PSA: Depression is Treatable

Depression is a serious and sometimes fatal disease.  However, it is also treatable.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile but a few recent events have brought it to the forefront.

I’ve suffered from depression for about 15 years now, although it took me about 5 years before I realized it.  Unlike some sufferers, I’m lucky in that my depression has mild symptoms (dysthymia), although that doesn’t make me feel any better.  But my life while I was untreated wasn’t anywhere near as good as it was after I started getting treatment.

My depression was probably triggered by the divorce of my parents when I was 22.  For years after that, I often had the classic symptoms:

  • feelings of hopelessness
  • difficulty making decisions
  • overeating
  • low self-esteem
  • irritability

Fortunately, I never experienced the really serious symptom:

  • thoughts of death or suicide

It wasn’t until just after I met my wife that I realized what was going on, and in fact, I almost didn’t meet my wife because I was depressed.

Depression is an insidious disease.  It’s silent.  It sneaks up on you.  It literally changes the way you think.  You automatically think the worst of situations.  You ‘read into’ things people say, even when it’s the absolute opposite of what was intended.  You think people don’t (or won’t) like you.  You think your writing isn’t good enough.

I don’t exactly advertise that I suffer from depression, but when I do mention it, I always am told that ‘I never seemed depressed’.  This is because we sufferers hide it well. People who don’t suffer from depression often don’t understand how difficult it is.  It’s not something you can ‘just get over’.

Depression is something that you have to watch out for all the time.  I don’t think there are any treatments that can ‘cure’ depression, but there are lots that can help.  Personally, I’m on Wellbutrin XL, although I think I may  need to up my dosage as I’ve realized that my depression has snuck up again.

During PAX (my first time), I found myself not really enjoying myself too much.  Despite wanting to try out a bunch of new boardgames, I didn’t play one.  I kept feeling like I ‘shouldn’t’ just go up to people and ask to join in.  I literally felt alone in a crowd of thousands.  I was cranky with my wife and son the day after PAX.

Depression ended the friendship between my wife and one of her best friends.  It took the lives of NHL hockey players Rick Rypien and Wade Belak this summer.  More close to home, my boss’s ex-wife recently took her own life, which I suspect was also brought on by depression.

I’ve recently come to realize that a lot of us in the D&D community are, or likely are, suffering from depression.  Several of the folks I talk with on Twitter have said such, ChattyDM has written about it on his blog and was interviewed by Dixon Trimline about it as well.  Depression was also a part of the near-death of Fourthcore.

There has been some evidence of a correlation between depression and creativity (via an indirect link with self-reflection), so the fact that a lot of us D&D folks suffer from depression shouldn’t be a surprise.

Here’s the bottom line though.  If you’re suffering from depression, you don’t have to keep feeling that way.  If you know someone suffering from depression, try to get them to get help.  If someone is ‘blue’ all the time, don’t just accept that they ‘feel fine’.  There are many different treatments for depression, from cognitave behaviour therapy, to medications.  Don’t feel bad about taking medicine for depression either.  You wouldn’t feel bad about taking Tylenol for a headache, would you?   Sometimes treatments don’t work.  If this happens, try another one and don’t quit until you feel better.


Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. I'm a 37-year old meteorologist. No, not one of those guys you see on TV, but someone who actually forecasts the weather. In my spare time (what I have with a toddler), I game. Mostly I run a D&D 4e game every two weeks, but also play Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine. I'm a skeptic (not a cynic) and am interested in political topics. I can be followed on twitter @ArcaneSpringbrd


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About Arcane Springboard

I'm a 37-year old meteorologist. No, not one of those guys you see on TV, but someone who actually forecasts the weather. In my spare time (what I have with a toddler), I game. Mostly I run a D&D 4e game every two weeks, but also play Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine. I'm a skeptic (not a cynic) and am interested in political topics. I can be followed on twitter @ArcaneSpringbrd
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