward. It can increase defensiveness and other socially counterproductive behaviors which can eventually make things worse, not better.

A much better strategy for many is to live in and appreciate the present, look towards the future, and realize the power we have to make choices to make things better - now.

The past is gone. F*#k the past. THAT realization is true power. That may seem like harder cheese at first, but hey, hard cheese keeps longer. Healthy and intimate peer relationships with people who 'get it' - are key to this process. Having a strategy to find and build these relationships, not always easy at times, should be a focus.

Do what works for you, of course. My somewhat limited experience with therapists was neutral results at best, and sharply negative results at times. The efficacy of therapists is very much in doubt in general. What I've found has helped far more was some group time with other folks in similar circumstances.

Anyone who feels 'crazy' might be reminded that 8 out of 10 Americans believes in angels.

Winged supernatural humanoids with magical powers who live forever. Jesus.


Trad climber
Northern California
Aug 12, 2014 - 02:27pm PT
^^^you had some very bad therapists

And, it is not true that depression is not correlated with early childhood trauma. In fact we know a lot more about that correlation than we ever did.


Aug 12, 2014 - 03:02pm PT
One was neutral or slightly helpful, the other was unethical. Nothing too sordid, but I won't go into it here, obviously.

I never stated that depression is not correlated with trauma. The post I responded to claimed it was caused by trauma, and this is not at all accurate. What we know as of today is that about half of it is genetics.

The causes of depression are, as yet, still not well understood. And each individual's case is different. An assumption of trauma - or the existence of trauma and an assumption that it is the root cause of any particular case of depression, is dangerous, in that it can easily lead to the wrong treatment path - skipping over more effective strategies.

My point still stands. Trying to tease out the cause of depression is largely a waste of time and money. It's much more effective to assess the situation today and establish, and I mean on day one, concrete actions that can be taken to mitigate it's effects. There's little compelling evidence, in the aggregate, that talking about Mommy Dearest ad nauseum has proven to be a particularly effective long term strategy at moving forward and actually mitigating depression's effects.

It does tend to burn more therapist hours, however.

This is not a critique of therapy in general. There are excellent therapists out there who do not drag their subjects down this rat hole.


Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Aug 12, 2014 - 03:19pm PT
i like my depression.
it is a tool that i invented
and employ to further my festival.

i realize that for some,
it is a detriment,
but i would move
that many people
do not completely villianize the emotion.

Social climber
joshua tree
Aug 12, 2014 - 03:22pm PT

Depression is largely genetic.

This is a futile argument! i also read,"depression is caused by genetics".
This comes from the bleachers that says, "Matter invented consciousness"
Government and Big Business dangled this carrot back in the 90's, "depression is a disease" along with addictions like alcoholism. This gave BB and the Pharmaceutical companies the green light to treat humans by the millions like ginny-pigs and dive into their minds with the advertisement of a miracle pill. With Gov confirming it a disease, insurance companies are liable for payment. It's a win-win for business and government, but NOT for the you!!

Genetically, cells are adaptive. They can LEARN. LIke the Brain, the MOST sophisticated learning device in the universe! The body, and it's cells remember this learning. This in a nutshell IS Evolution.

Once you teach your body how to feel depressed, Yea, depression becomes part of your genetic makeup. Over time, the more your brain adds to the feeling of depression, the easier it is for the body to fall in that state.

On the flip-side, Are you Joyful because your genetically inclined to be?
Are the "joyful cells" in your body predetermined? Are you only ever going to be as happy as your DNA sez can be? That's Preposterous!

Boulder climber
Mountain View, CA
Aug 12, 2014 - 03:25pm PT
Wow, Lost Arrow, wish I had magic words for you. My mom was bipolar and ended her life. I have an Iraq War vet son who is bipolar and chronically suicidal. In my youth in the 1970s I was "situationally" depressed all the time because I wanted to save the world even though the world didn't want to be saved. So I understand and don't understand depression. If it's merely situational then you can think your way out of it or mature your way out of it like I eventually did, but if it's organic I don't know whether or not meds will work for you. I do know this, you can't fool yourself like Robin Williams finally realized. You can't hike your way out of it or climb your way out of it, and I think Yabo proved that. It's a pathetic myth that "mountaineering builds character". I still recall being all alone at high altitude in the most gorgeous remote recesses of the Sierra in my twenties and crying in my tent because I was so depressed, unable to see the beauty all around me. I even tried to off myself with my propane burner by letting it run inside my tent without a flame. I respect your honesty to post an appeal. Maybe it's corny, but at least that's your first move in a positive direction. Hmm, are there depression support groups like AA/NA? I know, sounds depressing to sit around talking about being depressed with depressed people (Robin Williams would have had a blast with that idea) but it's just a thought. Good luck, I hope you find a lasting living way past this.

Trad climber
Aug 12, 2014 - 03:35pm PT
i like my depression.
it is a tool that i invented
and employ to further my festival.

This does not ring true.

Social climber
joshua tree
Aug 12, 2014 - 04:04pm PT
do not completely vililanize the emotion.

Naw. Depression is no villain. It's her brother, Anger
Anger is the one that causes life altering events.
i believe depression allows the quietness for the soul to be heard..
It is a direct line to pure raw honesty.
There is no better pill for dispensing depression than Truth!
Truth causes the Sun to shine and the Heart to glow!
consuming mind altering chemicals, is the samething as applying earplugs.
in essence ur stomping your feet saying "No No NO, i don't want to know the truth, I just want to be happy right NOW! For F#cks sake i won't even make it to be 40." Then one day you wake up and ur 50. And more f#cked. like me wuz

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Aug 12, 2014 - 06:51pm PT
Depression is largely genetic. The idea that it is the result of trauma - the 'you're damaged goods' theory - is dated and, in many cases, counterproductive towards achieving a better outcome.

Are you f*#king kidding me??!?!?!

I wish you and people that ascribe to this BS could sit and watch the people that I see in therapy. So the YEARS of physical and sexual abuse as a child and on into adulthood have NO bearing on a person's emotional well-being?

FACT of the matter is is that most personality disorders and some psychotic disorders are born out of trauma. Do YOU know what it's like to have a gun in your mouth as a child or teenager ready to check out because you cannot escape the war zone that is your house?

Your ignorance is dangerous and is what perpetuates these bullshit myths.

Trad climber
Northern California
Aug 12, 2014 - 07:12pm PT
^^^ go Paul!

Ignorance is definitely dangerous.

I sit with depressives of many clinical types in my practice. What they all have in common is negative self-talk. Wonky brain chemistry doesn't allow them to hold onto positive thoughts. It is why medication can be such a miracle-- when the chemistry changes, the possibility of positivity becomes more available.

But it isn't a certainty.

Someone in this thread said they go for any action that could possibly help, and that is really the best way to treat depression. Medication, psychotherapy (good psychotherapy and good psychiatry can be quite hard to find and very expensive, btw), nutrition, exercise, social engagement, community, being of service, spiritual development (whether that's formal religion or connecting with nature, it doesn't matter) acupuncture, dancing, really, all the things that are nourishing are needed to be integrated. And if you are depressed this is going to take time, sometimes a long time. Way more time than those people around you have patience for.

I also want to point out that it seems that Robin WIlliams was being treated for bi-polar disorder, a different animal from simply situational depression, dysthymic depression or even severe clinical depressive disorder. The brain chemistry in this case is balanced on a knife edge.

scrubbing bubbles

Social climber
Aug 12, 2014 - 09:12pm PT
Here's to Daphne and Paul Souza, who seem to offer professional advice...kudos to Paul for opening his mailbox to anyone

This thread seems to have struck a nerve

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Aug 12, 2014 - 09:23pm PT
^ Agreed.

I feel sad for those who don't get it, or seemingly don't want to get it. I feel sad for the sadness/pain they cause others with their words. Tragic.

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