Depression is not one thing. It is not just sadness.
The opposite of depression is not happiness. It is vitality.
There is a total lack of interest in anything. The smallest of tasks seem like climbing a mountain. For instance, answering the phone or getting food out of the fridge, putting it on a plate and eating it. The person suffering from it knows that it is ridiculous and yet they are in the grip of it and cannot seem to find a way around it. Often it is accompanied by acute anxiety – being afraid all the time without knowing what of. The state of anxiety is often more unbearable than depression and it too can last for months.
While we think that the person with major depression must be shrouded in a grey veil and cannot see things clearly, the person often feels that a veil has been taken away and they can see clearly. When their mind tells them, “You are NOTHING! You are a NOBODY!”, they believe it. But, their “truth” lies.
I wonder what it must feel like to be diagnosed with a mental illness. It must force one to completely rethink one’s identity. Who am I? How does this illness and the meds affect my integrity and character? Are these medications making me someone else?It must be very confusing.
The science behind the treatment choices for depression is still very primitive considering that it is one of the leading causes of disability in the world and people die of it everyday.
Our vocabulary is poor as we have don’t have words to describe various degrees of depression. A rainy weekend is depressing as is not wanting to live anymore.
“Depression, the secret we share” is a TED talk by Andrew Solomon. It explores the issue in great detail through his personal experience, explores treatment options and gives hope.