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While I appreciate everything Chris does for us and this site, I do think the Depression section can be more fleshed out. So I'm starting this thread as a place for people to check for resources to help them with depression.
WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?
I'm a 26 year old American currently teaching English in South Korea. I first realized I was depressed in my 3rd year of college (2009ish) and have been struggling with it ever since. My mother and her sister have it as does one of my brothers. I've never become actually suicidal though when it was at its worst (unemployed after college, living with family, no plans for future, no friends in the area) I started to think how I would do it if I ever wanted to.
These days it's not too bad but it keeps me from enjoying life. Right now I've made beating my depression my FIRST priority. I'm an American living in fucking Korea and I can't enjoy it. The only emotions I have anymore are anger and sadness. I can't remember the last time I felt happiness or pleasure (anhedonia)... and as such I have no motivation to work on my personal goals. The depression has got to go.
I know how debilitating this shit can be. Trust me when I say you are not alone.
I have looked through a LOT of information regarding depression... and a lot of bullshit as well. This is a list of resources that have stood out to me. You guys can feel free to add anything that has helped you out; my only request is that you make it easy to read and not just a block of text:
DR. STEPHEN ILARDI'S "THE DEPRESSION CURE"
I'm not easily blown away, and depression has made me skeptical of almost everything, I fucking hate the term 'mind-blowing' as these days it's used on every Buzzfeed and Cracked article. But if I was going to choose a depression resource to ascribe it to, it would be this one.
"Depression Cure" attacks the problem of depression mainly from the standpoint of "modern society vs. our ancient brains"... in a nutshell, Ilardi takes up the concept that our brains are still hard-wired for life in the Stone Age, and since we live in a very non-Stone Age world, depression has become very easy to stumble into. He quotes numerous studies and pieces of research, but the most important ones are the ones that look at depression in modern societies vs. modern-day hunter-gatherer tribes. One shows that depression has skyrockets over recent generations while the other exhibits virtually no cases of depression at all.
Guess which one is which?
The book is built around 6 or 7 lifestyle changes including Omega-3s, aerobic exercise, sunlight, sociability, and sleep. There are a few more that I can't remember off the bat. He explains the benefits of these from a variety of standpoints; chemical, biological, psychological, etc. He also explains that inflammation plays a big part in causing depression, and shows how and why each of his 6/7 suggested changes address that issue.
If there is one book you read on depression, make it this one. I've only implemented a couple of his suggestions thus far but the difference they make in how I feel each day is very palpable.
DAVID BURNS' "FEELING GOOD"
Unless I'm mistaken, this has become something like the Holy Bible for therapists who use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It's very, very popular and while it was written in the 80s, they've been consistently updating it with modern-day information.
While I haven't finished the book, I can say that the book seems to be based around the idea of a mental-emotional-reality trifecta; your thoughts influence your mood which influences your reality which influences your thoughts which influence your mood etcetera etcetera. So it focuses on helping you address whatever negative thinking patterns you may (and probably do) have. He provides a list of 10 Cognitive Distortions to
I'll be honest; I've gone to several therapists who have tried to get me to use this method before, but I never really followed through mainly because I was too depressed. And since I don't engage in typical self-hate talk, I thought it didn't apply to me. I've recently started doing the most basic exercise- making a log of my automatic negative thoughts at the end of the day, figuring out what cognitive distortion caused them, and then creating more rational, realistic thoughts to correct them- and I can see how if you stick with it, it can help you feel better.
More importantly, it also really helps you unravel your negative thought processes, even the more unconscious ones. Even though you may feel like you only FEEL depressed and don't necessarily have any negative thoughts, this will show you (most likely) how wrong you are. It certainly did for me.
This is actually the site of TJGoodLooking, a guy who frequents GLL. His story is pretty intense... his battle with depression had gotten so bad that he made a pact with himself; he wrote and signed his own suicide note and gave himself a year to try everything under the sun to fix his depression. If in a year he hadn't found anything, he would end his life.
Fortunately, TJ found something that worked for him and turned it into a program to help others. I won't go into a lot of detail out of respect for him, but the program is primarily centered on your diet, as well as looking at underlying physical conditions that could be causing your depression. I think the book 'Mood Cure' is a big inspiration for his program.
He includes checklists of symptoms to help you figure out what conditions you MIGHT have. It's a really good idea to then go and get some tests done to check for them. (I'm in a foreign country and am in the process of getting health insurance so I haven't been able to do this yet)
There is 6 weeks' worth of reading and material. The program is only $100. Super cheap, considering what it's meant to help you fix. If for some reason you shy away from that price tag, consider that this is not only your mental health we're talking about, but your entire life. At the very least, I urge you to give his site a look; he's got some free material to help you get an idea of what he's all about.
FIND A PSYCHOLOGIST/THERAPIST
First of all, if you're too proud to see a therapist/think that therapy doesn't work/think that therapy is for crazy people....
GET THE FUCK OVER IT
If you think/know you are depressed then now is not the time for you to get hung up on your ego. Short of electroshock therapy you must get into the mindset of being willing to try ANY reasonable solution
Has therapy helped me achieved a 'breakthrough' in my depression? Not that I know of. Chances are that almost never happens for people; it's just some dramatic bullshit you see in movies. That said, I would probably be a lot worse off today if I had never gone to see a psychologist. A (good) psychologist has a way of helping you dive deep into yourself, past the flimsy barrier separating your conscious from your sub-conscious, and your sub-conscious from your unconscious. I've seen several therapists over the last few years (mainly because i've been traveling) and the ones that I chose to stuck with were always able to help me come to some incredibly important realizations about myself. Even if i didn't have a dramatic breakthrough like in Good Will Hunting and end up sobbing into the shoulder of Robin Williams (RIP), these psychologists still played an important role in enabling me to better understand myself, my depression, and what is important to me in life. And something like that is invaluable not only in beating depression, but to life in general
If you aren't already seeing a therapist, I urge you to start looking. If money is an issue, ask them if they do sliding scale. Also be prepared to shop around a little at first. Might not be necessary if the first one you see is a good match, but it's not uncommon for people to have try out different psychologists before they find one they like.
This isn't so much a resource but a word of caution.
If you're taking or considering taking anti-depressants, make sure you know what the side effects are, both common and uncommon. I'm taking Effexor and despite getting my 8 hours, despite sleeping/waking up at the same time every day (during the week, anyway), and despite going to the gym and even taking a deload every so often, my energy level is in the gutter. Like I mentioned before, I also probably suffer from anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure or positive emotion) and at times it feels like my depression has actually gotten worse.
And guess what? Those are ALL side effects of Effexor, as counterintuitive as it may be.
I'm not a big fan of pharmaceutical drugs. The only reason I'm on them is because I really want to get rid of my depression, and as soon as I feel like I don't need them I'm going to taper off. But for those of you who are/are going to take them, make sure you understand the side effects. They may actually just make things worse
Every goddamn day. Get in there.
-- Finish recovery
-- Land first major client
-- Ship first game
-- Join one-comma club
Thanks for the post so far Lucidity, I like the direction you're taking this. Not to butt in but I'd like to share some of my own thoughts/experiences. While these might not all be resources I think they're solid tips to share.
WHO THE FUCK AM I?
I am a 26 year old as well who is still taking basic classes at community college. I've dropped out every year due not because lack of intelligence but anxiety and depression. Whether that's an excuse or not I'll leave it up to you, I have my own beliefs about it. I've recovered from my most recent depression funk and am currently living at home, not working (depressing on it own ). My grandpa was severely depressed his whole life and my mom has suffered on and off with it. I've been diagnosed with anxiety as well as depression. When I'm happy and doing what I love I can be extremely productive and social as well as reduce my anxiety to a minimum. I'm working with a psychiatrist (although I don't think everyone needs one) and a therapist. I am actually doing really well excited with school and wanting to get back into work but taking baby steps, which I believe is key for certain people. Never let yourself get too overwhelmed with too many things at once when recovering. I've kicked ass at life on and off over the years so I have a pretty good general idea on where I want to be and how I did it.
If you think any of these are bad ideas feel free to blast me. Just thought I'd share what's benefited ME and I know not everyone is the same.
A few things that have helped me greatly.
1) Surrounding yourself with friends and family.
Not everyone should do this. If you're family is toxic don't bother. If you're friends are negative, a bad influence, or just stupid don't bother.
2) Buddha's Brain - Dr. Rick Hanson
Great book. Helped me realize a lot and brought me back to reality. It's hard to read books when you're depressed/anxious but I highly recommend getting into this one, it's very enlightening.
3) Quiet your mind - John Selby (For anxiety)
Haven't finished this one yet but so far there are great techniques for calming your mind which I have learned from alternative sources not just this book. I will update when I finish it.
4) Get good sleep.
If you're not sleeping well everything will be 10x harder during the day, especially motivation and mood. I believe good sleep and getting on a schedule is KEY for moving forward.
5) Good Health - eating well/working out.
This might not be your first step but if possible do it as soon as you can. Eating healthy, working out, and just overall good health helps immensely. You will build confidence, feel good physically and mentally. Not to mention the release of endorphins from running/hitting the gym.
6) Your environment.
I know not everyone can pick up and leave where they are, but if you can it might be a good idea. Whether you're living at home with family or have a house/apartment with lousy roommates GET OUT! When you're depressed you have no idea how toxic certain people can be. Being in a good environment is important to your mental health and motivation. Even if you're in a good living situation your city/town/state might just not be for you. I truly believe every city has a vibe and not everyone is on key with those vibes. If you can move where you want, I mean what do you really have to lose?
Another thing I wanted to add is I'm on Klonopin for anxiety. I feel the need to take it everyday but I do not abuse it, I'm just struggling with certain things.
Something interesting happened to me though, I started taking Kratom and I don't EVER take the anxiety medication with it because I don't feel that need. Now the more research I've done the more I believe I don't have anxiety but I have ADD or something similar to that which could even be caused by depression. Kratom fixes that no question.
I'm not advocating Kratom for anyone as a replacement to modern medicine, especially if you've struggled with addiction. I also don't think you should immediately bulk order it and expect it to fix your depression/anxiety without the proper steps. I believe Kratom can get me off my medication, I haven't felt depressed in months and I feel 10x better when I burn Kratom. I'm thinking I'm going to discuss with my DR to get off the anti-depressants. While I don't suggest Kratom as the ultimate option to fixing your life, I have found great benefits for myself and believe greatly in the amazing plants benefits.
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I didn't think the "Get Hung" guide would have girls eyeing my bulge. It did.
I didn't think that your exercise and diet advice would have girls checking me out. It did.
I DEFINITELY didn't think that your hair-loss prevention would fix my hairline. Not in a billion years. It mother fucking did. You saved me a crazy amount of time, a ton of money, unnecessary pain, and destroyed my #1 source of anxiety. DESTROYED IT.
Kratom is next!
To anyone reading this, follow through, read this material, APPLY this material, and enjoy life.