Theology

"How to Win Over Depression" review: 1-27

Before I get to what Tim had to say in the first two chapters, I want to begin by making sure we’re all on the same page, especially since Tim is going to confuse this issue in very serious ways.

First, there are different kinds of depression. There’s major or clinical depression (which can also be chronic,) mild depression, seasonal affective disorder, and the depression that is a part if bipoloar disorder (as well as others). Tim doesn’t distinguish between any of these, and his reasoning for why he mixes all of these up will become clear once we’re further into the book. However, the book focuses on helping people who have major or clinical depression– but then confuses that with mild, temporary, situational depression.

Second, these are the symptoms that doctors look for in order to diagnose major depression:

    • difficulty concentrating, sometimes referred to as a “brain fog”
    • feeling worthless, guilty (I refer to this using Captain Awkward’s term “JerkBrain“)
    • hopelessness
    • sleep disturbances (insomnia and/or oversleeping)
    • irritability
    • disinterest in things previously considered enjoyable
    • appetite changes
    • persistent pain, headaches, cramps …
    • persistent sadness
    • suicidal ideation

However, the only “symptom” that Tim gives any credence to in “The Problem of Depression” is unhappiness. He references several ancient writers who describe things like the disinterest and the feelings of worthlessness, but then spends the rest of the chapter talking about how depression is “universal,” (19) that “everyone will be depressed at some point,” and that our society is “starved for happiness” (20).

This is one of the ways that he conflates serious depression with “a general feeling of being sad and unhappy,” which is infuriating and wrong. Yes, everyone at some point in their lives is going to feel sad for a stretch. Life is full of pain and bad things happen to everyone, and we’re going to feel unhappy about it. That is obvious. That, however is not what major depression is.

I’ve talked to a lot of people who “feel blue sometimes,” but then they are able to snap out of it. Frequently these people say things to me like “just find something you love to do!” or “stop that negative self-talk!” and think that’s all it takes. It becomes obvious fairly quickly that these people have never dealt with paralyzing apathy or JerkBrain. When Handsome asks me a question like “what do you want to do?” it takes a serious amount of effort for me to respond with something besides I don’t care. I have spent many, many days over the last few months staring at a spot on the wall for hours, unable to care about anything enough to drag myself off the sofa.

Then there’s JerkBrain, which is a constant voice in the back of my head that I wish I could shut up, and it is different from negative self-talk. I can control the negative self-talk. I can keep myself from fixating on my cellulite and love handles, I can stop myself when I start thinking things like “I’ll never be as good a writer as so-and-so!” However, none of that changes the overriding belief that I am worthless, and the constant, unending feelings of guilt. My brains’ automatic reaction to all conflict is you are a horrible, disgusting waste of a human being. You are nothing. You deserve nothing.

But Tim is one of those people who think I can just change the way my brain thinks (27) and then I’ll be happy. Right.

Moving on to chapter two, where Tim describes some of the different ways depression manifests itself. Before he gets into that, though, he links having depression to emotional immaturity. He blames people who have depression partly on parents who didn’t let their children cry it out (22-23). He describes it as a form of teaching infants and toddlers to emotionally “walk,” because apparently he knows absolutely nothing about developmental psychology.

But, moving on: he says that people with depression are “exhibitionists”– according to him, we struggle with our depression by throwing an extended temper tantrum (24). This apparently takes many forms, including vandalism, but he then goes on to spend a significant amount of time talking about he can tell how depressed a woman is by how short her skirt is (hint: if she’s wearing a mini skirt, she’s sooooo depressed) Also, he says things like “Studies have indicated” without citing a single one, and that “promiscuous” and “oversexed” women aren’t really interested in sex at all– they just feel insecure. Men aren’t promiscuous or oversexed, though– they have “sexual conquests.”

Another way depressed people can act is by being “clingy.” He gives six examples, five of which he genders as female: talking on the phone too much, continuing to nurture children after her own children have grown, being an ambitious hostess, buying love, or exaggerating illness for attention. The one male example: being a workaholic.

There’s no misogyny here, y’all. Not even a little bit.

My reaction to this description was what in the world is he talking about? The human race is pretty diverse so I’m positive that at some point some depressed person has done one of these things, but I’ve been depressed off and on my whole life and when I’m depressed “let’s throw a huge party!” would never cross my mind in a million years. Neither would talking to anyone for extended periods. Or trying to get attention through faking illness. Those could be unhealthy behaviors depending on why you feel the need to do them (seriously, what is wrong with throwing big parties or enjoying long conversations?), but none of these things are symptoms of depression, or even typical of depressed people.

update 4/22/15: I didn’t realize this was going to be a problem, but I have received multiple comments like this since I posted this on Monday. If you’ve never commented before, I will not publish comments on this series that tell me and my readers about some “cure” for depression. You can share your experiences, but don’t come here promoting some “method” or “system” when you’ve never participated before.

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  • I wonder if his “everyone is depressed” doesn’t also reflect the views I’ve seen in self-help books (Everyone is an addict! Nobody can stop being addicted if they haven’t done 12-step!). But since he doesn’t seem the type to peruse that stuff, I’m guessing that like you say, he hears “depressed” and thinks “sad” (you explain the difference very well)
    But then there’s those examples at the end which are just … cuckoo. Even given my low opinion of LaHaye’s insights into anything those are such weird supposed symptoms.

  • If you go fishing in the sewer, you shouldn’t expect to catch fish and you shouldn’t be surprised to reel in a bunch of crap.

  • I heard Tim LaHaye interviewed on the Drew Marshall show once – he came across as the most arrogant guest I’d ever heard on the show, with the possible exception of the Scientology representative. When Drew pointed out that there were a number of hermeneutic traditions regarding Revelation in addition to LaHayes pseudo-Darbyism, LaHaye’s reply was “Yes, and they’re wrong.”

    He didn’t present any exploration, or even awareness, of the other interpretive traditions: as far as he is concerned, to disagree with him is to be wrong, and that’s all there is to it.

    Probably not the person I’d be looking to for pastoral advice when dealing with depression. A certain degree of empathy must surely be a prerequisite for speaking on this subject, and I haven’t ever witnessed him exhibit any.

    • Blank Ron

      Ever read any of the ‘Left Behind’ books? Empathy is NOT one of Timmy’s failings. The man comes across as totally disconnected from the human race. Seriously, it’s spooky.

  • trevel

    I’m baffled at the idea of depression being extrovertish. As an introvert who has had serious depression (married to an extrovert who has had serious depression: our first year or two of marriage turned out to be a bit rocky, before the depression was diagnosed), my depression generally involves me never seeing anyone ever again, because for the most part people make me feel better. But I don’t see them because jerkbrain is going “THEY ALL HATE YOU; NO ONE LIKES YOU; DON’T INFLICT YOURSELF ON THEM.”

    Whereas his version of depression seems to be “No one is paying attention to me! EVERYONE NEEDS TO PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEE!”

  • May

    Dear Tim LaHaye: back AWAY from psychology. Please. Before you do any more harm.

  • “…because apparently he knows absolutely nothing about developmental psychology.”

    THIS! I have found this to be true with most of those in the ‘biblical counseling’ business: zero knowledge of basic psych concepts. I honestly have no clue how these people are allowed to publish MENTAL HEALTH LITERATURE. It’s beyond comprehension. I went on Amazon and read the intro and first chapter for free. LaHaye talked about how mothers shouldn’t always respond immediately to a baby’s cries because it doing so doesn’t adequately prepare babies for the reality of loss in life. Never mind that babies lack the cognitive capacity to process the lack of response as a lesson in emotional regulation, or that letting an infant cry it out instills a sense of anxiety and abandonment. Nope. No research to see here. Just the arrogant pontificating of an ignorant man who people will believe because his name is on the cover of a book. [Cue frustrated screams]

    • Crystal

      I agree. I am finding Samantha to be an expert educator on the subject of depression. Obviously Tim LaHaye has never been mentally ill in his life, or he wouldn’t even attempt to write such confounded rubbish for all the gold mines in the world 🙁

  • Oh, and I love how his experience with ‘depression’ began with “I didn’t get the house I bid on.” LOL. Really??

  • This might be worse than I thought it was going to be. For me, being depressed involves wanting to hide in my house. I read a lot of bad romance novels. My house deteriorates around me because all I have energy to do is read bad romance novels. I don’t knit. I don’t write. I don’t hoop. And I can’t just make myself do those things. Depression has nothing to do with negative self talk for me either. (I do work on that because it is important, but it isn’t depression.) Depression is not wearing mini skirts. Depression is yoga pants, a dirty t-shirt, and no energy to bathe. God bless my antidepressant. Tim LeHaye has never seen me depressed.

    • Yoga pants also hide all the leg stubble you accumulate. Nope, no mini skirt with yeti legs.

    • Bethel

      ^THIS. A thousand times this.

  • marciepooh

    I just have to second (third? fourth?) the depression /= mini-skirts. I’m sure there’s some woman out there who’s dressed “sexy” while depressed as a way to deal with her depression but I, personally, have never met such a woman. Like knithoopwrite, I’m much more likely to wear yoga pants and a t-shirt when depressed, and off the top of my head two out of three women in my life would wear essentially the same thing. The third, my mother, probably still dressed fairly “preppy” but she faked normal fairly well, when she wasn’t literally hiding in the closet.

    Speaking of Mom, she is one who might throw a party in the depths of depression to keep up the appearance normal. She also tended to slightly overcommit herself because if people were counting on her to be at a meeting, etc., she couldn’t just go back to bed once we were off to school. And we kids needed her so she couldn’t just kill herself (no way in hell she was going to leave my older brothers with her first husband alone).

    TL;DR version – In my experience, LaHaye is full of you know what.

  • “..continuing to nurture children after her own children have grown…”

    So grandparents are depressed? All the empty nesters who help out with my church’s (or any other church’s) Wednesday after school program, teach pre-k through 12th grade Sunday school, teach children’s choirs, etc. and anyone who works with youth at all (teachers, mentors, coaches,…) are depressed? I guess it does start seeming pretty universal if nurturing children other than one’s own is a sign of depression.

    (Sorry, for the double post but, geez Louise, this bit caught my eye as I scrolled up.)

  • It’s like he’s confusing depression with existential angst. I… think… people can become workaholics or chase sex to distract themselves from the finality of death or their unresolved issues…?

    But that isn’t depression, that’s consciousness. Shouldn’t that be embraced rather than defeated? I’ve read too much Camus- I can’t be objective. But I’m guessing whatever the hell LaHaye says is just going to be one more method of distraction and a method with far less charm than throwing parties. It’s not going to help actual depression even slightly, since depression is a medical condition not a French Novelist.

  • I’ve been clinically depressed, seriously enough so that I overcame my lifelong aversion to medications — and especially anti-depressants — and forced myself to take them for a few years. I’ve not met anyone whose depression manifested itself as a cry for attention, although I knew a few attention-seeking teenagers years ago who made a show of being depressed, moaning around saying, “I’m so depressed” but not showing any actual signs of depression other than that…oh, and some of Tim LaHaye’s supposed “signs”. Maybe he met them too, and is basing the book on them? After all, one or two of them wore mini-skirts. Then again, so did most girls back then.

    I, on the other hand, like most of the actual depressed people I’ve known, tend to withdraw when depressed. People simply take too much effort. So does getting dressed in anything other than the comfiest, easiest clothes. And being an “ambitious hostess”? No way.

    Where did he get this nonsense?

  • Crystal

    “Then there’s JerkBrain, which is a constant voice in the back of my head that I wish I could shut up, and it is different from negative self-talk. I can control the negative self-talk. I can keep myself from fixating on my cellulite and love handles, I can stop myself when I start thinking things like “I’ll never be as good a writer as so-and-so!” However, none of that changes the overriding belief that I am worthless, and the constant, unending feelings of guilt. My brains’ automatic reaction to all conflict is you are a horrible, disgusting waste of a human being. You are nothing. You deserve nothing.”

    That is one of the symptoms of schitzophrenia, the illness I struggle to overcome and am doing fairly well with – God is helping me 🙂

    Schitzophrenia is slightly different in that it isn’t so much of a jerkbrain for them, but it is conscious voices. Other than that, it is somewhat similar. I know from experience.

    I will be taking this opportunity to educate my fellow commenters about some of my experiences with schitzo – the ones I feel comfortable sharing, that is.

    “But Tim is one of those people who think I can just change the way my brain thinks (27) and then I’ll be happy. Right.” It depends on the individual person, and the individual situation – no hard and fast rule can ever apply to all people because all people are different. For some, they can do this, whatever the illness is (I’m sure I personally can) but not everyone is that fortunate. Some people need far more help than simply being told to “snap out of it.” That is incredibly unfair to them and they deserve better. Even some who can overcome will need help, coaching, and assistance along the way or the journey will be a lot harder than they deserve 🙁

    I hope you can overcome your depression. Remember you are loved, no matter what.

    As a fellow sufferer of mental illness, I applaud you and your journey.

    • Crystal

      I honestly hope I am not imposing myself or being selfish by discussing some aspects of some of the things I have gone through – I say that because I know it is not depression. I will, of course, be discussing what you say in your articles as well, Samantha, and commenting on other people’s insights too.

  • Melissa

    I doubt it would make an impression on this guy, but I’ve sent several people with misconceptions about depression off to read the Hyperbole and a Half series about it, and it usually helped them understand. Maybe it’s the pictures. Or following her through it step by step.

    • Yes to this! Hyperbole and a Half shows a great visual example of what depression feels like. I second this!

  • Flora Poste

    Your offhand comment about the many “feminine” traits he attributes to depression as opposed to the single “masculine” trait made me *snrk* water all over my desk. About nine months ago I was officially diagnosed with clinical depression that I had been dealing with for a long, long time–and one of my dominant symptoms is being a workaholic (I’m a lady, ftr). This was especially funny to me because I recently joined a women’s Bible study at my church that turned out to be WAY more complementarian than I ever thought Catholics were these days, and I spent most of the last meeting feeling like apparently (according to their criteria) I was supposed to be a man and should have been in the men’s Bible study instead. But that’s a rant for another day.

    I turn into a workaholic during episodes BECAUSE of Jerk-Brain, which I feel is akin to both Allie Brosh’s brain hurling green wads of hate at things and Wil Wheaton’s “Depression Lies” theorem of existence. “You think you can leave work? You think you can LEAVE WORK? What, are you watching those other people leave work? They deserve it. They can handle it. They can get done more stuff than you and still have energy to run errands and go to their kids’ eternal hockey games. You don’t get to leave work. The second you get home you’re going to fall straight to sleep. Suck it up, slacker.”

    Also, the miniskirt thing. I can’t even. When I’m more depressed my clothes get frumpier and frumpier.

  • With the miniskirt non-sequitur: it made me think of what is now diagnosed as BPD (borderline personality disorder). One of my friends has been diagnosed with it. A major symptom is relational issues, like being sexually promiscuous or “clingy.” And yeah, from what I’ve read about the history of the BPD diagnosis, there’s a lot of misogynistic reasons for someone to be diagnosed with it. To me it seems like a catch-all diagnosis with sexist overtones. But it is a recognized personality disorder (nothing to do with depression, though as in my friend’s case, there might be some overlap). Some random facts I’ve learned recently.

    • I think less BPD and more Histrionic or somatic narcissism. But all of these are personality disorders and not clinical depression (although of course a person could have both). I keep trying to educate people in my life about the difference bc they can’t fathom I have bipolar disorder because I am not acting like a person with a personality disorder. The lack of education on mental illness frustrates me to no end.

  • nessa3

    Sadly Ive run into to many christains who dont know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to depressions and mental health issues….I tried tor years to just be happy and get over it …keep the thoughts on good things….But it doesnt address the negative tape that abuse has set on a continuous loop in your head.

  • I think there’s still a lot of ignorance about depression in today’s culture – I didn’t know “depressed” didn’t just mean “very sad” until my doctors started to think I might have depression (it turned out I didn’t). But you’d think someone would do research and educate themselves about these things before writing a book about depression…

    • Bethel

      Precisely. It’s one thing to not know much about the experience… it’s quite another to then write a book about it!

  • Yikes.

    He just substitutes depression for mild anxiety/low self esteem, and then does so in the most sexist way possible.

  • “Another way depressed people can act is by being “clingy.” He gives six examples, five of which he genders as female: talking on the phone too much, continuing to nurture children after her own children have grown, being an ambitious hostess, buying love, or exaggerating illness for attention. The one male example: being a workaholic.”

    Wait, what? First of all, I wouldn’t categorize ANY of those as particularly clingy behavior.

    And they’re sure as fu…heck not examples of depression…..

    Okay, sermon’s over; I will now dismiss the choir 😉

    • Okay, having read other responses, I guess I need to correct myself. I had no idea depression could manifest as workaholism.

  • What studies? Conducted by who?

  • Tim LaHaye’s books, fiction and nonfiction, all demonstrate such incredible self-centeredness. My protagonist’s boss tells him to quit aggressively proselytizing his co-workers, so I understand religious persecution; I don’t always get everything I want, so I understand depression.

  • The title of the book tells you this is going to be a rotten book. Key word: Win.
    Depression isn’t a game with winners and losers. Oh my I was depressed and now I’m not, yeah I won. How stupid. Depression is something to be coped with, to understand and deal with. Depression that comes from loss of a loved one is endured until time helps it fade. Clinical depression is a life long struggle. Giving false hope to those with this struggle is abusive.

    • Sarah S

      So true. The years I spent trying to “win” were so miserable. Accepting situational depression and learning to walk through step by step and Feel it all and be patient with myself has been Way better than trying to “win” over the “devil”. Trying to “win” over clinical depression made me MORE depressed as I was obviously letting the devil get to me and not having a “conquerors” mindset (in Christ we are More than conquerors don’t you know!).

  • I admit that I have problems with the phrase “throwing drugs at the symptoms.” It feels a little like “You should be able to beat this without taking anything.” I’m sure that isn’t what you intended, but as someone who spent years without taking anything and spending a lot of time trying to manage my depression without drugs and having limited success, I find it a little bit hurtful. The antidepressant has done what I couldn’t. It evened things out. I don’t have the lows that I used to have.

    • besides, who rails against heart patients that take meds? Diabetics who take meds? Kidney patients who take meds? Asthmatics who take meds? There are many chronic illnesses which are aided by the taking of meds and people don’t generally condemn people for taking them. Until it comes to mental illness and then you’re just supposed to will it away, like wishing will make it so.

  • Hilary

    Eeep this already looks ridiculous. I’ve never had severe or chronic depression, but I have had situational depression, ie it responded to better self care, catching up on my sleep, dealing with my m*****f*****ing pollen allergies, and a change in situation. Still not fun, easy, or something I could just snap out of by thinking happy thoughts.

    I know you don’t allow for proselytizing, but can I recommend a really great BBC 6 episode miniseries I found that deals with mental illness in a totally realistic, human, and awesome story? That includes a early 20’s David Tennant playing a young patient with manic bi-polar disorder?

    • Divizna

      Takin’ Over the Asylum is the title, right? (At least my google says so.) Adding to my list of things I’d like to watch.

    • This sounds awesome! I’m going to check it out now.

  • What comes to mind after reading all this is that in Tim’s book Battle for the Mind, he says something to the effect: “The more education someone has the more liberal they tend to be.”

  • abi

    This is the kind of nonsense that kept me from seeking treatment for my severe depression for *years* because I kept second-guessing whether I was really depressed or just having some sort of exhibitionist temper tantrum because I was emotionally immature. Tim LaHaye sounds an awful lot like my JerkBrain.

    • Jenny E

      Yes! It didn’t help that my parents have always characterized me as overly dramatic (rather than overly emotional- faking emotions to manipulate people is one of their most common assessments of children). I still question whether or not I am really sick with regular, common cold-type illnesses, let alone “invisible” ones like depression.

  • Crystal

    I agree. You must answer Samantha’s question. I say this because she and others reading this article ARE suffering from depression at the moment. Please come back and answer, for all our sakes.

  • Dressage_Girl

    This is another example of one of the contributing factors that has driven me away from the church – the misconceptions about mental illness and the common belief that mental illnesses are a result of immaturity or lack of faith. I have been depressed since I was a pre-teen and have also spent the last nine years with anorexia nervosa. The eating disorder has a voice very similar to what you describe for JerkBrain, though I call this “voice” Ana. I have learned that I have to be very, very careful who in the church I tell about Ana. I’m either told that I should just stop thinking these thoughts (as if it’s a switch I can simply turn on and off! Believe me, if it was, I would turn it off and then smash it to smithereens so it can never be turned on again) or that I am being oppressed by demons, or that I simply don’t have enough faith. So many leadership figures in Christian media contribute to these misconceptions with what they say. It’s as if they think that they have the authority and knowledge to speak on the subject of mental health even when they have no training on it. It then gets parroted and further distorted by the Christians who swallow their words without thinking.

    Just what you have described of this book so far is enough to turn my stomach. Tim LaHaye and every other Christian figurehead out there needs to take a hard look at how they speak about mental illness. The damage they do with their misconceptions and poor choices of words are incredible.

    • Crystal

      HUGS

      Please come back and tell us. We want to know about Ana so we can help you. Many of us are suffering too, and we will all try to care about each other as much as we can.

      • Dressage_Girl

        I wish I could give you an accurate picture of what an eating disorder voice is like. I’ll try to sum it up, but if you want an in-depth idea of what this is like, check out Life Without ED by Jenni Schaefer.

        Essentially, Ana is a constant voice in the back of my mind. I can’t begin to tell you the horrible things she says to me, or the disparaging language she uses. Words that I would never use get flung at me on a daily basis. Ana tells me constantly that I don’t deserve friends, don’t deserve to eat, don’t deserve to enjoy life, or to live at all. After dealing with this for several years, I came to realize exactly how brainwashing works when someone is forced to listen to something over and over. It doesn’t matter how much you ignore it, you eventually begin to believe it.

        What has helped me the most is having a few friends (and a therapist) whom I can tell, “This is what I am hearing/feeling,” and then trusting them to tell me the truth about whatever the issue is. They understand that, while I trust them to tell me the truth, I have a hard time believing things that are so much in contradiction to what Ana tells me. Even if I can’t believe whatever they tell me, I choose to believe them. A recent example is my body image. I have a very negative body image and suffer from mild body dysmorphic disorder. Basically, I can’t see my body accurately. What I see when I look in the mirror and what you see when you look at me are two very, very different things. More than your average person struggles with disliking their appearance. I literally can’t see myself as I really am. I started expressing how I feel about my body to two of my friends, how Ana has told me I should feel about my body. When they told me what they see, I could not believe their words, but I believe my friends. It’s kind of a difficult distinction to explain – believing them, even if I can’t actually believe what they are saying. I choose to believe them over Ana, even though what Ana has told me is ingrained in my mind. Gradually, I have been able to start believing their words and my body image is slowly beginning to improve. It’s hard, though, when there is still a constant monologue in the back of my mind, trying to make me hate my body again.

        I hope that helps to explain it a little.

  • I had a crisis in college. Yes, I know – many people have crises in college; that’s almost what college is FOR. My crisis came when I went to go see my good friend, and she was depressed. And I was confused, because I was a Good Faithful Christian, and being depressed dealt with feeling worthless, and how can anyone think that they’re worthless when they KNOW that Jesus gave them incredible worth by dying on the Cross for them?

    And so I told my friend this, and she – even depressed – had the grace to tell me I was an asshole.

    Because I was. That was my crisis: being shown how and why I was an asshole.

    For years, I had hurt people – people I cared about – by trying to help them. I would tell them to “stop that negative self-talk” and “remind themselves of what Christ did” (apparently, and I did not know this, focusing on one’s sins as the reason that the Son of God died doesn’t actually make anyone feel better – who knew?) and for years, I did damage.

    After she confronted me with this, I apologized. Then I went and learned everything I could about depression, and then I had a lot more apologizing to do.

    The Christian culture I was raised in ill-equipped me to deal with anyone who deviated from its own ideal of the Human Normal, which wasn’t normal or human at all.

    Do you know when I read the book we’re reviewing now? Before my Crisis, back when I was studying hard so I would have answers and be able to help those around me.

    In many ways, Tim Lahaye helped turn me into a monster, but it was conversations like these that saved me.

    So thank you – to Samantha and to others sharing their stories here – for doing what you can to save another generation of assholes and monsters.

  • This comment is more for the next drive-by jackass who wants to tell you the cure for depression than it is a direct response to the article.

    I heard that exercise is the cure for depression, so I started running. After a couple weeks, I was feeling pretty good. Then one day my leg joints hurt so bad I could barely stand, much less run. Within a few weeks, the fog was back and I found myself curled under a blanket at 6:30pm, freaking out about life.

    It was over a year before I could climb out of that hole and try to run again. It became cyclical — I’d start, feel a bit better, then get derailed by joint pain or illness or what have you and feel awful again.

    I’ve heard that eating healthy food is the cure. And sure, when I’m getting more veggies, it seems to take the edge off. That lasts until I need to drive through a fast food place on a busy day.

    Getting good sleep is the cure for depression! Good thing it’s super easy to always get 8 consecutive hours of sleep at night!

    Eventually, my wife (who also has depression) encouraged me to seek medical treatment. Meds helped more than anything — I felt like a different person once they kicked in. It was awesome until a bunch of stressful stuff happened about two months ago which the medicine wasn’t equipped to handle. However! Last week, my doctor increased my dosage, and I feel myself evening out.

    Mr. or Ms.* Drive-By Jackass, your magical remedy may offer some amount of relief, but the way you constantly trumpet it at your friends and strangers online is shaming them out of seeking medical attention that will drastically improve their quality of life.

    *Let’s be real, it’s probably Mr.

    • So far they’re using names like “Craig” and “Ed” and “Joe” soooo yeah probably they’ll all be men.

      Thank you for sharing this. It’s important.

    • ako

      I hate how all that sleep/food/exercise stuff gets thrown in people’s face. It’s true that exercise, healthy eating, and a good night’s sleep can often reduce symptoms, but claiming all depressed people can totally get rid of their symptoms with a few good jogs, sound sleep, and some salads is wildly inaccurate.

      Also, why do people think it’s so easy for someone with a chronic illness to do a bunch of lifestyle changes? If someone has no energy, chronic pain, and a lack of motivation, starting an exercise routine would be difficult and complicated. If someone has appetite problems, memory trouble, and a brain telling them they’re always bad and wrong, setting up a balanced diet is not going to be easy. And depression-induced sleep disturbances don’t go away the moment someone says “A good night’s sleep is important!” Casually jumping in all “Hey, just exercise!” is not at all helpful.

      • Sarah S

        “Also, why do people think it’s so easy for someone with a chronic illness to do a bunch of lifestyle changes? If someone has no energy, chronic pain, and a lack of motivation, starting an exercise routine would be difficult and complicated.”

        It’s next to impossible. Especially when you have a bunch of other responsibilities to deal with. When energy and pain levels are such that you have to choose between, say taking a walk and cooking dinner, and there are hungry kids to feed, guess what you choose? But the societal pressure that says you wouldn’t be in so much pain if you just did (food, exercise, meditation, sleep, younameit) “right” heaps on so much guilt that it adds to the depression.

        Before I was sick I kind of assumed by default (culturally absorbed I guess) that if you were fat and sick it was because you didn’t care to do much about it. Even though my own mother was obese and had life-threatening asthma and did everything in her power to be healthy. To clarify, I didn’t think that about Her, just about random strangers that I didn’t know anything about. *rolleyes* I feel like such a jackass now, looking back, even though I never said or did anything (that I know of) to be a jerk to anyone.