Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Sometimes It Just Takes Blind Faith: Depression and Drug Use

You can't always be motivated.

I don't normally like sharing this kind of stuff, but I think that if the point of the blog is be truthful, I need to cover all bases. When it comes to depression and drug use, I have personal experience with the connection that might help someone so here goes.

When depression hits - Drug use and self-medication

News Flash - I don't always wake up ready to take on the day.

I know that what I'm doing is important, and I know that if I keep going I'll be successful. Still, sometimes I wake up and feel like there's really no point; like getting out of bed is useless and that I'm doomed to be nothing.

At least part of this is probably due to the fact that I may suffer from depression. I've only had one major depression episode before in my life, during college, but it was extreme. It lasted six months, followed a breakup (yeah, I know) and it was without a doubt the point at which my drinking, weed smoking, and drug use reached new heights. I did nothing but wake up late, get drunk and stoned, pass out, and repeat. This was also the point where I started trying out new drugs, first acid (LSD), then cocaine, and finally ecstasy. The rest of my story I've told in fragments on here, but I'd never mentioned the depression before.

Nowadays, the depression doesn't hit often, but when it does, it can be debilitating. It can make getting out of bed almost impossible and leaves work feeling like the most useless, and difficult, undertaking I could imagine. In short - it sucks horribly.

Feeling depressed without resorting to drug use

I don't believe in god, so for me, faith has to do with believeing in my own abilities. I've been down this road for long enough now to know that if I just keep walking, the clouds will clear. If no one is returning my calls and nothing seems to go my way I know I just have to move forward until everything changes. Still, that wasn't always true. When this feeling used to hit me, I would often retreat to drugs, to isolation, and sometimes, I would inflict some physical pain on myself, to numb the emotional pain.

My point is that these days, I can talk myself out of believing that this feeling is here to stay. At first, its shameful, it embarrasses me. I'm ashamed that after everything I've been through, I can still feel hopeless. Still, whether this feeling is universal or unique to me, I recognize that it's probably not going anywhere, so I have to deal with it. Period.

Sometimes that means going to my wife and bearing my soul. Believe it or not, even after 5 years with her and the fact that she's as familiar with my history as anyone could be (going through a sexual disclosure will do that) telling her that I feel weak is not easy. Most times however it means simply toughing it out, maybe trying to distract myself (funny television shows or playing sports or working out often helps me). Personally, sharing with my wife or another close friend feels better most of the time but I'm not always that aware and brave. We all have more growth to experience.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing to realize is that drug use didn't often really help my depression and it probably isn't helping yours. Instead, it simply kicked the depression-can down the road, letting it collect more dirt along the way and making me have to deal with it when I was in even worse shape. Nowadays, my techniques don't always help the depression either, though they sometimes do, but they certainly don't lead me down a path that makes things worse.

When you feel depressed, it can really help to know that as crappy as you feel, you'll feel differently some time later. Carry that though with you for a few moments, take a couple of deep breaths, and find a way to pass a little time.

The sun comes back every time. I promise.

More from Adi Jaffe Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today