As many of you know, a while back I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty mess I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It’s a very scary and unbelievably alienating disease that affects nearly 10% of the adult American population. Yet, even with such prevalence, it’s hard to talk about. Really hard.
People have so many questions and honestly I’ve really struggled to answer. It’s worse when they try to explain why you shouldn’t be depressed to you. I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.
Tonight I watch a TED Talk by Andrew Solomon, and I want very much to share it with you. If you know someone suffering and want to learn more, or if you are suffering and feel alone, I think watching this is helpful. While sharing his personal anecdote, he explores the prevalence in different demographics throughout the world, the stories of those he’s met along the way, and the sad truth about the lack of affective treatment. He miraculously conveys such a sad message with a sprinkle of humor and sincerity that has potential to reach people from any side of the spectrum.
“I found myself losing interest in almost everything. I didn’t want to do any of the things I had previously wanted to do, and I didn’t know why. The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work. I would come home and I would see the red light flashing on my answering machine, and instead of being thrilled to hear from my friends, I would think, “What a lot of people that is to have to call back.” Or I would decide I should have lunch, and then I would think, but I’d have to get the food out and put it on a plate and cut it up and chew it and swallow it, and it felt to me like the Stations of the Cross.”
“And one of the things that often gets lost in discussions of depression is that you know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous while you’re experiencing it.”
“You don’t think in depression that you’ve put on a gray veil and are seeing the world through the haze of a bad mood. You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you’re seeing truly.”