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Thank you HN
1370 points by throwAwayXYZ69 on Aug 12, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 137 comments
About a couple of years ago, I submitted a thread here called "Ask HN: I'm depressed, what should I do?" [0].

I was in a very dark place personally and professionally. I had turned to my family and friends without success, and posted here looking for a moral boost.

I would like to thank all the people that have responded with kindness.

I just wanted to say that your words helped, that I think about this thread often, and that your effort did actually help someone from a tough spot.

Update on my situation:

By the time that I got an offer I could live with, I had sent over 250 applications and done around 20 interviews.

I started with 33k€ a year (translates to a little less than 2000€ per month), now I'm at 38k€.

I rented a place downtown, and started working out (lost 18kg and counting), I'm going to run a marathon in 3 months!!!

Overall, I'm not exactly where I want to be, but -for once- I can see myself getting there.

I'm hopeful for the future, and I would like to thank the many people that helped me to get here.

Just to sum up, be kind when you can, it can change someone's life.

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13134183

“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

Words I am always reminded of whenever I try to be too clever on the internet.

Glad you're doing better.

>“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”

It's the function of their risk profile. Young want to maximize payoff which is possible through intelligence, old ones want to reduce their risk so are subject to soceity's kindness.

I disagree I think it's a function of difficulty.

When you are young and depend on others for basically everything it is easier to be kind, and more in your best interest. It's difficult to appear intelligent because you haven't had as much time to learn.

When you are a wealthy older person, (not necessarily at the end of your life) but 40+, you basically don't need anyone to help you with anything. You can be as much of a jerk as you want. Those that choose to continue to fight hard to develop empathy really are going against the grain.

Have you heard the expression if you aren't a liberal when you are young, then you have no heart? If you aren't a conservative when you are old, then you have no brain? It's a dumb saying, but it does seem to reflect a general pattern that most people follow.

You seem very intelligent

I was going to write something similar about him being young, but then decided I was being too clever on the internet.

> Just to sum up, be kind when you can, it can change someone's life.

This is so great, thank you for the lovely sentiment.

Speaking as someone who has lived through dark days myself...

I want to point out that we know that exercise helps with moods. The data is there. That being said, mood disorders are like autoimmune diseases of the emotions. Feeling blue or anxious or clinically depressed makes it harder to work out.

And if you don't, you can easily beat yourself up for not "fixing yourself."

On the other side of the fence, lots of people self-report that exercise helped them. And it did. But what sometimes gets missed is that they were already starting to get better, and what motivated them to exercise was that they were already feeling better.

So it's not as simple as "correlation does not equal causation," but there can be BOTH correlation and causation at work when you exercise and feel better.

I say all this mainly because some folks have real trouble getting the motivation together to exercise when feeling down. Same with personal hygiene, appearance, eating well, and so forth. If anyone reading this knows intellectually that they ought to exercise, but just can't, please know that you are not unusual, this is what mood disorders do.

But also know that there are many things that can help, so find the thing you can do—be it CBT, anti-depressants, whatever—and you will get yourself to a place where you are better able to do self-care like exercise.

JM2C. My office walls are bereft of credentials in psychiatry.

> If anyone reading this knows intellectually that they ought to exercise, but just can't, please know that you are not unusual, this is what mood disorders do.

thanks, needed to hear this.

The entire process of working out and going to the gym is war against depression. It's just not lifting heavy weights, it's also about being able to tolerate boredom, fear, pain and social judgement.

This is said so often and yet for me personally gym helps only very temporarily - just after workout I feel great, but the next day anxiety might kick-in again.

There is a fill-up effect (what you describe) and a build-up effect (repetition on the long run).

It's like a capacitor discharging[0], so at first you have to recharge it often† to not go under the anxiety threshold, but with time it holds more charge, and charges better, so it discharges much more slowly thus reaching the threshold much less often, if at all.

† Part of why it may be important to workout for shorter times/intensity, but more often.

[0]: https://boolscott.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/capacitor-disc...

The research we have says exercise is moderately better than doing nothing, unless you only include good quality research in which case the benefit is harder to see.


Thanks for posting this. The conclusion on that page is:

  > Exercise is moderately more effective than a control intervention for
  > reducing symptoms of depression, but analysis of methodologically robust
  > trials only shows a smaller effect in favour of exercise. When compared
  > to psychological or pharmacological therapies, exercise appears to be no
  > more effective, though this conclusion is based on a few small trials.
My personal take is that the big things to note are:

1. Reducing symptoms of depression is not the same thing as treating depression.

Thus, if you exercise and it works for you to reduce the symptoms, you aren't "better," you just aren't feeling as depressed. This is valuable in its own right, as the symptoms of depression can interfere with you seeking actual treatment... But it is not helpful if you think you're better, stop exercising for some reason, and fall back into depression again, possibly with a side-order of pessimism that nothing seems to work.

2. Exercise is not more effective than psychological or pharmacological therapies.

Although they say there are only a few trials to establish this, I personally feel it's quite safe to assume that it is not more effective, and as per 1 above, that it can be harmful to take an "either/or" approach to exercise and other therapies. Until someone shows me research saying that exercise in conjunction with therapy is worse than therapy alone, I personally try to do both.


The uncomfortable truth about exercise is that a large number of people with mood disorders self-medicate their symptoms with endorphins. When that is used as an alternative to therapy, it may be harmful.

Just my 2c: consider vigorously walking for 30-90 min per day every day you do not go to the gym. This is safe (walking is generally low impact on your tendons) and can extend the duration of the feel good effect.

Go every day

> So it's not as simple as "correlation does not equal causation," but there can be BOTH correlation and causation at work when you exercise and feel better.

Basically it's a feedback loop, one that you have to build up gradually. Got even a slight raise in mood and somehow feeling like you maybe could work out a little bit? Just do 2 push-ups, or 5 abs, or run 20 meters, or whatever! Congratulations, you worked out, so allow yourself to feel good about having done it (vs not doing it) instead of focusing on "this is ridiculous, I could/should have done more". Grow up from there, bit by bit. Building some form of regularity is more important than any form of intensity, because gradually this erodes the mental barrier between "I think about doing it" and "doing it". Don't even put up a schedule because that's already mental friction, just try to think of some moment that feels more appropriate, more natural, some kind of "trigger" that becomes a habit and makes you "flow into" working out (maybe coming home right after work? maybe first thing in the morning?). Don't bash yourself either if you skip sometimes, just keep up the pace on the long run.

A useful trick is to pick activities and set things up so that there is basically zero friction between "I somehow feel like doing X" and actually doing it. You always have 15s to spare doing planks. You most probably have a sofa under which you can easily pop your feet for a couple abs. You don't even have to dress up for working out. I did that (zero-friction workout from home), and the next step was to go running because that meant I just had to pick shoes and a short and just go around the block (or merely to the next intersection and back) whenever I felt like it, because even the local gym is friction for the most ridiculous reasons (opening hours, cost, going there and then working out...) and your mind will use whatever excuse it can find to cop out on it.

Here are some "zero-friction" beginner workouts[0][1][2][3], from which you can pick just one exercise (so that's 30/45s), or do one full round (5-10min), or, when the time comes, do multiple rounds of them. Don't fret at some exercises! e.g burpees may look intimidating: just try to do them, go super slowly if need be, maybe do just one or two at first, take your time, just don't stop. You'll get better with time.

[0]: 5min cardio+abs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8SLO3JgUbQ

[1]: 10min HIIT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWOTOJZuxGE

[2]: 7min cardio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOQpD8aDJeI

[3]: 6min HIIT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqBAR0rfjiI

I just want to attest how true this is.

Exercise is amazing, once you have done it.

I try to get myself to exercise (run or gym) at least 4 days a week, but some days are harder than others.

I find alternating the type of exercise to be helpful too. If I had to go to the gym 7 days a week, I'd get really bored. So instead, some days I hit the gym, other days I practice my drums (playing fast metal / punk so I'm tired and sweaty when I'm finished).

> I want to point out that we know that exercise helps with moods. The data is there.

No, we really don't. We don't even have evidence that exercise is better than doing nothing.

Actually, we do. It's not a cure-all. You shouldn't suddenly become a rabid "big psychiatry and big pharama are frauds, just exercise, eat right, and get 8 hours of sleep" zealot.

But modest improvements in symptoms have been shown time and time again. More modest than many claim, but non-zero.

The link you posted says so:

  > Exercise is moderately more effective than a control intervention for
  > reducing symptoms of depression, but analysis of methodologically robust
  > trials only shows a smaller effect in favour of exercise.
And it also recommends further research to discover what kinds of exercise are most effective:

  > The reviewers recommend that future research should look in more detail
  > at what types of exercise could most benefit people with depression, and
  > the number and duration of sessions which are of most benefit.

Just so we're clear: exercise is moderately better than doing nothing unless you only include good studies, when even that modest benefit disappears.

Exercise as a treatment for depression does nothing for most people, and has only a tiny effect for the rest.

It would help if you would quote the relevant explanation that explains why their own summary—and I quote it again—does not say what I think it says.

The "Author's Summary" says:

  > analysis of methodologically robust trials only shows a smaller effect in favour of exercise.
The summary does not seem to say that that the effect disappears. The summary seems to say that the effect is smaller when you only include "methodologically robust" studies, which I interpret to be synonymous with what you describe as "good" studies.

Can you please share what you're reading that says that the effect disappears entirely? Or perhaps you are quoting a different review than the one you linked?

If by "we" you mean you and your sources, ok. I do have evidence that exercise is better than doing nothing FOR ME.


My hippy aunt believes crystal healing and homeopathy cures cancer, but I'm not going to start telling people to buy amethyst.

Now we have evidence that lack of exercise is not good for the mood.

> Overall, I'm not exactly where I want to be, but -for once- I can see myself getting there.

Belief in humanity's eternal capacity for self improvement, collectively, individually, and in ones own self lies at the heart of living a good, rewarding, and just life. It's becoming increasingly rare. Good luck to you!

Thanks for sharing your story of strength and perseverance. I’m sure it will bring hope to others who may be in despair.

I want to add to this conversation, I found my own personal experience with depression was intertwined with anger and rage. Once I started addressing the anger and rage, my depression was significantly reduced.

I'm curious, how did you address the anger and rage?

You must reckon with it as it is: the result, often, of wrongs done to you as a youth.

People have different ideas of what abuse is; the human mind does not. There are very clear boundaries, which, if crossed, are abuse, and do damage to the recipient that will last their entire life. Whether or not the very same recipient actually views these events as abuse is another matter entirely.

Maybe you weren't abused, maybe you were -- I don't know. I do know that uncovering the why of one's anger gives them a firm, steadfast grip on the how of treating it.

Someone suggested to me that my anger was inwardly focused and that had a direct causative effect on my depression. That rang true for me. So my first work on that was to get my anger directed in an outward fashion. At first, that entailed literally breaking stuff, chopping wood, climbing steep hills on my bike until it hurt, just get that energy going in the right direction. Get it out in the moment instead of bottling it up, fermenting it, then serving an explosion of it to some undeserving person who happened to be in my proximity.

Later some anger management came in. When I felt anger, I would pause, take a breath and assess why I felt wronged in a situation. If the reality check was the other person was crossing one of my boundaries, I would express that boundary and uphold it in as gentle a way as I was able. Which sometimes was pretty brutal, but my intent was always to de-escalate and ask for what I needed without expectation. If the reality check was I had expectations, particularly unreasonable ones, I would just own it, laugh at myself and move on. Maybe share it with some people in my support network.

Later, as naikrovek alluded to in his reply, I started working through childhood trauma issues with a therapist. That's when I got the most relief, though I'm not sure I could have skipped straight to therapy without doing all that other stuff first. Discovering my primary trauma as feelings of being unseen and unheard put things into perspective that made it very manageable. I just make sure I'm being seen and heard, and those skills evolve over time.

When I feel anger and it isn't about any of the above, I take it as a call to action to try to invoke some change. Mostly with myself, though at times I will put ideas out there for other people to contemplate. Acceptance is the key, however I should not accept the unacceptable. If it has to do with others, I invoke a cost benefit analysis to see if I want to fight, and if so, then I do. If I don't feel the fight is worth it, then I use what I call the short version of The Serenity Prayer, which is "Fuck it". I can't say I let it go, but I leave it alone. If it comes up in a recurring resentment kind of pattern, I just remind myself I'm leaving it alone. That gets a lot easier with time.

Perhaps I'm oversharing for a forum such as this. I hope it is helpful in some way; we all have our own journeys. Maybe none of this applies to you. I feel the key things are, be honest with yourself about how well your choices and strategies are working for you, and make sure you have some support. Some real people who really care enough to listen to you and help you without judgment. And most importantly, people who will tell you the truth no matter how painful it may be to you.

> When I felt anger, I would pause, take a breath and assess why I felt wronged in a situation

For me, it is not easy. How do you manage to pause at first place?

I too struggle very often with the pause and the recognition of emotion before acting on it.

Something that has been somewhat helpful to me is a meditation method called mental noting. Please note no method will work for everyone but in case it's useful to you, here goes.

Basically, my version, please do search for more qualified people's version of mental noting on the internet:

1) Rest attention on my breathing

2) Notice (I don't always notice, I don't often notice, but sometimes I do) that I'm distracted

3) Note and label the distraction (mentally say "I'm thinking" or "I'm itching" or "I'm worrying" or "I'm replaying conversation" etc)

4) Thank the distraction for allowing me to flex the mental "noticing muscle"

4.5) Remind myself not to beat myself up about how long I was distracted, haha

5) GOTO 1

This practice has helped me in slowly building up a mental observer that can pause from time to time. But, as I said, I still struggle with the pause.

Speaking purely from my own experience, it takes practice. It wasn’t easy and at first I had no gap between the stimulus and my response. Taking responsibility that my anger is mine and isn’t caused by the other party made it clear in my mind it was up to me to change. "They" aren't "making" me angry; I am angry because "they" have broken some of "my" rules. Sometimes my rules are valid and sometimes not.

The gap widened over time. This is really a process of the heart/spirit/inner goodness, there isn’t any way to think your way through it. It’s about making the commitment to address the behavior, practice and self honesty.

All that said, and all my years of practice, I can still be quick to anger especially in the case of those I have judged to be morons (there's "my" rules coming into play again). But it is nowhere near the same level as what was making me depressed some time ago. And that’s the key point I’m trying to make through my comments here. Look to addressing your inner anger if you’re depressed. Especially when angry with yourself. I want to be really clear I have anger in my life. I do my best to channel it constructively, but I’m no floating in the clouds guru spreading love and unicorn farts across the galaxy. I’ve just found some ways to deal with it and experience some benefit as a result.

Thank you for taking the time to share all this.

Thank you for your generous reply.

The trick for me was learning it's possible to be anger without acting in anger. Works for any emotion really. Basically when I get angry now, I simply say, "hey, I'm angry, and being this way sucks". Then I try to figure out what's making my angry and deal with it.

Congrats, I'm your old one at the moment. I'm a bit more desperate because my wife is pregnant. Happy father's day to me I guess

When I found out my girlfriend was pregnant, I had just lost my shirt on a startup. I couldn't find a job and often had to resort to the absolute cesspool of the consulting world, just to keep a roof over my head.

I likely understand exactly how you feel. If it's anything like how I felt, I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. I'm really sorry. Just putting myself in your shoes gave me a pit in my stomach - the same pit I walked around with for months. My email is in my profile. Feel free to reach out...

I wish I had something amazing to say that would just turn things around. The best pragmatic advice I have is that newborns are really cheap, and you're pretty lucky to have the opportunity to be with your wife throughout the pregnancy.

And finally, for the love of all that is holy, enjoy sleep while you can get it. Having a baby is kind of like being hungover for a whole year...

Be safe, best of luck and seriously bud, Happy Father's Day!!

If money is way too tight, reach out. I'd kiss you on the lips if you'd take all my baby stuff. :)

Dear stranger on the internet,

Please accept my upvote. You restored my faith in humanity somewhat.

Showing up and being present is about 80% of the battle of being a great dad. You can hack the other 30%. At least that was my experience. Smell that baby’s hair when (s)he is new. The pheromones will bond you and engage you in being an awesome dad. You might also want to come up with a womb song and sing it regularly. I chose “You are my sunshine”. It still calms my DD at 9 years old.

It's worth listening to this advice. Having kids is really hard. And rewarding. And leads to hard changes in your life that you might not have taken on otherwise but in the end are often good changes. Forgive yourself and your fears as often as you can.

110%? I hope so :)

If you wanna be a good dad you have to give 100%!

Actually I think the 110% is apropos because, especially early on, you find out you can do so much more than you think is possible.

Best of luck man!

I'm in no position to be giving life advice, but for what it's worth:

Hang in there, do what needs to be done and be pragmatic. One day you'll look back and it will all make sense.

I also closed my startup and was super depressed while my wife was pregnant and for about 6 months after.

The baby actually helped, because I was so tired from getting up in the night, my brain didn't have as much energy to be depressed or worry about my problems.

I just kept chugging along sending out applications, and it took way longer than I expected but a good job came through.

I find it increasingly difficult to relate to the optimism and idealism of the early Web – the use of it to amplify some of humanity’s worst impulses can be devastating. Fortunately, stories like this one make it possible to catch a little glimmer of that magic and it’s... exhilarating.

Congratulations, and I wish you all the best, and that you may serve as an inspiration to others.

Just want thank HN as well... my previous submissions:

"I am depressed and I need someone to talk to" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4928031


"Thank you HN, sorry HN" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5348589

Thanks again. I am fine now.

> Overall, I'm not exactly where I want to be, but -for once- I can see myself getting there.

Depression is the inability to construct a future. It is hard to reinvent yourself but worth it. The key is to find a daily routine that will get you, bit by bit, closer to your goals.

Keep up the good work you've been doing.

Congratulations on your success!

I personally find the HN community both inspiring and incredibly generous at times. I am glad to consider myself an unimportant part of it.

Congratulations OP, really happy for your improvements. I had my fair share of dark days, but whenever that happens, I believed that it happened to me because I am strong and I can handle that. I am sure whatever happens to you is a prove that you are stronger than you think you are.

I used to live alone on a very low salary. When the money ran out, I started to drink tap water (which arent really drinkable on my region), and just eating cheap biscuits.

It was only few days before my next month payroll, I was sad that it happened to me, I dont want to borrow money, and i felt so alone that time.

I just prayed, and that night someone delivered a food to me as they were celebrating something. Tomorrow and after I also got food, enough until my payday.

Staying positive is the only way for us to defeat depression. Happy days are like sunny days, it is easy to seek the sun. Our down times are dark night, we just need to seek a little harder to see the beauty of the stars.

Hope OP and everyone else is always in good condition and happy.

I’m so glad this turned out the way it did. Kudos to you for having the courage to turn to strangers. And kudos to the community for not having a 4Chan like response. Good luck to you!

> I'm going to run a marathon in 3 months!!!

Congratulations, I was gonna run one at the end of October. But because of exams I really cannot work out 3x a week so I cannot keep my pace up. I had also broken my toe so I was out for a long while. Can still do 10ks though. Good luck with the marathon!

Good to read this! If will be great if you could write a blog detailing your journey. I am especially interested in the improvement of your health. Depression has claimed many lives and I think your story could help some people.

I'm so happy to read this post. I also wanna testify on how amazing running is. For me personally, it changed my mood drastically. I was in the moment when things felt very gloomy and depressed: I didn't feel like doing anything, activities that were supposedly fun didn't seem like one, I didn't feel like going out to socialize, etc. Then I started running and it was amazing how it changed my life. After a run, I always felt very energetic and much happier. I liked it so much that initially I couldn't even do 3K without stopping, slowly and surely I kept practicing until I could do an 18K marathon. Perhaps this wasn't a huge accomplishment for many people, but considering how unfit and inconsistent of a person I had been, this was a feat for me.

Not only the endorphin produced during a run helped out with moods and balancing out hormones in the body, it also taught me a very important lesson about consistency and how life in general is never about competing with anybody but ourselves.

For those who are interested to start running, follow your own comfortable pace. Although it might seem very slow at first, don't push yourself too much cos if you do so, it wouldn't be enjoyable and you wouldn't feel like running again. Just keep doing it consistently it at the pace you're comfortable with. Before you realize it, you'll be much fitter than you started with :)

I'd like to reiterate the advice to go slowly at first, both from first- and second-hand experience. I know an ex-addict friend who was trying to improve his fitness after years of neglecting it and tried running. He always came back five / ten minutes later completely destroyed, feeling humiliated about his lack of ability. Took a while to figure out that he was trying to sprint for as long as he could as soon as he left the door, which of course meant that his body gave up almost immediately.

I used the free NHS / BBC Couch To 5K app - https://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx - which gives you a good framework to pace yourself (you start with alternating periods of walking and running) and has voiceovers from Michael Johnson, as well as a few others. There are other C25K apps out there, but they tend to be paid - this one is simple and works well. It was amusing how motivating I found him saying "you're doing really well" despite knowing this was probably recorded a few years ago in breaks between Olympic commentary for the BBC.

Good to hear. Keep in mind, this part is true for literally everyone:

> Overall, I'm not exactly where I want to be

Respectfully, I suggest avoiding saying this kind of thing to someone who may still be recovering from depression. There's a tendency to want to make what they are going through relatable, but that risks minimizing the severity of what they may be dealing with.

Imagine having lost a family member and hearing from someone, "well, everyone loses things". There's orders of magnitude difference.

I just know from experience that when I've been depressed, the level of futility I have felt about any dissatisfaction in my life was so much worse than when I've been mentally healthy. I'm really thankful for more than a decade free of that level depression.

As an alternative, I suggest simply sticking to statements that are affirming of how they have described themselves feeling.

I understand. My point is that you never reach a perfect place because your goal line keeps shifting. It's easy to undercut your view of your own progress by noting you aren't where you want to be. There is only ever "in progress," and that's OK.

Write mail to eriklistserve [at] gmail dot com and I might have a job paying 20k more a year.

Congrats! Now pay it forward by finding someone feeling blue near you and helping them out.

Given the responses here I think he has accomplished this already. Plus, there is no need to put more pressure on him. :)

I feel like this is the most valuable comment on this thread. Imagine the impact if everyone on HN committed today to follow this principle...

Best comment ever. <3

OP: Nice to hear you're doing better! Well done :-)

For everyone here on the running bandwagon, I would like to add my 2 cents.

I generally do not encourage people to exercise, at least not like I once did. Exercise I think is one of those things where discussion never is anything like the real thing. This discourages a lot of people.

I would generally recommend something like social soccer, since there is a more balanced support structure imho. I used to easily run a 20 km jog on a Saturday, but this serves no purpose to mention other than to seem competitive.

For me, exercise is not an easy fix. It is one thing of many, which can greatly enrich one's life. Something like being into music can be on par with exercising, especially if one is unlikely to be able to exercise, whether because of mood or physical barriers.

But having some sort of encouragement, whether exercise, music or intellectual or otherwise engaging pursuits is key to me to become a happier person. Dark days in and of themselves are not necessarily a burden. In some way I would paraphrase this: "more life, not more effort". Being more relaxed towards life has been a strong motivator for me.

I know you mean well, but this is not good advice. The benefits of exercise are so vast and varied, and study after study has confirmed not only the physical benefits, but the mental benefits as well. To compare it to listening to music or some other "engaging pursuits" is just completely wrong.

Is it hard to start exercising? Sure. I imagine it's hard to do a lot of things initially, especially when someone is depressed. To steer folks away from doing something that could really help in a very significant way is a huge disservice.

?> and study after study has confirmed not only the physical benefits, but the mental benefits as well.

No they have not. Well run meta analysis fail to find any benefit of exercise as a treatment for depression.


All these studies fail to account for the relapsing / remitting nature of depression in many people; they don't establish any causal link (are people better because they exercise, or are they exercising because they're better?), the blinding is lousy, the controls are lousy, etc etc.

As soon as you run a well controlled properly blinded study you find very little effect for exercise as a treatment for depression.

Not listening to music—playing music. That is, playing an instrument, composition, or musical dev of sorts.

What I am saying is that the exercising community is somewhat patronising imho. For me, having been very fit from a young age becomes a burden when it is difficult to keep up form later. I think this sentiment may be unclear for people who start exercising seriously later in life rather than early.

I am not downplaying running. Running is perhaps what people evolved to do, and I concede that point happily. For many people, however, running is not an option or is not the first step towards a better mind space.

You recommend soccer but discourage running because it's competitive?

I recommend alternatives, since I find runners to be intimidating to non-runners. I find it to be similar to the cycling community. Perhaps it is more about the social stress around it. Soccer can be very competitive, but in general people would be accommodating if, for instance, you are very unfit or if you're not good at it. There are no "times" and no "how many times per week".

Personally I like running a lot, but many of my friends do not. I dislike running with other people and generally avoid the runner's fad. I am not sure if my intention is clear, but I wanted to point out that a balance of activities is often (and in my case) what works for a person going through a dark time.

In my case, I can go through a dark period while at the same time exercising regularly. Someone mentioned the need for external stimuli in recovery. I think for some people, running can be overstimulation. I do think for this reason other activities are important—a good example is drumming, which after an hour or two can be a work out. If people want to achieve their goals, there needs to be a large enough pool of possible goals (which, perhaps, there is) that fits personality and physical circumstances.

I see what you mean. You can't just tell people to exercise. There needs to be a structure and purpose behind it. What worked for me is building strength using bodyweight resistance training at home. I followed a program and I had goals.

But I think you're wrong that music and other intellectual activities do the same thing as exercising. You can't fix the brain by thinking about it. It needs the right external inputs.

> You can't fix the brain by thinking about it.

So far we know that CBT will work for about 50% - 60% of the people who try it.

We know that as a treatment for depression it's hard to tell the difference between doing exercise or doing nothing.

So, yes, if you think about it in the correct evidence based way you're more likely to treat depression than if you exercise.

Life can be tough as we all know.. Glad to hear that you're doing well, keep it up.

Really pleased to hear you're doing well. As someone who has faced a similar situation in the past I can attest as to how hard it can be to pull yourself out of that downward spiral.

I went through your previous thread and was really impressed by some of the advice/comments you were given.

I was wondering if anyone with some time on their hands on here could possibly prepare a repository of all the good advice in this thread (and the OP's previous thread, and one's like it) as a resource for people who face similar circumstances. (I have no doubt there are a lot of us out there).

Glad to hear you're doing better, friend. Please keep it up. Taking care of the mind and the body is the right way to do it.

That's great! Really great!

It's always worth giving it another shot, no matter how hard it seems.

I also want to back up the positive effect exercise has on mental health— it really can't be overstated.

And to any others who feel the same way: get outside. It might change your life. And don't forget to maintain a sense of humour—it really helps with perspective.

Happy to hear that you're doing well and on your path. Just a quick suggestion: you could take a look at honeypot.io. They take care of pre-filtering both the companies and candidates, so using their "market place" is less stressful and less time-consuming than going directly to the companies / recruiters.

Congrats and glad you were able to persevere. I've had my share of down times as well, but at those points I always told myself you don't know happiness if you've never been on the other side of it and that it will pass. It sucks when you are but when you make it through it is that much sweeter!

Good work, you deserve every single bit of it. Keep going. You can do it.

I wasn't contributing then, but it's still very nice to hear, so thanks for posting. Well done - keep going. And well done to those that gave their time to support someone.

What exercises do you do in gym, and how do you keep at it? It's hard to hit the gym after work because of exhaustion, or early morning before work because I need my sleep.

Well done. As someone that's been dealing with depression and trying to do many of the things you've been doing, this post is like a form of validation.

Great job!

I am glad it helps, everyone have tough period, some you can't just get out alone, glad you made it, and hope everyone in the same situation will do.

Thank you for sharing. It's such an inspiring story. Ellen said, "It's nice to be important, but it's also important to be nice".

Congratulations! Happy to hear that your time has changed. May all your dreams come true.

That's awesome to read, and things will continue improving for you. :thumbsup:

It's great to hear about your story! Cheers and good luck ;)

Wonderful progress, congratulations. Good luck on the marathon.

It’s also amazing progress as they’re able to recognize being partway along the journey as progress! Depressed people tend to think in absolutes (I’m not where I want to be, and never will be) and being able to see progress as valuable and sustainable, even when incomplete is a sign of real mental health. The combination of more activity, a better job, and the ability to imagine a brighter future bodes very well indeed.

Greate going! Wish you all the virtual support I/we can.

posts like these make HN a unique forum.

Congrats! More power to you!

Get some (of life). No one escapes alive.

Thank you for reporting back!


Great job! Keep going :)

I really hope n-gate.com goes easy on this one.

Sometimes, I like to read the funny side of things. (Even though I many not agree with it.) Thanks for sharing. Hope it lives up.

Yep, it was decent, and I got a shout-out.

If that's a shout-out, I feel really sad for you.

If some one post a question like that today, I would reply with a Jordan Peterson video ;)

> I'm going to run a marathon in 3 months

That's not really a time to brag about, my friend. Most people finish in about four hours.

"I finished this Lego set in six months, which is really good because the box says 6 - 8 years."

Is that the old Reddit switcharoo leaking into HN!? Haha

>...and started working out

I can't emphasize enough how much this helps. If anyone is suffering from depressions, anxiety and overthinking -- consider starting working out. It will make wonders to your mood. I'm not saying that it will fix your suffering entirely, because it typically requires a mental effort as well. But it will make your life noticeably more enjoyable.

Normally I only lurk here but I wanted to say that I support your claim. Been suffering from anxiety and later also depression for almost 5 years now. After 3 years I started jogging every other day. My good episodes last so much longer, bad ones are less severe, panic attacks have decreased from daily or weekly to every 3 - 6 months and are much shorter and better to handle and the general feeling of unease have also decreased. Also I did behavioural therapy from the start and never took medication. The therapy helped by giving me methods I could used when the panic kicked in or dark thoughts would begin clouding my mind. But sports helped me to feel good again for the first time in years. That was incredibly empowering. Even if it doesn't appear to help after the first exercise, give it a little time and watch the magic.

I agree. Mild depression for most of my life and running has been the biggest help in regulating my mood. Not only that running makes me feel better but the fact that 'I' can make myself feel better by going for a run is meaningful to me.

I find that walks (ideally, around 2 hours) in the nature also help a lot. They should not be too slow though, as you won't get physically tired enough. Also, I recommend against music/podcasts, so that during that time it's only you and your thoughts. You can hash out a lot of the daily mind noise this way. Add physical exertion, and it's enough to get me to be relaxed and to sleep like a baby.

I'm always reminded of Richard Branson's answer to "What one thing can I do to be more sucessfull?"

"Work out."

Richard Branson's Secret to Being More Productive, in Just 2 Words:


All the evidence we have tells us that people exercise because their illness has reduced.

We know that exercise has minimal benefits as a treatment for depression.

We should be pushing people towards evidence based treatments, not suggesting they spend considerabe effort doing something that probably won't work, and will increase their negative feelings when they fail.

What evidence is that?

Meh, exercise didn't help my severe clinical depression in the least. It probably will help if you're feeling a little down, but that doesn't necessarily translate to improvement in clinical depression. It's borderline dangerous to hold it up as a panacea.

> I can't emphasize enough how much this helps. If anyone is suffering from depressions, anxiety and overthinking -- consider starting working out.

Agreed, but recently I've started mindfulness and this also helps with these symptoms.

Can't agree more, exercise and mindfulness are very effective.

I don't think they'll fix whatever underlying cause may be there, but they may help to put you in a position where you can.

For some this might work: 1. Just put your goal as lying flat in bed and moving your arms up and down 10 times in 180 deg. 2. Then move your legs up and down 10 times. Stop. dont do more. Leave it at that. Do it again next morning or evening maybe 12 times. Then do what ever tempts you next. Try it, at the least it wont hurt I hope :) and starts you at level 2 in the next few days.

Folks, thanks for bringing it up. I am running too. These 22 minutes every other day have helped me to stay cheerful for the last 3 years. Rarely, my knees give me a hard time, but aching knees are fine in comparison to being toxic to myself and to people I love due to overload. So if you feel like you've had it, just try to run; literally.

Another benefit is personal improvement. We spend a good portion of our lives preparing for life. Once your career starts where do you improve from there? Exercise gives you something for personal improvement that is outside of your regular path. It gets you away from the computer.

And working out can take many forms. For me it often involves practicing harmonica. It's great aerobic exercise, and I'm learning how to get better at something I enjoy and hopefully other people may enjoy too.

If I find some time in a day to practice, it changes my mood a lot!

I recently heard a nice explanation of working out perks - if u have ateention deficit disorder, doctor prescribes ritalin, if u have depression, doctor prescribes prozac. Working out is much like taking a little bit of ritalin and prozac from mental state perspective!

Even better if you don‘t wait until you feel ill. Doesn‘t even have to feel like doing sport. Bike to the supermarket, talk the bus and walk more. Going everywhere by car is bad for the body and your mood.

I am not sure if you'd consider a life change, but if you are interested in moving to US, please also try that. Pay is better here, and life is probably better too. Being among like-minded people would help you reach where you want to be.

> life is probably better too

What a fucked up assumption. Pay for skilled jobs is way higher in the US than almost anywhere else apart from maybe Switzerland or Norway, but quality of life is way more complicated than that.

Not least because of the decent healthcare, paid time off, and social protections in France.

Make little sacrifices today - with the additional money you save in us, you can invest in your retirement - buy plenty of places in france and live off of rent income.

Having worked in the us for a bit over 6 years full time, I am ready to retire in my home country. I just don't want to, i will probably die in the states - that's where home is now.

But that's not even what I mean. Life in United States is really good - especially if you are healthy. Plenty of outdoors activities. People love their outdoors - they invented even more exciting sports to take advantage of it. A really good food scene (due to its diverse culture - you can find great indian, chinese, japanese, italian etc food).

As you said, healthcare and social net is lacking, but you make good money to make up for it.

Is it really that competitive these days after uni when you have "no experience" and are a junior dev?

I assume you have a top 10% GPA?

I always hear in the bay area you get $150,000 straight out of uni, at least when you're from Stanford etc. Is this not the case anymore?

Edit: Ok, I see you're in France. Then 33k€ is rather reasonable.

There don't really exist exciting software companies in France or Germany, except maybe blockchain companies.

> There don't really exist exciting software companies in France or Germany, except maybe blockchain companies.

That's pretty pedantic and narrow-minded. People are excited by wildly different things (and a for a lot of them, not particularly by blockchain), and France/Germany have a lot of things going on tech-wise,

> I assume you have a top 10% GPA?

Why would you assume something that is, by definition, not true for 90% of the population?

I was indeed in the top 10% of my school. Even a smaller percentile I guess since I was on the top 2 or 3 people in my class.

But unless the job is in Paris (which is extremely expensive) I havent found anything starting close to 40k€

You might want to look at remote work, if that's something you're comfortable with. You can get paid well (think "Paris-salary") and live in more economical areas. Happy to talk more if you're interested.

In the UK my experience has been that graduate developer salaries aren't that great, but can double for someone woth as little as 1-2 years experience post university.

French who moved to London here.

Yes, that's what happens in London however that's not what happens in France. Expect zero increase for the next many years, even if changing company.

What school did you go to, if you're comfortable sharing?

Not really comfortable giving a name but its one of the top 10 engineering schools in the country (France).

In Europe not really. US is a different league I believe, one I can't comment on.

French here.

33k is fairly decent in Paris, with no degree and no experience.

Outside of Paris, it's really good. It's above the average for a top degree in a top school.

I really can't see how someone would live with 33k in Paris (before taxes).

According to you what is a good salaries grid ?

Do you mean an average gross income in general or for senior devs particularly?

For new graduates or little experience.

One thing to note, education is free in France and the norm is to get a master. You won't get an interview anywhere without a master.

In the US a lot of companies just don’t have the bandwidth to hire someone straight out of university. A degree is great but 10 out of 10 times I would rather have someone with four years of experience doing the work we are doing than someone with a four year degree and no work experience. It’s sad but it’s the truth. We aren’t a big enough team to spare the time and effort it takes to teach a recent graduate everything they are gonna have to learn in their first couple years. A lot of which is just about what being a developer is day to day.

It depends on where you hire from. Guys from top universities usually have enough experience to get started instantly, straight out of university.

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