Jordan Peterson – Advice For People With Depression

The first thing I would say, is that if you’re dealing with
someone who’s depressed, and they’re really depressed, you should try it giving them antidepressants. Because if they die, you can’t help them. Okay, so if you’re suffering,
you are obligated, in a sense, to hold on to whatever rope someone throws you. And one of the things, I do with my clients all the time,
especially if they’re really in trouble, is to tell them: “Look, I don’t know exactly what’s gonna ha- help you. But don’t arbitrarily throw out any possibilities,
because you might not have that luxury.” Antidepressants helped a lot of people,
and there are technical reasons why that’s the case. So… That’s a simple answer, it’s not relevant to what I already described. Except that, if you’re offered a gift by your society and it works, try it. I don’t care, what your presuppositions are. Apart from that… Lots of the- lots of time- Lots of the time you see people, who are suffering.
With depression, for example. There’s a multitude of reasons,
but I’ll take one common reason. Um… You can think about it, as associated with the story of Peter Pan. A Peter Pan is someone who won’t grow up, right? Now, the problem with Peter Pan is, he gets to be king.
But it’s king of Neverland, Neverland doesn’t exist. So, being king of nothing isn’t that helpful. Well, one of the things that you often see
with people who suffer from depression, (and I’m not making a blanket statement about the
cause of depression, because there’s lots of them), is that people, who don’t have enough order in their life,
tend to get overwhelmed. So for example, if someone comes into me to see me,
and they say they’re depressed, I always ask them a very standard set of questions. 1) “Do you have a job?” If you don’t have a job, you’re really in trouble in our society. First of all, your biological rhythms
tend to go off the rails right away, because there’s no reason to go to bed at any
particular time, and there’s no reason to get up. And for many people, if they don’t get up at the same time, they follow up the functioning of their circadian rhythms, and that’s enough to make them depressed right off the bat. Especially if they start napping during the afternoon. They don’t also don’t have a purpose.
People aren’t good without a purpose. And this isn’t… this isn’t hypothesizing. We absolutely understand the circuitry,
that underlies positive emotion. We know how it works. Almost all the positive emotion,
that any of you are likely to experience in your life, will not be a consequence of attaining things. It will be a consequence of seeing, that things are
working, as you proceed towards a goal you value. That’s completely different!
And you need to know this, because people are often stunned!
For example, they finish their PhD thesis, and their presupposition is, that they’re going to be elated for a month, and often instead, they’re actually depressed, and they think: “What the hell, I’ve been working on this for 7 years,
and I handed it in, and what do I do now?” And that’s what depresses them, right?
It’s the “what do I do now”. Well they’re fine, if they enjoy the pursuing the thing, as long as it was working out, they get a lot
of enthusiasm and excitement out of that, cause that’s how our nervous systems work. Most of your positive emotion is goal pursuit emotion. If you take drugs, like cocaine or amphetamine,
the reason they’re enjoyable is because they turn on the systems that help you pursue goals. That’s why people like them. So if you don’t have a job, you got no structure. That’s not good.
Plus, you tend not to have a point. So you’re overwhelmed by chaotic lack of structure,
and you don’t have any positive emotion. 2) “Well, do you have any friends?” So, sometimes you see people who are depressed:
they have no job, they have no friends, they have no intimate relationship, they have an additional health problem,
and they have a drug and alcohol problem. My experience has been:
if you have three of those problems, it’s almost impossible to help you. You’re so deeply mired in chaos, that you can’t get out, because – you make progress on one front,
and one of the other problems pulls you down. So one of the things I tell people who are depressed, is like: “Don’t sacrifice your stability.
Get a job. Even if it’s not the job you exactly want,
get a damn job. You need a job. Find some friends.
Get out in the dating circuit. See, if you can establish an intimate relationship. Put together some of the foundational items, that…
that are like pillars, that your life rests on.” Well, that’s the practical thing to do. So that’s one example with regards to depression. Well the thing is, you don’t just launch it on them, you know. You- you’ve gotta negotiate with the person. And you also got to teach them to negotiate with themselves,
and this is something that’s very useful to know. You know, um, you can tyranize yourself into doing things, but I wouldn’t recommend it. What I would recommend instead, is that
you ask yourself, what you’re willing to do. It’s a really effective technique.
It’s like a meditative technique, so for example: You can get up in the morning,
and you can think: “Well, you know, I’d like to have a good day today,
so I’d like to go to bed tonight without feeling guilty, because I, you know,
didn’t do some things I said I was gonna do, and I, you know,
I’d like to have kind of an interesting day. So I gotta fulfill my responsibilities,
and I wanna, you know, enjoy the day.” Then you can ask yourself: “Well, okay, what would I have to do, in order for that to happen, that I WOULD do?” And the probability, if you practice this for
3 or 4 days, is your brain will just tell you. It’ll say: “Well, you know, there’s that piece of homework,
that you haven’t done for like three weeks, You should knock that sucker off,
cause it would only take you 10 minutes. And you’ve been avoiding it and torturing yourself
to death for, you know, like 72 hours straight. And if you do that, here’s a little interesting thing you can do, and, you know, maybe this is a little
obligation you should clean up, and…” So, what you do in a situation like that,
is you teach the person to negotiate with themself. Say, well: let’s figure out, what your aims are.
You gotta have some aims, whatever they are. And they might say:
“Well I’m so depressed, I don’t have any aims”. And then I say:
“Well, pick the least objectionable of the aims, and act it out for a while, and see what happens.” Because sometimes, your emotions…
your emotional systems are so fouled up, that you have to pretend… you have to act the thing out,
before you can start to believe it. I mean, people always assume,
they have to believe and then act, but- but that’s… Sometimes that’s true, and lots of times it isn’t. So the trick – if you’re doing therapeutic work with someone, and you’re helping them establish a structure – is to find out, what they’ll do. Now, if they want to get better, which is not a given, because there are often payoffs for not getting better, that’s basically the payoffs of being a martyr, or maybe the payoffs of doing, what your
entirely pathological family members want you to do, because they actually want you to fail. Assuming you wanna get better,
there’s usually something you can figure out, that would constitute a step towards some sort of concrete goal. And my presumption, it’s a behavioral presumption, fundamentally, is that small, accruing gains, that repeat – unbelievably powerful. So you know, this is another thing to know about in your own life; it’s something I learned in part from reading the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, he was a great Russian philosopher a novelist. You know, he said: You can look at your life,
and you can see what isn’t right about it. I mean all you have to do, is look. And then you can start to fix that.
And the way you fix it, is by… …noticing what you could, in fact, fix. You know, people are often trying to fix things
they can’t fix, which I would not recommend. Because if you try to fix something you can’t fix, you’ll just ruin it. Like, you can find all sorts of undergraduates, who are perfectly willing to restructure the, uh, you know,
the international economic system, who cannot keep the room clean. And there’s actually a gap there, you know, which…
And it’s surprising that people don’t actually notice. So, I would say: if you pay attention,
you can see things that you could fix. They yell at you, they really do!
We even know how that happens. Let me- let me give you an example,
because rooms are full of stories. And the stories have… have effects on you,
so here’s a classic experiment. So you take two groups [of] undergraduates,
you bring them into your lab, and you give one group on a multiple-choice test, that has a bunch of words in it, that are associated with being old. And you give the other group the same multiple-choice test, except the words are associated with being young. This is independent of the content of the test,
it’s just descriptions. And then you time the undergraduates,
as they walk back to the elevators. The ones who read…
The ones who completed the multiple-choice test, that had more words associated with aging,
walk slower back to the elevators. And they don’t know that. And they don’t know they’re doing it. And that- that study’s been replicated
in various forms, many many times. You’re unbelievably sensitive to the story
that your environment is telling you, because your environment is not made out of objects. That’s just wrong. Your environment is basically
made out of something like tools and obstacles. You’re a tool using creature, you’re a tool perceiving creature. The things you s- Like, if I take you out of this room,
and I say: “Well, what was in the room?” You’re not gonna say, uh…
you know, “random patterns in the carpet”. Because they’re – they’re real,
just as good an object as anything else. You’re gonna say “chairs”,
because you can sit on them, and you’re gonna say “handrails”,
because you can hold them, you gonna say “stairs”,
because you can walk down them. That’s what you see, and that’s what you interact with. And if you pay attention to your environment, which is you, by the way, extended –
all of your experience, is you; it will tell you all the time, what you should do.
All you have to do, is do it. But then you have to decide, if you wanna do it. One of the things I’ve noticed about people… Cause I’ve wondered, once I started studying these mythological stories, and I got this idea about… the fact,
that life can be meaningful enough to justify its suffering. I thought “God, that’s such a good idea!” Cause it’s not optimistic, exactly. You know,
some people will tell you “well, you can be happy”. It’s like, those people are idiots.
I’m telling you, they’re idiots! There’s gonna be things that come along,
that flatten you so hard, you won’t believe it. And you’re not happy then!
And so, if life is to be happy, well in those situations –
“What are you doing? Why even live?” But life isn’t to be happy. If you’re happy,
you’re bloody fortunate, and you should enjoy it. You should, because it’s the Grace of God, so to speak. With regards to meaning, I thought “Well, people know, when they’re doing something meaningful, they can tell! So why the hell don’t they do meaningful things all the time?” It seems obvious. You could do it.
I mean it’s hard, You know, cause other people want you
to do other things, and it’s a struggle, but – everything’s a struggle. And then I thought “Well… Oh I get it, I see why”.
It took me about 10 years to figure this out. People have a choice! Choice #1: “Nothing you do, means anything”. Well, that’s kind of a drag, right? Meaninglessness of life, and all that
existential angst, you know, that’s kind of a pain. But the upside of “Nothing that you do is meaningful”, is: You don’t have to do anything.
You’ve got no responsibility! Now, you have to suffer because things are meaningless, but that’s a small price to pay,
for being able to be completely useless! The alternative… the alternative is:
[Choice #2] “Everything you do matters”. Really! If you make a mistake – it’s a real mistake! If you betray someone, you tilt the world
a little more sharply towards evil, rather than good. It matters, what you do! Well if you buy that, then you can have a meaningful life,
but – there’s no mucking around. It means responsibility.
It means that the decisions you make, are important. It means, that when you do something wrong, it’s wrong! Well… do you want that?

About the author


  1. Lived on the streets drinking and determined to drink all the way to the grave; one day after coming down from days of cheap meth and non-stop alcohol, I reached out in desperation and finally gave up fighting in life, whether drunk or sober. I DID things other sober people told me to do and found out the real problem was me. Today I have career a family and a home. Most importantly, I am happy- no matter what. It’s called the Grace of God and I’m glad that Jordan acknowledges that.

  2. Anti depressants are the first thing shoved down people's throats, prescribed. Pharmacy kick backs.
    You have to look at your family history, past trauma and decide to heal it. It's important you look for work.
    From the time you are 1 were suppose to have 30 points of contact. Your energy decreases the little you have. Accept help when you receive it

  3. I've found that antidepressants don't work. What you really need is a reason why you get up in the morning. Finding that why should be your goal to solve your depression

  4. Antidepressants dont work and they disable in your body then your in physical bondage to a drug and the withdrawals are scary,

  5. I like how Jordan doesn't tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. Honestly watching this video is the best wake up call I could have ever had.

  6. Hey Jordan the Superficially Clueless Peterson here is a Theme Song you'll obviously embrace for all of us with Depression
    and maybe you need to study what Depression actually is

  7. Depression with No Job+No Relationship
    +No Friends+Addiction Problem+Health issues =Suicide. Get Help Fast!

  8. lol this guy describes me so well..24 years old never had a gf i have no structure since i finished high school never went to college…and i thing life dosent have meaning so i End up doing nothing….problem is i kinda new this but i cant grow up….peter pan….and I like mettalica -king nothing…….or sandman ..welcome to the never never land…. and i am very sensitive to my enviroment…i observe everything….so cant get a job…

  9. But what if the structure of society is one of the things that depresses you? What if it disgusts you and you realize that if you join in there is a depressing notion that you are becoming a part of something that you revile? And by realizing the machine is bigger than you are, is it the logic that knowing you likely don't have the power to change it makes it seem like its pointless to try? And what if you have tried on the small level that you can act and it blows up in your face time and time again? The hardest thing to swallow is that it seems like you're lying to yourself.

  10. Anti depressnts gave me erectile dysfunction that I still struggle with after around 3 years off of them. I am a bald and essentially dickless male at 24 that has no hopes of developing a relationship with a woman again for obvious reasons. Kind of fucking ironic that the pill I was hoping to help stabilize me threw me into a deeper hole. Now what do I do? I smoke weed every day to block out the constant mental pain and don't even put an effort into forming any relationships. I constsntly go in and out of bad depressive spells every 2 weeks like clockwork. Not everyone makes it unfortunately

  11. I have found the quickest cure to depression is to volunteer your time to helping people who are in poor health and/or dying. When you see others in such tragic circumstances it reminds you how good you have it and how blessed you are and how minor your issues compared to others. Like a reality check in the general scheme of things. Plus the difference you make in another life is often more rewarding than you could ever imagine. 🙂 God bless you dear folks who are seeking the answers to life’s hard questions. And thank you deeply Doc Peterson for guiding and growing up the lost. You are a good GOOD man. Your parents would be so proud.

  12. I suffer from depression. I was really suicidal a few months ago. Now i am on treatment that keeps things stable most of the time

  13. I have suffered with Depression for tje majority of my life . I have contemplated suicide many time . If it was easy I would of already done it. Another problem is what would happen to my body after I die . Life is 1 big waste of time . I am doing better now but If I had 1 wish it would be to if never been born in the first place . All these years of Depression isn't worth the very little amount of times of happiness. I feel like this is a Disease it has costed me alot in life and will most likely lead to my demise

  14. I have a job, married, 3 children, and getting more and more depressed. All i want to do is sleep. I think about suicide. I never thought i would end up like this.

  15. + get a dog or a cat! I have both and because of them I was able to pull out of a terrible greaving process after my husband and my Dad passed away five months apart!

  16. Having a jo don't mean fuvkin shit unless it pays enough to provide decent living conditions, pay off all bills, and have a generous savings plus quality time for relationship.
    Funny if I won power ball I would come out of a big depressed funk in a heartbeat! I call BS.

  17. St. Johns' Wort is safe and effective, and it is relatively cheap.
    If you're going to use drugs or alcohol, use them. Don't let them use you.
    Friends. It helps when they are face to face, not merely digital.
    Sex. It matters when you both want it to. If not, it doesn't matter. Don't make it a priority.
    In any case, setting goals won't hurt you. Not doing anything about those goals will hurt you.
    Making a goal worth more than your life will also hurt you. Don't go to extremes.

  18. Did he get a hair transplant or was it diet cos that looks like male pattern baldness and now his hairline is square and normal

  19. I live in a small town of 2000 people. No job, no friends.
    And I'm descending into uncontrollable madness.

  20. There are no two identical psychological identities. So, the same tired "one size fits all" approach, doesn't work very well, for and eccentric very imaginative person, for example. They may loath going to a job they hate every morning, and yes, we all know that many hate their banal workaday lifestyles so much, that this is actually the catalyst for their emotion problems and/or depression. No sensible person would tell any new chef, fresh out of culinary school, to go ahead and make the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of his/her life. Nobody would tell an eclectic artist, to go ahead and paint the exact same scenery, every single time he sits down, and has an inclination to create a new masterpiece. So why would any psychologist expect all people to simply conform to whatever lifestyle that their bosses, controllers, or doctors, would have them do? N very poor, shabbily dressed homeless man, can yell absolute truths out in public, all day long, and everyone will just pass by and call him a nut. But if an eccentric, clean, well-dressed person, does the same thing, he automatically has more credence and taken more seriously? And if he is a millionaire, he automatically becomes some kind of very unique, eclectic, misunderstood genius? It's all perception. And money. Doesn't matter what the hell the genius does in his spare time, or what time he gets up in the morning, or if he even has a job or not. Let's stay grounded in reality.

  21. "Give them antidepressants because if they die you can't help them" is the same as wrapping a dog, that's been hit by a car, in a blanket. The blanket doesn't help them, they're still hurting.
    By the same token antidepressants just cover up the problem. They don't deal with it and they don't solve it. The antidepressants aren't really for the victim, they're for those around them.
    If you don't get the dog to the vet, its still hurting but it's less apt to bite those around them. A depressed individual is still depressed but they're less apt to yell, throw things, and break things etc.
    We're all so dependent on f'n drugs. They're great for recreation but they suck as medicine.

  22. I can relate to the meaninglessness part, in part due to pathological family members who are emotionally abusive and a bunch of fking aholes, drilling in my head that I'm worthless piece of shit, fck that! time to unchain the elephant who is tied in a chair, helpless. Fck!

  23. TERRIBLE ADVICE (especially the taking anti depressants part)(..I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE…)

    A depressed person giving advice on depression should probably looked at with some degree of skepticism to say the lease

  24. I suffer from major depression, and i think my job is what's making this way way worse. I'm doing maintenance for my local government, but after 3 months I'm just miserable. Every day before work i just don't want to go. Not happy there at all. I'd almost rather do maintenance at a school or something. Feel like I'd be better off in the medical field also. Never graduated college, don't really have any certs to gain a high salary. I hate this

  25. New research on antidepressants strongly suggests that withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Some people experience physical and mental problems including anxiety, general malaise, dizziness and fatigue. Anecdotally, I experienced severe insomnia and 'brain zaps' for a very long year.
    The decision to use antidepressants can turn into a struggle between life and death.
    Again, doctors and their patients have been misinformed by Big Pharma.
    Profit Before Principles.

  26. Simplest thing to do is just kill yourself…….or develop a good sense of morbid humour – it goes well with the condition. Best training advice: watch re-runs of American sit-com BECKER

  27. If you have depression don't listen to Jordan Peterson, see your doctor to get professional medical help.

  28. Are you assuming that the depressed person is able to think rationally?…..that may not be a reasonable assumption the therapist should make.
    Hence, the "you have a responsibility to take any help society offers you", really only makes sense to someone who still has reasonable level of rationality. So, how do you start the therapy, to get the patient to a level where they can appreciate your advice?

  29. My memory is horrible and for that I can’t remember anything by the way I’m 17 years old. what should I do before I end my life?

  30. thats why my ultimate goal is to take over the world, and after that fix any problems and then take humanity to the stars and go exploring and see all the cool planets.
    ill all ways be working towards something lol

  31. My advice for people with depression:
    1. Get some magic mushrooms 2-3 g
    2. Get some MDMA 200 mg
    2. Get some LSD 100 micrograms
    3. Go out and be in the nature
    4. Clean you house
    5. Get laid
    All of this above while listening to Astrix. You’re welcome 😎

  32. So, basically you have to go outside and try to find all the things that you couldn't get from the beginning and has lead you exactly to depression … Very wise

    full of shit

  33. I struggle with drug abuse. But I don't think it's because I like drinking. In fact I wish deeply to stop.
    But when I'm fully sober, I can't think straight. I get anxious and eventually panic because I keep thinking about how I can't control anything. I can sorta guide myself, but a good example is A coworker just lost a close family member and had to call off work, due to a car accident. So I had to go in to cover for him while he deals with grief.
    I know that can happen to me. My family could die any given day. The ones I love ripped away by a roll of the metaphysical D20. And it horrifies me. So I drink to firget that that can happen, because when I'm sober, it's all I can make myself think about. How can things fail. How can things go wrong. I was lucky that I wasn't the one who called off for exactly the same thing.

    How do I begin to overcome that? What can I do to lessen this overwhelming fear of chaos? I fight it, I try to predict it, to adapt as rapidly as possible. But I can't get it out of my head. At any point, anything could happen, and no one knows when or how chaos will consume what you know, what you love and hold dear.

    I can't do it alone, I know that much. I can hold my ground, but I can't advance. The dragon's breath holds me at bay, and without my potions I can't stand the heat yet. So what's the next step? What can I do? I'm desperate for an answer, because while the potions dampen the flames effects, they drain HP and are slowly killing me, as opposed to killing me all at once.


  34. Antidepressants don't help most people. They help about a third of people, if you're lucky. Most implies more than 50%.

  35. For a long time i have thought that these two things are major contributers to depression:

    'Inactivity and selfishness'. Reason i say this is bcoz some of the most depressed people i have met seem to exhibit these two traits. Just my humble opinion, i am no expert.

    I agree with what JP is saying. People who are lazy, dont work or work very little, play the victim card coz of their minor health problem etc end up making themselves worse. Best thing u can do is work hard, have a social life, go to the gym and get whatever help u need, take some drugs if u need them, see a psychologist. I used to find that after a period of working very hard for a while that my depression would hit me on my day off. It was bcoz although i was keeping busy and had good structure to my life, i hadnt dealt with my problems. Damn if we could all see JP for therapy, we wud all feel a lot better i think haha!

  36. hey doc ! thanks for this amazing video! i Have a question, i am against meds " antidepressant" because it is mostly bullshit that make you addicted … i know, i have been under meds for years! Until i discover CBD…a PLANT that litteraly saved my life! do you have any opinion on it? i've try plantandhemp, and the results have changed me! what is your view on CBD?

    thanks for everything that you are doing <3

  37. The thing about dating is I'm just not interested in it. I have absolutely no desire to get romantic with someone. The intimate part is a real challenge for me too. But at least I can try to have a social life regardless.

  38. Guys, the only way to change your life is to change you name, that’s all. Forget about psychology, psychiatry and other bullshit. New name = new life. Consult with numerologist and change your life

  39. Listen to you at fucking 1 in the morning I tell you is bcz of thinkers like you the world is a shit you arrogant rick

  40. Antidepressants are placebos, now the real medications that work are illegal. Social and economic problems cause mostly all depression problems. He knows this!!

  41. I normally agreed with him but on this subject I don't, thought he made it sound more simple than it is.

    I chose not to take medication, due to the fact that the possible side effects could put me into a quagmire of deep depression by taking them…..I really do not believe anti depressents are the answer when you could end up with something more medically serious or life ruining….like erectile dysfunction!

    I left my job due to feeling incredibly unhappy, upon leaving I felt much happier. I struggle to find the energy or motivation to wash my car, let alone going out to places with the sole purpose of finding friends/ love.

    He may know about the issue but he clearly doesn't understand it.

  42. I respect a lot of what JP says however I don't think he understands depression. You can't just say 'get a job' to someone depressed. Getting a job can be one of the most difficult things to do when you're depressed.

  43. People who don't have depression, underestimate the condition and over simplify the solutions. I've lived with depression my whole life and have been in the darkest of dark places (depressed people understand what that means) many times with it. I know of no other solution than God.
    Relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the only thing that keeps me going. A world that says there is no God, no meaning, no purpose, no hope for the future, only death, and that I'm just here for a short time as a result of a cosmic biological accident only fast tracks people like me to an early death. The other missing but essential element to life is hope. Depression is a state of hopelessness. What does the world offer for hope? A better tomorrow, maybe? Words like hang on and don't give up? Why not? When hard pressed, what can the unbelieving, secular world offer as a good reason to go on? Money, intoxication, short lived moments of pleasure and exhilaration? Even with money, family, friends, a good job, and home, it's easy to find yourself right back in the pit, contemplating the meaning of it all.
    Teen suicides are escalating at an alarming rate because all of the most important things they need are being denied. The knowledge of God who made them, meaning, purpose, a present and future hope, and a solid family structure. God created us for the purpose of knowing Him. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to provide forginess as He paid for our sins. Recognize that your ways aren't right and see your need for forgiveness of your wrong doings in life. Ask the Lord for that forgiveness and to come into your heart and life and He will. He will change and fill your heart. He'll provide you with the meaning, purpose and love of God you've been missing. Open a Bible and read about this God and gain understanding of who you are and whu you're here. Whatever you may think of God or what you've heard, go see for yourself. If still in doubt, ask the Lord to make Himself real to you and is some way or somehow, He will. Many have come to faith this way. This is not about joining a religion but embracing a relationship with the God who made you and His Son who died for you. If you're in that dark pit where depression leads, what have you got to lose?

  44. I go on and off antidepressants due to long term physical and neurological issues. 5-10mg doses are quite mild. I take them for a few month if doctor reccomends. I genrally stop taking them for 2 years then go back on them for a few month.


  46. You have helped me out a lot Mr. Peterson. Lots of respect and love for you my friend. Please keep speaking and making your work available to those who might not have the means. Bless you sir.

  47. The way this charlatan phrases things depresses me even more, even if his intention really is to help.

  48. He does not mention a word about his own extreme depression which he more recently said that he suffered from and cured by only meat diet.

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