You can’t get better flying solo.

About Dan Lukasik:

I am a 55-year old trial lawyer from Buffalo, New York. I represent people – clients who have been injured in accidents. After being diagnosed with depression, I launched the website Lawyerswithdepression.com. in 2007 to help those who struggle with this illness. It began as a site to help those in the legal profession, but has grown to include a general audience of anyone that is afflicted with depression. It has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on CNN and in many other national and international publications. I speak around the country on the topic of depression.

Dan’s Story

What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

For me, it was coming to the realization that no one thing or treatment was going to cure me. Depression was something that I would have to learn to manage like any other chronic illness. I now know that going to therapy and taking medication is not enough to keep me well. I developed a game plan to manage my ongoing symptoms. The other important realization is that while depression is painful when I am experiencing it, I now know it won’t last forever. It will pass. Things will get better.

What are some things that really helped?

Exercise.

  • While any form of exercise is good, I find that I need to hit the gym and really raise my heartrate for about 30 minutes, at least three times per week, to be at my best. Before depression, I thought of exercise as optional. Now I see it as critical in my ongoing efforts to manage my condition.

Volunteering.

  • I created a weekly support group 10 years ago for depression sufferers. I find this not only helps my depression, but also makes me feel that I am helping others by relating what I have learned. I also volunteer at a poor, inner city school once per week. I love the children and feel their warmth and love towards me. It also keeps things in perspective and reminds me of all I have to be grateful for.

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

  • First, it’s not a weakness to admit you have a problem and need help. It’s been my experience that guys with depression try to “suck it up” and carry on. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. I learned this the hard way. You can’t get better flying solo.
  • Second, I am a strong believer in support groups because depression can be such an isolating condition. We need to be around others who “get it” and can offer us comfort, understanding, and hope.
  • Third, learn as much as you can about depression. To start, read a good book. I recommend, “Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You” by Richard O’Connor, Ph.D.
  • Fourth, because depression is, in part, the result of things gone awry in the brain, we need to concentrate our effort on reversing that condition. The best way is to exercise regularly. There’s simply no substitute for this in your depression recovery plan.

– Dan Lukasik, trial lawyer and founder of Lawyerswithdepression.com based out of Buffalo, New York. facebooktwitter