👋🏻 Hi, my name is Nicolas Lucino Epstein.
Welcome to my personal webpage.
I’m 33 and I’ve been depressed since my teens. I don’t mean I’ve been in a constant state of feeling depressed during all those years, there have been ups and down. Heck, it’s probably safe to say that, excluding sleep hours, I’ve probably spent more of that time feeling “OK” than time feeling like a flaming pile of turds. The reason I say I’ve been depressed since my teens, then, is that even in the periods when I’m “OK”, I generally feel pretty “meh” and I generally don’t get much enjoyment out of things. As I was explaining to my partner the other day, it’s as though magic and wonder have disappeared from my life.
Last year I learned – through being diagnosed with it – that there’s a medical term for this: dysthymia. From the Wikipedia article:
Dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder (PDD), is a mood disorder consisting of the same cognitive and physical problems as depression, but with longer-lasting symptoms.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve only recently begun pharmacological and psychological treatment for my dysthymia. I also explained briefly some of the reasons for my reluctance to seek professional care during all these years. Maybe I’ll go into that in another post, but what I want to write about now are all the different ways I tried to help myself overcome this condition. I’m not sure why, or who would care about this, but maybe it will be cathartic.
I should also mention that none of these helped (with some exceptions I’ll note at the end). Additionally, a lot of these things are not typically regarded as being helpful for depression; some are probably more likely to make it worse. But I’ve been so desperate at times that I put my hopes into anything that sounded remotely helpful. It often took nothing more for me than hearing a single anecdotal account of someone somewhere claiming something made them feel somewhat better for me to think “hey, maybe that’ll finally do it!”
Warning: some of the things in this list are probably bad ideas for people with mental health issues, others are probably bad ideas for anyone. Please don’t treat this list as an inspiration or a recommendation in any way, shape or form. Do your research, and be safe.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a list of all the things I tried in order to treat my depression:
* SSRI: Of all the items in this list, this is the only one which came as a result of meeting with healthcare professionals. And while I can definitely say it hasn’t cured my depression; it has helped in managing autistic meltdowns (although I hadn’t been diagnosed with ASD at the time I was prescribed the medication).
** Spirituality: Setting medical diagnoses and explanations aside for a moment, I have always felt rather strongly that at the root of my depression lay some kind of existential or spiritual crisis. I can’t know if spiritual practices will ever lead to a resolution – or if the resolution they might lead to will have any impact on my depression – but I can’t help wondering. At the end of the day, I have to admit I have always had a fascination with this profound dissatisfaction, dis-ease – in a word, suffering; it seems to point towards something… although I have no idea what. As I mentioned elsewhere, this suffering and the desire to resolve it have endowed certain spiritual paths and practices with a very strong appeal for me. The fact that none of these practices have born fruit has made me weary and skeptical, but the primal attraction I feel has not diminished.
*** Friends: Of everything I’ve listed, this is perhaps the most valuable. I can say – without a shadow of a doubt – that I would not be alive today if I had not had the support of close friends willing to listen to my dreary ramblings. If you suffer from depression or know someone who does, do not underestimate the value of an honest discussion. It is not a cure, but it is a solace and for this I am very thankful.
>>> older posts
I started teaching myself programming when the 2020 pandemic made my previous project – giving painting and drawing lessons – impossible.
Some of the work I am at least moderately satisfied with is listed here and can also be found in my github repositories.
The following include both personal and commissioned works.
The goal of this project is to provide community-driven tool that attempts to make explicit the relationship between truth claims and the respective evidence (or lack thereof) which supports them by establishing sets of socially determined truth criteria.
My hope is that such a tool could be used to validate or invalidate claims in fields where evidence is easily manipulated, obscured or omitted such as in the social sciences, the news, etc. Tackling historical revisionism was the original impetus for this project.
I am still working on a proof of concept.
I built this website using a minimal toolset: no framework, just a few files bundled with parcel. I’m toying with the idea of writing my own static site generator to allow for easy and consistent content management with zero bloat.
A multiplayer go client in the browser.
Still at in the planning phase for now.
A data collection and visualization project for the artist Nicolas Grenier which attempts to gain insight into existential issues using novel polling techniques.
An unpublished showcase website for the artist Philip Meyer.
Built in collaboration with Nico Adama and Vincent Papineau
My final project for cs50.
There was a time when I thought it would be lovely to be a professional artist. Unfortunately, I couldn’t handle the realities of the art world and I decided to put my efforts elsewhere. That being said, I would like to get into painting and drawing again at some point, as a hobby this time.
Anyway, here’s a sloppy selection of some of my work.
Most of these are oil on canvas, some are on linen.
nilueps [at] gmail.com