Major Depression


Order a self-help book online (amazon). Even if it doesn't cure you, it might give you a sense of optimism that you really can get better and there is help out there. The Center in Tianmu has some great counsellors who give excellent advice. It helps alot just to talk to someone who understands about your plight. They have a website with contact details.
Also, do you drink alcohol? If you do, stop! It si a depressant and will just take you down, even if it does make you feel better for a short while. You say you exercise, and this is good to lift one's mood, but too much and overdoing it can lead to low mood and fatigue.
Medication alone cannot cure depression. It needs a change in habits and thinking. It's a hard road to travel, but it can be done. Get help!


This may or may not help but I have been seeing a pretty good psychiatrist in Tianmu. Dr Lin

Don't have the address to hand but the telephone number is (02)2835 5329. The receptionists speak some English and his English is pretty good. They are only open afternoon/evening.

He's a nice guy and you can ask him questions about medication/ depression etc.

You can use your health insurance card there too.


Medication can become the problem. AND if you change the dose yourself you can be in deep shit. I tried to get off Effexor having no idea of the serious withdrawal implications and almost imploded.

Please check out this site if you want to get off the drugs - which I recommend.

It works.

I went through a depression and counselling + anti-depressants helped. The counselling quickly showed the cause and I'd have to change some things. Which I did. BUT the doctor said I should stay on Effexor because "it may come back" Maybe he was right, but Effexor and others like it have their own downsides. Get off them when no longer needed

BUT don't get off them without doing your homework. Start with the road back. I got off Effexor, it was slow but it worked.


Hey man,

Been in taiwan for over 2 months and I get lonely on the weekend and I am bored already. working 12 hours aday doens't worry me, I am used to it back in OZ, to me job is a job but you need to find things that You like to do not other people like you to do. I am heavely into sport, so I used sport as my social life since my sport takes up a lot of time (well, not so much at moment but I am working on it).

just got to face it, it's a different time zone here.

Cheer up mate...


Best of luck to you and I hope everything works out.


Need some advice on how to deal with seriously depressed/nervous/anxious IQ140 roommate

Full story: 4 months ago I get back to LA after living/traveling abroad for ~2 years. The last year was spent teaching English part-time in Shanghai and the whole trip was an amazing experience as far as developing as a person and breaking out of my comfort zone. I came back stronger and had nothing but amazing stories to share with my friends and family. I was 21.

My best friend at the time was in a rut and hence vulnerable to "life-changing" stories. He is an absolute genius but suffers from severely handicapping chronic depression. By genius I mean he is by FAR the smartest person I have ever met. Photographic memory, mathematics theorist, mechanical engineer (dropout sadly after 3 yrs), sci fi author, etc. When I got back to LA he was living by candlelight in an apartment that had had no electricity for 2 months. He was in debt $3,000 US. He owed over $1,200 in parking tickets, weighed 310 lbs and while I was gone had attempted suicide. He and his apartment reeked of ****. I told him it's time to clean up your life and for the next 30 days I held his hand in doing EVERYTHING. We cleaned up his place, paid off his bills, fashioned him, got him in my MMA class, picked up his book writing ... countless hours and effort put into helping him. The whole time he was talking about how grateful he is and how he is going to turn his life around. He was really really happy. And he wasn't on meds.

And as I start talking about my plans to go live in Taiwan he responds with genuine interest. We go over EVERYTHING. How he will have to teach English to make a living (he was currently living off his parents), how it won't be easy, and specifically how once we get the ball rolling I'll be doing my own thing. I wanted him to understand these things and repeated it often. I didn't even intend on rooming with him.

After dealing with his parents for what seemed like eternity they finally agree to support this last ditch effort on improving his life. They give him a couple thousand bucks and say they will take care of the apartment (which they own) while he's gone. Very very generous considering their history and how much pain and anguish he has brought upon his family since high school. He is now 23.

We arrive in Taipei in December and for the first time in my life I witnessed him being productive. From the first day at the hostel he was super gung-ho about exploring the city, trying new restaurants, clubbing, and eventually finding an apartment. I don't know if this is where I made my mistake, but after 2 weeks of apartment hunting it became clear that the best places were all 2+ bedrooms. So despite my original intentions of not living with him, we end up rooming together. He is still my best friend, cooks some amazing dishes and despite an overwhelming lack of wisdom offers some of the best life advice I receive to this day. It was all good for the first month.

January hits. Chinese New Year was approaching fast and everything started tumbling downhill. Even though I had no intentions of teaching English, I was setting up interviews and even signing us up for dual demos just so he could land a job ASAP. He didn't like any of the schools we saw. So we set up more interviews and more demos. All of a sudden, one Monday morning he wakes up feeling ill and skips his interview. He doesn't call the school back, bails on the rest of his interviews that week and falls into a deep state of depression. I have never witnessed anything like this before. My words would not reach him. He was running low on money. He couldn't even manifest the motivation to do the most mundane tasks - shave, shower, personal hygiene, go outside. When we spoke late at night he just talked and talked about how because of poor parenting, he is now unable to do anything. He blames everything on his parents and other people. I tell him I understand but this is survival time baby and you need to work so you can pay rent and eat. He always responds with, "don't you understand that I lived with no electricity for 3 months? I don't give a ****. The survival instinct normal people posses is absent in me."

1 month passed. There was a week-long period where I withdrew my help to see if he could motivate himself. Didn't work. We had a long chat one night and I convinced him to start over. Come on, one last effort. Fresh start baby, forget about the last jobs. You have money left for 1 month and a laptop. Let's chill this weekend and come Monday I will help you find work again. No more waking up at 6 PM, playing Guitar Hero naked, masturbating in the living room and going to sleep at 11. I will help you.

Monday, Feb 9th came and he woke me up at 6 AM in tears. He had several panic attacks during the night and said he could not and would not call our recruiter that day. I basically said dude it's fine try not worry we will take more time off if it's worrying you so much and try easing into it. No luck. The next 2 weeks were a pain to watch. He bought a laptop and basically secluded himself in his room. He spent all his money. Rent was due and when I talked to him about it he says he doesn't care about anything and he will not pay. I surmise he uses the words "will not" because he has truly feels inadequate and that he is incapable of working or doing anything productive. I said let's just get you a small subbing job and he says nope, can't do it. I tried getting him to join my jiu jitsu school, we even bought a gi together ... but no, socializing scares the shit out of him and he suffers from tremendous amounts of anxiety.

I feel terrible. There were probably times where I could have helped him more, but we agreed in LA I wouldn't have to mother him. I hate to see such an intelligent person wither away when I feel they could be doing so much for the world. I don't know what to do. If I buy him a ticket back to LA I think he will attempt suicide. There is nothing for him there. As of right now his parents send me his money for rent and 400 a month for food. He sits in his room playing MMORPGs all day. So basically he doesn't really HAVE to do anything. He says he WANTS to but all I hear is words.

The whole month of April I was on vacation in Israel ... just got back a few days ago and the appt was a sty. Trash everywhere. Insects crawling over trash bags. Smelled like shit. I had the maids come for 6 hours to clean it up. He seems to be doing okay now that I'm back ... we have talks every night and sometimes make plans but he always feels tired and lethargic and nothing ever gets done.

I should add that he was on meds for most of his life until about 10 months ago when he decided he didn't need it anymore. They were specifically prescribed to help him deal with his depression and ADD. Just recently I was able to acquire Xanax and Prozac, which he has agreed to take and is relatively excited about it.

He really needs a psychiatrist and professional help. This is not something I am qualified for nor have the energy to help with at this point ...


Get him to go to TaiDa. You'll have to make an appointment for him because he won't be able to deal with it. He will just stop, once the meds kick in.

I'm sorry to say, this is just how unmedicated, severely depressed people behave. They're a horrible, idiotic pain in the arse. I know he's not really your problem, but if you could just help him get meds and then give him two months for them to work, I think you'll see your old friend back. These are symptoms and coping mechanisms. He is NOT going to 'snap out of it': he knows and feels horribly guilty for the effect he's having, he just can't help it.

Tell him he has to go to the hospital or you are leaving (I know it's not fair, but kicking him out is not really feasible) He may just really not care, if he's very far gone. Also, he knows what he's doing, and that will be feeding into his loop of bad behaviour, so try to just ignore the stuff he does, if you can.

And sell his laptop. You need rent money, he needs to not be distracted.

Xanax and Prozac are 'old' drugs. There are also much better things out there now. In terms or counselling, there are a couple of non-retarded counsellors at the community centre in Taipei. Once his meds have kicked in, you should get him to go there. He'll probably be resistant (it's tough being helped to tie your own metaphorical shoelaces by some touchyfeely ****) because he'll have had counselling before and it obviously hasn't helped, but explain that it might be different, this time.

Also, if he really has an IQ of 140, try and empathise and imagine how painfully difficult it can be to be like that, as someone in his early 20s. He is 40 points away from the average. If you see yourself as average, or even above average, imagine what it feels like to be surrounded by people with IQs of 60 or 70, all the time. Also, he is in his twenties and has just emerged from a childhood with absolutely no boundaries because he's been smarter than his parents and teachers, and has never had to try at anything because he got A's in school for everything on the back of a good memory and general knowledge. He's never learned to share, never heard the word 'no', never learned to try and never failed at anything. Most people figure this out as children.


Youserrian (msp?)

Wow! Not too many friends would do as much as you have to help out a friend. At some point, he has to take some responsibility for where he is, and who he is or die. It sounds harsh, but that is the reality. Shit happens, parents make mistakes (or worse can be abusive or negligent), yet many people move beyond their bad beginnings, and learn to live.

He's lucky to have a good friend like you (and parents who continue to foot the bill). I understand what it's like to be clinically depressed, so I'm not speaking out of my arse. It is possible to live with depression, not merely survive. I agree with other advice given here. Your friend needs to be on medication and to see a professional therapist. Other things that will help are activity, eating nutritiously, and sleeping regular hours. Depressed ppl suffer from psychomotor agitation or retardation or a combo. Layman's terms: anxious, agitated, irritable and/or find it difficult to mobilize to take care of basic hygiene, mundane actitivities, find it difficult to concentrate or attend to simple cognitive tasks like making a grocery list or balancing a check book. Interestingly, DOING stuff ameliorates these symptoms. A popular hypothesis states that activity releases endorphins, natural opiates, causing an elevated mood. For example, my brother has managed his depression by regularly exercising, and smoking cannabis (I don't necessarily endorse the latter). He takes ativan, an antianxiety medication, rarely when he has difficulties with anxiety or panic attacks. This usually occurs when he has started work with a new company. He works as a Senior software developer (and has been successful emplyed for 15 plus years), is married to a lovely and supportive wife, and has three great kids - a "normal" guy. It can be done.

I applaud your supportiveness. Caution you not to enable him, but encourage behavior that shows responsibility an accountability.

Good luck



YL, you're a great friend. Can I suggest this book here for ideas. ... pd_sim_b_1

It details several methods of addressing depression by natural means. It sounds like your friend might need some medical intervention in the shorter term, but then once stabilized, the sorts of methods outlined in the book will allow him to manage himself without the drugs.

Research based and written by a doctor, I should add.


wow you are a wonderful friend to him. so is this guy in Taipei still? i would love to meet him. i'm a super duper easy guy to talk to and maybe i can offer a little help. :slight_smile: i'm into lot of automotive stuff and and ME stuff and i can probably open up a dialog with him. anyway, let me know. cheers.


See an M.D. AND perhaps after a Chinese Herbalist.

With that said you can try SAM-e as long as you don't have swings of depression and mania. As well as L-Doppa. Also look into a quality bioavailable DIM.


Are you at least getting laid?


That's an amazing story, ghettoracer. You are a prince among men.


I am sure that everyone goes through their ups and downs. However living and working in Taiwan can really mess with your head. It feels like being stuck onto a slow and unrelenting molasses avalanche. You just get so stuck into it, and it just grabs onto you and saps all your positive energy and enthusiasm away. The more you fight to release yourself, the more it pulls on your every effort of escape. Eventually, you'll be forced to go with the flow. I am glad that when I come home every night, my wife and baby girl is there to bring my smile out.

Been looking into taking meds. But am not too hot about some of the side effects that they may carry. Any suggestions?


I would stay away from the SSRI's unless absolutely necessary. You could look for more natural supplements to get those neurotransmitters going. I recommend high dose fish oil. 10 pills a day of 120/180 epa/dha high quality stuff. Just google for all their benefits.


I know how you feel because I used to feel the exact same way when I was living in Taiwan. Do you absolutely have to stay there? Can you move on to a different place or are you tied down there?

Living in Taiwan was the only time in my life I felt depressed. It was so gradual that I didn't even realize how badly it was affecting me until a few years down the line.

A few months after I left the country, I called Grandmother in the US and she said to me on the phone, "Wow! You sound like yourself again!!!" It made me realize just how much the place had affected me.

The solution isn't medication...the solution is leaving if you feel that way.

#78's not simple to up and leave a country when you have commitments. In that case you can look at changing job or changing hobbies or friends or where you are living. He or she does not seem to be getting on well at their job although that's a common affliction! At the same time moving to another country is not a bad idea if you have options.


If you find some fulfilment in your family then you don't have clinical depression: if you did, you would be essentially unable to find any relief from your symptoms, at least not that reliably. You're just pissed off. And, as other posters have mentioned, the solution is to discover WHY you are pissed off and fix it. It sounds to me as if you know roughly where the problem lies (work) but don't want to nail it down. Drugs - legal or illegal - are a kludge.

Most people in full-time employment in Taiwan feel a sense of powerlessness caused by the dysfunctional ideas about employment and management which are prevalent here. The Boss rules your life, and there is no escape because your (low) salary is the only thing that stands between you and homelessness. You may find it helpful to attempt to decouple from the rat-race by downsizing, eliminating things which only serve your employer (car, perhaps?), moving to a smaller town, and focusing more on your family life. It is possible to do. There are at least two regular posters on here who have that kind of lifestyle, although not without (different!) problems - such is life! Just a thought.


Clinical depression?
What is that but a very contradiction in terms?

Please pardon me if I level much vehemence against the school of thought that pervades the study of depression and mental health. If I have to read any more claptrap jargon, I will surely heave!

I hail from the more practical element of that discipline, and as such, can only offer the following.
1. Exercise of both body & mind are crucial.
2. Avoid advice that is not part of your prism.
3. Study your prism. Note how the refraction changes with the angle of light. Maintain that angle, give it a name. It is yours.
4. Read literature, especially the old stuff. One can find much resonance in the old tales. Don't take it religiously.
5. Build a wall, with whatever it takes. A sanctuary away from the caprice of everyday human evil.
6. Listen to uplifting classical music as much as possible, chamber suites most especially.
7. Maintain the perimetre. Plan ahead tactically, have reserves, and get them out in the field to relieve, and learn from, the grizzled veterans.
8. Above all, Keep on Keepin' On.


I had an old school father like you who refused to acknowledge my depression when I was a teen. It meant going through absolute fucking hell for two years more than I needed to. Soon as I got on anti-depressants I was on the road to recovery within a week.

What you wrote is good for maintaining mental health and I practice all those things faithfully. But depression is real and once you've gotten past a certain stage all the exercise and music and walls are not going to help anymore.