A video popped up in my news feed this morning, author Andrew Solomon talking about depression. I chose not to watch it. Then someone shared it on my facebook page, so I figured there must be something to it, and had a listen. I was completely blown away. To hear someone describe with such eloquence, and in a way that resonated so much, just exactly what the experience of depression is, was simultaneously heart breaking and liberating. Heartbreaking, because it was all so achingly familiar, and liberating for precisely the same reason. I regularly think myself into a hole where I believe there is nothing wrong with me that a good kick up the arse wouldn’t cure. That I’m not trying hard enough, that it’s all my fault, everyone else can manage so why can’t I etc etc etc. It’s not true. Every single word and phrase he used to describe depression made sense, every scenario he outlined, every thought that he had when he was depressed. Every, single one. This isn’t my fault. I need help. I cried more than once watching it for all these reasons.

Right now, things are almost as difficult as they’ve ever been. I am struggling to get from one hour to the next, never mind tomorrow or next week. But this talk has given me hope. I’ve no doubt I’ll lose sight of it again, and probably sooner than I’d like. But right now, it’s made me feel better.

So, to whet your appetite, here are just a few phrases that jumped out. If they mean something to you, watch the whole thing. If you’re trying to understand someone with depression, watch it. It’s about half an hour long, but very, very much worth it.

  • the opposite of depression is not happiness, it is vitality
  • shutting out depression strengthens it, when you hide from it, it grows
  • depression is the family secret everyone has
  • valuing depression doesn’t prevent a relapse, but it may make the prospect of relapse and even relapse itself, easier to tolerate……..thinking when it comes again, this will be hellish, but I will learn something from it.
Have a listen. He expresses it all far better than I ever could, and addresses the issue of medication in a way that just makes sense. You won’t be disappointed.

This article has 5 Comments

  1. If you are not familiar with Andrew Solomon, please allow me to direct you to his book, The Noonday Demon, about depression. It is extraordinary.

  2. Found this to be so interesting, informative and refreshing, refreshing in as much as this man understands. He has 'walked in my shoes, felt what I have felt' and still there is no stigma, which to me means the world and consequently goes towards helping people with depression…..getting rid of the stigma involved. I shall look out for his books and indeed any videos I may see hi on/in

  3. Hi all, I only recently came across Andrew on one of the Ted talks but only a day or two after heard him talking on radio (coincidence or what?). The bit I caught on the radio made me pull the car over and cry. And cry. He talked about the simplest things, one of being going for a shower. I love my showers! But these days they are just as he described. Thinking about the effort to get off the sofa to press the switch. Then what? Having to take one piece of clothing off. Then another. Then another. Then stepping in to the shower. Something that we can take in our happier times as nothing, we do it mindlessly, happily, all of a sudden is colossal. He spoke so eloquently and certainly straight to my heart.

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