How To Beat Depression Without Medication

Dale Partridge
136
428

While I was managing 40+ employees and assuring we could meet our $250,000 monthly payroll, I just about lost it. The pressure was too much. It was my decisions that assured their families would eat, their mortgages would be paid, and their kids could go on vacation. It was this weight that began my intense season of chronic anxiety and depression.

While anxiety and depression are not the same, they are similar. It was this moment in my life I was forced to beat it. Without medication. 

Disclaimer: I am supportive of medication as a last resort. Too many doctors today are treating symptoms rather than healing the root cause. Pair this with the pharmaceutical industry force-feeding us pills to keep their quarterly profit-and-loss statements in the green, and you have a sad solution for people who truly need help.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

The symptoms were so strong, my wife and I made the decision to change our entire life. We sold our house to move closer to work (and remove the stress of Los Angeles traffic), we started juicing a few times per week, I began riding my bike in the morning, I read my Bible and prayed for the first 20 minutes of the day, and most importantly, I simplified my life. I watched more movies. I played with my dog. I went out to dinner. I worked less.

Three different doctors prescribed me anti-depressants. But I didn't want them. I remembered human beings have overcome depression for thousands of years without pills. Why do I need it now? Convenience? Laziness? Fear?

We are not broken. Our bodies and minds are just as strong in the positive as they are in the negative. We are just overstimulated, not connected, and emotional scarred. But we can win. I promise. I did.

I hope my short story is an encouragement on your journey. Below, is a wonderful and practical infographic provided by one of my readers on the topic. I had to share it.

Exercise-is-better-than-antidepressants

What has helped you beat depression or anxiety?

136 COMMENTS

  1. I was on antidepressants for OCD as a teen that caused depression and also led me to attempt suicide. The doctor’s solution for this: different antidepressants. The thing was, they didn’t really make me feel better. They just made me numb and I thought there had to be more to life than that. And I also thought like you, that people since the beginning of time had faced depression and they’d overcome it without modern medicine. I took myself off medication cold turkey and dove into Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” devotional and made a concentrated effort to DECIDE not to be depressed. To find some light whenever the darkness crept in. It doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with moments of extreme sadness, but knowing I’ve overcome it in the past goes a heck of a lot farther in giving me the strength to overcome it again. We are far more mentally capable than we give ourselves credit for. And it doesn’t hurt that I have God by my side to help me when I forget this.

    • This is awesome, Sarah. Those times that you feel extremely sad, know that you have helped a 46 year old woman stay hopeful about staying positive and beating depression and anxiety disorder. I will do this, and will look for “Battlefield of the Mind” to help, per your example. 🙂 The line that will stay with me is-To find some light whenever the darkness crept in. Thank you. <3

  2. I had been on anti-depressants for the last 5 years and felt they were no longer working. I began looking into natural remedies to be able to win the battle on my own. Here are some of the actions that have helped me beat depression: I listen to positive thinking exercises in the evening and morning to have my day end and start with positive thinking. I exercise regularly, eat healthy-mostly vegan (watch “forks over knives”) and do a lot of outdoor activities with my girlfriend and dog. I also try to surround myself with positive individuals and avoid people who are constantly negative. Most importantly, I try to ensure that my interactions throughout the day are positive and impactful.

    • I’d give anything to have a girlfriend and a dog. I do mostly eat healthy, and it has helped to postpone the inevitable, but the end rapidly approaches. There is nothing for me here.

      • Brook, please know you are not alone. If you are having thoughts about the end, I highly encourage you to seek out a counselor. Counseling absolutely changed my life, and I cannot speak highly enough about it. YOU MATTER. This world needs you.

        • The world doesn’t give a f**k about me. Only in the abstract. I’m just more meat for the grinder. I have been seeking counseling, but I get turned away for a variety of reasons, mostly money, of course. I found a university that charges based on income, but they ACTUALLY turned me away because I admitted to having suicidal thoughts. Can you believe that? I’m the one that actually heard them turn me away for that reason, and I still can’t believe it.

          I’m f**ked.

    • Wes, I really appreciate you taking the time to share what’s worked for you. We can all get through this together.

  3. Learn to control your mind, whatever you feed to mind will react in body. I learnt to calm down my mind, i have started changing negative thoughts to positive thoughts. EFT also help to cope with anxiety and give instant relief.

    • Absolutely. Being intentional about changing our thoughts from negative to positive makes 100% of the difference

  4. I had this quote from a Philippine based comedy movie, “All problems have an equal solution, if there is no solution don’t treat it as a problem.” I didn’t get that, even today, but my mother always remember to bring that quote to me whenever I’m in loads of stress. Somehow it strikes me, over-thinking things and trying to get the best possible, and of course , swiftest solution to a problem can really make a person crazy. We exhaust all our efforts to make sure that we can solve things, but the reality of it is we aren’t superman, or one of those characters that find the exact answers at the end of each show. True we have to give our best effort at everything, but at great crisis, it’s still best to ask for help, guidance and a bit of comfort. Fighting stress or anxiety cannot be aided singly.

    • I’m sorry you feel empty 🙁 Start a list of people/things in your life that make you feel good, even if it’s just a small feeling. Work on making those things part of your life more often….. Life can be amazing!! Just one small good feeling and concentrate in believing that feeling is getting bigger and better….. Love yourself! You are a beautiful person inside and out! One step at a time… It truly works and your life is worth it! Xo

        • I know how you feel. I’ve had depression for 20 years and I agree with you about allowing pets to be put to sleep but not us. However, I have learned that the people I love would be heartbroken if I kill myself. I used to think they would be better off without me, but I have come to see that I am important to them. I imagine that you might say that you have no-one like that and I do not know your circumstances. You also say that you are hideous and I want to tell you that I have a friend with a scar over his mouth and he thinks that the scar is very obvious but to me it is hardly visible. When I look at him I only see the person that I care about. I know of other people who are unhappy about their appearance and they have been helped by therapy. I would strongly recommend that you find help. I think that you are looking for solutions and that is a good thing. There is a part of you that wants to keep trying and you should.

    • You are a light in someone’s life. Remember that before you do something. And if you feel you need to, call your local crisis center for help. There is Always a way to happiness. You Will find it. Just remember the other people in your life and what loosing you would do to them.

      • I’ve held on for 20 years because I don’t want to hurt my family. I don’t want my mother to think she is a failure. However, I’m rapidly approaching the point where it will be impossible to continue existing.

    • You my friend are going through a phase or let me rather say a challenge-a tough one that you need to win. I used to feel like that not so long ago & that feeling does come every now & again. I’m not going to say I know what you going through because our circumstances are not the same. But what I can say is you need to find someone whom you trust & confide in them & tell them how you feel(it could be a stranger too-a psychologist). Secondly have a journal/diary & write your thoughts on it & what is bothering you the most. Thirdly, make sure you have a conversation with your God in other words make sure you pray everyday-make it a habit. These are just few tips that made a good impact through my time of emptiness. I hope you find this helpful.

    • Hi Brook. Your life is valuable! Please do not give up, I beg you! Life will get better. Step away from the computer and find a real person to talk to. Religious or not, walk into any church and get a hug. It will help, I promise. In the meantime, I’m sending you a virtual hug. Best wishes for better days, Shannon.

      • My life gets worse with every passing year. I have dreams about the 90’s, when my life was exciting and enjoyable, and then I wake up in hell. I want out.

    • Hey, I will tell you what has worked for me. Some of us go through tough stuff not many others can go through. Try to think of them… as obstacles that will make you tougher and more capable of doing other things and not as limitations. I’ve gone through several problems not caused by me that have highly affected me, but having that mindset has worked (along with medication and work-outs). You are beautiful & important for many others, and it’s so good to be alive. If you don’t receive phone calls from loved ones, call others and tell’em you care about them. Doing this will make you listen to their own problems and make you feel you are not alone in this. You’ll bring a smile to others, and to yourself too. And smiling is a great wait to start defeating depression.

      Sincerely, a currently depressed and medicated patient that loves life as it was given to me by God.

    • Whatever you are feeling down about, it shall pass. Please don’t do anything harmful to yourself! Life is a gift; it’s precious. I have been where you are feeling, and today I can’t imagine ever feeling that way. I’m so grateful for the life I have today!!! Please keep talking if you need to but believe me, the sun always come out after a storm!

      • Yes, it will pass, and it will be replaced with 10 more things that hurt even worse. I’m glad to hear you are having a nice life.

    • I am a victim of suicide by several family members. All I can say is, think about the people in your life. Acting on the thought of “I don’t want to live anymore” is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There have been some great suggestions given in the comments below. Best of luck to you.

      • I’m sorry to hear about your losses. I’d gladly trade places with them. My problems are not temporary. I want out, and I hate the world for not providing “humane” options for people that have had their fill.

        It feels silly using the word humane considering that that human race won’t help its members that are ready to exit. Sure, we’ll put down a cat or a dog at the drop of hat, but a human? Grab a shotgun, pal. That’s how much we care about your suffering.

        Imagine you brought your sick dog to the vet and they handed you a shotgun?

        • You make a good point about your problems possibly not being temporary, it was wrong if me to assume they aren’t permanent. I’m not here to argue with you, but my thought is you still want to live because you are asking for help. You may not believe that your initial comment was a cry for help but it clearly was. And that is a good thing. Continue to talk about how you feel! We are here to help. I also didn’t tell you not to kill yourself. I simply suggested thinking about the impact it will have on your loved ones. And to have you realize what is going on in your life is likely correctable. Although I have been a victim of several suicides I still believe in a humans right to die with dignity. Meaning we give that right to our dogs yes, when they are sick or severely hurt. I agree a human should have that right if they are terminally ill or have a debilitating disease such as MS, ALS, ect… And if that is something you are experiencing then move to the state of Oregon and eventually you will be eligible for assisted suicide. But if that is not something you are dealing with then I urge you to call a suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255. Again, best of luck.

        • I understand what you are saying. When I was in the deepest part of my depression, I lost ALL of my family members and friends. Another mentally ill person that I didn’t even know took me in and kept me from being homeless. A year later, I started drawing disability and was able to get my own place to live. I believe that God sent that person. I got drunk one day and had a gun in my mouth. I didn’t want to pull the trigger, but I didn’t want to live either. Even though I didn’t want to, I called the suicide hotline and the sent an ambulance and took me to the hospital. Just make the call and see what happens.

    • There is a reason you are still given the breath in your lungs. Reach out for help and try to switch from negative to positive. Even if it’s just one thought per day. You can do this Brook and look at all the comments below of people who are rallying behind you.

      • I’m 35 years old, Dale. I’ve reached and reached. NO ONE wants to help you end your life. All people want to do is force you to live.

        However, I’m still here. I’m going to keep going until I cannot possibly stand another minute of this hell.

  5. I must say this post came in handy , because after September I will be through with my treatment for depression. I cannot wait because I definately do not see the need for taking anti-depressants. Yes I will admit the treatment did help but really one can manage stress or depression with out taking any pills.

  6. My African culture doesn’t recognise depression and everyone just says ” chin up” when one has the blues. I knew I had depression living abroad and thankfully my therapist helped me through my difficulties. I didn’t take medication although it was offered as an alternative to talk therapy and it took 6 months for a breakthrough. The intensity of the depression reduced over time when I learnt to accept situations I couldn’t change. I stopped being too hard on myself and accepted my shortcomings for what they were – experiences. I also learnt to appreciate myself and my creativity. I got rid of negative people, walk an hour everyday, enjoy lazy Tuesdays ( do nothing) eat a balanced diet and sleep as many hours as I can fit into a night. It’s been 6 years since my last bout of depression and I am able to manage my anxieties.

    • Wow Shiku, this is truly amazing! I love hearing stories of how people came out of depression!

  7. The reason you don’t need pills is because all you had was anxiety, you can call it depression all you want but you have no idea what depression really is. You were stressed out about your job, yeah that’s anxiety. My father cheated on my mother for 2 years when I was a child, he left our family leaving my broken mother to raise 2 children alone. All she cared about was getting him back, not raising her 2 children. My sister and I raised our selves. As of a year ago the man I was engaged to be married to left me one day without a word. My grandmother passed away, I lost my job, my grandfather had a heart attack… That is depression, not anxiety.

    • Some of us go through tough stuff not many others can go through. Try to think of them… as obstacles that will make you tougher and more capable of doing other things and not as limitations. I’ve gone through several problems not caused by me that have highly affected me, but having that mindset has worked (along with medication and work-outs). You are beautiful & important for many others, and it’s so good to be alive. If you don’t receive phone calls from loved ones, call others and tell’em you care about them. Doing this will make you listen to their own problems and make you feel you are not alone in this. You’ll bring a smile to others, and to yourself too. And smiling is a great wait to start defeating depression.

      Sincerely, a currently depressed and medicated patient that loves life as it was given to me by God.

    • I think it’s important to understand that everyone has their own breaking point. Everyone deals with situations differently and is affected differently. To say that he shouldn’t be depressed (or isn’t depressed) because he is just feeling overwhelmed with work, is wrong. We don’t know the whole story, we don’t know him….. I’m sorry you have gone through so much but we all have our own battles and our own tools, or lack there of, to deal with life’s hardships. What you said to him would be like me saying to you that you shouldn’t be depressed in comparison to me because I have muscular dystrophy, pure-o ocd (which can be completely unbearable to the point I have contemplated suicide and thrown myself into walls), IBD, sleep apnea, hypoventilation, scoliosis, asthma, allergies, anemia, persistent warts, an embarrassingly young sounding and nasally voice, social anxiety, and tomorrow I have to go for laser iridometry because I’m at high risk for glaucoma at the age of 28…… I have lost about eight family members in the course of ten years, I can’t get a job in my chosen career that I went to school for for seven years, I barely have any friends, my boyfriend of ten years isn’t ready to marry me which makes me feel pretty bad… that I’m not good enough….. I could easily say that I deal with way more than you ever have and I should be depressed and not you… but that wouldn’t be fair would it?!

    • I think Bri hit the nail on the head here. The purpose of this blog was not to compete to see who has a more challenging life, but to uplift and encourage people that there are other ways of dealing with anxiety and depression, instead of taking pills. I understand some people may need them, but as I stated in my Disclaimer, I believe they should be a last resort. I’m so sorry you’ve dealt with such tragedy, my heart truly goes out to you.

  8. This speaks so much to me. I’ve suffered from depression for 10 years and I’ve never used medication- only because I’ve been to afraid to talk to someone about it.
    Not talking to someone has allowed it to take over my life. Although, I’m able to function daily, it affects me physically, mentally and emotionally.
    1. My memory retention is affected
    2. I’ve developed IBS
    3. My confidence is tremendously affected

    I would like to take on new challenges but my low self esteem really stops me from pursuing my dreams. I don’t believe in myself at all.
    I don’t have a special person in my life and I’m getting pressure from my mother to get married. How is that going to happen if no one finds me attractive. I’ve got a badly asymmetrical face which also stops me from having confidence.
    Sometimes I’d prefer not to be here. I take comfort in knowing that one day, I won’t be here. It’ll be such a relief

    It feels lovely to be able to express myself without feeling like I’ll be judged.

    Dale Partridge you’re a huge inspiration.

    • This sounds like you need to see a counselor to work through these problems. Some people have to take medication to function properly, and this is totally okay! There is nothing wrong with that. I would recommend a Christian counselor as well. Know that you are loved♡♡

    • Thank you so much for opening up to me. I know that takes vulnerability, and vulnerability takes tremendous courage, so I admire you for that. Can I just take a moment to encourage you to find a counselor to talk to? I have had years of therapy and I cannot explain with words the difference it has made in my life. In the meantime, do this: journal every day about 1 thing you are thankful for. You will watch your perspective on life start to grow. If you are unhappy with your face, thank God that you have eyes, and can see. Thank God that you have ears to hear. See what I mean? There is always good, you just have to be intentional about looking for it. You can do this.

  9. God. He’s the answer. I am a widow, and being so, am very familiar with anxiety and depression. It comes with the territory. I wouldn’t wish widowhood on anyone. It’s been 2 1/2 years since I lost my husband (who was only 27) and I still hate being alone. Even after the grieving process is over you are still left with an aching void, and the loneliness is unbearable. But God will fill that void, He’s the only thing that can. When depression starts creeping back in I know I have to let God fight the battle for me. Every day is a battle against the enemy, so put on the full Armor of God because you can’t win it on your own.

  10. Listen to what others go through, play musical instruments, do stuff I actually know I’m good at, hang out with people that have even a little of a more positive attitude, run, do weights and see results later, take outdoor photos, read books outside, do what’s right and not care much of what others say, knowing that EVERYONE has had bad & sad moments … There are many ways to fight depression. Even though I’ve been diagnosed and treated for the last couple of years, and I am still currently under medication, depression can be managed properly. I am a 26 year old man, single with no kids and still pursuing a bachelor’s degree, but I feel I can do so much more. Every day is a fight worth fighting for 🙂

    • I love hearing about people like you who do not let depression cripple them, or become an excuse for living life. Keep pursuing that bachelor’s degree, and keep fighting the good fight!

  11. No offense to this guy, but this doesn’t sound like actual depression. I have clinical depression and I worked really hard for a really long time to change my life and my habits. My doctor and my therapist advised me to take medication and I said “no” 100 times. I fought and fought and it did not go away.

    When I started taking anti-depressants, my depression decreased significantly. It was noticeable to me and others around me. With the help of medication, therapy, and a great support system, I’m able to do work on myself every day. Articles like this make people with mental illness feel stigmatized. The medication prescribed to me SAVED MY LIFE. I truly believe that.

    • He did write a disclaimer that he is supportive of medication as a last resort. I think the point he is trying to make is that people tend to go to medications as a heal all for everything first rather than taking other choices first, such as looking at their lifestyle, the way they eat, if they exercise, the friends and relationships they have and so forth.

      You said you tried everything else and then you went on medication and then the other things worked. If you hadn’t tried other things then you wouldn’t have known if you for sure needed the medication. Obviously, more severe mental illnesses such as schiozophrenia need medication.

      Depression and all mental illnesses are on a continuum. Just because someone’s depression isn’t as strong or doesn’t have the same symptoms as you doesn’t mean it still isn’t a form of depression.

      I don’t feel that this stigmatizes people with mental illness. I’m on three medications and have been hospitalized twice and I know I need medications in order to live well and be an effective human being. I don’t mind that I have to take them.

      To each their own though : D.

      Exercise and reducing of stress levels by simplfying my life help a lot.

      • Definitely a lot of good points. You are right that it was a last resort… I think I just get frustrated because my family specifically looked at medication as some kind of failure.

        I see a lot of people struggle and struggle and never take medication because they think they are failing or just not working hard enough. I felt like that and I don’t want others to go through the same thing. Thanks for your reply. I needed to hear it!

        • That makes sense. I hated taking medications and felt ashamed about itfor two years and would keep trying to go off them and then have breakdowns, so I understand. Thankfully I don’t anymore.

          Something my mom would tell me is, “It is like if you had diabetes. You just take medication and take care of it. Nothing is wrong with that.”

          I understand that side too. I think the shame over medication needs to stop because some people really need it and I agree that some never take it because of that shame even though it would help them.

          I’m sorry you felt that way.

          You’re welcome for the response. Have an awesome day : D.

          If you ever have the time check out the book The Happiness Hypothesis by Johnathon Haidt who is a psychologist.

        • I feel you Katie! I have been working in the clinical field so I see much more clinical cases that need prescriptions. However, sometimes, especially those close to use that don’t understand the struggle(or are in denial of their own struggle if it’s hereditary) will think you are a failure or weak or less than because this is what you have to do. I struggled with that view of myself for a while. But at the end of the day, if we are willing to make lifestyle changes – sometimes including medication – are we not the stronger ones because we refuse to continue suffering? Just like someone who medication doesn’t work for and says “I’m going to find a way to beat this”. We are all different and whatever you need to be well, do that. When we pray for healing, sometime God gives us a really great doctor with insight on exactly what will help – and that’s His divine answer!

    • Thank you for sharing your story Katie! As Sebastian mentioned, I did include in my disclaimer that I’m supportive of medication as a last resort, and I meant it. I’m so happy for you that you found the path that worked for you. 🙂

  12. This is a joke. Sure, for situational depression this will work. For people like me, in and out of hospitals, attempting suicide, these ideas are nothing but coping skills. Biological brain disorders deserve medication and coping skills. I need both to survive this illness. Please realize some people are chronically sick with depression. I’m talking anxiety so bad you can’t leave your bed. I invite you to read more on mental illness and learn about psychiatric institutionalization so you don’t continue to belittle people who greatly suffer.

    • Mallory, you aren’t weak or fearful or lazy because you take medication.

      Thank you for being honest and vulnerable. Thank you for being courageous.

    • Thank goodness someone said this, situational depression can be cured with simplifying things, yes, but for us, depression isn’t situational. Life could be the best it’s ever been and something still doesn’t click and there we are the corner of our room crying uncontrollably cause no one cares. Here is my one issue with taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety, which I take both of, true I no longer have the crazy lows I used to have but I also no longer have the crazy highs either, which almost makes it worse. So whose gonna make the magical pill that doesn’t put us in the middle?

    • I completely echo what Amber said. It takes courage to be vulnerable, especially in our society, so I thank you for sharing your heart with me. I think you misunderstood my purpose for this blog as it was meant to be encouraging and uplifting, not belittling at all. I understand medication is needed for some who have tried all other avenues, and as I mentioned in my disclaimer, I’m supportive of it so long as it’s a last resort. I really hope you become well soon!

  13. I struggle deeply with Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD. It’s a nice name for seasonal depression. My depression is devastating and overwhelming, at best. After much prayer, consideration, and wise counsel, I refuse to take medication.

    Depression, the most excruciating pain my heart and body has ever experienced, has been one of my sweetest and greatest gifts. I know more of God because of this disease. I love God more because of this disease and I have been given life abundantly through depression. I could speak for hours about the blessing that has been depression, but I have something else to say:

    Medication does not make you weak, lazy, or fearful.

    I believe that this article came from a very good place, and I have made the same decisions as this man to refuse medication. For me, that was a courageous decision.

    But please do not miss the more tragic misstep here. The conversation around depression and mental illness has to move from condemnation to freedom.

    When we tell people that they are fearful and lazy for taking medication, we shame them into silence. We shame them into death.

    Please, please, I urge all of you, stop speaking of depression in general terms.

    If you have an opportunity to speak on depression, please, please, keep your fallible opinions to yourself and speak compassion:

    You are deeply and passionately loved by the God of this universe. Jesus lives in and loves even the greatest depths of your brokenness. You are perfect and holy and blameless because of that love. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He won’t bail on you when your depression gets too messy. Rest in and cling to his promises, not your emotions. And never, never stop being vulnerable about your heart.

    • Amber, thank you so much for the encouragement you’ve offered on this post and on others. We need more people like you.

    • Like my psychiatrist said to me, “Mike , stop thinking of yourself as a VICTIM but think of yourself as a VICTOR instead.” From that point onward I realized I was just using my mental illness as a crutch. I was feeling sorry for myself. I haven’t felt serious depression since. In fact I’m almost allergic to anti-depressants. At one time after a suicide attempt and a visit to a different hospital the head psychiatrist put me on the strongest possible anti-depressant out there. Two days after being released I woke up one morning feeling the ground shaking under me. I phoned everyone in my family and said Let’s get together, it’s the end of the world. My Dad rushed over and took me to the best hospital in the city. In the emergency ward I told everyone to get down on their knees and pray. It’s the end of the world. Ten minutes later the nurse came by and gave me a shot of anti psychotic medication in the rear. The ground shaking stopped immediately. Yes there are limits with different medications for different folks. No two people metabolize medications the same way. There are no magic pills. This horror story proves that. It’s often trial and error with different medications… sometimes taking months to get a person on the right “cocktail” of medications. Two way communication with the psychiatrist is essential !!!

  14. It really bothers me that I hear so many comments implying using medication to treat depression and anxiety is the “lazy” option these days. I totally agree that it shouldn’t be a standalone treatment, but when the right medication is teamed with coping mechanisms learnt from professionals and lifestyle changes (like those suggested above), my gosh can it make recovery easier and faster. And there is NOTHING wrong with wanting a quicker recovery. Just as there is nothing wrong with choosing not to take medication.

    Please think before suggesting that choosing to use medication is lazy. You’re speaking to a group who live in fear, and for many what they fear most is being a failure. Don’t make them feel like one for making a choice that is right for them. For many, waiting until it’s a last resort is just too late. Intentionally letting yourself hit rock bottom before trying something scientifically proven is nonsensical – can you imagine saying to someone who just broke their ankle: “I dunno man, it’s kind of weak of you to ask for painkillers when you haven’t even tried taking deep breaths yet…”?

    We’re making progress in stopping the mental illness stigma – let’s not build stigma around using medication to treat it.

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective. I do believe medication is encouraged much too often in our society, without first trying the simpler things, the natural things. If people need to resort to medication because they are unable to cope using the other methods suggested, I absolutely support it. I think you may have taken my point to a place that was not intended, so please understand I know people need medication, but I would never support it as a first resort.

  15. I totally agree with this and can relate!

    When I was a teenager I was put on depression medication. I was told I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the only way to get over it was to take these medicines every single day. I would start to feel better and then try to take myself off of them, which is a really bad idea. It made things worse than they were before I started the medication.

    Then after a few times of getting to my all time low, I decided I am not going to take this medication anymore. I am not going to give in to this. I can beat this on my own. It has been five years now and I have yet to go back on my medication. I have made it through two children and a divorce without it.

    I have learned that exercising, whether that be taking a walk, jog whatever, that I can clear my mind. I can focus on the things that I need to focus on. I don’t have to worry about the issues at work, or the issues that I was having in my marriage. I can just clear my mind and I can feel a load just lift off of my chest when I go for a run and do my daily exercises. I have also learned that if I make time for me, even if it is just for 30 minutes, I can get so much more accomplished. I don’t dwell on the things that aren’t working out the way that I want them to and I have so much more patience and I am a lot happier.

    I believe highly in using medication as a last resort, even more now that I am in nursing school.

  16. I have struggled mainly with anxiety with depression as a side affect when the anxiety goes untreated. I refused to take medication for a while until it got bad enough and my quality of life was such that I was willing to try it. It definitely helped but what I can say is it is NOT a magic pill!! I work with those in addiction recovery and whenever they are prescribed medication I tell them there is still work to be done! The medication helps me to be able to deal with my anxiety and to not always be in a “flight or flight” state(which physiologically is harmful for prolonged times or when that becomes your norm). BUT in ADDITION to the medication I exercise(which I can tell a MARKED difference in the way I feel if I don’t exercise), I eat well, laugh a lot, stay in connection with Christ through fellow, prayer, and service to others, I have hobbies, I have to be outside(especially when it’s warm), and I’m involved in therapeutic counseling. Medications themselves are not an end all be all, they can be a part of a lifestyle change that helps you manage and respond differently. I truly hope that one day I don’t have to take medication. I’ve tried to come off of it and it was not a good experience. So for now, I do what I need to with the goal of not having to depend on a pharmaceutical to be at my optimum. But until then, along with other methods of necessary input, that is a part of my routine. Big ups and high fivers to you guys who were able to do it without the meds!! To those who think meds are “the cure”, take notes – there is much more involved!

  17. Dale, when I read this post this morning I was screaming for joy inside. I went through several months of severe anxiety and mild depression caused by chronic stress and being thrust into menopause at the same time. I went to cardiologist, neurologist, ENT specialist and a host of other specialists to determine what was going on. My primary physician recommended anxiety and depression tabs which I was loathed to take but tried for a little. I think because I was anxious taking them, they did not work well for me. Then my daughter’s young college friend told me to start moving, walk, move around! With a combination of exercise, diet change and a big dose of bible and faith, I was shocked at my own recovery.

    I am in the middle of writing an Ebook about my journey and will have it published next month.

    • Wow this is amazing! We need to get the word out more that it IS possible to overcome without medication.

  18. To overcome depression, one has to go through it. Its the only way! There is a reason why you are depressed. In that reason lies you’re solution.

  19. I was diagnosed bipolar with PTSD 18 years ago. After many years of high dosage meds, I gave them up almost completely (10 mgs a day of Paxil) and decided I needed to change my attitudes. Every day is a choice; will I suffer or succeed? Will I choose to be happy or sad? By changing my perspective, I have change my life. No more nightmares, I watch my self for signs of the doldrums, and I live my life my way with no concerns for who approves.

  20. After 6 moths of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids, I felt like ending it all, i almost committed suicide because he left us with nothing, i was emotionally down all this while. Thanks to a prophet called saibaba of saibaba temple which i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I came across several of testimonies about this particular prophet. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he prayed to stop divorce and get a good paid job so on. He is amazing, i also come across one particular testimony, it was about a woman called trisha , she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her testimony she dropped his email.After reading all these, I decided to give it a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We resolved our issues, and we are even happier than ever. prophet saibaba you are a gifted man and thank you for everything you had done in my life. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine prophet, Try him anytime, he is the answer to your problems. you can contact him on templesaibaba@yahoo.com

    .

    • What a great testimony. I truly believe in the power of prayer, especially the power of prayer from other people, especially people who have faith in God. Prophet saibaba is truly a gifted one. Your faith played a big part in the healing of your divorce.

  21. I suffered from depression for many years. I was on many different antidepressants but none of them ever worked. I had no hope and I just wanted to die. Then I found Jesus 3 years ago and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. My whole life changed. My depression miraculously disappeared and has not returned. I’m living for Him now and my life has purpose. I am truly blessed.

  22. Dale, I have suffered from depression since I was about thirteen, and with anxiety ever since I can remember. Now at 24 (25 next week), I continue to suffer… I’ve been on many medications. None of them significantly helped me. I’ve done yoga, exercised, gone on a diet, juiced… No change.
    I’m basically coming to the conclusion that I will always feel this way. I don’t like the idea– Not at all. But I am at my wits end… I don’t know what else to do. I want change, but I am terrified of everything.
    I can’t even go to the grocery store by myself ffs. The simplest things feel like climbing a mountain.
    I can hardly show my face at family get togethers. No one sees me for who I am, only what and who I used to be. They all look down on me– see me as a failure. I’m avoided like the plague.
    I’ve never exactly been accepted fully by anyone. I have one friend. My boyfriend of 2 years doesn’t understand mental illness. He doesn’t “believe” in taking medications for it. He has never been depressed for a long period of time…
    My support system is non-existent. Thus, landing me on your e-mailing list. And here.
    I’m begging you… Anyone. Please help me.

    • May I make a suggestion? Talk to your psychiatrist about the ineffectiveness of your anti-depressant(s). Suggest to them that you be put on a “mood stabilizer” as well. Before my brain surgery I had epilepsy. After the surgery I developed bi-polar illness because of where the removed tumor came from. My psychiatrist spoke to my neurologist about what medication would help both my epilepsy and my bi-polar illness. She put me on a mood stabilizer medication called “carbamazepine”… it is also called “Tegretol” in some pharmacies. It proved to me to be a God-send. My epilepsy symptoms were relieved as well as my depression. Truth be told… I cannot take anti-depressants. My metabolism sometimes makes me delusional when the dose is too strong. Keeping a good line of communication with your psychiatrist is vital to finding medications that will work for you. Remember as well that some medications take weeks to build up in your system.

      • Thanks for the reply. I have taken five different anti-depressant medications thus far, most of them having such bad side-effects I had to stop immediately, the others having no to little effect.
        After I made this post, I had an appointment with my psychiatrist and he thought I might have bi-polar disorder. I am currently on 150 mg of Lamictal. This is my fourth month on this dosage. It is helping with the mood swings that would occur over something minute, but I still feel very depressed all the time. I do believe I have bi-polar disorder, because my mood swings are common and very noticeable. However, I don’t feel I ever actually feel the “mania” side of the spectrum– Just the depressive.

    • Hi, I just found true relieve in God. Sounds clichè? Yes. But still true. Im catholic. I pray to feel loved. When we feel loved we start seeing us as new people, as our Creator make us, not just ‘a plague’. When you forgive those who make you feel bad, you grow, you feel better. Because when you get rid of those bad experiences just by saying in your heart ‘I forgive you’, you feel better.

      Please find a Catholic church, talk to the priest. Say EVERYTHING to him. And tell him you really want help, t worked for me better to look for a Exorcist Priest, because theyre professionals on mental illness.

      I get you, really. This will help you. I promisse. Its a long process, but 13872093840923840903249 shorter than just a doctor and a boyfriend. I take pills and have a boyfriend, I do exercise now and started making plans to swim, travel, know new people and places in my country.

      Also doing things that make you feel suuuuper scared will make you feel better SO MUCH BETTER.

      Me, God, every christian, saint, angel is with you. YOU CAN. Ill pray for you (:

    • I used to have severe anxiety, too. I remember when I couldn’t go to the grocery store by myself, either. I also couldn’t drive my car, get in an elevator, or go to parties or even out for dinner.
      I did not want to take any medication, so I looked for a different way to heal. Eventually I found Ayurveda (a form of holistic medicine from India), and it really helped me! If you want to check it out, the best book (in my opinion) is Vital Energy, by Dr. David Simon. He is Deepak Chopra’s partner, at the Chopra Center in CA. Ayurveda really saved my life…… I hope it helps you, too. 🙂 (I know it will, if you try it…!) I hope you feel better soon!

    • Go to your local mental health center and tell them you need help. They WILL help you. I ended up at one due to a suicide attempt. It took 7 years before they found the right medicine and dosage for me. I also attend therapy because I had to change the way I think about things. Please don’t give up! They even have a couple of new meds out that target major depressive disorder.

    • How are you doing now? I see that this post was from one year ago. I hope you are feeling better today and found the help that you needed!

  23. THIS IS THE KEY: acceptance. ACCEPT that you are anxious. It is ok. Don’t mind it; don’t let yourself mind it. As soon as you stop fearing the fear, the cycle is broken and the anxiety fades.

  24. uh, medication. Because I have done ALL those things, plus had an amazing diet, a wonderful husband, supportive friends, and a dog. And I was still depressed. I think it’s great to make changes to make sure that you are taking care of yourself but depression is a mental illness, whereas what you are describing is the by product of exhaustion and stress. Of course they went away when you stopped running yourself ragged and finally exercised and ate decent food. I too didn’t want to take pills, but I was left with no option. My psychiatrist told me that the anti-depressants essentially work to heal the damage depression wreaks on your brain (which is why it takes the pills a few weeks to fully kick in) and that for many people, they can take the pills for a year, and then never again, because that glitch is fixed. So please understand that true depression is a mental illness and a chemical imbalance that cannot be solved with juice and exercise. It can get better, but it’s a band aid. I was lucky and the first anti-depressant I tried has worked well for me, and I don’t consider myself depressed anymore. But it takes longer for others. There is no panacea. There is no quick fix. Mental illness isn’t cured with a jog or a movie.

    • Absolutely. It is an illness. Clinical depression is not circumstantial. Though external changes, such as those made to our environment or workload, may indeed help, it may not be enough. To imply that taking medication for real clinical depression is “lazy” is very unhelpful and potentially destructive. We would never accuse someone with a broken leg of being lazy because they opted to wear a cast for 6 weeks! Altering one’s lifestyle and taking a degree of responsibility for depression is not unreasonable (nor ineffective), but it absolutely must be acknowledged that the ‘treatment’ prescribed by Dale is going to be insufficient for those of us who have a more complicated and longstanding illness.

  25. Yoga helps a lot! And having a supportive husband. It’s daily work but I’m happier now than I have ever been

  26. In 1990 after brain surgery to remove a tumor from my right frontal lobe
    I developed severe depression. I ended up attempting suicide twice
    within a 6 month period. The doctors decided to admit me to the psych
    ward for 30 days. After trying me on various medications to no avail
    they tried me on Lithium. I responded positively. The head resident
    quickly admitted that I must have bi-polar illness. That was because the area of the brain that was removed is the area that produces the endorphins, the dopa-mines, the serotonin and a number of other chemicals that the mind uses to fight depression. I was released from
    hospital shortly after this discovery and placed under the supervision
    of a great psychiatrist who I met on a weekly basis. Eventually my psychiatrist confronted me and said the following, ” Mike, unless you stop seeing yourself as a victim and instead think of yourself as a victor I can try you on every possible medication in the book and I can talk with you till I’m blue in the face… you’ll never overcome your depression. From that day onward my depression left me. I changed my self image. I basically stopped feeling sorry for myself. The only real down
    side was the following. A friend of my wife told her, “He’s bi-polar?
    He’s going to be in and out of the hospital the rest of his life. You
    better get rid of him.” So she did. We divorced 6 months later. I made a
    deal with her. I said I’ll give you the house, the car and half the
    furniture on one condition. That you don’t ask me for child support of
    our two children. She was OK with that considering I couldn’t work any
    more and was only collecting a disability pension at the time. I haven’t
    worked since. I did eventually forgive her in my own mind because she
    left me because of misinformation about my illness. To this day I no
    longer suffer from depression. What challenges me now is the mania. I
    often find myself staying up all night long surfing the net and doing
    other work on my computer. I also attend a weekly support group for
    people with bi-polar illness to show people there can be a pot of gold
    at the end of the rainbow as long as they are willing to accept their
    illness and take their medication as prescribed. There can be a positive
    side to this illness.

  27. This is a very dangerous post because it implies that if you are depressed you are just not trying hard enough to do the right things. Would you fault someone for having high blood pressure or diabetes? Of course chronic disease can improve with lifestyle changes but for most their body is malfunctioning and will require medication. You say you preach a positive life but this article is likely to shame and discourage many who have tried all they can and not succeeded.

    • This is his story of how HE treated his depression. I don’t think he’s trying to make anyone feel bad about anything, it’s just he’s story and it could help some people. He also stated that if it’s a strong type of depression then medication and professional help IS needed. And don’t compare depression with diabetes and HBP. Depression is not a malfunction of the body it’s psychological (in your brain) it does though affect your life and your whole body but it’s in the mind not like the other things you mentioned which ARE malfunctions in the body.

      • Not a malfunction of the body? It’s not purely psychological- it’s chemical. Do you think I CHOOSE to live like this? Or that my “outlook” on life just isn’t positive enough? Think again.

  28. I do some sports, and everyday I write about three good things that happened in the day no matter how unimportant they may seem, that helps me stay positive. Moreover, I try to do at least one thing I enjoy everyday

  29. I agree with Pamela. I suffered for many years from severe depression. I was convinced that taking medicine was somehow lazy or weak. It is not. Taking antidepressants corrects an imbalance in the brain. Not to mention that the past is not all rosy and sweet. Sure there were people with severe depression untreated by medication – there was also domestic violence, alcoholism, suicide…

  30. I myself am currently struggling with anxiety and depression and have been for a few years. I have been offered anti-depressants many times but I am not a fan of medication so I avoided it for as long as possible. Eventually, I started taking medication but after several months I noticed that the medication was not benefiting me so I stopped taking it. I have been offered other medications since but I am trying to solve things in a natural way instead. I am not against medication for those who do need it. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and I do believe that medication is sometimes needed; however there are several other options you can try.

    This is just my opinion and somethings I have learnt from talking to a social worker at school so hopefully they are helpful to you;

    1) You have to pay attention to your emotions, as much as you might want to deny some, they are all there for a reason.

    2)Before bed, try deep breathing and focus on nothing but that and relaxing your body. When your mind wanders and starts to think negative, notice it but don’t dread on it and stay focused on it. Just try and say ok, I see that my mind is wandering, I’m noticing it, and now I will bring it back and focus on breathing.

    3)Being mindful is a key component. You can be mindful in whatever you do, shower, dancing, taking a walk outside etc. Often we go about our day doing these things naturally and never really take the time to notice how we feel. Do you ever really notice the way that the shampoo tingles in your hair for example, this is being mindful. Focusing on the task at hand, not the future nor the past but the present.

    4) It is also very important to surround yourself with positive people and things. Eliminate the negatives in your life. How can you possibly live a happy life when negative relationship or vibes are always surrounding you. We need to learn how to get rid of the judgmental attitude we have towards things even though we often don’t realize our judgmental thoughts because we are so used to them. For instance, you may get a bad grade on a project and think wow my teacher is such a jerk. This is a judgment. To be nonjudgmental, you might say something else along the lines of, ” I am so angry at my teacher for giving me this grade. I worked really hard on that project and feel that I deserve a better grade. ” At least this statement gives reasoning for the way you feel and does it in a nonjudgmental way.

    5) you need to take the time to do the things YOU love. You need to take time for yourself to find a peace of mind and sense of relaxation. Maybe you can find this by taking a walk outside, reading for a bit, doing yoga, dancing etc. Whatever it is, make sure it makes YOU happy! Try to do this at least once everyday!

    6) Another useful tool can be to write at least 3 things positive things about your day each and every day before bed. Maybe you did good on a test, or ate breakfast for once, or just woke up feeling happy, it could be anything. This will help you focus on the positive before bed rather than the negative leaving you feeling hopeless and upset.

    7) Remind yourself that you are not the disease, but you have it. What I mean by this is do not say I am depressed but rather I have depression. The stamina associated with mental illness needs to stop and we can start that change.

    Last but not least, you may find it helpful to repeat these words to yourself in hopes that you will really start to believe them;

    May I be happy.

    May I be healthy.

    May I be peaceful.

    May I be safe.

    I hope everyone is able to find there light at the end of the tunnel and become a stronger person because of their experiences. Life is a beautiful thing when you get the chance to see it. Keep fighting! You are important and someone loves you!

  31. this is all well and good but it’s been shown that exercise is only really statistically significant in people with mild depression. if it works for you, great, but there are enough things out there shaming people who take antidepressants. while they are way overprescribed in many cases (including my own – i was immediately prescribed prozac at my first doctor’s appointment), under the care of a good psychiatrist they can really change your life for the better. obviously they shouldn’t be the only treatment but combined with psychotherapy and behavioural changes, antidepressants are a great way of treating mental illness. for many of us, medication is the only option.

    • Hi David. We can only get Niacin in 100mg pills from Holland and barret. Are you saying to take 30 tabs a day. and how long for. Or are there higher strength pills out there and where can I get them.
      Thank you
      kella

      • Niacin is B3 not B12…
        unless you are a medical professional it is probably not a good idea to be posting medical advice on the Internet and people should be smart not to take it.

  32. When I think back to when I started hating both life and myself, I was only in third grade. I was young, and I was scared to admit I was having these feelings, plus I didn’t even know what depression was. I did start to hear about depression after this, but I never thought I had it. Then somewhere around the age of 13 I finally looked up what depression really was. I matched up with just about every symptom. I felt horrible, here I was wanting nothing more than to die and there were people fighting their hardest just to stay alive. A year or so after, I kind of gave up. I went through the motions with a smile on my face, because if my mom knew, she would try to help me. Happiness was something that had become foreign to me and the whole idea of reaching happiness was terrifying. If my teachers saw me slacking in my work, they would alert my mom. If my friends noticed, they would also probably alert my mom. So Eventually I realized how many people struggled with depression via Internet, and I was comforted to know I was not alone. The problem was, that I allowed myself to get comfortable with those feelings. I started mistaking my disturbing mindset as normal. It wasn’t. But all of the quotes and articles said that people struggling with depression couldn’t help it and that it was a chemical imbalance in your brain. So, I thought it was completely out of my control and I accepted depression as apart of who I was. One day, I had the realization that I needed to start holding myself accountable. The depression was my problem, and the only one who would be able to fix it was me. I forced myself to do the things that once made me happy. At the same, these things just made me miserable. Despite this, I didn’t give up. Sometimes this forceful attempt of happiness left me in tears because I felt nothing doing the things that once made me feel alive. But I kept going. As a kid, I loved to workout, draw, and write. These three things were my biggest passions but I had either given up on them or only did them to please those around me (my depression was not something I advertised, I was very embarrassed by my thoughts so I tried to keep the facade of being a happy teenager). Also, I was very frank with myself. The things I said to myself were things every article says not to say to people with depression. For me, this worked. I am genuinely happy today, and I never thought that would happen, I didn’t even think I’d still be around today.

  33. I am bipolar. I was 50 before I was correctly diagnosed. My manic episodes aren’t the “everythingisgreatI’msohappyIcanconquretheworldspendmoneyIamwomanhearmeroar.” No. Mine are “IAMANGRYINEEDTOLEAVEHEREWHYAREYOUCONTROLINGMESUICIDEISTHEANSWER.” I would like to be off the meds, but the manic episodes are far to scary and difficult on everyone around me to mess with that. Having said that… even on the meds I still cycle, they are just less extreme. My marriage, my faith and my desire to stay alive remain intact. One of the key things that works for me is to tell the people that love me that I am think I am starting to cycle into a manic episode. It lets them know that I am hitting a rough patch. I am not going to be me for a while. I need them to love me until I am me again. I need them to try hard to look past my bad behavior. And it takes away my excuse for bad behavior somehow. I have vocalized where I am mentally and emotionally and need to be responsible for it as much as possible. The episodes are shorter, and have been less explosive. Keeping something as important your mental state from the people who love you only leads to a deeper sense of isolation. Exactly the opposite of what you need when you already feel alone in the world.

  34. I think it’s all good and well to share your story.. But what to say to the person so far in depression that even trying to be more active is too big of a task?

  35. A lot of times its a chemical imbalance. I agree it shouldn’t be the FIRST resort but this post shames people who are in absolute need of medication.

    • People have had depression and anxiety as well as schizophrenia and bipolar disease since Adam and Eve were kicked out of The Garden of Eden. If anyone on earth had a good reason for being depressed, being cut off from God and their perfect bodies would be the hardest to deal with. Before anti-depressants and other drugs for mental illness, people were shut away in “asylums” where they were horribly mistreated, shocked, starved, etc. You could lock away anyone –husbands would have their wives locked away from daring to be depressed about the losses of their children, being anxious, not being ok with a husband’s drinking and carousing. People with bad depression killed themselves and people that heard voices and acted crazy were burned at the stake as witches. Do some research. Stop referring to the past as “the good ol days”. In the last 100 years, people’s life expectancies have tripled, the number one cause of death among young women is no long childbirth –at least not right now, all those advocating home birth must have forgotten how dangerous childbirth can be–any problem needs to be fixed in seconds, not after a 30 minute ride to the hospital after your wife is bleeding our or the umbilical cord wrapped around your child’s neck.

      Anxiety from overworking and stress from your career is NOT the same as anxiety and depression from chemical imbalances. There are other symptoms: insomnia, suicidal thoughts, I had severe tachycardia that was uncontrollable with heart meds but stopped when I started taking an anti-depressant. I went to a Christian college and heard a lot of negativity about depression/anxiety. There is a stigma. If you were strong enough, if your faith was good enough, if you confessed your sins, you’d be cured. Then there’s people like you who beat the dead old horse of “nasty big pharma” wants us all to be addicts. Yeah, those bastards.Helping millions of people live better lives and not suffer as much from all sorts of diseases. Heartless, I tell ya!

      I have MS and the stress of moving, catching a weird virus, then my father dying unexpectedly sent me into a spiral of major depression. I already had chronic pain, which causes depression. If my psychiatrist hadn’t gotten me on the correct drugs immediately, I wouldn’t be here. I would have bought into Satan’s lie that my family was better off without me. My body was stretched to the breaking point, and my brain wasn’t making the chemicals needed. I couldn’t have thought or prayed my way out of “depression”. I couldn’t even sleep.

      We’re all broken. We all need Jesus, but we all need medications for our broken physical bodies. God gave us the intelligence to use His creation to ease our suffering.

  36. i have to agree with your article but it depends on the person. I suffered from anxiety and depression 2 years ago and then made an appointment with the doctor who asked me if I wanted anything prescribed and I said no, I want to speak to someone so I can find out what the problem is so I can fix it. For me, my anxiety and depression was due to several things occuring in my life and my inability to know why they caused my anxiety and depression and how to fix it. There is ussually a problem in your life which has caused this. You need to find the solution to this problem. Medication may be the answer for some, but it doesn’t fix anything. The problem is still there. After realising alot of what I have been through in life, I realised just how strong a person I was and how I thought I was weak because I was broken. Being broken allowed me to realise that I can fix myself. My problem was that i was in a marriage which wasn’t working, and I was taking all the blame for it along with my husband’s problems. I was carrying everyone’s responsibility on my shoulders and not allowing myself time for me. I was allowing people to walk all over me and not stating clear boundaries. I was letting others define my self-worth without being worthy of myself. Do not loose hope in yourself. When you are anxious and depressed you loose all hope. Everytime you feel like that remember that you are capable of working through anything and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t give up on yourself. Have belief in yourself. Don’t loose self belief. A month ago, I realised my marriage was over and all that I had believed in was what someone else wanted me to believe and I was used as their scapegoat. I blamed myself and allowed them to use me as their scapegoat. I went to the doctor who prescribed me antidepressants, came home that night and couldn’t stop shaking. I took a pill out of a packet and then saw the two pages of side effects of the pills which stated even worse depression and risks of suicide once taking the drug. I looked at the mirror and said to myself, ‘You have allowed your problems to defeat you. You fell in love with someone and now you are going to pop this pill in the hope that everything will be better’. At that moment, I threw the pill in the bin, put my head firmly back on my shoulders, wiped away the tears and dealt with the problem. I stood up for myself and told my husband I wasn’t going to tolerate any more of his crap and then proceeded to focus on me and carry on with my life. And at that moment, light came back into my life and I knew that although I had hit rock bottom, everything was going to be OK.

  37. This kind of made me want to beat the shit out of someone. Way to stigmatize mental illness, you ignorant bitch.

    • I don’t think he was stigmatizing mental illness at all. The point of his story was to say that we r beating treated for depression and anxiety when it’s really our lifestyles that r causing it. In the medication profession, it is important to eliminate all other causes being it social or biological before terming it mental illness.

  38. While I agree that there are great natural ways to fight depression when it is seasonal/situational, there are many individuals whom suffer from mental illnesses that consist of chemical imbalance. it would be like telling someone with diabetes not to take their insulin: “you can fight your diabetes naturally!” but the reality is they can’t, its not physiologically possible. their body is not made to produce the chemicals they need to survive. mental illness is the same way. personally, i have handled my depression/anxiety both on and off of medication, and what I have discovered is that for me, there is no amount of praying/quality time/church attendence/relationships/exercise/reflection that can cure it. i am nicole, and i am not my mental illness.

    • My friend manages his diabetes without medication and he’s been diabetic his whole life. There are many cases of severe mental health who successfully manage their condition through nutrition. For example I know of a severe bipolar case which she manages with oily fish and a good diet generally. Medication is highly overrated and the medicine of diet highly underrated.

      • You didn’t state type two as type one you cannot treat yourself as you do not produce any insulin. Mostly if you look after yourself you will not get type two anyway .

  39. I just wanted to say, I have suffered from real intense depression, the heaviest fuck!ng anxiety, and the very worst of thoughts since waay back. I remember having insanely painful bursts of anxiety attacks, lasting hours at a time, when I was 8. I first tried suicide when I was 11. Granted, it didn’t work out. I kept cutting back the demons until I was 15 or so. Then I fell deeper and apathy kept swallowing me. I hardly felt a thing for two years. Then again with the heavy feels, the panic, the nausea, the anxiety, the gloom, the stressful tearing, everything. Days on end which were just dark, dark, dark, like a pressure on my brain, reminding me how empty and dead everything is, nothing ever sunny or breathable, everything just emptily sickly dead. I have both the genetic disadvantage and the traumatic experiences to keep depression fed. I don’t know how to put it, so I’ll just say that I do have plenty of experience in the REAL depression shit. I have been offered most kinds of medication since I was 12, and have talked to some 5 psychologists for long periods of time. I never took any med, and talking didn’t help ever.
    Last year, actually about 16 months ago, when I spent almost ten days in a row in my bedsheets actively hating everything and my boyfriend told me this shit couldn’t go on, I started looking online for self help (whilst waiting in line for “real” help). I started changing my habits, made routines, started doing yoga, skipped bad foods (meat, grains, processed sugars), added good foods and good fats, got out in the sunlight every day, turned my destructive thinking around (“distorted thinking”, search it”, got into helping animals and the planet, and so on. To this day, I FEEL FUCK!NG GREAT! I’m not sure I’ve been this good, this stable, this happy and unworried in all my life. I wasn’t this at ease even when I was 4 years old. I worry less and feel so so much better. What was so dark is now so much light. Bright light. I’m feeling truly blissful at times. This was severely impossible before, even when I was happy (whilst getting engaged, for example, one of the happier moments in my life) I was worrying and hurting from anxiety. Today, I am able to enjoy worriless happiness whilst just… reading a book. Drinking tea. Sitting beside my boyfriend. Cuddling with my cat.

    What I’m saying is, before bashing it, try it. I know, I KNOW, it’s hard to try shit, to do shit, to act by oneself and make shit happen. But it is worth it.
    And, to the point, chemical imbalance is often further fed by the stressful state one is in, meaning that you can in some (or many, or all?) cases reverse the effects by reversing the situation, such as I did. I was born into hell, and I climbed my way out of it. I’ll die in heaven, but not in a great many years now.

  40. After years of 3 different antidepressants and horrible weight gain I told my doctor no more. I went vegan loosing five stone/60 odd lbs and managed the same level with my nutrition as the antidepressants. My breakfast is my kick start. It’s a vegan banana smoothie with supergreens and cacao. I’m currently doing the 30-day juice challenge and found juicing in general helps. I take 5-HTP before I go to bed. I also try to spend time with nature to energise. I’m not cured, but I’m certainly healthier and that alone has huge benefits. I’m a work in progress, fine tuning and making improvements where I can.

  41. After high school I was getting really sad and not sure why. So I did research on the Internet and came to a conclusion that I was cyclothymic. After more research, I found out I had same characteristics of autism. I was ashamed of myself because I wasn’t like the rest of my peers; being able to socialize easily. But then I started to exercise and eat better. Now I’m not as sad, and I have more confidence than I did. I thought I needed pills, but it was just all in my head. Thinking too much will be the death of you. Be yourself and let go.

  42. Do you not get the science behind depression? The body isn’t producing enough serotonin which causes sadness. That’s awesome you beat depression without using medication, but I’m not a huge fan of how this article is written like if you do these things you will magically be cured for depression. For some people, depression is a genetic thing. Some brains naturally don’t produce enough serotonin, and working out, doing yoga, and reading the bible isn’t going to do anything. My favorite thing someone said to me was “I started working out to help with depression, but then I was just sad with great forearms”.
    That’s why things like this really bothers me. People who are depressed are told “work out! it’ll help!” but no, it doesn’t always help, so then what? You feel like shit because everyone says you should be feeling better but your not.
    If someone’s depression is situational like in the writer’s case, then yeah, go for trying to beat depression without the drugs. But if depression runs in someone’s family then medication is probably the way to go. It’s a hormone imbalance that medication can help counteract and balance things out.
    I’ve been dealing with depression for 7 years, and I’ve also been a serious athlete for 9 years. Don’t sit there and tell me that exercise is the end-all-be-all to cure it.

  43. I’ve been experiencing depression since I was a teenager and it got especially bad in my 20’s. I was an avid exerciser but connecting honestly and more openly with other people and finding a good psychiatrist was what really turned things around for me.

  44. This is awful, you are awful for sharing it, and I hope that nobody who is currently struggling with depression reads this, because telling people that they are lazy or afraid because they took a medicinal option to deal with a medical issue is dangerous. People who listen to your advice are more likely to commit suicide. If you are in any way decent, you’ll delete this article.

  45. Exercise won’t cure depression 100%. Exercise, mindfullness, having a network of close friends to talk with, a good psychiatrist, doing things you enjoy. But sometimes just getting out of bed is the hardest thing when you experience depression let alone getting out of the house or even putting your shoes on.
    Depression is a day to day struggle. Sometimes you will think that just falling in front of a subway train will make all the hurt go away but that thought swiftly passes. And sometimes you will laugh so hard with the people closest to you and feel that this life is worth living with all of its darkness and uncertainty… life is beautiful.
    Depression is a day to day moment to moment victory over your lower self.

  46. Clinical depression generally doesn’t get better by prayer …..and we are NOT lazy if we use medications…clinical depression is not the same as stress, which is what you describe…it is not “cured” by moving closer to work, playing with the dog, or eating better – although those things may help a person through a depressive episode. Clinical depression occurs when a person is depressed for “no apparent reason” – that is…there is no cause other than biochemistry and one cannot decide to not be depressed. If you had written about stress…then I could have bought in to your article, but the way it is written now….it is harmful and destructive. I’m sorry you “just don’t get it”.

  47. I’d like to think that anyone can beat depression without meds, but I think that is only going to work if you have situational depression/anxiety. Past trauma and/or growing up in a dysfunctional family will make it difficult to cope without meds. If you are strongly committed to CBT or DBT therapy (group + individual) and have a good support network, then great, but when your emotions become so intensely overwhelming and you’re having serious thoughts of suicide then definitely go see your psych doctor for a Rx. The pressure to stay of meds can be too much to deal with; don’t feel bad for having to rely on them seeing as they can save your life. Just don’t get lazy while on them and think your problems are all solved; you need to keep working on improving yourself with a commitment to therapy (even if it’s only self-help books) and improve your lifestyle with yoga, diet, supplements, meditation, human interaction, etc.. I’m only speaking from personal experience.

  48. I believe this article should be withdrawn or at least rewritten (especially the title) to be less misleading.There is huge stigma on mental health issues and antidepressants. Yes, if the depression is situation and temporary it is possible to beat depression without medication. And even with medication I do believe that there is some additional work that is required to overcome it (primarily therapy). But taking medication because you have clinical depression and/or a family history of depression is NOT “weak” or “lazy.” That “human beings have overcome depression for thousands of years without pills” proves nothing. I cannot understand why people can’t be thankful for modern medicine and how it improves our lives. It is because of misguided messages like this that so many refuse to find help and either end up miserable or commit suicide. IF YOU ARE DEPRESSED AND READING THIS SEEK HELP; USING ANTIDEPRESSANTS IS NOT WEAK OR LAZY. If you have clinical depression, exercise and prayer are not going to cut it. They are a nice complement to medication and therapy but not a substitute.

  49. It is extremely irresponsible to make it sound like curing depression is a matter of willpower and that medications should only be used as a last resort. The message that you could potentially be sending to someone in the depths of a severe depressive episode is that if they were stronger, they wouldn’t need medication.

    Major depression is often chronic, though it may come and go throughout a person’s lifetime. I’m one of the millions of people who has it. After a bad experience with a medication, I refused to take them. I suffered for years, lost many friends, missed some professional opportunities, spent way too much time by myself, and was miserable. Finally I had the strength to realize medication wasn’t the enemy. It gives me the boost I need to have the energy and motivation to be more proactive about my self-care. Healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness, acupuncture, massage, and sunlight all help, sure, but for me that alone wasn’t enough. If I had taken your advice when I was at my worst, I would probably be dead now.

    Get off your high horse and recognize that there are many ways to treat depression. What it comes down to is what helps an individual best.

  50. I was like you. I exercise on a regular basis (8-15 miles a week, 3 strength training sessions a weeks, and yoga/pilates on most days of the week. I eat gluten-free diet high in vegetables (some out of the garden), fruits, fish and lean meats, and low- to moderate-amounts of rice and quinoa. My caffeine consists of a 1-2 cups of breakfast tea and I’m working to bring down my sugar intake.

    I’ve been telling myself for 30 years that I didn’t need medications but I found myself in crisis on a couple of occasions where my friends had to take me to the doctor. I was in such a steep downward spiral that I didn’t realize I had stopped exercising, I was eating nothing but junk food, and I couldn’t remember the last time I had brushed my teeth. I was prescribed medications for depression and anxiety. I felt like a complete failure. But then this miraculous thing happened … I brushed my teeth without having to be reminded. I talked to the lady in the produce section about the best way to prepare cauliflower. I went for a “short” walk and returned an hour later after walking 4 miles.

    I am not a shying violet, conflict averse, or passive-aggressive. I have a job where I must lead a large group to success, fight battles for my team, make unpopular decisions, and be a role model, mentor, and professional coach. There is no room in my schedule for crippling depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, my brain didn’t get the memo. Healthy living can help battle depression but sometimes we need more to keep us from looking for ways to end it all. Even with healthful living and medications, I still have to find ways to put one foot in front of the other … to live one more day.

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