Depresion - Not Something one can beat with will power alone


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Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:20pm PT
Been there done that have the damn t-shirt and matching belt to boot.

Jeff, here is my paltry tale of woe - take of it what you wish.

Depression sucks major big time balls. But you know that already. Snapping out of it can be done - but that part comes later.

First things first. Check with your HR people on what your health insurance covers in the way of mental disorders. Assuming that they do cover this, ask if your company/employer has any type of "wellness" program or "directed help" program. Assume they do for sake of discussion.

Next step - call your doctor and make an appointment ASAP. Same for your employee help program - call and set a date and time!

Third - actually GO to the damn appointments- no excuses, yes I know it sucks and you feel bad - but sack it up cowboy. This is for YOUR own damn good.

Fourth - swallow what's left of your ego (because who cares anyway right) and own up to the doc or the counselor that your life sucks, you sleep all day or not at all, you don't bathe anymore and your feet hurt. But mostly, tell the truth about how crappy your mind feels about itself.

Cinco - take the meds (I was partial to Paxil) and go to the therapy sessions. You will feel like sh#t, you will cry too much for a grown man, you will whine, bitch, moan and carry on like a will be okay!

Seis - keep going - it can take months.

Seite - look forward to the day when it finally hits you with crystal clarity that "JEEBUS HUMPING JEHOVAH ON A STICK - I HAVE DEPRESSION!"

Ocho - with the REAL realization that YOU are not f*#ked, it's just that YOU have a f*#ked disease - it will cease to have control over you. This is the "Snap out it" part of the recovery - you just get sick and tired of being sick and tired - so you quit being sick and tired. Make sense?

Nine - happy days and sunshine buttercups!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It Can Work!!!



Apr 1, 2010 - 10:55pm PT
Depression runs deep in my extended family and I have to say that Largo's last post seems right on to me. Drugs can help in certain situations (perhaps in many of them), but if you rely only and simply on drugs, you are not really going to get better. The problem, and its solution, is much more complex than that. Just telling someone to 'take a pill' is not going to be helpful in the long term, or not as helpful as a more comprehensive approach, even if it can help in the short term.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:10pm PT
Thanks Largo. I agree.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:33pm PT
Lost Arrow, take heart from the many expressions of support from a lot of folks who you have not met and may never meet: that alone is cause for optimism.

But some specifics along with the generalities of most of the posts, from someone who has indeed walked some long miles in the same shoes. The most useful thing you can do short term is to do just that: take some long walks, or do some cycling. Moderate physical exercise is the single best thing for getting unstuck, however it is not magic without other follow up. It is a slow process by no matter what means, and be encouraged when there is any glimmer of light even if it is a dim and gray light at first. Talk therapy is highly recommended for a period of time. In a brief trial, I did not find that the standard prescription meds helped, and found the side effects mildly unpleasant which did not help. But meds are very good for some patients.

Best of luck and keep on it.

Apr 1, 2010 - 11:36pm PT
Dr. F

Step 1: Re-read Largo's post.
Step 2: Blush, realizing your gross oversimplification and misrepresentation of what he said.
Step 3: Re-post a mea culpa and offer to have a reasoned discussion about the claim that "only" drugs can help.
Step 4: Go forth and reconsider your reductionistic view of human of human psychology.


PS-Juan, best of luck with your struggle which, as my other post indicates, I am fairly familiar. You should look to all possible sources of help (yes, including drugs). As someone else posted, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if (to mix metaphors) it takes the heavy lifting John mentioned to get there.
John Moosie

Beautiful California
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:53pm PT
f you have done almost everything already, isn't it time to try something that has an 80% chance of success,
rather than something with a zero % chance of working, since it hasn't worked yet

Dr F.. Largo is not saying to not use drugs. He is saying that drugs are not the only recourse, and because they have a price, ie they can really mess you up as Juan has found out from the weight gain from his last med, that it then behooves you to look further into many modalities and not depend solely on drugs.

At least, that is what I think he is saying.


Apr 1, 2010 - 11:56pm PT
Dr. F

You skipped my first step

Step 1: Re-read Largo's post.

Largo wrote

In fact I don't know of anyone who will ONLY be helped by drugs, no matter how grave the depression.


the meds can be a life saver, usually in the short run


If you believe that only drugs can help, this precludes you from seeking changes in lifstyle, habitual ways of thinking and feeling, ingrained response patterns, old behaviors, and so forth.

I think it's clear--correct me if am I wrong John--that he has said (1) drugs can be helpful, but (2) if you rely only and simply on drugs you are not getting at the whole problem.

Your reductionistc view of human psychology--correct me if I am wrong Dr. F--seems to suggest that the whole problem is chemical, and this is where you are, I believe, dead wrong.

John Moosie

Beautiful California
Apr 2, 2010 - 12:01am PT
I have a question for you Dr F.

What if the meds don't work for you? I have dealt with depression my entire life. I lost count of the number of different meds and combinations I have taken over the years. Last I remember it was over 35 different meds. Some work for a very short time. Some work longer. Some don't work at all. Some make me extremely aggressive. Some make me suicidal. Most make me very sick. If there is a side affect, I probably have it.

So what would you do? Since you seem to believe that drugs are the answer.
Lost Arrow

Trad climber
The North Ridge of the San Fernando
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 2, 2010 - 12:08am PT
Thanks for all the wonderful responses. I went to my Psychiatrist and picked up a new antidepresent to try. God I pray this brings me piece and sleep.

I will keep you posted.



Apr 2, 2010 - 12:19am PT
oH ..

This thread is making me depressed. Juan will send me sample of the nice new drug from psychiatrist.

I will be happy then. I will be able to free solo the Nose in a day after taking the nice new miracle drug.
John Moosie

Beautiful California
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:09am PT
There is a pill that can make me a climbing god??? Woot for pills.


I'm going to give you the shortest version that I can of what I believe can help you. Though looking down at it, I see that it is pretty long, but I am putting a whole lot of info that fits in numbers of books, so it really is the short version. haha..

First. Everything is about Truth. Lack of Truth leads to suffering. Unwillingness to follow Truth leads to suffering.

This is what I believe the Truth is.

We are spiritual beings made by and out of God's energy. ( It is more complicated then this, but I am giving you the short version )

There is a spiritual world made up of very high energy, and there are progressively lower worlds made up of progressively denser energies. We are in the material world which is currently the lowest form of energy.

All energy flows from the spiritual world to create the material world. It is stepped down gradually and there are processes that do that.

As beings made of energy, we have four bodies. The body closest to the spiritual world is our belief body, below that is our mental body. Below that is our emotional body, and below that is the densest body, the material body. Surrounding that is our Auric field, which is an energy field meant to protect us on our journeys.

So our beliefs create our thoughts. Our thoughts create our emotions, our emotions create our experience of life.

Depression is manifest from a series of untruths lodged in our belief bodies. So the only way to completely cure it is to look for all untruths. This is a process and will not occur overnight.

In the meantime you have brought depression all the way down into your material body, so you also have to deal with it on the material level. That includes seeing if meds will help, looking at your diet, looking at your lifestyle, seeing if you get adequate exercise and rest. Looking at how you respond to stress and what are the things you could do to relieve stress. And actually many more things that can help you such as ECT and light therapy in the form of sseasonal affective disorder lights which many people find helps them through the winter. These are just some of the basics.

Currently you are on meds. That is a decent place to start, but I hope that you don't stop there as sometimes meds don't work well, plus they can be hard on the body and so it behooves you to do everything you can to strengthen your general health and thus perhaps allow you to take lower doses of meds, or even get off them.

I am completely off meds. It required a lot of work and I haven't achieved a full recovery from depression, but have made a lot of progress.

So that generally covers the material world.

You also need to do something for your other bodies. You need to seek truth. Which you are doing in part here. And you need to become aware that your auric field is an energy field that can be broken down by the daily stresses of life, by malicious forces, and by our own bad habits. So you need to start working on building your energy field. One thing you can do is pray and seek help from the spirits to guide you to truth and to protect you from malicious forces.

Part of learning the truth is to learn about the negative habits you have that leave you open to malicious forces.

Then there is prayer and meditation that can help us clean up our emotion body, our mental body, and our belief body. The thing that I find works best is to concentrate on the Truth and do a mediation on it. It is amazing how messed up we can get when we concentrate on negative things. The more we think about bad things, the more stress we create, and thus the more stressed out we get. So taking a break from your daily stress is a really good thing for your well being. You might have heard of the power of positive thinking. Well there is a step beyond that and it is prayer and meditation that connects you to the spirit world and hopefully, eventually, the truth.

A workbook that I highly recommend to get you started on this process is "the course in Miracles" workbook. There is a manuscript and work book and they are two different things. The manuscript is full of teachings and personally I don't think that they are of the highest sort as the writer allowed her own lower consciousness to get in the way, and thus they are tainted by it. But the workbook is magical. It is easy to do and at the start involves about 15 minutes a day of prayer and meditation involving mantras. It helped me a lot.

You have stress in your life. It is exacerbated by focusing on it. So take a daily vacation from it. It is wonderful to take that vacation nightly just before bedtime. It will help you sleep.

If you really think it helps you to keep thinking about your problems, then realize that you need rest and you do this best when you put down your problems. So if you find it really difficult to put down your problems, then try promising yourself that you will pick up those problems the next morning, once you are rested. This is one way I have found to help me sleep and find rest. I don't always get to sleep, but I learned from experience that you can still feel rested if you don't spend the night ruminating on your problems. Surrender them nightly to God, and then relax.

I'm certain that Dr F will tell you that there is no god, so my theories are whack, but it is up to you to decide.

One last thing. I have shown you how to work on the physical and the spiritual and in part on the mental and emotional, but it can also be helpful to get counseling to help you learn how you mentally exacerbate your stress through poor thinking habits. So I also suggest finding a counselor.

I hope this helps you find your way. Depression is a hard row to hoe but there is a way out of it. I hope that you keep looking.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:19am PT
"True happiness is the expectation of being being happy."

-Virginia Woolf

Pretty sure I screwed that one up, but whatever...

As someone who has been battling depression more or less since jr. high, I can say that some days are worse than others but what has helped me A LOT recently has been meditation. I was very recently turned on to Vipassana meditation and I feel SO much better and happier now. If I had told myself five years ago that I would find some spirituality I would have slapped myself...

What the above helps me with is living in the present moment. I used to fear the future and long for the past, but those feelings are slowly, and I mean slowly fading away....It is a long and DIFFICULT journey and I'm not there yet.

Not saying becoming "spiritual" (I really hate that word...) will help you, but it helped me...

Buena suerte...

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:29am PT
I wouldn’t say that I “know everything” about depression. Not remotely. But I have been exposed to the standard medical model my whole life, seeming that half my family are MDs, including my father and now my daughter. Plus my sister is a psychologist who deals with psychiatric and psychological challenges daily, adn I frequently talk to her about this. What’s more, a decade ago I went back to grad school (nights and weekends), strictly for my own interest, and did the whole clinical psych thing. Lastly, I’ve been involved in various incarnation of Al-Anon and “recovery” work for years, and in those groups there’s a large population who have suffered incest, physical abuse, wildly dysfunctional relationships and home environments, deadly addictions, and so forth, these being some of the common, contributing factors to depression.

That much said, I don’t look at Dr. F’s statements as anything but examples of how he processes information, as well as a cognitive style that forces him into all-or-nothing conclusions.

For example, when Dr. F. approaches matters of religion, spirituality, “God,” and so forth, the all or nothing thinking is most obvious. Since there is no God (“nothing”), according to the doctor, EVERYONE, from the beginning of time, from sage to seer to Indian chief, and ALL proponents of a power higher greater than our own brain, have been deluded and wholly mistaken. They are “all” wrong and the doctor is “all” or and entirely right in this regard. Case closed because he said so.

Now we come to the business of depression, bio-chemestry and meds, where once more, Dr. F declares that ONLY brain chemistry is a factor, and that “ALL” other modalities are “ALL” wrong and totally useless and misguided. That means that ALL psychologists, social and body workers, therapists, 12 Step programs, recovery houses, rehab centers, personal coachs, and so forth – NONE of their efforts work, or have ever worked, or ever will work, AT ALL. They too are entirely full of sh#t – ALL of them.

The main problem with an all or nothing cognitive style is that it is so transparently distorted that the vast overstatements and oversimplifications undermine the necessity of taking brain chemistry seriously. What’s more, insisting that said chemistry “produces” our experience, like a stamp produces a coin, is to fundamentally misunderstand causality as it occurs in human life. But that’s another discussion.

Trying to lick depression with chemistry alone is like trying to beat alcoholism through will power. You chances are less than average.


Apr 2, 2010 - 01:38am PT
WOW !!!

What a comeback.

One of the best I've seen in a while.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Apr 2, 2010 - 02:05am PT
Tobia, you have been such a help to me on the "music" thread, truly awesome really ! So tho it's late and I need to get up at 4:00 am I want to run this by you.

I have this crazy theory that many suffer from angst and related problems simply because we are not doing what we were created for. Each of us have special gifts, skills and personalities that are meant for us to live our lives, making a living and being happy.

Of course life throws us problems both huge and small, but I am talking generally here. What I have observed with others and lived for many years myself is that a human gets pushed, prodded or thrown into doing something totally unsuited for them. They may even make a bad decision to pursue a life goal that is not right for them. The bad thing is they may do well at it, but it robs them of really living the life they were created for.

Then angst sets in. Some can tolerate this "wrong life infliction" for a long period and some absolutely cannot. In either case their lives and the lives of those around them suffer the effects.

I worked at a job for 20 years that I Really did not like. I did it to make someones life dreams and goals come true. Now that I have a "new" life and I am making my own choices I have never been so at peace and have real honest to goodness joy in my life. Hey, I may have to live under a bridge if I can't find a job I love......and I am trying hard....but you know what, no one is ever going to own my soul again.

My motto given to me by a climber friend that has helped me immensely...."Go confidentally in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." Thoreau

You know, Tobia, jesus is my best friend and he is always with me, but we need to learn and grow and listen and make the tough decisions to be the person ..... really be and live the person....he created us to be.

Thanks for the songs Dude that helped me process the toughest part of my life. Peace, lynnie
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 2, 2010 - 02:24am PT
I have a number of friends who have been on and off several of the drugs, several times.

I've seen those meds help pull them out of the dark hole but once the darkest clouds have passed, It becomes a crap shoot whether the side effects of the drugs (and cost) are worth the questionable benefit (which seems mostly to keep you from getting deep in the hole at the expense of your clarity) Going off or on any med is tricky, risky, and rough, and no drug is without side effects, significant ones.

A common twist of the psyche that we should see within ourselves is this: When we are kids, our parents are Gods and it seems they are giving us exclusive Love. At some point, we disappoint them, or another sibling starts getting some of the love that was all ours, or our parents shatter our illusions in some way. They teach us what we need to be to earn their Love and we envision an idealized self that will earn this Love we need. We project this ideal self to the world to gain this love.

Deep down, nobody can forever live up to the lofty images we project for ourselves. We feel the fraud between who we are and the image we project and thus judge ourselves inadequate. We punish ourselves for not living up to our impossible ideals.

Give yourself and everybody else a break and know that the only normal people are the ones you don't know very well

This is just one consideration. We are spiritual, we are chemical, we are psychological. We live in a house of mirrors and Karma is a bitch.

Like climbing, Life is epic and the game is spiced by the potential for pain. The upside is evolution.

Much Love


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 02:25am PT
I won't comment on that comeback only because I think depression is too dangerous an issue to risk getting sidetracked.

So many of us urge you to seek professional help because a single all-purpose solution eluded our experience and knowledge. You may be someone like me, for whom medication is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for recovery. Similarly, again for me, therapy was also a necessary but not sufficient condition for recovery. They tackle different things. The medication deals directly with my brain chemistry. The therapy gave me a "tool kit" to deal with the practical problems my years of improper brain chemistry caused (those on the Left might think I'm using the wrong tense!). And I, like Lynne, experienced the love of Christ in an amazing way. All of this, though, was just my experience.

An author of other, excellent, posts on this thread used the same medication I use (and probably will need the rest of my life) with completely unsatisfactory results. We share a passion for climbing and even, I believe, the same faith, but what worked for me was harmful to him. Most of us are experts on our own experiences. The professionals have the benefit of experience of many different people.

Again, though, the big thing to remember is that there are a great many of us who care about you (and at least in my case, about any climber dealing with depression). Before I was diagnosed and began treatment, I saw no way out, and was actually planning a convenient soloing "accident" so that my family would have the (then fairly substantial) life insurance proceeds and not really know I'd offed myself. Fortunately, I was too depressed to act on those plans. With treatment I've survived all the consequences of my depressed behavior, and come out better than before. I'm confident that you can, too.


Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 2, 2010 - 02:50am PT
For me , overcoming depression was a matter of patience, connection and light.(in that order) I won't say I'm cured, as life can cut like a knife and I'm not done with life yet...
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Apr 2, 2010 - 02:56am PT
I'm frequently depressed, and I notice that simple things like just getting out of bed can make an instantaneous difference. Literally - I'll feel really miserable lying there - sad, hopeless, whatever - and when I stand up out of bed it's like a switch was flipped. Point being - when you're feeling like that, try just pushing yourself to make some change even if you really don't feel like it.

So does turning on some music that I really dig, getting out into some semblance of nature (doesn't need to be wilderness, just being around a bunch of "natural" things).

As others have mentioned, sleep makes a big difference for me. If I'm fatigued and feel down, taking a nap often makes me feel *much* happier.

And frequent cardio exercise makes a big difference, too.

Consider cognitive behavioral therapy.

In case your doctor didn't tell you: people often experience worse depression right after they start taking meds. Supposedly it's b/c your brain chemistry has to re-equalize.

Trad climber
New York, NY
Apr 2, 2010 - 06:45am PT
There is a pill that can make me a climbing god???
Almost. It's called Anavar - little secret of pro gymnasts and figure skaters. Works for climbers too.

siberian sleeping potion
--How do Russians eat cereal in the morning?
--With vodka
--Yes! And without cereal!
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