Depresion - Not Something one can beat with will power alone


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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2010 - 04:46pm PT
There may be some good advice above but I didn't have time to read. Just want to offer you some Love and Support and a couple tidbits.

1. Don't beat yourself up for being depressed. Real depression can be tough to beat so first accepting that it's a part of your life that you can live with if necessary is a huge step. Whenever it improves, that's bonus.

2. See above

3. Honor yourself. have compassion for yourself. Depression can be yourself eating yourself. We're all wacked bro. It's April fools day, the birthday of us all.

4. Pray for others. Try to make somebody else happy in some small way. Give something. It's somehow easier to be blessed by blessing than by seeking for yourself.

We're with you man


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:15pm PT

Don't worry about Dr. F's anti-Jesus trolls. Just realize that you have a medical condition no different morally from any other medical condition.

Probably because so many of us feel (in contrast to think) that being helpless comes from our own decisions, we blame ourselves for our condition. That's like blaming yourself for getting, say, Lupus. There is no blame, only help.

Perhaps depression is more insidious because we often feel like there's nothing really wrong with us, and that we'll just return to our normal selves. That usually doesn't happen without a very bumpy ride, if at all.

I have no threory for why so many climbers seem to suffer from depression, but perhaps climbing affects our brain chemistry. I know in my own case, there's speculation that it's genetic; I have two first cousins who suffer from virtually the same symptoms if untreated. One is in Paris, and one in Mexico City; neither climbs. Since I've only lived in California, I doubt that ours has much of an environmental link.

Again, many of us fight the fight, and our stories differ, but I'll bet almost all of us have this in common -- we care about you, and would be delighted to do anything we can to help.

Dr. F.

So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:44pm PT
and Have fun,

and if fun for you is exposing radical delusions suffered by a large part of our society

Dr. F.

So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:45pm PT
Maybe our underlying depression leads us into climbing

Trad climber
Yay Area
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:21pm PT
What about the Androgel?

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:40pm PT
There are millions of people with depression that ONLY drugs can help

Not so. In fact I don't know of anyone who will ONLY be helped by drugs, no matter how grave the depression. This is very simplistic thinking about a normally very complex condition involving past, present and future, physical, emotional, mental, social, economical, behavioral, psychological and spiritual factors.

There is every reason to want to stick with a strictly reductionalistic belief that our brain chemestry is the ONLY factor that CAUSES moods. In believeing this, you can also believe that if you only can control the biochemestry, you can likewise control the mood. This is an often disasterous and self-limiting tact that assumes a few rather glaring falacies.

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.

Wish I had more time but I can say that while the meds can be a life saver, usually in the short run - and often not, as well - other methods - usually requiring sweeping changes across the board - will almost always prove most effective in the end. It's very American to believe that we can "fix" a problem with a pill, and that any effort beyond that is not only unnecessary, it's catagorically ineffective.

A common situation worth mentioning can be trotted out by anyone who has regularly attened al-anon meetings. Many, many - if not the majority of people - arrive at al-anon in full crisis mode, completely cooked and feeling totally hopeless. Many can't stop crying at all. But if they stick with program and do the work, look at them a year later.

A rule of thumb worth remembering is: You will only start feeling different when you change your behavior. Thinking or analyzing things will have little to no effect on mood whatsoever. Contrary action is key here. And as Coz pointed out, a lot of it has to do with being "bound by self," or being crazy self-absorbed. That cycle also has to be broken by various means, one of which is being of service to others.

But this is VERY heavy lifting for sure.

ME Climb

Social climber
Behind the orange Curtain
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:08pm PT
From my experience Largo is right on about saying meds alone won't do the job. They need therapy and counseling to work. My wife still has her "homework" and is constantly challenged by her therapist to work on issues. She must force herself out of the house when she wants to curl up into a ball. She must go shopping by herself.

What has worked for my wife is the combination of the meds and therapy. Sometimes therapy alone will work, while other times meds and therapy are the answer. Meds alone are not the answer.

The mind is so incredibly complex and we know so little about it.

Depression is such a horrible condition, but help is out there. Ask for the help and it will come.

Juan, I sent you my number call whenever you need.


*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, but have many years experince with depression and know how to find resources.

Social climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:12pm PT
I came home from school today; a long day with 6th graders, after school faculty meeting, PTO after that.

I arrived at school in the morning in my usual anxiety heavy persona; teeth huring from the gritting. Worrying how I am going to get through the day; how I am going to hold up with my peers and not melt down from the previous day of the same as day as the day before.

I feel that collapse that Lynne eloquently described earlier as I drive home. I think about trying not to go down the chute into the duldrums of my depression.

To dark tonight to get to play outside so I come in to try to escape on the taco. I see a fellow sufferer of the same crippling disease, screaming out over the thread for some reassurance, advice or whatever response he can get to help alleviate the pain.

The people that have posted a response that can identify personally with depression offer some kind words and what helped them. That is compassion and love of your neighbor at it's best.

Clearly there are no two cases of depression that are alike; so there is no magic cure. No one formula that works. I agree with many here, you can't do it alone. I don't know about the talk therapy, I did it for years and it didn't help or maybe I was talking to the wrong people. No meds helped, as I have stated before.

I know I am going to have to start the med search again. I can't do it alone, I can't do it with prayer alone. I can't do it with the taco alone.

Some of the posts are not helping anyone. Dr. F; go find another thread. You are dangerous and twisted. Besides that you haven't a clue. I don't know what life experiences you have but whatever they are they haven't given you one iota of insight into this problem or people's faith, or the almighty.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:49pm PT
Might not help everyone but here's a few tips I noticed keep things brighter for some people.

Moderate levels of depression can be bearable by a lot of folks who suffer regularly but if you fall in to the dark hole, you may need professional help and maybe drugs to get back on your feet. Once you can't crawl out, reach out.

Exercise is almost always is great medicine. Try to develop the exercise habit so when you fall down a bit, it's not as hard to motivate

Caffeine exacerbates anxiety. If you do coffee, feel your energy and see if caffeine makes the feeling worse.

Sometimes you might want to crawl in a hole, and might even feel estranged in a public sterile environment, but human contact and communication can often support and nourish you, even as you might tend to shun it. Develop friends, help them when they need it and call on them to hang out when you need support.

I'm grateful for those who have been there for me when my car breaks down, when I can't handle a task by myself, and when things get out of hand. Let's look for opportunities to be there for each other


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.
Dr. F.

So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:04pm PT
Largo, wrong, wrong wrong

So you know all about it, its just in your head, you are depressed because you have depressing thoughts, you need therepy to find out whatys depressing you

You should just pull your self up by your bootstraps

What BS, that's what got poor Juan to the end of his rope, good intentions of hope, will power and hard work, it didn't work

Guess what, there is nothing depressing Juan, me, or the other millions

beleive it, its not a mental problem that can be cured by talking, inner searches, or getting the depressing thing out of ones life

Its not cured by will power, help from a friend, a new puppy, going climbing, a doctor, or lover

Its just like any other disease, its an imbalance in the brain, and it can be cured by drugs

There is a choice, balance brain chemistry with a drug that has little side effects, and makes you not depressed.

Or stay depressed and try a 1000 different things that may help you not be as depressed, but don't work

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.
Dr. F.

So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:45pm PT
Brian, wrong wrong wrong

That was the whole point

The life style has been changed, and inner self explored, all the things Largo says, but the suffering just goes on

Largo suggests you just go on and on, trying differnet things

Why, because its too easy to reduce things to a simple explanation, that drugs may help, but maybe something else would too

thats Total BS

Thats the very problem with depression, the thought that you can just fix it by doing something, as Largo suggests

It doesn't work, and won't work

If 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

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.


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