No Right Answer: Living with Depression

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Living with Depression

Geek community lost one of our own to depression recently. In this special episode, we take a moment away from goofing off and talk about the sadness that can sometimes hide behind the smile.

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I'm very happy that you guys made this video. I have an monstrous anxiety problem that has been helped immensely through your show. Thank you guys very much.

~ at the 5:30 mark,

I myself suffer from depression and attempted to kill myself when I was young by choking myself. I didn't realize this was impossible.

This was also not long after columbine, and the exact same thing happened to me.

"Oh my god, you're depressed?" I was called into the principals office to make suer I wasn't going to kill everyone. Seriously. I was like...8-9 years old.

Thanks guys. I know this is off topic for the escapist, in a way, but sometimes talking about stuff is important and this helps to know people can relate.

Thanks for talking about this guys. It is something that should be talked about. Many people don't know how to deal with it, including me. I haven't experienced this personally and I don't know how I would react if someone told me they were. I hope I could be the friend that they needed.

To those escapists who are approached by those with depression, here is my advice... just listen. Don't try to solve their problem. Don't try to fix it. Empathize with the person, and just make them feel loved and welcomed. I myself don't have depression, but having both a brother and a spouse with severe depression, I can tell you, just make them feel loved. You are not going to make them instantly jump for joy, it's not suddenly going to "cure" them, but just be there, listening, and letting them know they are loved. It will help them more than you will ever know.

Thanks guys for posting this video. I hope people can watch it and gleam something out of it. So many people don't understand what depression really is (as you say, sometimes people think you just have a bad case of 'the sads'). Hopefully this will educate them.

Well put. I know several people with depression issues and i try to help them at every opportunity. The best thing any one can do is to listen, understand and talk about it.

Thank you so much for doing this video. It takes a lot of courage to discuss mental health issues so frankly and openly, and I commend you for doing it. So many people misunderstand the nature of depression, and I think you highlighted a lot of the common misconceptions perfectly. I especially am glad that you pointed out that it's not the listener's responsibility to fix anything, although their desire to do so is understandable. Listening is helping. Not running away screaming is helping. Not looking away uncomfortably is helping. Seriously.

As a side note to this very serious issue - this episode is particularly apt because today is Bell's Let's Talk Day here in Canada. For every tweet using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag, or share of their image on Facebook - Bell Canada will donate 5 cents to mental health programs.

For more information on how you can help visit http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/end-the-stigma/ - even if you're not Canadian because this shit crosses borders

I'm currently dealing with depression myself, and this video made my day a little brighter. It's always good to know that there are other people out there, especially ones who you can look up to, who are dealing with similar issues and fighting the good fight.

Every kind word, every comforting arm, every little gesture helps these people. Thank for for your efforts.

I have PTSD from bullying, depression and aspergers.

There are days where I have flashbacks from my elementary/middle school days, where I would be covered in blood and bruises and get just as bad in trouble as the asswipes who attacked me for "being involved"(think like arresting a rape victim because her rapist is 14 and she's 20). Also had teachers that got in on this, one would steal from other kids desks and put it in mine during recess the other in middle school would "look the other way" if I was hit in the face with a basketball or something yet if I even talked back I'd get an F for the day.

So yeah, now you know why I hate teachers, basketball and refuse to defend bullies.

I still have some anxiety issues to the point physical symptoms are constant. Depression goes hands in hands with this. It helps to have people to talk about some of your bad times. However, during the depression, we often forget the good ones. It's a magnifying glass that makes you only focus on the bad stuff.

Although, I really hate those idiots that just say "get over it" or "just think positive" since they expect it to be instant, while it's actually a continuing process. If you want to help people with depression, listening to them is the best start. Being in their faces about it all the time will not help.

Thanks for the episode guys, really helps out.

Thank you guys. Mental health problems are incredibly common, yet as you pointed out they're still horribly misunderstood and stigmatised. The more people speak openly about their experiences, the quicker things will change, and that goes double for people with any sort of following like you.

I have bipolar disorder and experience both the "just get a grip" (or even "oh, that must be terribly exciting!") and the "oh my god you're about to murder me" responses on a regular basis. There's nothing more soul destroying than opening up about something like that to someone, only to literally have to watch their eyes widen in fear and horror while they try to find an excuse to get away from you as quickly as possible.

I also totally agree that it's incredibly easy to use gaming/fantasy in general as a way of escaping from real life. I always have to monitor my consumption of my favourite entertainment, and there's a fine line between "normal" geeky obsessiveness and trying to retreat from the world. This is where understanding friends can be incredibly helpful.

In light of the recent thread about JewWario, I'm absolutely disgusted by some of the attitudes being thrown around even within this community, so I'd say this episode was very timely. Thanks again.

Now, I'm not one to watch No Right Answer. Debates have never really been to my tastes. But this episode was something that I needed to hear lately. For the past few months, I've been trying to deal with anxiety, depression, as well as several other personal issues, and while I've been trying to help myself in any way I can lately I've felt completely alone in this. While it isn't true, depression for me is hardly rational. It often makes me feel like there's some barrier around me and everyone else.

Normally, I'm not one to admit this, both because of either extreme people go to when reacting, but because it also means admitting that I have troubles to myself. But hearing someone admit this publicly, on the internet no less, and understand at least part of what I'm feeling helps.

So, I want to say I appreciate this episode. Hopefully people will take at least some of those words to heart, and not be a total prick to someone when they say that they're depressed.

Thanks for the video - hopefully it helps people with mental illness realize they aren't alone.

I've been depressed since childhood, too. I went to therapy a bit when I was about 12-13, but didn't stick with it. It's really only been severe at one point in my life, which was my late teens. The worst I got was lining up a bunch of my mom's heart medication on the table and staring at it for a while, but knew I could never actually do it. (My sister may see this, I think she knows about it already though.) It was a pretty low time for the whole family, my parents were having major problems and all my friends were a year older than me so they had already graduated high school and I was kind of alone. Plus I was pimply and very overweight and always had been.

It's always kind of been there, and always will be for many people. Lots of people function normally with depression, but I've always been most content in quiet places. And I use video games, tv, movies and books to escape a lot. As most people do. I have my own car, home, a career and friends, though, but I'm still most 'content' (I won't say happy) at home in front of a game.

Not to say I can't be happy, either. There are many things that make me happy and many times I've been pretty happy with my life. The last year or so I've been pretty down, though, which has made things hard. Mostly situational stuff - dislike my job, parents moved cross country, terrible, terrible weather (and probably Seasonal Affective Disorder), and such. But I have a lot to look forward to.

Anyway, that's the very basics of my story Hopefully getting your own out there helps a lot of people. Always get help. And if your friends won't help you, move on. If depression is something they can't deal with, please just move on. There are lots of people here willing to offer support and resources.

I admit there was a time where I was on the "get over it" side of the fence about people with depression, partly when certain people seemed to be overly taking advantage of the situation. When you learn more about it, it's a pretty rough deal. Don't be afraid to take medication if that's what fixes it. If bad chemicals are causing it, get good chemicals to kick those chemicals' collective butts. Maybe get a pet, something that depends on you. Something that, even if the world is crashing down around you, needs you and loves you and is fluffy. =)

Texas Joker 52:
Now, I'm not one to watch No Right Answer. Debates have never really been to my tastes. But this episode was something that I needed to hear lately. For the past few months, I've been trying to deal with anxiety, depression, as well as several other personal issues, and while I've been trying to help myself in any way I can lately I've felt completely alone in this. While it isn't true, depression for me is hardly rational. It often makes me feel like there's some barrier around me and everyone else.

Normally, I'm not one to admit this, both because of either extreme people go to when reacting, but because it also means admitting that I have troubles to myself. But hearing someone admit this publicly, on the internet no less, and understand at least part of what I'm feeling helps.

So, I want to say I appreciate this episode. Hopefully people will take at least some of those words to heart, and not be a total prick to someone when they say that they're depressed.

You've totally made our day. Thank you for sharing.

Thanks guys, great episode. Depression can be a difficult subject to talk about, but getting the message out that there is help to be had and it can be a help to you is super, super important.

This is something I've been struggling with myself. The right mix of medications helped me get a handle on it.

I say "helped". I was under the delusion that anti-depressants were literal happy pills that erases the depression, but really, you can still feel sadness. Its just not crippling.

Also, a word of advice. When all else fails, turn off the computer and go do something with people.

Thanks for talking about this guys! It really does need to be talked about more. Anyway, I'm off to my therapy session!

Thank you for this. Its strange how important an internet show episode from two complete strangers can feel like.

Personally...I wish you luck with the medicine, but be careful. Be very careful.

I was put on antidepressants by my doctor and the results were one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. I encourage everyone to let medication be your last resort. Try therapy, try exercise, try just talking about it a lot with a trusted friend. If you just cant shake it...the medication will always be there, but be careful about it.

The brain is a tender instrument. Messing with chemical mood modification is a slippery slope.

Sadly, North America has an incredibly simplistic and apathetic view towards depression. A large majority of people would rather pretend it doesn't exist or that it's simply a case of the blues, including medical professionals. I had depression for almost 2 years, and I stopped seeking professional help because all they did was brush me off and trivialize the issue. I never wanted drugs, I just wanted someone to talk to me about it. Anyway, I leave you with this comic, which I think describes the feeling of depression pretty well, at least for me.

http://imgur.com/gallery/0VnF3

This was a grand episode. :) Thank you.

I've been depressed a few times in the past, and I can tell you this. You hit the nail right on the head when it comes to being alone with depression. Not just not being around people all the time. Sometimes that's what ya need for a little while. Rather, not letting people know, and keeping yourself isolated in your own head.

Being alone like that, your thoughts really get to you, and there's noting really to stop them sometimes. You feel like you're getting wrapped up and dragged down by it all.

I know it's hard, but you have to tell people about it. That's the only way you can really get help.
Not just meds, not just counseling, but people who will listen to you because they care.

It's very unfortunate that even in this day and age that people still look down on mental issues as something that either doesn't really matter, or needs to be ALWAYS dealt with by separating the people with the issues from "the rest"(Because who never had any mental troubles?), or worse yet, ignoring the problems completely.

That NEEDS to change if things are ever going to get better.

Again, thank you for doing this. :)

Thanks NoRiAns. I've made a lot of misteps in being a supportive partner to someone who is depressed and your perspective helped a lot.

tzimize:

Personally...I wish you luck with the medicine, but be careful. Be very careful.

I was put on antidepressants by my doctor and the results were one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. I encourage everyone to let medication be your last resort. Try therapy, try exercise, try just talking about it a lot with a trusted friend. If you just cant shake it...the medication will always be there, but be careful about it.

The brain is a tender instrument. Messing with chemical mood modification is a slippery slope.

I totally agree that you should be careful with meds and that messing with your brain is a big deal, but I'm not sure I agree with the slippery slope bit and just wanted to extend this a bit from personal experience in case anyone's reading this who might find it helpful.

Not all psych meds work the same on everyone, and you shouldn't really write off all antidepressants because one type didn't work for you. Now believe me, I've been on all sorts of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilisers over the last few years and have had some truly horrendous side effects, but I'd say all that was worth it to eventually find the meds that work for me.

We just don't know enough about the brain to know how individuals will react to any given drug. That's why I'm reluctant to name the drugs I've had my worst experiences with, because that was just my experience and I was unlucky, and those same drugs will work amazingly for other people and I don't want to put them off with internet horror stories.

So yeah, I'd say good luck with the meds, but be aware that it's likely to be a long period of trial and error before you find the right ones (or not, you might get lucky after all). Also try and get a prescription from a specialist (ie a psychiatrist) if at all possible. They just have way more knowledge of these things than a general doctor.

tzimize:
Thank you for this. Its strange how important an internet show episode from two complete strangers can feel like.

Personally...I wish you luck with the medicine, but be careful. Be very careful.

I was put on antidepressants by my doctor and the results were one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. I encourage everyone to let medication be your last resort. Try therapy, try exercise, try just talking about it a lot with a trusted friend. If you just cant shake it...the medication will always be there, but be careful about it.

The brain is a tender instrument. Messing with chemical mood modification is a slippery slope.

This is very, very true.
I used to work at [company withheld] which is one of the largest health science companies in the world. We had strong ties to both hospitals and pharmaceutical companies and we were privy to a lot of medical studies and hospital statistics.

The problem is there is no one chemical imbalance which causes depression; it can be a multitude of things and factors. Doctor's either can't find out (due to sheer medical impracticability) or don't care enough to find out what your particular imbalance is (Trust me, a lot of doctors really don't about you). Instead, they are perfectly willing to just throw medication down your throat to see what works. The issue is things like SSRI's can have incredibly horrible effects if misprescribed. They can also cause very long term damage if taken frequently for too long.

I no longer work at that company, but the amount of shit I learned about the medical industry was horrifying (for example, about half of cancer patients are on treatment that is wrong for them).

One of the problems with communicating depression is that it's not always the right time to talk about depression. Talk isn't always the answer, and when you're depressed it might be a much better idea to have some fun rather than discuss these issues, especially when the other person in the conversation might not be equipped to deal with it.

So, I think that's a third side to the "cheer up" and "oh my god, no" dichotomy. Even an earnest and caring response is not always ideal.

It's a very tricky balance, because when you meet people, you both want them to know about your situation, but you also don't want it to become the one defining thing about you, and have it ruin other chances for social interaction.

The thing about suicide and depression is also thorny, but I think that this comes down to the different kinds of depression, or at least how people relate to it, particularly on the chronic/manic divide. I think people with chronic depression or bipolar issues are much more likely to suicide than those with chronic conditions. In many ways, the different types of depression are completely different problems, yet we lump them all under the one label of "depression" or "mental illnesses" because we don't have a good vocabulary to discuss them. This, I think, can be another flaw in talking about it, because even if someone else has also suffered depression, they might have a vastly different conception of it and ways of dealing with it.

Eamar:

tzimize:

Personally...I wish you luck with the medicine, but be careful. Be very careful.

I was put on antidepressants by my doctor and the results were one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. I encourage everyone to let medication be your last resort. Try therapy, try exercise, try just talking about it a lot with a trusted friend. If you just cant shake it...the medication will always be there, but be careful about it.

The brain is a tender instrument. Messing with chemical mood modification is a slippery slope.

I totally agree that you should be careful with meds and that messing with your brain is a big deal, but I'm not sure I agree with the slippery slope bit and just wanted to extend this a bit from personal experience in case anyone's reading this who might find it helpful.

Not all psych meds work the same on everyone, and you shouldn't really write off all antidepressants because one type didn't work for you. Now believe me, I've been on all sorts of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilisers over the last few years and have had some truly horrendous side effects, but I'd say all that was worth it to eventually find the meds that work for me.

We just don't know enough about the brain to know how individuals will react to any given drug. That's why I'm reluctant to name the drugs I've had my worst experiences with, because that was just my experience and I was unlucky, and those same drugs will work amazingly for other people and I don't want to put them off with internet horror stories.

So yeah, I'd say good luck with the meds, but be aware that it's likely to be a long period of trial and error before you find the right ones (or not, you might get lucky after all). Also try and get a prescription from a specialist (ie a psychiatrist) if at all possible. They just have way more knowledge of these things than a general doctor.

True enough. However, I'd like to explain a bit of my own experience.

I had a pretty long, horrendous bout of depression last year. Over time my doctor wanted to get me on antidepressants, I did not want to, but at some point I realized that this probably wouldnt get better (at least it felt that way) and that either I tried everything, or I would lose everything.

The first medication I took made me filled with energy. I could not stop tapping my foot, and I didnt sleep very well. My mood was just a low hum in the back of my brain, but I felt a bit more angsty and panicky than before. My doctor added another medication to balance it out, and it made me drowsy. I slept like a dead person, but it didnt feel like I ever really woke up.

What I had left of my sex drive vanished, and I actually lost control of my Johnson. I remember at some point my girlfriend (bless her heart) was so devastated since she couldnt help me (or even give me sexual release) that she started crying.

My junk was literally junk and SHE was crying. I didnt really care. I realized I didnt care about that, and I didnt manage to care about her reaction or how she felt. It was partly wonderful, not having to feel anything, and it was partly...strangely horrifying. I didnt really feel horrified, but I KNEW in my head that I SHOULD be, and that I should feel empathy and sympathy towards the single most important person in my life. But I felt nothing.

It is absolutely impossible to describe accurately how that was. KNOWING I should be horrified at my situation and KNOWING I should feel awful (and I would be RIGHT to, for once) but feel nothing. And I was suddenly terrified I might kill myself since I might not even feel anything about that.

So, I stopped taking medication. It has been a long and fucking hard road back. Fortunately I've had a workplace interested in keeping me around and fitting work to me, so I can come back slowly, and I've had a girlfriend with some kind of superpower to keep on her feet. I'm not well. I still feel awful from time to time, and I'm very scared it will never go away. But I'd rather feel miserable, than be emotionally dead.

Its quite possible I might have found better meds, but its also possible I'd have found worse ones. And I honestly dont know if I'd still be around if I did. So be careful. Having a PHD or whatever its called is usually not enough to know someones mind.

Great show guys, thanks.

I have been having a lot of trouble over the last 3 months and this was a fantastic help. My situation is great in life, but I am of course, very unhappy with it. I do have one person who is very supportive and some great friends I have made since I moved here. (( I am quite far north in an oilfield town, FSJ british Columbia)) I have been loathe to tell my friends for teh exact reasons you mentioned of extreems. I will discuss it more, with some of these friends and see if I can get back to my usually more content state of being.

I do see now though that this has beena long term part of who I am, and as Chris said, have become so used to identifying as "Depressive, occassionally rather moody," that I wasn't considering teh possibility that I was simply depressed. At least untill this December when I finally said to my Mother, "I think I am depressed."

Super helpful, and I am sorry about Jew Wario's unfortunate tragedy. Feel good about yourselves because I think this has helped many many people more tha will comment here.

-Shamus Moloney { aka SilverSidedSquirrel )

PS Depression CAN eat a bag of dicks!

I registered an account just to comment on here. I can't thank you enough for talking about this. As cliché as it sounds it's great to know that I'm not alone in this. I live in a place where the cultural psyche is that depression is held in near-physical contempt, and although I know that the view is warped it's hard to manage it sometimes. I identify a lot with the fact that depression becomes an almost integral part of you, which isn't something I've ever read about, thank you for putting this into words.

tzimize:

True enough. However, I'd like to explain a bit of my own experience.

I had a pretty long, horrendous bout of depression last year. Over time my doctor wanted to get me on antidepressants, I did not want to, but at some point I realized that this probably wouldnt get better (at least it felt that way) and that either I tried everything, or I would lose everything.

The first medication I took made me filled with energy. I could not stop tapping my foot, and I didnt sleep very well. My mood was just a low hum in the back of my brain, but I felt a bit more angsty and panicky than before. My doctor added another medication to balance it out, and it made me drowsy. I slept like a dead person, but it didnt feel like I ever really woke up.

What I had left of my sex drive vanished, and I actually lost control of my Johnson. I remember at some point my girlfriend (bless her heart) was so devastated since she couldnt help me (or even give me sexual release) that she started crying.

My junk was literally junk and SHE was crying. I didnt really care. I realized I didnt care about that, and I didnt manage to care about her reaction or how she felt. It was partly wonderful, not having to feel anything, and it was partly...strangely horrifying. I didnt really feel horrified, but I KNEW in my head that I SHOULD be, and that I should feel empathy and sympathy towards the single most important person in my life. But I felt nothing.

It is absolutely impossible to describe accurately how that was. KNOWING I should be horrified at my situation and KNOWING I should feel awful (and I would be RIGHT to, for once) but feel nothing. And I was suddenly terrified I might kill myself since I might not even feel anything about that.

So, I stopped taking medication. It has been a long and fucking hard road back. Fortunately I've had a workplace interested in keeping me around and fitting work to me, so I can come back slowly, and I've had a girlfriend with some kind of superpower to keep on her feet. I'm not well. I still feel awful from time to time, and I'm very scared it will never go away. But I'd rather feel miserable, than be emotionally dead.

Its quite possible I might have found better meds, but its also possible I'd have found worse ones. And I honestly dont know if I'd still be around if I did. So be careful. Having a PHD or whatever its called is usually not enough to know someones mind.

I have massive sympathy for you and your experience, and I'm glad things are looking better now. I too have had to come off meds abruptly because of unbearable side effects, so I really do sympathise. I guess the difference between us is that you decided to try other methods while I carried on trying different drugs. The reason I did that was because I knew that unmedicated bipolar disorder would be just as bad as any side effects, and eventually kill me, no question. That said, bipolar is a very different beast from depression (I was initially treated for depression before the bipolar diagnosis) and absolutely does require medication in an overwhelming majority of cases.

I'm in no way trying to prove you wrong, I just always like to offer an alternative viewpoint to positions like yours because I remember using the internet a hell of a lot when I was figuring all this stuff out, and I want anyone in the same position who happens to stumble across this to see both sides.

It seems the best advice for anyone reading this is to be aware of yourself, your condition and your situation as much as possible. Ultimately you have to figure out what's best for you.

This has been a great video and thank you so much for this. I have been suffering with depression and anxiety since I was in my late preteens and it's a subject that often isn't spoken about much within my family and certain people who just think it's a "phase". Just like one of the guys said, sorry I don't remember the name I apologise, I told a youth leader at my church that I was suffering with depressing his answer was, are you praying or are you praying enough? I can tell he didn't know how to respond to me saying I had depression because he was a close friend and I honestly had to answer back saying no matter how hard I try, it doesn't fully help.

Even when I do something that is fun, there are moments where I still feel down and that I have to put on a fake smile even though deep down, I can't. Personally I am still scared to tell many people I know because I don't want to burden anyone or have them overreact and treat me differently as if I will snap or something if they say anything. It took me a while to speak to my doctor and a therapist about everything.

A relative even openly said, and at this point they don't know I suffer with depression, "well a person who is Christian shouldn't be depressed, they aren't being a good Christian". He made that comment after a report on the news about those who are discriminated against at the work place for having a mental health issue. I weren't just shocked at what was said and didn't say anything in response. My family can be very religious and later found out some thought the same thing to what my cousin said.

The subject of depression and other forms of mental health should be spoken about more to give everyone an understand into what it's really about because it often feels intimidating for someone with that mental health to talk about their situation, without a few in society thinking you are either overreacting or you should "get over it". Or worse think you are a bad person or coward... I hate when people say that so much.

SirBryghtside:
Thanks for making this - a lot of it resonated with me personally :) I've started coming to terms with the idea that I might be depressed thanks to people like you, and I'm starting to work out how to deal with it - a little less crippling social anxiety would help on the whole 'talking to people about it' front, but I'll get there :P

^5 Bryghtside. You managed to say it much more consiseley than I. I am in the same position, and I too am encouraged to talk to more people now.

I've suffered from depression in the past.
It doesn't help that until this year I didn't know I had a genetic condition, one of the side effects being bi-polar depression.

I used to have it pretty bad, I mean really bad. During my college years I was in a relationship and due to some comments at some points it did flare up a bit. However it was terrible in my final year as my girlfriend decided to break up with me, 2 days before our three year anniversary, by text. The text read "I don't love you anymore what do you want to do about that ?". Suffice to say it's not great when you're meant to be doing lab work. My dissertation mentor was amazing though, I don't know if the guy had been through depression himself or if he'd dealt with it before but the guy basically raised my spirits up by making some pretty dark jokes at times and putting me on a project that I felt meant something. I was given a purpose as such for the year in the form of the project. Even now having done that project has made me feel I've actually achieved something.

The funny thing is I don't think my mentor even knows how important his discovery is really in terms of science and I'm amazed to have been part of it.

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