Wil Wheaton's frank, brave speech about his depression and anxiety


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/04/depression-lies.html


I like Will Wheaton so much that I suspect I’ve fallen for some kind of subliminal trick.


Thanks and applause to anyone who faces and shares their experience of mental illness. But I’d add something here: “See a clinician as soon as possible, get medication, and take it.”

Mood disorders are organic and can be relieved with the right meds. Self-care (whatever that means) helps but the meds are keeping me alive.


Medication is one thing. Getting the fundamentals in order is another. Exercise. Running, twice a week is the best anti-depressant I know. Eat right, no fast food, no sugar, little or no grains, lots of greens and vegetables. Very moderate to no alcohol consumption. Sleep at night, enough and regularly.

Sorry , no preview here. But this link has a lot of resources how to fix our chronically irritated guts.



Just as no 2 people are identical, same thing goes for treatments. If it works for you (and is not self-destructive), by all means do it.


Thank you, Wil – yes, exactly. This is one of the biggest misconceptions: that Depression means you’re Very Sad. And people think well gosh, just do things that make you happy! Watch a funny movie! Smile! Eat ice cream! as if it’s as simple as laughing at Monty Python.

One of the surprisingly best depictions of depression I’ve ever seen was in the Pixar movie Inside Out. We see Riley, the main character, when she’s happy, sad, angry, etc. But when she’s depressed, there’s no emotion at all. Sadness (the emotion character) isn’t affecting her. There’s just grayness. Depression is an absence of emotion for her. And that looks like sadness. But it’s much more and much less than that.


I really don’t want to get into a disagreement, but that attitude is exactly what my original comment was addressing. It’s the “self-care paradox”. Exercise and good diet are excellent practices to have and may provide relief for dysthymia. But a person experiencing severe depression sometimes isn’t able to stand up and walk across the room, much less dress, go to the store, buy quinoa, come home, and cook it.

I still insist that severe and chronic depression requires evaluation by a clinician and likely an rx. It’s not my diet, it’s my brain.


THIS. My doctor has a phrase that I’m fond of repeating: “Better living through chemistry.” I’d like to add that it may take several different medications before you hit on the one (or the combination) that works for your specific, unique chemistry.


Hey, I’m not disputing you at all. You’re absolutely right. But there are certainly a lot of people, millions even, who suffer from comparatively mild depression and anxiety and who are prescribed psychiatric medication but not told how to fix their fundamentals. Now that we are learning more about the possible causes of depression its time to fix that. Psychiatric medication only works on the symptoms. But with a better lifestyle a lot of people could improve the basis of their mental well-being (and save the planet while they’re at it).

Psychiatric medication also keeps my mom alive, yes. It also slowly transforms her into a vegetable. It’s fucking heartbreaking. I’m lucky enough that I can just about live without meds. And I’m thankful for that. It’s information like I have posted above that is helping me do that. It’s a struggle of course. So I thought I’d share, in the hope that it will help someone else.


Shit, I still remember the month I tried to go from instant to extended release Lamictal. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Thought I was a hatchback.

I miss Provigil though. Damn formulary.

Edit: clarity


I once had the opportunity to attend a reading that Wil Wheaton gave for one of his short stories. I found that this man I’d heard of only as a child actor actually has a sly yet exuberant wit and a well-developed talent for storytelling. Whenever you have the opportunity to read something written by Wil Wheaton, indulge yourself. You won’t be sorry.


Telling people that they have to use meds is just as potentially damaging as telling them that they mustn’t.

Some people can manage depression and anxiety through rigorous control of diet and/or exercise or even through finding love (don’t count on that one). And some people have been driven to suicide by well meant medications.

I mean, I appreciate what you are saying, and your advice to see a professional you can trust is very sound. But lifetime chemical dependency isn’t the only conceivable solution.


Wil Wheaton is awesome and a force for good! I’m glad that he’s so public about his struggles, because I know this helps others. Thanks for all you do, Wil!

One of my favorite Wil Wheaton appearances might be in Something Positive, where he helps battle fans gone mass murder at a comics convention, rallying the troops as they await their doom via Catgirls:

Unfortunately, he lost an arm in the Great Catgirl Battle of 2008 (HOLY SHIT THAT WAS 10 YEARS AGO)… glad his arm has grown back since then!


I might have to check out that comic :smile:


It’s a great comic, which Randy Milholland has been writing since 2001 or so. He does it full time now, although publishing has been erratic since he a) moved to Savannah for his wives work (she’s an academic librarian), and b) him and his wife had a kid.

But he does story lines on all sorts of geeky things - plays, comics, gaming, etc.


I’ll give it a go. There’s been a hole in my web-comic life since I lost track of Sinfest.


Let me know what you think! It’s one of my faves (right up there with Cat and Girl and XKCD and Girls with Slingshots).


DOGS! DOG is the answer.

not a day goes by that Penny pulls me back from despair

Doggo for the win!


That’s two more to add then! (XKCD I already know)


He’s also an excellent narrator of audiobooks, his voice is soothing but not bland. I’m a fan or his many talents.