World Half Full
Throwing cold water on depression
A man claims he has cured his depression by taking daily dips in freezing water. Mitchell Bock, 30, had suffered severe depression, anxiety and feelings of dread for many years, which led to him attempting suicide last year. He was hospitalised by a crisis team and discharged after 13 hours with a single follow-up call, which he described as a “tick-box exercise”.
After discharge, Bock felt disappointed by the care he received and unmotivated for several weeks. This pushed him to look into alternative treatments.
“It wasn’t that I was feeling completely empty. After the hospital, I was feeling hopeless,” he says. “It was kind of a ‘where do I go from here’ sort of thing. When I went to hospital, I thought at least I would get help.”
In January, just weeks after his suicide attempt, Bock’s mother Melanie Aldridge sent him an ice bath, a tub designed to retain cold water that he could use to submerge himself. They had both begun to look into the benefits of ice-water therapy, so Bock started using it right away.
Within a few days, Bock says he began to feel the effects. “When I first did it, I remember waking up without the usual feeling of dread,” he notes. “It was like going to bed with the flu and waking up completely cured. I don’t find it uncomfortable anymore. At first your body panics. You feel tingling and your heart races, but once you control your breathing it’s fine. I see it as swapping out a whole day of discomfort for a few minutes. You come out feeling amazing. It really is an instant thing.”
Nowadays, Bock, who lives in Caerphilly in Wales, tries to have an ice bath, a cold shower or go wild swimming in freezing water every day. “I try to do it every day. I take an ice bath. If not, a cold shower, and the only time I don’t do that, I swim in cold water. The coldest I’ve done was an ice bath at zero degrees, surrounded by snow.”
Bock’s ice baths have been so effective he’s begun to wean himself off the medication he’s been taking for years. He’s stopped taking his anti-anxiety medication entirely as well as his regular therapy sessions. He’s also slowly weaning himself off an antidepressant.
“I’ve been on meds and going to therapy for years. Whenever I’ve rung the doctors, it’s been a short conversation and they’ve told me to up my meds. I’ve started weaning myself off one of my medications and stopped taking one altogether. I’m that confident in how I'm feeling,” he concludes.
TOP Mitchell Bock in open waters
ABOVE Mitchell Bock in an ice bath
PHOTOS Mitchell Bock/SWNS