PopCap's Jeff Green on being clinically depressed

#1 Edited by Siphillis (1298 posts) -
PopCap's Jeff Green has been suffering from depression for 25 years.
"Suffering from depression doesn't translate to the more casual use of "I'm depressed!" in the way you might say after, say, you've just eaten two Snicker bars in a row, or after discovering that Bristol Palin has her own reality TV show.
"What it does do, though, especially on days when, for whatever reason, the meds aren't working well, or (worse) I either forget to take them or (way worse) convince myself I "don't need them anymore," is remove the floor from underneath my feet. Not literally, of course, because that would be rather disturbing and surreal and make me a walking public health hazard. But figuratively, it puts me off balance, quite often in a way I don't fully feel or see or understand until it's already kicked in in a bad way. Those few who are close to me who have known about my depression usually see it before I do."

Friend of the site and all-around funnyman Jeff Green recently opened up about his clinical depression, which he has been battling for over 25 years, on his personal blog. Green is such a wonderful character, and I'm sure is a personal favorite guest on Giant Bomb for many of you. As with anything he writes, it's a delightful read, especially for anyone interested in how depression can handicap - but not cripple - someone's life.

http://jeff-greenspeak.blogspot.com/2012/07/depression-post.html

Edit: fixed picture comment.

#2 Posted by DelroyLindo (387 posts) -

Unrelated to the actual topic, but 'quarter of a decade' seems an incredibly superfluous way of saying 2 and a half years

#3 Edited by CaLe (4052 posts) -

I don't take the meds I'm prescribed and I know those consequences he's talking about. I feel like meds turn me into someone I'm not though so I'll continue not taking them. I'd never have guessed Jeff Green was depressed honestly. Whatever he's got going is doing a good job of getting him through it.

#4 Posted by Malarkain (106 posts) -

Actually it says in that article that he's been battling depression for 25 years. So quarter of a century.

#5 Posted by TurboMan (7730 posts) -

Green is one of my favorites. I've been a fan of his since GFW Radio. Glad to see he's open about it and is handling it well.

#6 Edited by Siphillis (1298 posts) -

@DelroyLindo said:

Unrelated to the actual topic, but 'quarter of a decade' seems an incredibly superfluous way of saying 2 and a half years

Perhaps. I was just trying to stress the duration of his condition, which is half of his entire life. I'm sure Green would happily relent that he's an old fart, as he does in the post.

Edit: changed the comment to "25 years", since it's more accurate and respectful.

#7 Posted by MikkaQ (10344 posts) -

@DelroyLindo said:

Unrelated to the actual topic, but 'quarter of a decade' seems an incredibly superfluous way of saying 2 and a half years

I think he meant quarter of a century.

#8 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

I'm glad I'm not clinically depressed... I think. Needing to regularly take medication, especially for that long, sounds like it sucks.

Glad it seems he's managed to cope with it.

#9 Posted by Daiphyer (1352 posts) -

Wow. I did not expect that at all. He always seems so happy.

#10 Posted by ShaggE (6701 posts) -

@CaLe said:

I don't take the meds I'm prescribed and I know those consequences he's talking about. I feel like meds turn me into someone I'm not though so I'll continue not taking them.

I know what you mean. It's a constant fight of "do I want to risk the lows, or do I want to sacrifice the highs?". It's a lose/lose.

#11 Posted by BombcastGoldthwait (250 posts) -

I read this earlier today and thought it was great he felt comfortable and brave enough to show this side of him. I can imagine that it's tough to talk about with people that are in your life, let alone putting it out there for all to see. Good for him.

#12 Posted by jakob187 (21759 posts) -

I have a friend and my mother that both have "clinical depression". It's always weird for me to say that without quotation marks because I always think that saying depression is a disease or something is awkward. It's more a syndrome than anything, and saying "they suffer from clinical depression" is weird to me because you would also say "they suffer from cancer" if they had cancer.

Nonetheless, the point I'm actually TRYING to make is that you don't realize how hard it affects the person until you see it in action, and it's fucking sad to witness. It kicked in for my mother right after her mom died. She never could bounce back from it, and the days when it kicks in, it's difficult to deal with. A lot of that is because I don't personally (at least I don't think I do) suffer from clinical depression, and so it's hard to be a relatively upbeat guy when someone is having a down day that they really can't control. You try to cheer them up and bring a smile to their face, but it just doesn't work. As for my friend, it's just kind of always been there, and it particularly shows up whenever an argument flairs up. You aren't TRYING to start an argument, but when she gets down, she becomes incredibly confrontational and negative. When it doesn't kick in, she is generally non-confrontational and very whimsical.

So seeing two very different sides to it, it's something where I say "good on ya for speaking up, Jeff Green". He's a good duder that wants to entertain the world, and it always sucks when you hear that a guy like that has to deal with something so deftly difficult.

#13 Posted by Doctorchimp (4055 posts) -

@Daiphyer said:

Wow. I did not expect that at all. He always seems so happy.

Chances are the loudest funny guys in the room who talk all the time have the lowest lows. It's a way to cope.

#14 Posted by yinstarrunner (1241 posts) -

I suffer from Depression.  I tried to take meds for it, but they just ended up frustrating me.  It was almost like I could physically feel half of my thoughts hit a brick wall somewhere in my brain.  I stopped taking them after a few weeks.
 
Luckily, as I've grown older, I've managed to stabilize a bit on my own.  I still have a few bad days every month or so, but for the most part, while I'm not happy, I'm rather content.
 
Jeff Green is awesome.  It's probably not an easy thing to talk about.  I know that almost every time I tell somebody that I have Depression they just shrug it off in a way that says, "you'll get over it."  These people don't really understand.

#15 Posted by TheHT (11786 posts) -

@yinstarrunner said:

I know that almost every time I tell somebody that I have Depression they just shrug it off in a way that says, "you'll get over it." These people don't really understand.

It's a shame that's a common response to a lot of problems people have. Serious problems that don't just go away when you wake up the next day. Responses like that, especially from loved ones or caretakers actually do more harm than good, especially when you're young.

#16 Posted by AlisterCat (5722 posts) -

@TheHT said:

@yinstarrunner said:

I know that almost every time I tell somebody that I have Depression they just shrug it off in a way that says, "you'll get over it." These people don't really understand.

It's a shame that's a common response to a lot of problems people have. Serious problems that don't just go away when you wake up the next day. Responses like that, especially from loved ones or caretakers actually do more harm than good, especially when you're young.

It's a problem derived mostly from the association between being depressed and being sad, and as most people understand it you can just get over being sad but people will still say they're depressed.

Online
#17 Posted by Blackout62 (1410 posts) -

@AlisterCat said:

@TheHT said:

@yinstarrunner said:

I know that almost every time I tell somebody that I have Depression they just shrug it off in a way that says, "you'll get over it." These people don't really understand.

It's a shame that's a common response to a lot of problems people have. Serious problems that don't just go away when you wake up the next day. Responses like that, especially from loved ones or caretakers actually do more harm than good, especially when you're young.

It's a problem derived mostly from the association between being depressed and being sad, and as most people understand it you can just get over being sad but people will still say they're depressed.

Not exactly a considerate response to someone being sad either.

#18 Posted by Eviternal (197 posts) -

I don't mean to hijack this thread, but there's a great documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which can be viewed here.

It is heartening to see this issue increasingly discussed in public.

#19 Posted by Beforet (2934 posts) -

I have a couple of friends that suffer from depression. I had never seen it in action till I met them in college. Watching it fuck with them makes me feel so powerless. I want to help them and make them feel better, but I'm entirely powerless to do anything other than "be there for them" which I'm starting to think does a whole lot of nothing. :\

#20 Posted by LiquidS (971 posts) -

Pretty ballsy to talk so candidly about something that he has had to battle with for so long in private.

/Tips Hat

#21 Posted by steveurkel (165 posts) -

It is funny because to cope with the sadness of eternity and the loneliness of life I act "conceited" and a "dick" to most people who know me at work. They think I am uproariously funny and a total joy to be around (since I am not a dick to them) but little do they know that every day is a total drag and I live in endless torment and misery.
 
"I'll get over it" - 30 years later, here I am. Coping, but not living.
 
All the things I have wanted to do - write a book, write poetry, learn piano are things that people around me have always said were "wastes of time" and I'll never amount to anything unless I Follow their paths in life.
 
I am an alcoholic, a drug addict, a porn addict (I downloaded 122 gigs of porn today if you want to know what that means), a pretty terrible person and I wish death upon myself every waking day.
 
Thankfully, it won't be too much longer. I have been diagnosed with an uncurable disease and it will see the end of me in less than 5-10 years. I am on my way out and I have lived a terrible life.
 
At least this guy works for PopCap and probably has lots of friends.
 
Happy 4th of July

#22 Posted by ChrisHarris (263 posts) -

@ShaggE said:

It's a constant fight of "do I want to risk the lows, or do I want to sacrifice the highs?". It's a lose/lose.

It was almost all lows and the occasional slightly-less-lows, in my case. So, I really had nothing left to lose. My peaks off medication were lower than my current average is now. The combination of medications I eventually settled on (kept trying until I got it right) doesn't seem to have any noticeable side effects. The one before that, an SSRI, did cause a bit of brain fog and reduced mood variation (as well as a couple of physical side effects). I never feel like I'm not myself, which was the fear that kept me from going on medication for over 13 years. I just feel like a better version of myself. I still have negative thoughts, like normal people, but I can recognize that they're irrational and snap out of them rather than riding them into a downward spiral. Now, my only regret is having waited so long and wasted more than a decade of my life that I'll never be able to get back.

#23 Posted by NickL (2247 posts) -

"He always seems so happy" <- People posting that, did you even read the post? Or the little snippet in the OP that covers that exact comment?

#24 Edited by ShaggE (6701 posts) -

@ChrisHarris said:

@ShaggE said:

It's a constant fight of "do I want to risk the lows, or do I want to sacrifice the highs?". It's a lose/lose.

It was almost all lows and the occasional slightly-less-lows, in my case. So, I really had nothing left to lose. My peaks off medication were lower than my current average is now. The combination of medications I eventually settled on (kept trying until I got it right) doesn't seem to have any noticeable side effects. The one before that, an SSRI, did cause a bit of brain fog and reduced mood variation (as well as a couple of physical side effects). I never feel like I'm not myself, which was the fear that kept me from going on medication for over 13 years. I just feel like a better version of myself. I still have negative thoughts, like normal people, but I can recognize that they're irrational and snap out of them rather than riding them into a downward spiral. Now, my only regret is having waited so long and wasted more than a decade of my life that I'll never be able to get back.

What meds did you end up with, if you don't mind me asking? It seems like everything I've tried (that actually works and doesn't have extreme side effects) cuts the mania almost completely, but only takes the edge off the depression. Lithium worked the best so far, but I hate the idea of it since it's lethal if not taken correctly, and a med like that is tantamount to a loaded gun if I crash hard enough.

#25 Posted by frankfartmouth (1018 posts) -

@Doctorchimp said:

@Daiphyer said:

Wow. I did not expect that at all. He always seems so happy.

Chances are the loudest funny guys in the room who talk all the time have the lowest lows. It's a way to cope.

Absolutely true. Lots of comedians suffer from depression. Andy Kaufman, Bill Hicks, and Lenny Bruce all did. Albeit they were all pretty dark comics.

#26 Posted by Levio (1786 posts) -

The way I would describe my experience being depressed is that everything felt hopeless. Good events seemed exceptionally rare and fleeting while bad events felt crushing and seemed to confirm the inevitable and endless despair that awaited me for the rest of my life.

I've been depression-free for three years now. I wish I had some advice to give to those still suffering it, but depression is simply a chemical imbalance of the brain...

#27 Posted by wjb (1697 posts) -

Is it weird if I don't think it's that much of a surprise? Not that there were huge signs or anything, but what he's said about himself from reading his blog and listening to the CGW/GFW podcast from a few years ago, I always felt like there were hints of something here and there.

I love Jeff and I'm glad he is somewhere great like PopCap, because his post-gaming press days were fairly rocky for a while. It must be hard to go from EIC of a once known/now dying PC magazine to thinking he'll be on the Sims 3 team, but then EA kept moving him around because they didn't know what to do with him since he wasn't experienced as a producer/designer.

#28 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1832 posts) -

Reading Jeff's post was incredibly helpful. For as self-aware and self-critical I am, it still made me realize a lot about myself. Depression started setting on me, for various reasons, right around the start of this year. While I haven't been medically diagnosed, both of my parents have suffered pretty severely from this in the past (my dad admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital, and I was barely able to talk my mother out of committing suicide), and I'm all too familiar with the feelings.
 
 A few months ago, there was a period of about 2 or 3 weeks straight where I felt like I was at the absolute lowest point in my life. I didn't have the energy for anything but wallowing in self-loathing and pity, and I couldn't be bothered to give even those closest to me the time of day. Eventually I snapped out of it, but it's one of the worst fucking things I've ever experienced, and knowing that it will inevitably come again, probably in even worse form when I assumingly have more going for me,  is terrifying. I still feel like shit, even on good days. I've noticed myself going from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of an hour, sometimes less.
 
Doctorchimp's comment about the one's who are the funniest and most talkative in a room hit the nail on the head. I love to laugh, and even more I love to make other people laugh. I have great times at work on a weekly basis joking around with my co-workers, but the second all that ends I go back to being all mopey and shit. It's still worth it just to get my mind off of how worthless I feel even if it's only for a few minutes. I don't see this getting better any time soon, but I realize it's something I just have to get through at all costs. I'm not sure why I'm even typing this out right now. I guess in a way, it helps my get some weight off of my chest, despite the fact that I'm typing to a bunch of strangers on the Internet who may or may not give a rat's hairy ass what I have to say. I found Jeff's post to be very comforting, though. It's always nice when your feelings are validated, seeing you're not alone. It's kind of like when you buy a game that turns out to be a steaming pile of corn-filled shit, and you check forums and reviews to make sure you're not the only one who sees the game that way. Yeah... kinda like that, only way worse.

#29 Posted by Grissefar (2830 posts) -

@steveurkel said:

It is funny because to cope with the sadness of eternity and the loneliness of life I act "conceited" and a "dick" to most people who know me at work. They think I am uproariously funny and a total joy to be around (since I am not a dick to them) but little do they know that every day is a total drag and I live in endless torment and misery. "I'll get over it" - 30 years later, here I am. Coping, but not living. All the things I have wanted to do - write a book, write poetry, learn piano are things that people around me have always said were "wastes of time" and I'll never amount to anything unless I Follow their paths in life. I am an alcoholic, a drug addict, a porn addict (I downloaded 122 gigs of porn today if you want to know what that means), a pretty terrible person and I wish death upon myself every waking day. Thankfully, it won't be too much longer. I have been diagnosed with an uncurable disease and it will see the end of me in less than 5-10 years. I am on my way out and I have lived a terrible life. At least this guy works for PopCap and probably has lots of friends. Happy 4th of July

Ugh that's heavy, man.

#30 Posted by Vodun (2370 posts) -

@steveurkel: Then I'd say it's time to start wasting your time. Write that poetry. Write that book. I can't recommend learning the piano because I hated that myself, but go ahead if you want to =P

A major reason for my current happiness is that I stopped worrying about "wasting" time. Nothing you do is a waste of time, especially if it has the potential to give you joy.

From The Wind in the Willows:

"Is it so nice as all that?" asked the mole, shyly...
"Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
"Simply messing...about in boats -- or with boats... In or out of 'em it doesn't matter. Nothing seems to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."
"Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together and have a long day of it.?"

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