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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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When The Sun Comes Out

Comments (101)

cloudy skyIt’s such an immense relief when the oppressive weight of depression begins to lift. While I’ve had a big struggle the past six months, the last few weeks have been better and recently I’ve felt a broad positive shift in how I’m feeling.

My metaphor for my depressive episodes has always been that “dark clouds build on the horizon” as depression approaches. I no longer am afraid of the dark clouds, nor do I go through crazy rituals like I did in my 20s to try to keep them away. I don’t embrace or encourage them – I just accept that they are there. Often they disappear after a few days. Sometimes, like this time, then move on in and block out the sun. And then – like a long Pacific Northwest rainy season, they just hang there. Every now and then the sun peeks through and things feel a little better, but then the dark clouds swallow up the light again.

After a month of this, it gets really tough. After two months, there are periods that I can only describe as excruciating. After three months, the pain – at least for me – dulls – and everything is just joyless. I get up each morning, I do my work, I engage as deeply as I can in whatever I need to, but I mostly just want to be alone. Being with Amy is better than being alone, because she’s safe, but I know it’s eventually hard on her to watch me exist under this dark, cloudy sky.

In March, when I accepted that the depression wasn’t lifting, I decided to change my approach. I used the metaphor of “regroup” to define how I was approaching things. I eliminated a bunch of things. I cancelled all my travel from June 1 to the end of 2013. I let go of my need to answer every email the same day. I stopped scheduling a lot of stuff and just let it happen. I stopped a bunch of online routines like checking in on FourSquare and reading my daily news. I stopped waking up at 5am (something I’ve done every day during the week for the past 20 years) and started waking up whenever I wake up. I stopped drinking alcohol and coffee.

I then added a few things back in. I started running more. I started reading again. I started doing digital sabbath – no email or phone from Friday sundown until Sunday morning.

I can feel a material change. The sun is shining more. The agony of depression is gone. I’m enjoying some things again.

But I’m still in regroup mode and don’t feel a need to come out of it anytime soon. I’m still eliminating things I realize I don’t want to be doing. But I’m starting to play around with new things that interest me.

My greatest creative moments have come on the heals of periods in my life like this. It’s the one positive aspect of these depressive episodes for me. I can’t plan it, or force it, but I look forward to it revealing itself.

Update – if you want to get a deeper understanding of what depression feels like, several commenters pointed me to this amazing post by Hyperbole and a Half titled Depression Part Two.

  • Paula Patch

    This is the second blog post in two days in which the writer has described, so accurately and so bravely, the experience of living with depression. Thank you. This is my life, too. Sharing and listening is another way to not feel so alone. Looking forward with you. P.S., the other blog post is here: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Wow – that is a magnificent post. Updating my post to include it!

  • http://www.eliainsider.com Elia Freedman

    I think I mentioned my wife had depressive episodes in her teens and early 20s. She almost killed herself. We have been following Hyperbole and a Half for a long time and the writer recently went through depression and may in about the same place you are now. This made my wife laugh and cry all at the same time as she related to it all too well. Thought you might appreciate it:
    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

    • http://me.damanbahner.com/ @Daman

      Nice, I was just clicking over here to post that :-)

      Brad, thanks as always for the transparency in how you deal with this issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.rho Matthew Rho

    Thank you for sharing this, Brad. Your vulnerability touched and inspired me. You’re a beautiful person.

  • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

    Good to hear Brad. A metaphor I like to think of is aerodynamics. We want to glide through the air as effortlessly as possible, it feels good. But we collide into things, and many times they stick. Habits, commitments digital junk. Some are even old anchors from the past we drag around. I’ve had good success cutting old anchor lines and letting new debris slide off in a mission to be more aerodynamic.

  • http://twitter.com/davegirouard Dave Girouard

    It’s incredibly valuable, generous, and brave for you to share your experiences with depression. I believe a significant part of our industry suffers similarly and it makes a big difference when somebody so successful and popular is so forthright about it.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx Dave. I’ve got a long article about it that’ll be in an upcoming Inc. Magazine. I agree that many entrepreneurs struggle with it but there is such an incredible stigma about talking about it.

  • Sue Young

    “My greatest creative moments have come on the ‘heals’ of periods in my life like this.” Lovely homophonic slip of the tongue, IMHO.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Oopsie. Fixing now – well – maybe I’ll just leave it.

  • André Thénot

    Being open about this topic of depression is very courageous, especially since it seems to be a current issue, as opposed to something from the distant past. Thank you for sharing, since depression is an attack on our very identity.
    I believe your public posting about this is very helpful. If anything, it helps to know that others have the same struggles and that breakthroughs are possible.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx Andre. Yes – this one is definitely happening right now!

  • http://reecepacheco.com/ reece

    glad to hear it buddy

  • Laurent
    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Great article. I’m all about a meaningful life.

  • http://www.samedaydr.com/ Rich Weisberger

    Congrats on nixing coffee and alcohol which both seem to be woven into the fabric of startup life.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Neither was that hard – I just had to decide to “quit.”

      • http://www.samedaydr.com/ Rich Weisberger

        Like that sentence. Just plug anything between those quotes!

  • http://www.dannybeckettjr.com DANNY BECKETT JR.

    Thanks Brad for being open about this topic. I’ve been through similar times in my life and I work hard everyday to manage it – especially now that I am better aware.

  • http://twitter.com/RUmobile Dave Sherman

    As the sun comes out for you Brad, I hope it continues to shine on the great things you’ve done for others. Being the person you are and the couple you and Amy are, I hope you face the challenge knowing you have the support equal to and exceeding the good you have brought forward for others. The courage is in asking and being open about the time and place you are now. So, glad to hear you are regrouping, we all are pulling for you.

    I remember the advice you gave me early in my sales career that has always stuck with me. You are that guy that agrees to go along on a sales call and does not have a suit or a tie like I had been trained to have, nor anything but your intellect to rely upon. No, wait you did have a pen, but you asked me for a single piece of paper, which you folded and put in your shirt pocket. I think you said it’s only one piece because anything really worth writing down was going to fit on it. So keep running and keep rockin the entrepreneur world you’ve got a lot to give and giving makes the sun shine.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Dave – thx for the kind words and the reminder of that moment!

  • http://www.alearningaday.com Rohan

    Brad, you’ve probably thought of this at a much deeper level but I had a thought as I read this. Could one of the causes for these episodes be a sustained lack of sleep/lack of complete rest?

    Given your action packed schedule + 110% exertion days, I’m just wondering if the 5am ritual causes more long term damage than help. At least for me, without getting “enough” sleep (and “enough” is psychological – mine is 8 hours), I don’t “feel” rested, I don’t recover my extrovert energy, I don’t regain full willpower and it all goes downhill from there.

    Just a thought.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      It’s a good thought. I’ve been consistently sleeping > 8 hours a night when I just sleep until I wake up. So clearly I was massively exhausted.

      • http://www.alearningaday.com Rohan

        Yeah. What I find with my sleep pattern (check out sleep cycle alarm clock for some geek thrill :)) is that I need more sleep if I’ve put in –

        - enormous mental effort or
        - too much extrovert time or
        - taken too many decisions

        All of this points to willpower depletion and that’s the source of the “things will look better in the morning” because we recharge our reserves overnight.

        So, maybe 9 hours is what we need during tough days. Einstein used to sleep 11 hours very regularly and I guess we could learn a thing or two from the great man.

  • Mac

    As always, thanks for sharing. We’re good listeners….so don’t hesitate.

  • Sandy

    Brad, thank you for sharing this. My son is brilliant, in so many ways similar to you, and depressed. Your sharing your experience has helped me to understand him.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Glad!

  • http://www.derekscruggs.com/ DJ

    Glad to hear this. I’m in a similar mode, though fortunately mine didn’t last 6 months. One thing that seems to be helping me is some changes in nutrition, including experimenting with lots of supplements (on advice of a nutrition therapist). Shoot me a note if you’re interested in a referral or want more info.

  • http://twitter.com/guygunaratne Guy Gunaratne

    Thank you for sharing. You are exceptional.

  • SteveWoit

    Brad:

    Great courageous post. Very rare, deeply personal and empathetic approach to difficult challenges that face most exceptional people. Meditation and fishing also help:)

    • http://twitter.com/mgav Mark Gavagan

      What advice would you give to a depressed fish, just meditation?

      (I hope you don’t a bit of humor regarding your very thoughtful comment, Steve).

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        Cute!

  • narikannan

    Brad – Many of us have someone dear to us that is suffering from depression. Posts like yours give us all a window on what people are going through and how they are coping! Thanks for the post!

  • http://twitter.com/hertling William Hertling

    So glad you’re starting to feel better!

  • Morey Bean

    Springtime is a difficult, tumultuous time. Spring really happens in the dark, with the seeds becoming sprouts, fighting darkness and gravity and soil to slowly emerge. Thank god you’ve got nature surrounding you Brad. Thank god you’re brave enough to bring your state to bear. Check out Andy Goldworthy’s Rivers and Tides. He’s a beautiful man, timeless artist, a gift to us. He talks about time and spring. God bless you Brad.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Grabbing Rivers and Tides (on Amazon Instant!) now.

  • David Keefe

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It is very noble.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bernie.daina Bernie Daina

    Here’s what we know about the psychological component http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness
    The rest is pretty much physiological.
    Bernie Daina

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      OCD and the psychological go hand in hand in my experience.

  • http://www.sandygrason.com Sandy Grason

    I think I mentioned to you before that my 14 year old daughter has been struggling with depression. It’s been a rough couple of years. Your posts help me more than you know to understand a tiny but of what she’s going through. She doesn’t always have the words (or the desire) to explain it to me. Thank you Brad. I just want to give you a big hug.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Hugs back. I’ll send you a separate email about this – I have a friend I think you’d enjoy talking to.

  • http://www.lisaabeyta.com/ Lisa Abeyta

    You touched on these things in your talk in Boulder, and I’m glad the clouds are lifting. While I deeply admire your dedication to being accessible and responsive, I also admire the courage it takes to let go of some of that to reclaim a few more pieces of your ‘self’ so that you can embrace your creativity and the regeneration that comes with starting new journeys – even if the journey is as simple as deviating from routines that have become bondage.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx! I like the phrase “routines that have become bondage” – I’m going to carry that around with me some.

      • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

        Couldn’t agree more. Routines are wonderful things for achievement. They carry us through when we fail, keep us going when we’re unsure. But they have a flip side which can numb us. I try to shake things up regularly, from the walk to work, daily workout, circles of friends I hangout with, ideas I expose myself to. Doing something new everyday helps a lot.

  • http://www.cazoomi.com/ Clint Wilson

    As always Brad inspiring the next in all of us “out there”:)

  • http://twitter.com/mgav Mark Gavagan

    Another resource for understanding depression is William Styron’s 95-page book about his personal experience with it: “Darkness Visible.”

    Someone I know with the same condition said that reading that book is the only time he ever thought anyone else understood how he felt.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Styron’s book is very powerful. I read it in my 20s when I was struggling with my first major bout of depression.

  • Emily Earwig

    Brad – Don’t rule out that this could be chemical. Years ago I suffered from chronic fatigue and depression and anti-depressants changed my life. I haven’t been on anti-depressants for years, but living in Colorado, I do run low on the ol’ vitamin D sometimes. Taking the D and St. John’s Wort can put a spring in my step. The running and un-plugging are terrific steps, but if you haven’t had a good blood work-up in awhile, you should gitter’ done and have a conversation with your doctor about depression.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup – as a serious runner I’ve always paid attention to this and, in this cycle, it’s been particularly important as there’s no question that as I get older my internal chemistry is changing. Thanks for the reminder.

  • jerrycolonna

    Finding new rituals that support me, feed me, was key to me being able to see the sun again.
    Most of those involve few or no electrons and more engagement with my body.
    The other thing, of course–and I think you and all of us commenting on your posts are doing this–is to talk about it. To allow ourselves not only the experience of it but to lift the crazy-assed prison bars that say, oh, and by the way, don’t fucking talk about it.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      The stigma of talking about it is so strong – you see it in the comments and I hear it in all the discussions I have. I appreciate everyone who encourages me to be open about it – and all – like you – who lead the way by being open about your own struggles with depression.

      • jerrycolonna

        I’ll count us successful if all we end up doing is reducing that stigma a bit.

        • http://bsoi.st/ bsoist

          Absolutely! I think that will do a lot of good.

  • http://twitter.com/davidsmuts David Smuts

    THANK GOD someone like you is talking about this Brad!

    I had some comments on this topic with Fred Wilson, following an interview with Mike Arrington on his blog: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2013/05/video-of-the-week-my-talk-with-arrington.html#disqus_thread

    One of my comments was: (David Smuts to fredwilson • 7 days ago)

    “It’s an important topic (and oft misunderstood) that I speak up about whenever I get the opportunity to do so, and I would love for you to expand on it some day.

    There is a huge difference between personality and mental health. Someone could be free of any underlying mental illness yet their personality can be very “unhealthy” or even destructive and I believe this is the type of person you were referring to.

    Alternatively someone could have a classified mental illness (depression, anxiety, bi-polar etc..,) and yet can function extraordinarily well.

    We would perish the thought of discriminating against an individual for a physical disability, similarly we should also have a mature and compassionate attitude in regards to mental illness.

    It’s more than likely USV and others will have very successful CEOs running their portfolio companies who have a classified mental illness and which the VC has no idea of, yet are coping with that perfectly well and running very good organisations.”

    In any case, you’ve helped immensely with this article by confirming my point. You will discover a groundswell of support in your sharing of this :-)

    David

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx David. I’ve always viewed mental illness as equivalent to physical illness and that’s a point of view that has served me well dealing with my own issues, as well as that of others.

  • http://www.startupcv.com Tim Dick

    Thankyou thankyou… A wonderful tonic of writing and happy you are feeling better. I wonder how much reducing the digital firehose (in which one can never reach completion, but which runs ever faster based on our responses) and replacing it with more human activities plays a part.

    Days spent digitally engrossed, even if a significant achievement is reached, for me at least, rarely lead to positive feelings and often more to a sense of angst due to that sense of incompletion.

    And with that, it is time to walk to the market for some meusi and strawberries. Balance. Thankyou again…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      A slow walk can be magical.

  • Brad Bowers

    Brad, thank your open, vulnerable, authentic post.

  • http://www.EyeOnJewels.com/ Darius Vasefi

    Brad, thanks for sharing your experience. One of my closest friends had struggled with serious health issues and depression for a long time. She recently tried homeopathy and is experiencing truly amazing results in only a few weeks.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Awesome – glad for your friend.

  • Stephen B Hayes

    Nobody seems to have mentioned Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD where the depression is related to a lack of bright light (and logically using a bright light box to substitute for natural sunlight is a highly effective treatment). (Interest connected I have equity in http://www.lumie.com who make SAD lights)

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I’m pretty sure it’s not SAD since I’ve spent plenty of time in the sun this winter. But spring / summer / warm is definitely helping.

  • http://avc.com fredwilson

    :))))))))))))

  • Jann Scott

    Wow. that is pretty brave and telling. Some suggestions I have are: You live a pretty frantic life. On line addiction will raise hell with depression. Books like do more faster, just that philosophy is dangerous. You might give up wine, alcohol and pot too. They are very powerful and will mess you up. I reserve my energy for what works and once I go beyond that point I stop. I also have a tremendous support system around mental health here in boulder which is separate from my public life , but it is bigger than my job. But that what it takes. So all you have to do is change everything. :)

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I’ve never been into pot so that’s easy to give up!

  • LucySanders

    And what beautiful weather we have now here in Boulder. Perfect weather for re-grouping. We stopped using an alarm clock 10 years ago – great move. Glad you will be around this summer – dinner on the porch at our place!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Looking forward to it!

  • Rjamiel

    Incredible “learned” focus! Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/andyidsinga andyidsinga

    take care brad – you’re one of the good guys.

    ps. there’s mos. def. something to limiting coffee! i started doing it accidentally on vacation ( 2 mugs in morning – non rest of day ) …and I’ve been sleeping much better and felt much less scattered.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yeah – coffee is a weird thing. My dad determined that he had a caffeine allergy late in life. I’ve started being more careful – I’m definitely sleeping deeper.

  • http://twitter.com/meredithcollinz meredith collins

    You put a TON of good energy out into the world. Happy to hear you’re feeling better – and taking the time for you! Gotta listen to the flight attendant – glad you’re putting on your air mask first!

  • FAKE GRIMLOCK

    REFACTOR EVERYTHING.

    ALL THE TIME.

  • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

    So sorry you have been going through this.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx Pete. It’s getting better – slowly – but steadily now.

  • http://www.kineplay.com/ben Ben Milstead

    Thank you for your honesty and sharing and words, and a toast, to sunshine!

  • http://wmougayar.com/ William Mougayar

    Glad to hear that you are nipping it in the bud. Your self-awareness and transparency about it are a sign of strength & I admire you for that.

  • http://www.twitter.com/rohamg Roham Gharegozlou

    Hey Brad,
    I admire you for many (VC- and entrepreneur-related) things, the openness in this post just adds to the list. I’m curious whether you see any role for spirituality or religion for you in fortifying against life’s ups and downs. Also, I found that learning Eckhart Tolle’s perspective on depression was like mental jujitsu for me – I read his book years ago and have been able to turn negativity on its head ever since. Here’s the book: http://www.amazon.com/New-Earth-Awakening-Purpose-Selection/dp/0452289963

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Religion: no but Spirituality: yes!

  • http://www.innovationthrives.com innovationthrives

    great, warm and friendly post. mostly I feel close to your struggles and thank you for sharing. No to caffiene and EtOH, but what about morning runs with cannabinoids? might give it a shot, you might loose a little of your multitasking abilities and short term memory but its a small price to pay for the joy that it brings.

  • Tom Nastas

    Brad, well said about ‘dark nights of the soul,’ and your openness to discuss. I too have bouts of depression that wipe me out and like you, I’m doing what you are doing; working only on those projects that have deep appeal to me, shutting down/canceling all other distractions and listening to my wife on the joys of life. Thank you for the openness and sensitivity expressed in your post.

    Tom Nastas
    (PS, we’ve made the return to the USA, in Michigan now, hope to be in Boulder in a few weeks for 7-10 days).

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Holler when you are in Boulder!

  • http://twitter.com/TamiMForman TamiMForman

    Brad — Thanks for continuing to write about your depression. As the wife of a depressive, I find these posts both validating and enlightening. Does Amy write about her perspective at all? Would be interested if she does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632890527 Joe Sinkwitz

    Do you feel the 5am issue was a big contributor? I hadn’t thought of it much, but I’ve been getting up in the 4am hour without an alarm clock since as long as I can remember — even my jawbone UP is set to buzz me if I’m out of deep sleep by 4:30, and it is normally just doing so on the counter because I’m already in the shower.

    Perhaps the timeframe for waking has to do with awaking in darkness and its effects on circadian rhytms?

    After my last bout, I made it a focus to challenge myself in the gym each day for 60-days…it could be anything from doing X push-ups to burning Y calories on a certain machine. Though the goals were arbitrary, the act of achieving something everyday that I set out to do really seemed to take my unconscious focus off failure and moved it ever so slightly towards planning to hit my next goal.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I don’t know yet on the alarm but ill learn more this summer since I’m not going to use an alarm at all. I love the idea of a daily workout.

  • http://beta.rocketlistings.com/ Brian Sirkia

    Relevant quote and response on Reddit: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer” – Albert Camus

    Reddit Comments

  • http://bsoi.st/ bsoist

    You writing about this is important to so many people on so many different levels. I’m moved every time you do. Please continue to take care of yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Bayne/635265865 Lisa Bayne

    As many have said, thank you for your bravery in being open. The stigma of depression and mental illness is far too real. Having grown up with a bi-polar depressive mother and having been married to a man suffering from regular bouts of depression, I have seen it from the outside, and have sympathy for you and empathy for Amy.

    I notice you do not mention medication in your writing and responses, and wonder if you are purposely avoiding that route. When my son was diagnosed with ADHD, I tried EVERYTHING other than medication for a long period, finally “giving in” to medication which allowed my wonderful little boy to cope and enjoy life in a way formerly unavailable to him. It made me realize that if he had had a diagnosis of, let’s say, diabetes, I would not have hesitated to give him the medicine to help him be well. Why, then, was I avoiding medication to deal with confused brain chemistry? Was it the stigma attached? Anyway, just a thought.

    Be well. It sounds like you are trying so many good and healthy things, and I wish you the best.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      There is a big stigma around medication – probably even bigger than the stigma around talking about depression!
      Meds work extremely well for some; not so well for others.

      As with any medication, my experience is that the involvement of a doctor (in this case a psychiatrist) is critical.

  • Roberto Krishan

    You are very courageous person and congratulations on this post!

    I was very surprised when I read it this morning and already thought of one-thousand advices to improve your emotions (or the lack of it). But in reality, the only action that will help you revive the fishes in the long-term is for you to redefine the meaning of your life.

    Of course reducing substances, improving health, improving your physiology, adjusting the chemicals in the brain with medicine, and creating different daily activities are important and necessary. But if you decide to humbly redefine the meaning of your life (achievements, leanings, goals, expectations, habits, paradigm, others) you may ban depression for many years or even forever.

    Think about a climber that has climbed Mountain Everest for 20 years. The first time he reached the top was very dangerous, exciting and rewarding. But after a
    couple of years, he finds a formula of daily rituals that helps him reach the top many times with effortless easy.

    Eventually, his brain stops producing dopamine which is created by reward-driven learning activities. And also stops producing endorphins which are linked to feelings of exhilaration brought by danger. And without these two chemicals in his brain…and without any warning…the clouds of depression close in.

    Now, think about a young entrepreneur that has been very successful investing in technology for over 20 years. Is it fair to say that he will create a formula of daily rituals that will help him to be successful over and over with effortless easy? What innovative reward-drive learning activities and exhilarating danger is he creating to his life?

    Nevertheless, If you think that the causes are the opposite: “that you can reach the same success as before”, then it’s a reminder that you have evolved and your skills
    are fit for a different challenge. Thus you must let go of old habits and paradigms and redefine the meaning of your life for the next 20 years.

    I hope it make sense and it can help in anyway….. I can talk about brain depression for hours and days. After all, I spent a couple of years helping my roommate in Manhattan Beach, CA to overcome his depression moods exactly how you describe it.

    Although, his quantitative aptitude was very high, he never accepted the “regroup” approach or to redefine his meaning in life. Instead, he move out and committed suicide 8 years later at the age of 36.

    You are very intelligent, strong and courageous person. Its a matter of time that you will re-write the “software program” of your life to reclaim your brain.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Sincerely,

    Roberto Krishan Srivastava–

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Roberto – thx for the thoughts and suggestions. Sorry to hear about your roommate.

  • panterosa,

    I am glad to read your story today, of some light at the end of the tunnel. I have a friend reaching out to me who is in similar, but sadly less functional state, and I am one of the few in his life who understand how painful and debilitating this process is. My questions relate to your experience, and how I might help him.

    Let me ask you two questions if I may. Do you feel a correlation in ‘listening’ to yourself more, sleeping until he right point to wake, and take a “day off every week” helped? I wonder how what we hear, from others/other sources, competes with our inner voice, and if we allow our inner voice to be heard on serving immediate needs helps us find our center if only through validating that inner voice.

    This leads me to a second question on how we see ourselves – our inner vision of ourselves. Often who I want to be, or how I think of myself, can be off sync with what I am doing. My desire to be the person I envision must creates a pressing need in me to achieve that, and on the days (or months) I am not achieving that inner vision, there must be some message of failure I internalize. I wonder to what extent that subtly colors my outlook on things.

    These two points may seem obvious to many people. My goal was to talk about how that shift can be achieved in inner dialogue to exit a major depressive episode, and how that shift can be supported in a friend who is in this state, desperately seeking help.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Sleeping until I wake up AND taking a full day off each week has helped immensely in the short term. I’m going to continue it for a while and see if it keeps helping, but for now it has been golden.

  • Doug Liles

    “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by [jerks].” – Attributed to William Gibson, probable origin Steven Winterburn.

  • Steve

    Brad – I’m glad to hear that the depressive feeling is lifting. Endorphins do wonders. I can feel them kick in at about mile three of a run. I couldn’t live without either running or swimming regularly.

    I also believe that the amount of daylight has a huge impact on those folks who are susceptible to depression. I can always feel my energy level and mood rise as the days get longer, even though I don’t face the challenge of bouts of depression.

  • http://thebigklosowski.com Allen Klosowski

    As someone who has plenty of ups and downs, I understand how sometimes the perfect day can still feel like everyone is far away and underwater. It is a surreal experience that many will never completely understand.

    I think the idea of having a digital sabbath is something that everyone should embrace – particularly if they have children. I’m attempting to do this more and more, and it’s hard, but possible. Seems that others have the expectation that you are as connected as they are at all times now, particularly when I was working in a corporate environment. It’s one of the reasons I left recently for a startup that has more understanding of a work/life balance.

    Glad to hear that the sun has come up for you again. I have a lot to learn from the steps you’ve taken to apply to my own journey. Thank you for sharing.

  • Greg Berry

    Brad, thanks for sharing this, and bringing it out into the open, as so many have said before.

  • galestaf

    Brad, thanks for this post. Sorry I missed this when it first came out. I’m late to the party now, but I hope you still see my comment. You continue to surprise me with your blog. Super productive people like you don’t suffer from depression — right? Or so I thought. The depressed people I know are a bit less productive. When I’m depressed, I feel less productive and I think I am less efficient. I am amazed you can get so much done despite your battling with this condition.

    Depression really sucks but I have learned from my own bouts of depression, and my experience with it has given me compassion for those who suffer from it and other conditions.

    As for treating depression, I have never tried a pharmaceutical approach like Prozac or Zoloft. But a few months ago I got a simple handheld thing called a cranial electrotherapy stimulation device (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranial_electrotherapy_stimulation). I am not going to promote a particular company here but will say that I use my device for 20-30 minutes daily. It has worked wonders for my mood and my concentration. I feel more even-keeled and more tolerant of my kids when they get really unruly or irritating.

    Gale

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx for the note. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation looks interesting. Did you do it under the supervision of a psychiatrist or just off the shelf?

      • galestaf

        I am just using it off the shelf. The company I bought from markets their product as an FDA-approved device. So before they complete the sale, they need either a note from one’s physician or require a consultation with their recommended psychologist. I just scheduled a phone consultation with their recommended psychologist to talk about my goals with the device (i.e., better sleep quality, treating intermittent seasonal depression). Anyway there are a number of small companies in this area. The most impressive company seems to be Fisher Wallace Laboratories. I didn’t buy mine from them but that seems to be the most reputable company.

        BTW, I’m a huge fan of your work, your writings, etc. and definitely I’d be glad to chat by phone/Skype anytime about this stuff. So the offer is open! I got to meet a number of your Boulder/Denver people including Jim Franklin, Joe Scharf and Bart Lorang last fall when I visited the area. And they all said you’re cool as heck!

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          Thx – appreciate the info.

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