Chris Traeger- How he handled depression 


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Page last updated: 28/10/2022

Chris Traeger- How he handled depression 

This article will discuss how the character Chris Traeger, played by Rob Lowe in the sitcom Parks and Recreation handled depression. Through the article, it will be possible to understand how the character began to suspect he was depressed, what may have been the cause of it, and how he copes with mental illness.

Chris Traeger- How he handled depression 

Chris Traeger, the character from Parks and Rec, goes through depression throughout the show, and counts on therapy, and the support of his friends to cope with it. 

There have been many questions about what may have caused him to feel depressed. Some people think it was because of his breakup with Millicent Gergich, or his other relationship problems. But others seem to believe that the character has always been depressed. 

And even though it may be hard to define when he got depressed, it is known that it was only in seasons four and five that he realizes that something is going on with him. It is during those seasons that the character starts to go to therapy many times a week. 

When Chris Traeger first enters the show, he takes on, with his partner Ben, the job of cutting back on his expenses of Pawnee. This hard job involves a lot of negative situations. They must fire people, and cut expenses on things that people enjoy.

Chris Traeger seems to be a very paradoxical character. Even though he is an extremely optimistic person, who has great hopes, and dreams, he earns his living and spends most of his time bringing terrible news to people. 

From that configuration, it seems that the positive thing in all of it, for him, is the possibility of working with his friend Ben and visiting many different places. And even though his job entails some negative situations, he identifies, and creates a connection with the people in Pawnee and decides that is a place he would like to stay in. 

And even though it takes him some time to realize he is depressed, there is a line of his that perfectly explains how he deals with the negative emotions, it goes on like this: “If I keep my body moving, and my mind occupied at all times, I will avoid falling into a bottomless pit of despair.”

Which leads us to believe that he could have been depressed for a long time, but was making use of distraction to avoid looking at his pain. Until it reaches a moment that he can’t distract himself from it any longer. 

Chris Traeger- How he handled depression 

When does Chris Traeger begin to think he has depression?

Chris Traeger starts to realize that there is something wrong with him at the beginning of season five. In one episode he is trying to help Andy in his police training. To do that, he is helping him find some motivation to practice running. 

When Chris asks what would motivate Andy to run, he says it would be love, and he is running for April. When Andy asks Chris why he ran, he answers “Nothing, no one”. 

It is at that time that Chris collapses and thinks there is something physically wrong with him. Because of that, he goes to the hospital, and when the doctor says there is nothing wrong with him, Andy suggests he look for a doctor of the mind. Leading him to look for therapy. 

How does Chris Traeger cope with depression?

Once he understands there is something wrong with him and looks for therapy, he starts going to it several times a week. It seems like the therapist Dr. Nygard is extremely helpful, but that is not the only coping strategy he has.

Throughout the show, it is possible to see how his friends are always supporting him, showing how important it is, for someone with depression, to have a good support network. 

There are some extremely supportive moments in the show, like in Ben and Leslie’s engagement party, in which Andy and April stay with him the entire time in the backroom, talking about bugs and Dave Matthews Band to be supportive of his emotions. 

Even though he had a difficult time in romantic relationships, he found in his friends the support he needed. And through treating his depression, he felt a big change in his life, and that showed in his relationships.

When he had a relationship with Ann, before therapy, he was extremely controlling, and communicating his thoughts and feelings was hard for him. But the time he and Ann gave it a second try after he had been in therapy, it is possible to see how it had a positive impact on him.

At the time, he was better at communicating his thoughts and feelings and felt like he didn’t need to control Ann that much. Instead, this time around, he gave her freedom to be her person, and only had good intentions for that relationship. Showing that he was feeling safer and more complete on his own.

What can be taken from Chris Traeger and how he coped with depression?

When looking at the process that Chris Traeger went through in the show, it is possible to say that he may have gone through each of the moments in a depressive episode. He had a period in which he denied his condition and only looked for distractions to fill the void he felt.

Later on, he is faced with the reality that something was going on with him, and even though at first he believed it was something physical, as most people usually think, he focused on looking for help.

And this may be one of the hardest moments for someone that is going through depression. Accepting you have a mental illness, that it needs to be treated, and you need professional help to do that, can be overwhelming.

But seeing how Chris Traeger has done it, went to therapy, committed to it, and found support from the people around him, can be a beacon of hope to some. It can be a way of learning how depression is not that one-eyed monster.

It may help people understand that depression is treatable, and you will be the one that will experience the bigger benefits of it. Through the treatment and the support of the people that love you, you can go back to living a full and happy life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Is Chris Traeger, from Parks and Rec, depressed? 

What are the best lines of Chris Traeger? 

One of his most famous lines has to do with exercising, and not stopping, and the benefits of it on his mental health. To that, he said: “ If I keep my body moving and my mind occupied at all times, I will avoid falling into a bottomless pit of despair”.

Another famous line of his was: “I am 100% certain that I am 0% sure of what I’m going to do”. This showed a moment in which he didn’t know how to act, but he found a positive way to deal with the situation.

How was Chris Traeger showing he was worse? 

Throughout the show, some moments show how Chris Traeger was feeling worse. This shows in his constant attempt to remain positive, which displayed some form of desperation in it. This too-happy attitude could be annoying, but it was also evidence of how hard it was for him to get in touch with his feelings.

Aside from that, when Millicent Gergich breaks up with him, it is when his depression takes form. He may have been asking her to move in with him, but when she ends the relationship it is possible to begin to see all the negative emotions rushing through him. It is, in that time, that many have started to realize how depressed he is.

What are the best health tips from Chris Traeger?

During the show, Chris Traeger had many tips so the other characters would live a healthy life. The first one was that people should set goals for themselves, which would help them work towards them. 

Exercising was another tip. Keeping the body active isn’t only good for it, but also your mind. Aside from that, he would always say that moderation was important. Too much of anything can be trouble.

Another tip he had is that people should always believe in themselves, and love themselves. And when things are difficult, you should always try and look at things from a different perspective. And always compliment yourself, and others on what they have achieved. 

What are the forms of depression?

Depression can happen in some forms. They are: mild, moderate, major, or persistent. The mild form, which is usually hard to diagnose since its symptoms are, as the name says, mild, will be brief. But it is usually treated mostly by changes in the person’s lifestyle.

Moderate depression begins to have some impact on the person’s life. The symptoms will be more intense, and to treat it people usually go to therapy, and sometimes even medication. Major depression, also known as clinical depression, is the most intense form of depression.

It has an intense impact on the person’s life, and it can make the simplest activities, like getting out of bed impossible. Aside from experiencing the common symptoms of depression, major depression can also lead to hallucinations, feeling delusional, and even psychotic episodes. 

To treat major depression, it is usually necessary the joint treatment of therapy and medication.

Persistent depression is a form of depression that can last around 5 years. During this time, the person will swing between mild and major depressive episodes. Treating this form of depression is also necessary therapy and medication.

Does depression have a cure? 

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. What happens is that it goes into remission. It is not possible to say that depression has a cure because it is not possible to say a person won’t have a new depressive episode during their lifetime.

But it is important to keep in mind that when your depression goes into remission, you will be able to feel joy again and regain your interest in things. As you feel better, you may want to keep caring for your mental health as a way to prevent relapses in the future.


This article showed how the character of Parks and Recreation, Chris Trager has dealt with depression throughout the show. It highlighted how the character came to discover that he was depressed, and what he managed to do after he discovered it.

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