Tried everything, nothing works. I see no future:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;

I have been suffering from chronic depression since I had an operation two years ago- the surgery was supposed to be for an appendectomy, but it was discovered that I had a chronic health problem that wasn’t going to go away. My doctors aren’t sure if my depression is from an emotional reaction or a physical one, but the gray cloud just won’t lift.

They have tried more than one type of antidepressant but not only don’t they work, the medications seemed to make me feel even more removed and detached from life. I finally made a decision to just try to live with it. I use every trick in the book to left my mood- I exercise, I eat right, I meditate, get out of the house and join groups. I’ve tried acupuncture. I do yoga. It is all a distraction for a short time and then the gray cloud settles in again.

I know I am struggling with a difficult problem. I am proud that I haven’t given in to drinking or drugs or other destructive behavior.But sometimes I just feel like I want to kill myself if the rest of my life is going to be like this.

Other than suggesting another opinion (I’ve gotten at least seven of them) or another pill (there’s nothing left to try), do you have any ideas?

Greta Gray


Dear Greta,

You are right- SSRI antidepressants do work by creating detachment. So do benzodiazepines, opiates, and marijuana. But there are many other options both pharmaceutical and non pharmaceutical.

I guarantee you haven’t tried all the options available.

There are medications you have not tried. There are many types of acupuncture treatments if one didn’t work for you. The Sarno method is helpful for chronic pain. There are hundreds of alternative medication options and many different types of yoga. They make a portable TENS unit for pain. Bee sting therapy is good for arthritis, pain , inflammation, and immune system troubles.  TMR (trans cranial magnetic resonance) has a lot of promise for pain , mood, and abdominal issues.  EEG biofeedback is a good alternative option to improve pain, mood, and focus.

Pain and mood are directly related to one’s attention span so sometimes ones attention span needs an adjustment to reestablish equilibrium.

 It might seem like you tried everything but you have not. Not every method works for everyone but something works for everyone.  You just might need to really look for a while to find what works for you.

Good luck,

Dr. Brilliant Cliché



Granny says: Rather than suggesting lots of other stuff to try, I am going to give it to you straight- nothing is going to work. No matter what you do, you will not achieve what you are really looking for which is a return to the way things used to be. And that is probably a good thing.

You need to understand- whatever you were doing or however you approached life before your operation is a huge part of why you became ill. Many people who have had cancer or a heart attack end up saying it was the best thing that ever happened to them. This is because it forced them to change the way they thought, the way they lived, and the habits they’d fallen into. Every health “disaster” can also be viewed as the opportunity to make changes that you would never otherwise make.

From the way that you describe your efforts, I can tell that you gave one thing after another a “try” and then abandoned it when you didn’t get the result you wanted. This is the kind of thinking that results in frustration and stress; it can induce a sense of hopelessness and lead to health issues. If anything is going to “work”, it is going to have to be YOU.

Whether your current depression was brought about by a chemical imbalance that resulted from your operation or an emotional reaction to news of a life-long problem, you need to accept that there is a shift in your entire system that has occurred. No one-time remedy will change anything about this. If you try acupuncture, a single visit will not help you. You need to get a series of treatments and then keep it up with visits at regular intervals. If you try exercise or yoga, you need to do it on a regular basis for optimum results. Trying anything a few times is pointless when it comes to managing life-long issues. The only solution that works with one try is shooting yourself in the head. And believe it or not, such attempts also fail an astonishing amount.

Change your attitude, and your whole world will change. I suggest going to some support groups so that you can hear firsthand from other people who are struggling with chronic illness and depression. They, far more than your doctors, will know what works.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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7 Responses to Tried everything, nothing works. I see no future:

  1. Positive Attitude says:

    I agree with Granny. Medication doesn’t solve all problems! You don’t need drugs to make you feel good! It may even make you an addict.
    Your problem is that you don’t have a goal, something to work towards. Life becomes routine and everything lost its meaning. Get a hobby, plan a vacation or a social gathering, something you can look forward to. Ask yourself, what will excite you, i.e. run a marathon,

    • Dear Positive Attitude,

      I just read an article on a marathon runner who does just that. She said it does help for a short while then she falls back into depression. She expects she will kill herself one day but for now she said she decides every day to live one more day. Depression is very much like an addiction that way. She needs all the same support, structure and skills AA offers alcoholics. Only there isn’t a depressive anonymous. When one has an addiction of any type, nothing else compares to it. In order to really change she has to be willing to give up her entire cognitive framework just like the first step in AA. Simple distractions aren’t enough.

      Dr. Brilliant Cliché

  2. HappyNarcissist says:

    How about a volunteer opportunity, focus on serving other people/animals/nature, at least it will give you something to do that is not a waste?

    • @Happy Narcissist:

      Yes helping oneself through helping others is an example of the first step in getting involved in something larger than oneself. It opens an opportunity for perspective as well.

  3. Been there says:

    Without more information this is a dangerous topic for Greta Grey. Chances are she might fall somewhere inbetween Dr Brilliant Cliche and Granny’s recommendations, especially if she is chronically clinically depressed. Considering the range and combination of treatment options available, I too doubt she has truly tried “everything”, that being said, telling her to keep at it true, but without an adocate, its might not come to fruition. Her frustration at trying, and her perception of failing each time, can tendatively fuel more spirals. On the other hand, telling her to man-up and just deal is a dangerous piece of advice to provide to a clinically depressed individual. It might be fine to say this to someone with “the blues”, but in other scenarios, its can be devastating. Greta Grey, I know that its hard, and that you are frustrated because you feel your attempts are failing, but there is hope and if you stick it out, you will find the help that works for you.

  4. Dear Gretta,
    So you had the appendix removed and the doctors discovered you have a chronic health problem. So first, the doctors misdiagnosed the appendix and secondly, if they do know what the chronic medical condition is, they should look for research to see if there is any causal relationship between the medical condition and the depression. If you’re not satisfied with what the doctors don’t know, get a second medical diagnosis. If the depression is related to the medical condition, get the medical condition treated, even if just to reduce the chronic symptoms.
    If your depression is based on your emotions, remember depression is not something that we “are”, its something that we “do.” It took you a while to do things to get depressed and its going to take some time to discover what you have been doing to get this way and what other things you’re going to have to do to get out of the depression. First of all, you are not your depression. You are the place and the space where your depression is observed. As an observer of something that does not define you, you will begin to recognize the depression will vary in intensity and duration. It comes and goes and can not really be controlled. The short term efforts to get rid of depression only “short-circuit” the value of a small amount of depression that is actually valuable. The task is to reduce depression from its disordered state, meaning the state where we are always trying to combat it to a state where we can accept, even embrace a little bit of it, value it, and realize it has a place among all the other emotions which help us live our lives to the fullest.

  5. Dear Ken,

    ” is any causal relationship between the medical condition and the depression. If you’re not satisfied with what the doctors don’t know, get a second medical diagnosis”

    This is dead on. Many sever chronic medical conditions first present as depression. I have known some sudden unexplained suicide’s that were probably early onset Alzheimer’s as this ran in those families. Chronic pain can be a manifestation of depression but is often diagnosed the other way around. Finding and treating the underlying cause is extremely important yet often completely overlooked especially when mental health symptoms are involved.

    Dr. Brilliant Cliché

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