Oct 12, 2009, 11:26 AM
Post #1 of 36
Skydiving and Depression
Hey All, I would love to start this out with a friend of a friend but thats just not the case. I wouldn't mind knowing some peoples views on people with some forms of depression going skydiving. Now im not going to get into detail about the form of depression because I dont find it very relative. All I do want to share is when I land after a skydive I realize how much I actually love my life and don't want it to stop any time soon. Then about 15- 20 minutes later the feeling comes back and im stuck in my own little world. This is something i've gotten help with in the past and I have resorted to my sports as being my medication. But I would like to know some input from others who may be dealing with some of the same problems. Thanks
If you're looking for skydiving to cure depression, it's probably not going to happen. It may be a temporary relief from the symptoms of depression, but for most people suffering from true clinical depression, successful treatment is usually more multi-modal than "go out and make a few skydives." That said, the social aspects of skydiving as well as the athletic aspects could most certainly be an important part of a treatment program as both of those things can help with recovery.
I've seen a lot of people look to skydiving to "fix" something that's not right in their lives ... and while it's a wonderful sport and community, the underlying issues are still going to be there at the end of the day.
Agree completely. Jay, if you're not already getting regular, qualified professional help, as well as allowing and cooperating with an assessment of whether medication might or might not be called for as part of your treatment plan, you're probably doing yourself a great disservice.
(This post was edited by Andy9o8 on Oct 12, 2009, 11:44 AM)
At this very moment in time it is both, Some family problems have brought every thing back tenfold, I used to have the "chemical" end of it under pretty good "control". And by control I mean I knew how to recognize symptoms and knew how to deal with them. But now its a whole new ball game.
You are more than welcome to come bunk out at my house in So Cal for a little while. You know change of scene and all that. If you'd like I'll start you B.A.S.E. jumping. That way you'll spend half your time being scared out of your wits, and the rest, after you meet my BASE buddies, thinking you're the sanest one in the bunch.
Seriously, Brother, you just hang on good and tight.
When I'm down I always remember a passage from the book "Diary of Anne Frank".
It goes something like this: ďIn spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."
(This post was edited by NickDG on Oct 12, 2009, 1:32 PM)
I personally don't suffer from depression, but do have a degree in psychology (which in no way means I'm an expert) and was married to a man that is bipolar. The lack of depression right after skydiving is due to all the neurotransmitters pulsing through your body. Serotonin, Dopamine, Adrenaline, etc. which all control mood in some form or another. Unfortunately for you, your "normal" levels are less than the rest of ours so when you come down, you come down more than the rest of us and may actually experience a more depressive state than the one you were in prior to the jump. Think of it being more like a withdrawal.
I think that its great that you've been able to holistically control your depression in the past (which I am in favor of), but sometimes individuals do require medical assistance to get things under control. Because you do experience depression that is chemically driven, my advice to you would be to seek the services of a psychiatrist and get properly medicated and in therapy and then work with your therapist and/or psychiatrist to see if you can go back to a holistic treatment.
Oct 12, 2009, 3:26 PM
Post #10 of 36
Re: [k-dubjumps] Skydiving and Depression
[In reply to]
While skydiving is great for the temporary joy it brings, it doesn't solve the problem. The circumstances that cause depression cannot be reduced by performing unrelated activities. As I've found on many a weekend, I can still feel like absolute crap in between jump loads, even after some of my most enjoyable jumps.
I don't know if I can relate to your situation, but here is mine: With the exception of one event (that turned out worse for me in the long run), I don't remember a full day without feeling some sort of extreme sorrow since elementary school. It only takes one thought to trigger my issue and it lingers with me for a long time. I'd love to vent and go in to why I feel this way, but peoples' responses are no help, and the reason for my issues is not pertinent.
The point is, the best success I've had with reducing my depression happens when I make progress towards fulfilling the desires I have in life. There is also a flaw in this method, as my failures towards that goal set me back more than equivalent successes would bring me forward.
I cannot suggest much else because I do not pursue those solutions. The best advice I can provide is to use skydiving (and other activities) only as a boost to your psychological health, not as the solution.
Oct 12, 2009, 3:51 PM
Post #11 of 36
Re: [k-dubjumps] Skydiving and Depression
[In reply to]
Jayson, I suffer from depression but I didn't really acknowledge it until I was over 30. What I found out for myself is that it comes in cycles. It's great that you are aware and that you keep on trying. I know it's hard but hey, you might not like it if everything is too stable (no highs and lows) although at the mo you might like some "normality" in you. It helps if you can pick yourself up and go for a walk, go swimming everyday, be close to nature, play with dirt. Gardening or planting trees. Be around animals. Unless you are suicidal, I don't see the importance in medication, seeking pill doctors - what are they going to do ? There are no test to figure out what medication is right for you. It's just a subjective evaluation and sussing out the right dose. Sure, if you are suffering hallucinations drugs can make things easier for the patient and the loved ones around but this is not the case. When I had anti-depressants I didn't feel like myself, like I'm having motion sickness. Take pharmaceuticals so that I can "function" in this world? I don't think that is my path but you have to decide on that. Take your time. You still have the power - Or otherwise you won't be jumping and doing what your doing. You might want to use the opportunity to really find out about yourself. It does help if you can find a good counselor. And stay away from people who talk at you. You are pretty much a lone explorer in this. Another thing - Diet man ! Fresh carrot juice in the morning cleanses liver. You might have toxins (heavy metal, pesticides, or fungus) in your system. Do some Chi-Gong or Yoga. Day by day, man. If jumping helps you feel alive, why not ! You might find happiness in small things some days. If you can treat it as a gift and curse, you are doing OK. Good luck
If you frequently consider suicide (or even infrequently, or even if you just think of it in terms of my-life-is-barely-worth-living), it would be good to seek professional help - in person. Don't be complacent or underestimate the issue - the nasty episode that causes you to go over the edge might be one you don't see coming from your perspective.
Have lost an uncle, 3 cousins, and a friend from college to suicide. 2 of the 5 were on meds and in the process of adjusting them but were also complacent about the need to pursue it with urgency. The others were never medicated and maybe should have been.
Do not underestimate the power of chemical imbalance or overestimate your ability to deal with it alone. Bottom line - taking care of yourself rarely involves doing nothing.
Hi Jason - Skydiving with depression probably isn't a problem. There seem to be a number of jumpers who have depression and/or are taking antidepressants.
Beginning 6-7 years ago, I had mild to moderate depression for a couple of years before trying any meds. It took a little trial and error, but now I take relatively small doses of 2 different meds, which works well for me. Even if you have tried meds in the past, consider trying them again. Find a Dr. who will work with you to figure out what works best for you. You don't necessarily need to be down (so to speak) 98% of the time.
good on ya for putting yourself out there by trying new sports and having the balls to ask for help!
I'm a skydiver with depression, here's what works FOR ME: diet, exercise, support structure.
All the males on my dad's side have depression. I was quite melancholy in high school. Joined the Army, started eating better and working out, had a structure and focus, no problems for four years. Got out, went to college, started partying and eating like crap, no clear goal...guess what happened. Starting feeling that baaaaad feeling again.
Volunteered to go back in after 9/11 and go overseas. Again I'm doing PT, focused on a goal and have a support structure. Felt great for several years, got out again to finish school and dropped into the the same crowd with the same activities...and guess how I started feeling? Had some really scary thoughts but got help. I started taking anti-depressants, cleaning up my diet, and working out. Noticed a change almost immediately. I took a look at my emotional history and decided to try things without the meds for a while, but let my doc and family know what I was doing.
So three years later I still haven't been on medication, but have found wonderful support structures in skydiving, BASE jumping, and at my gym. I'm sensible about what I eat (most of the time ) and don't hesitate to talk to someone if I start feeling down, which really doesn't happen very often.
So that's what works for me, but everyone's different. If you every want to talk in detail a little more, I'll be happy to help in whatever way I can!
*just to be clear, I am not against medication in any way*
Hey Every one. I just wanted to say thanks alot for all of your input with this topic. Its a touchy subject I would imagine for any one who is having the same problems. All of your input has been taken with great appreciation. I have already started to look at things alot differently. Its going to take a while for me to get things back under control, but im not going to do it alone this time. Thanks again. And Rob harden up fucker. hahaha thanks guys
Good on You. It's not a bad thing to be depressed. Don't feel bad or guilty. The worst thing is to compare yourself with "what you should be" Should and Shoudn't is a bad thing. This creates separation in the state of things. And you will feel fear and guilt from potential failure. If you say " I will " then automatically you are on the path. There is no separation of states because you are on the way.
Stewie said a great thing - Letting folks know what you are doing. I think being around your family has advantages and disadvantages. It can be very difficult because you try and please them, and feel responsible about their feelings. Almost you have to deal with their emotions as much as yours. However, it is a great support structure when you can communicate to them your needs. They have theirs, too, so that's important, too. But you come first in this case so ask them and tell them how you wanna do it. They will probably learn about themselves with the opportunity and maybe your family are doing yourselves great! The right amount of control and the right amount of out of control - difficult balance
Spot on! Exercise helps trigger natural "feel good" chemicals. It also helps lift you out of your rut. Twenty years ago, I got depressed after throwing my back out. I wasted the first winter laying about, grumbling. The second winter I swam three times a week. The third winter I took up aerobics. This reminds me of a book - written by a psychologist - entitled "Positive Addictions." Basically, he said that if you have a an addictive personality, you should take up an addictive sport, like marathon running. Find a positive outlet for your energy/worrying.
... This reminds me of a book - written by a psychologist - entitled "Positive Addictions." Basically, he said that if you have a an addictive personality, you should take up an addictive sport, like marathon running. Find a positive outlet for your energy/worrying.
Iíve been dealing with the D word for years myself. Started at a young age for me when my parents got a divorce. Iím 47 now. Been thru my share of shitty marriages. Always getting married for the wrong reasons. Tried all kinds of meds, therapy, group sessionsÖ.what ever! Ya de ya da. Sort of came to a conclusion myself after years of trail and error. Kind of funny, but itís the same as what previous posters said. For me itís all about a healthy diet, exercise, and getting out into the fresh air. And diet, I donít mean cutting portions down on the crappy stuff, but making a life style change and eating healthy every day. More fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains (avoid the processed bleached wheat) and lean meat. Mostly fish and poultry. Grilled NOT fried. And stay away from processed foods.
Good exercise is a must. You donít have to make a workout video or become a body builder, but daily activity like walking, swimming, free weights will do a body good. Getting the heart rate up a little is the key. If ya canít get outside to do any of that, just running in place a few minutes a day will do the job. Maybe try sit-ups and push-ups. Or a set of stairs and walk up and down a few times each day.
Also you need to find your place! Let me reiterateÖ Every human being needs to feel needed. Itís a sense of doing good work for humanity. Find out what works for you. Maybe itís at work, or community volunteering. Maybe work with kids through the Big Brothers Organizations, a local food bank, working at a senior center once in a while. Find out what it is that gives you and your soul a feeling of well being. Random acts of kindness. Maybe look at things from a spiritual point of view. What ever it is for youÖ.Find it!
Good sleep is a must. The brain canít function on no or little sleep. Are you reaching REM? The recommended 8 hours a day is only a recommendation. Your body will tell you how much sleep it needs.
Also, find a social network. Just being around happy people will help tremendously. There are good people out there! You may have to look around, and kiss a lot of frogs but good people are there if you look hard enough. Find someone you can trust.
Another thing, donít get in a rut doing just one activity all the time. You have to mix things up a little to keep activities interesting. Ride a bike, walk in a park, take a hike in the woods, go swimming, join a club.
Back to a healthy diet, take daily supplements and vitamins . I use an over the counter natural supplement called 5-HTP. Itís a naturally occurring amino acid that balances serotonin levels in the brain. Iíve been taking it for over 6 month and I feel much better then before. Yes, I do have good days and bad days just like everyone else. Itís not a miracle pill. But the lows are not as low as they use to be. Last week I had my yearly physical and blood work. My Dr. says Iím a model of good health for my age bracket.
If you wanna PM me, Iíd be glad to share more. RememberÖ.you are not going at this alone!
I love skydiving so much, I think it causes depression. My DZ is a weekend DZ, so I can only jump on the weekends, unless I travel somewhere. I spend all week wishing I was jumping. I think the high degree of happiness that skydiving brings me makes everything else feel less awesome relatively speaking. If I had a DZ that was everyday, I would build my house right next to the runway! I hope the bonds you make skydiving and the fun of trying to learn and progress through the sport helps cure your depression. Between the wind tunnel and skydiving, I have found my true love: Skydiving!!! And when true love isn't around, (rain, high winds, weekday, plane breaks) I'm sad :(. Sorry if I rambled lol. ADHDish!!!