Depression, the secret we share | Andrew Solomon

“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, and Mourners to and fro kept treading — treading —
till [it seemed] that Sense was breaking through — And when they all were seated, a Service, like a Drum — kept beating — beating —
till I [thought] my Mind was going numb — And then I heard them lift a Box
and creak across my Soul with those same Boots of Lead, again, then Space — began to toll, As [all] the Heavens were a Bell,
and Being, [but] an Ear, and I, and Silence, some strange Race, wrecked, solitary, here — [And] then a Plank in Reason, broke, and I fell down and down — and hit a World, at every plunge, and Finished knowing — then –” We know depression through metaphors. Emily Dickinson was able
to convey it in language, Goya in an image. Half the purpose of art
is to describe such iconic states. As for me, I had always
thought myself tough, one of the people who could survive if I’d been sent to a concentration camp. In 1991, I had a series of losses. My mother died, a relationship I’d been in ended, I moved back to the United States
from some years abroad, and I got through all of those
experiences intact. But in 1994, three years later, 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 know that most people manage to listen to their messages and eat lunch and organize themselves to take a shower and go out the front door and that it’s not a big deal, and yet you are nonetheless in its grip and you are unable to figure out
any way around it. And so I began to feel myself doing less and thinking less and feeling less. It was a kind of nullity. And then the anxiety set in. If you told me that I’d have to be
depressed for the next month, I would say, “As long I know it’ll be over
in November, I can do it.” But if you said to me, “You have to have acute anxiety
for the next month,” I would rather slit my wrist
than go through it. It was the feeling all the time like that feeling you have
if you’re walking and you slip or trip
and the ground is rushing up at you, but instead of lasting half a second,
the way that does, it lasted for six months. It’s a sensation
of being afraid all the time but not even knowing
what it is that you’re afraid of. And it was at that point
that I began to think that it was just too painful to be alive, and that the only reason
not to kill oneself was so as not to hurt other people. And finally one day, I woke up and I thought perhaps I’d had a stroke, because I lay in bed completely frozen, looking at the telephone, thinking, “Something is wrong
and I should call for help,” and I couldn’t reach out my arm and pick up the phone and dial. And finally, after four full hours
of my lying and staring at it, the phone rang, and somehow I managed to pick it up, and it was my father, and I said, “I’m in serious trouble.
We need to do something.” The next day I started
with the medications and the therapy. And I also started reckoning
with this terrible question: If I’m not the tough person who could have made it
through a concentration camp, then who am I? And if I have to take medication, is that medication making me
more fully myself, or is it making me someone else? And how do I feel about it
if it’s making me someone else? I had two advantages
as I went into the fight. The first is that I knew that,
objectively speaking, I had a nice life, and that if I could only get well, there was something at the other end
that was worth living for. And the other was
that I had access to good treatment. But I nonetheless emerged and relapsed, and emerged and relapsed, and emerged and relapsed, and finally understood I would have to be on medication
and in therapy forever. And I thought, “But is it a chemical problem
or a psychological problem? And does it need a chemical cure
or a philosophical cure?” And I couldn’t figure out which it was. And then I understood that actually, we aren’t advanced enough in either area
for it to explain things fully. The chemical cure
and the psychological cure both have a role to play, and I also figured out
that depression was something that was braided so deep into us that there was no separating it
from our character and personality. I want to say that the treatments we have
for depression are appalling. They’re not very effective. They’re extremely costly. They come with innumerable side effects. They’re a disaster. But I am so grateful that I live now
and not 50 years ago, when there would have been
almost nothing to be done. I hope that 50 years hence, people will hear about my treatments and be appalled that anyone endured
such primitive science. Depression is the flaw in love. If you were married
to someone and thought, “Well, if my wife dies,
I’ll find another one,” it wouldn’t be love as we know it. There’s no such thing as love
without the anticipation of loss, and that specter of despair
can be the engine of intimacy. There are three things
people tend to confuse: depression, grief and sadness. Grief is explicitly reactive. If you have a loss
and you feel incredibly unhappy, and then, six months later, you are still deeply sad,
but you’re functioning a little better, it’s probably grief, and it will probably ultimately
resolve itself in some measure. If you experience a catastrophic loss, and you feel terrible, and six months later
you can barely function at all, then it’s probably a depression
that was triggered by the catastrophic circumstances. The trajectory tells us a great deal. People think of depression
as being just sadness. It’s much, much too much sadness, much too much grief at far too slight a cause. As I set out to understand depression, and to interview people
who had experienced it, I found that there were people
who seemed, on the surface, to have what sounded like
relatively mild depression who were nonetheless
utterly disabled by it. And there were other people
who had what sounded as they described it
like terribly severe depression who nonetheless had good lives in the interstices
between their depressive episodes. And I set out to find out
what it is that causes some people to be more resilient than other people. What are the mechanisms
that allow people to survive? And I went out and I interviewed
person after person who was suffering with depression. One of the first people I interviewed described depression
as a slower way of being dead, and that was a good thing
for me to hear early on because it reminded me
that that slow way of being dead can lead to actual deadness, that this is a serious business. It’s the leading disability worldwide, and people die of it every day. One of the people I talked to
when I was trying to understand this was a beloved friend
who I had known for many years, and who had had a psychotic episode
in her freshman year of college, and then plummeted
into a horrific depression. She had bipolar illness, or manic depression, as it was then known. And then she did very well
for many years on lithium, and then eventually,
she was taken off her lithium to see how she would do without it, and she had another psychosis, and then plunged into the worst depression
that I had ever seen in which she sat
in her parents’ apartment, more or less catatonic,
essentially without moving, day after day after day. And when I interviewed her
about that experience some years later — she’s a poet and psychotherapist
named Maggie Robbins — when I interviewed her, she said, “I was singing ‘Where Have
All The Flowers Gone,’ over and over, to occupy my mind. I was singing to blot out
the things my mind was saying, which were, ‘You are nothing.
You are nobody. You don’t even deserve to live.’ And that was
when I really started thinking about killing myself.” 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. It’s easier to help
schizophrenics who perceive that there’s something foreign
inside of them that needs to be exorcised, but it’s difficult with depressives, because we believe
we are seeing the truth. But the truth lies. I became obsessed with that sentence: “But the truth lies.” And I discovered,
as I talked to depressive people, that they have
many delusional perceptions. People will say, “No one loves me.” And you say, “I love you, your wife loves you,
your mother loves you.” You can answer that one pretty readily,
at least for most people. But people who are depressed
will also say, “No matter what we do,
we’re all just going to die in the end.” Or they’ll say,
“There can be no true communion between two human beings. Each of us is trapped in his own body.” To which you have to say, “That’s true, but I think we should focus right now
on what to have for breakfast.” (Laughter) A lot of the time, what they are expressing
is not illness, but insight, and one comes to think
what’s really extraordinary is that most of us know
about those existential questions and they don’t distract us very much. There was a study I particularly liked in which a group of depressed
and a group of non-depressed people were asked to play a video
game for an hour, and at the end of the hour, they were asked how many little monsters
they thought they had killed. The depressive group was usually accurate
to within about 10 percent, and the non-depressed people guessed between 15 and 20 times
as many little monsters — (Laughter) as they had actually killed. A lot of people said, when I chose
to write about my depression, that it must be very difficult
to be out of that closet, to have people know. They said, “Do people
talk to you differently?” I said, “Yes, people
talk to me differently. They talk to me differently insofar as they start telling me
about their experience, or their sister’s experience, or their friend’s experience. Things are different because now I know that depression is the family secret
that everyone has. I went a few years ago to a conference, and on Friday of the three-day conference, one of the participants
took me aside, and she said, “I suffer from depression
and I’m a little embarrassed about it, but I’ve been taking this medication, and I just wanted to ask you
what you think?” And so I did my best to give her
such advice as I could. And then she said, “You know,
my husband would never understand this. He’s really the kind of guy to whom
this wouldn’t make any sense, so, you know, it’s just between us.” And I said, “Yes, that’s fine.” On Sunday of the same conference, her husband took me aside, (Laughter) and he said, “My wife wouldn’t think that I was really much
of a guy if she knew this, but I’ve been dealing with this depression
and I’m taking some medication, and I wondered what you think?” They were hiding the same medication in two different places
in the same bedroom. (Laughter) And I said that I thought
communication within the marriage might be triggering
some of their problems. (Laughter) But I was also struck by the burdensome nature
of such mutual secrecy. Depression is so exhausting. It takes up so much
of your time and energy, and silence about it, it really does make the depression worse. And then I began thinking about all the ways
people make themselves better. I’d started off as a medical conservative. I thought there were a few
kinds of therapy that worked, it was clear what they were — there was medication, there were certain psychotherapies, there was possibly
electroconvulsive treatment, and that everything else was nonsense. But then I discovered something. If you have brain cancer, and you say that standing on your head
for 20 minutes every morning makes you feel better, it may make you feel better,
but you still have brain cancer, and you’ll still probably die from it. But if you say that you have depression, and standing on your head
for 20 minutes every day makes you feel better, then it’s worked, because depression
is an illness of how you feel, and if you feel better, then you are effectively
not depressed anymore. So I became much more tolerant of the vast world
of alternative treatments. And I get letters,
I get hundreds of letters from people writing to tell me
about what’s worked for them. Someone was asking me
backstage today about meditation. My favorite of the letters that I got
was the one that came from a woman who wrote and said
that she had tried therapy, medication, she had tried pretty much everything, and she had found a solution
and hoped I would tell the world, and that was making
little things from yarn. (Laughter) She sent me some of them. (Laughter) And I’m not wearing them right now. (Laughter) I suggested to her
that she also should look up obsessive compulsive disorder in the DSM. And yet, when I went to look
at alternative treatments, I also gained perspective
on other treatments. I went through
a tribal exorcism in Senegal that involved a great deal of ram’s blood and that I’m not going
to detail right now, but a few years afterwards
I was in Rwanda, working on a different project, and I happened to describe
my experience to someone, and he said, “Well, that’s West Africa,
and we’re in East Africa, and our rituals are
in some ways very different, but we do have some rituals that have something in common
with what you’re describing.” And he said, “But we’ve had a lot of trouble
with Western mental health workers, especially the ones who came
right after the genocide.” I said, “What kind
of trouble did you have?” And he said, “Well,
they would do this bizarre thing. They didn’t take people out
in the sunshine where you begin to feel better. They didn’t include drumming
or music to get people’s blood going. They didn’t involve the whole community. They didn’t externalize
the depression as an invasive spirit. Instead what they did was they took people
one at a time into dingy little rooms and had them talk for an hour about bad things
that had happened to them.” (Laughter) (Applause) He said, “We had to ask them
to leave the country.” (Laughter) Now at the other end
of alternative treatments, let me tell you about Frank Russakoff. Frank Russakoff had the worst depression
perhaps that I’ve ever seen in a man. He was constantly depressed. He was, when I met him, at a point at which every month,
he would have electroshock treatment. Then he would feel
sort of disoriented for a week. Then he would feel okay for a week. Then he would have a week
of going downhill. And then he would have another
electroshock treatment. And he said to me when I met him, “It’s unbearable to go
through my weeks this way. I can’t go on this way, and I’ve figured out
how I’m going to end it if I don’t get better.” “But,” he said to me,
“I heard about a protocol at Mass General for a procedure called a cingulotomy,
which is a brain surgery, and I think I’m going to give that a try.” And I remember being amazed
at that point to think that someone who clearly had so many bad experiences with so many different treatments still had buried in him,
somewhere, enough optimism to reach out for one more. And he had the cingulotomy,
and it was incredibly successful. He’s now a friend of mine. He has a lovely wife
and two beautiful children. He wrote me a letter
the Christmas after the surgery, and he said, “My father sent me two presents this year, First, a motorized CD rack
from The Sharper Image that I didn’t really need, but I knew he was giving it
to me to celebrate the fact that I’m living on my own
and have a job I seem to love. And the other present
was a photo of my grandmother, who committed suicide. As I unwrapped it, I began to cry, and my mother came over and said, ‘Are you crying because
of the relatives you never knew?’ And I said, ‘She had
the same disease I have.’ I’m crying now as I write to you. It’s not that I’m so sad,
but I get overwhelmed, I think, because I could
have killed myself, but my parents kept me going,
and so did the doctors, and I had the surgery. I’m alive and grateful. We live in the right time,
even if it doesn’t always feel like it.” I was struck by the fact that depression is broadly perceived to be
a modern, Western, middle-class thing, and I went to look at how it operated
in a variety of other contexts, and one of the things
I was most interested in was depression among the indigent. And so I went out to try to look at what was being done
for poor people with depression. And what I discovered is that poor people are mostly not being
treated for depression. Depression is the result
of a genetic vulnerability, which is presumably
evenly distributed in the population, and triggering circumstances, which are likely to be more severe
for people who are impoverished. And yet it turns out that if you have
a really lovely life but feel miserable all the time, you think, “Why do I feel like this? I must have depression.” And you set out to find treatment for it. But if you have a perfectly awful life, and you feel miserable all the time, the way you feel
is commensurate with your life, and it doesn’t occur to you to think, “Maybe this is treatable.” And so we have an epidemic in this country of depression among impoverished people that’s not being picked up
and that’s not being treated and that’s not being addressed, and it’s a tragedy of a grand order. And so I found an academic who was doing a research project
in slums outside of D.C., where she picked up women
who had come in for other health problems and diagnosed them with depression, and then provided six months
of the experimental protocol. One of them, Lolly, came in, and this is what she said
the day she came in. She said, and she was a woman,
by the way, who had seven children. She said, “I used to have a job
but I had to give it up because I couldn’t go out of the house. I have nothing to say to my children. In the morning,
I can’t wait for them to leave, and then I climb in bed
and pull the covers over my head, and three o’clock when they come home, it just comes so fast.” She said, “I’ve been taking
a lot of Tylenol, anything I can take
so that I can sleep more. My husband has been telling me
I’m stupid, I’m ugly. I wish I could stop the pain.” Well, she was brought
into this experimental protocol, and when I interviewed her
six months later, she had taken a job working in childcare for the U.S. Navy,
she had left the abusive husband, and she said to me, “My kids are so much happier now.” She said, “There’s one room
in my new place for the boys and one room for the girls, but at night, they’re just
all up on my bed, and we’re doing homework
all together and everything. One of them wants to be a preacher, one of them wants to be a firefighter, and one of the girls says
she’s going to be a lawyer. They don’t cry like they used to, and they don’t fight like they did. That’s all I need now, is my kids. Things keep on changing, the way I dress,
the way I feel, the way I act. I can go outside not being afraid anymore, and I don’t think
those bad feelings are coming back, and if it weren’t
for Dr. Miranda and that, I would still be at home
with the covers pulled over my head, if I were still alive at all. I asked the Lord to send me an angel, and He heard my prayers.” I was really moved by these experiences, and I decided that I wanted
to write about them not only in a book I was working on,
but also in an article, and I got a commission
from The New York Times Magazine to write about depression
among the indigent. And I turned in my story, and my editor called me and said,
“We really can’t publish this.” And I said, “Why not?” And she said, “It just is too far-fetched. These people who are sort of
at the very bottom rung of society and then they get
a few months of treatment and they’re virtually ready
to run Morgan Stanley? It’s just too implausible.” She said, “I’ve never even heard
of anything like it.” And I said, “The fact
that you’ve never heard of it is an indication that it is news.” (Laughter) (Applause) “And you are a news magazine.” So after a certain amount of negotiation,
they agreed to it. But I think a lot of what they said
was connected in some strange way to this distaste that people still have
for the idea of treatment, the notion that somehow if we went out and treated a lot of people
in indigent communities, that would be exploitative, because we would be changing them. There is this false moral imperative
that seems to be all around us, that treatment of depression, the medications and so on,
are an artifice, and that it’s not natural. And I think that’s very misguided. It would be natural
for people’s teeth to fall out, but there is nobody militating
against toothpaste, at least not in my circles. People then say, “But isn’t depression part of what people
are supposed to experience? Didn’t we evolve to have depression? Isn’t it part of your personality?” To which I would say, mood is adaptive. Being able to have sadness and fear and joy and pleasure and all of the other moods that we have,
that’s incredibly valuable. And major depression is something that happens
when that system gets broken. It’s maladaptive. People will come to me and say, “I think, though, if I just
stick it out for another year, I think I can just get through this.” And I always say to them,
“You may get through it, but you’ll never be 37 again. Life is short, and that’s a whole year
you’re talking about giving up. Think it through.” It’s a strange poverty
of the English language, and indeed of many other languages, that we use this same word, depression, to describe how a kid feels
when it rains on his birthday, and to describe how somebody feels
the minute before they commit suicide. People say to me, “Well, is it
continuous with normal sadness?” And I say, in a way it’s continuous
with normal sadness. There is a certain amount of continuity, but it’s the same way there’s continuity between having an iron fence
outside your house that gets a little rust spot that you have to sand off
and do a little repainting, and what happens if you leave
the house for 100 years and it rusts through
until it’s only a pile of orange dust. And it’s that orange dust spot, that orange dust problem, that’s the one
we’re setting out to address. So now people say, “You take these happy pills,
and do you feel happy?” And I don’t. But I don’t feel sad
about having to eat lunch, and I don’t feel sad
about my answering machine, and I don’t feel sad
about taking a shower. I feel more, in fact, I think, because I can feel
sadness without nullity. I feel sad about professional
disappointments, about damaged relationships, about global warming. Those are the things
that I feel sad about now. And I said to myself, well,
what is the conclusion? How did those people who have better lives even with bigger depression
manage to get through? What is the mechanism of resilience? And what I came up with over time was that the people
who deny their experience, and say, “I was depressed a long time ago, I never want to think about it again, I’m not going to look at it and I’m just going
to get on with my life,” ironically, those are the people
who are most enslaved by what they have. Shutting out the depression
strengthens it. While you hide from it, it grows. And the people who do better are the ones who are able to tolerate
the fact that they have this condition. Those who can tolerate their depression
are the ones who achieve resilience. So Frank Russakoff said to me, “If I had a do-over,
I suppose I wouldn’t do it this way, but in a strange way,
I’m grateful for what I’ve experienced. I’m glad to have been
in the hospital 40 times. It taught me so much about love, and my relationship
with my parents and my doctors has been so precious to me,
and will be always.” And Maggie Robbins said, “I used to volunteer in an AIDS clinic, and I would just talk and talk and talk, and the people I was dealing with
weren’t very responsive, and I thought, ‘That’s not very friendly
or helpful of them.'” (Laughter) “And then I realized, I realized that
they weren’t going to do more than make those first
few minutes of small talk. It was simply going to be an occasion where I didn’t have AIDS
and I wasn’t dying, but could tolerate the fact that they did and they were. Our needs are our greatest assets. It turns out I’ve learned to give
all the things I need.” Valuing one’s depression
does not prevent a relapse, but it may make the prospect of relapse and even relapse itself
easier to tolerate. The question is not so much
of finding great meaning and deciding your depression
has been very meaningful. It’s of seeking that meaning
and thinking, when it comes again, “This will be hellish,
but I will learn something from it.” I have learned in my own depression how big an emotion can be, how it can be more real than facts, and I have found that that experience has allowed me to experience
positive emotion in a more intense and more focused way. The opposite of depression
is not happiness, but vitality, and these days, my life is vital, even on the days when I’m sad. I felt that funeral in my brain, and I sat next to the colossus
at the edge of the world, and I have discovered
something inside of myself that I would have to call a soul that I had never formulated
until that day 20 years ago when hell came to pay me a surprise visit. I think that while I hated being depressed and would hate to be depressed again, I’ve found a way to love my depression. I love it because it has forced me
to find and cling to joy. I love it because each day I decide, sometimes gamely, and sometimes against the moment’s reason, to cleave to the reasons for living. And that, I think,
is a highly privileged rapture. Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Depression, the secret we share | Andrew Solomon

  1. "There's no such thing as love without the anticipation of loss and that spectre of despair can be the engine of intimacy."

  2. I really resent that depression is a mental illness. In my belief, it is a state of having a broken spirit that needs to be fixed to function again and live as normal as other people do.

  3. A sad thing about all of this is, when you get depressed or even in bad mood, close people from which you seek a halt, distance from youbecause of your bad mood. They judge you and then they disappear. So you stop telling anybody and lie even to yourself. Try to fix the things with all your energy, constantly fragile to demotivation. Slowly you lose the sense of reality and become more and more scattered. You feel good by starting something you believe this will get you out now. But you fall back, again and again. Then you stop. You stop doing anything. You even stop moving. You just think about the people you have lost with your bad mood and you feel guilt.

  4. I am brought to tears as I’m listening because this feeling and the sensation of depression is in fact terrifying. My husband can live so normally and brush things off and I take it to the extreme. I over think and overload my mind with things that leave me completely helpless and irritable. I tell myself I can’t do what normal people do when I’m sure I’m completely capable of doing so. I just don’t feel it is completely possible and at times I say why even try. If you are going through depression I send my best wishes for love for life for happiness it is a struggle that not many can overcome. But I hope you can find yourself through this haze.

  5. I forgot that its okay to be sad, its okay to not feel joy, its what makes the good moments feel so good, makes them worth it. With this i can get my energy back to do the things i need to do in life. Thank you for breaking the cloudy glass wall my mind was stuck behind.

  6. There are more people living and dead because of depression than people alright, not a lot of people have tha courage to say the truth, I myself have struggled for more than a decade, so dont give up and keep fighting there is light at the end of that tunnel, God doesn't give you a cross u cant carry

  7. I thought everyone was like me when I was a child. Turns out I've been depressed and anxious since I was 5. It's been my life since. I don't know what to do or how to change. I can guess causes for it and triggers now. I just keep going…dont want to though.

    Somedays I feel absolutely peace and happiness but they are so far and few between.

  8. being depressed is like mourning your own death and that your life is already gone and you cry as you watch the last of life in you slip between your fingers and watch as your body decays but it doesn't matter what you say or if you scream for help because no one can hear you and its so scary to see you want truly make it stop so you think you really need to die.

  9. cant really see because im crying so hard but that was the best youtube video ive ever seen, and it means a lot to me. thank you

  10. Nice one. Hey, I also discovered an amazing channel. She does live
    shows and she is really a good person. You will like her. At her live
    shows we chat, She does not come online often, so I advise that you
    subscribe and click the bell button. The name of the channel is Soul Illumination.
    Oh my god she is so caring. She reads all responses and responds with original words. And woke

  11. I have depression for 20 years and just last month I start to take medicine and meditation because I was really almost to kill someone and myself. And I know its not good. I still try to live. And it's sad when u can't talk to anyone about it because they will put themselves in our shoes and said we are just seeking attention. If, I really seeking attention, I would doing it for very long time ago. And it's sad. I felt lost. But all I can do is keep within myself about it.

  12. I am grateful i am here in this time….considering late 1800's i would've been locked away in an asylum and some nutjob would've stuck a drill to my head and lobotomised me with the full conviction of curing me, placing me in a vegetative state…. Id rather have my black dog following me than sticking a power drill to my head!

  13. skeletal pain, 3 arthritis diagnosis/pain takes my happiness away, it is like a demon of pain possession…Spinal shots are great for a few weeks, but feeling it slip away again is torture all over again….the politics of medicine fail the soul of the human. I was ready to kill myself within 4 weeks…too much torture, laying still to avoid the pain.

  14. for such an amazing talk done with so much feeling and intellect as today has done to us all, global warming would be brought up in the middle of such a real issue as opposed to the hoax it is. This was just very rewarding to hear and I am glad for him.

  15. i think i've never seen such an accurate description of my feelings, depression is so complex and explaining it seems worse than living it.


    Thanks you for sharing this video. Wishing everyone the very best in their triumph over anxiety and depression. “Everything
    Will be ok”

  17. Wow he hit the nail on the head. I suffer from major depressive disorder and it has left me paralyzed. I also lost my mother a few weeks ago which has added to my depression. I feel worthless, unloved, and not needed. The only reason I haven't taken my life is because I don't want to hurt my family. My rifle was calling to me last week, but I didn't touch it and walked away and prayed I would just die in my sleep. I also broke my back 3 years ago and went from being very active to not being able to walk through a store and being stuck using a wheelchair. people don't understand it and I have lost all my friends because of not being able to go out, that made me feel even more worthless. To see me and talk to me you would not know I am depressed I have learned to hide it so well no one who meets me would even know. We must keep going though because no matter how bad we feel we have to go on so we don't give our pain with others by killing ourselves. I feel my depression is a selfish thing so I go on. Even though we suffer from depression we are worth something, people do love and need us, but we just cant see it.

  18. He's trying to solve a problem with his broken thoughts by using his thoughts…mistake number one. Trying to stop letting your thoughts have control is the first step. Thoughts are just another sense, they are not us and not as important as they claim. Depression tells us our thoughts are everything so we get stuck in them…I have been prescribed everything, and tried everything. ONLY YOGA had effective and long term positive effects.

  19. Happiness is obeying Christ. Forget loneliness too! You get to see his Omnipresent bearded face. I prove it on my channel. I suffered from depression until I started obeying Christ. It makes sense. Christ loves us = He wants to see us happy. His doctrine is the divine path to happiness and eternal life. Don't forget you cannot obey Christ's divine doctrine without his help.

  20. At first I hated this guy, but as I kept watching I realized how similar he and I feel. Depression is when you feel nothing good anymore. I used to cry alot, then that stopped and I felt nothing. When the nothingness came I longed for the days I would be able to cry again.

  21. I lived in a poor country for many years, many people without houses or cars or even food sometimes. I barely had shoes or even decent clothes myself, and in my home good food was a luxury. Depression: ZERO. I came to America and found people with everything they needed and then some. Depression: almost everybody. Including yours truly. What is wrong with this picture?

  22. The first time I ever thought about wanting to die was when I was nine years old. At 17 I actually tried to kill myself but didn't succeed. In the many years that followed I had constantly been self-destructive and constantly suffered from the pain of just being alive. There had been some catastrophic events in my life but mostly were the effect of my self-destructive thoughts and behavior, and not the cause. I am 31 now and until this day I still do not know what is the root of all this suffering… I am a believer of God but not of religion, but anyway I tried joining a church and somehow being part of that community helped me find some direction in my life, yet I continued to struggle. Eventually what helped me greatly were two things: mindfulness and psychedelics. I experienced ego death the first time I tried psilocybin and it completely changed me from that day forward. It enabled me to see life in a completely different point of view. It showed me that everything I ever worried about doesn't really matter at all. I still find myself struggling with existential pain from time to time but the difference now is that I know that I will get through it, just as I had gotten through it after all these years (when I thought that it will never end)… because nothing is permanent, not even this depression. And I carry with me always this lesson that Mother Nature has taught me through the mushrooms: that everything I could worry about does not matter. All there is is here and now, and I can choose to be happy right now. And so can you 🙂

  23. I had chronic depression for many years. The cure wasn't medication (which I tried) but rather following the set of life principles that came to be known as "sudism." I hope some of you out there are open to new ideas on how to treat such a devastating illness, so I wrote about it here: Take care and may you be blessed with good health.

  24. For those who are interested in possible better world -> Venus Project. And for those who have depression – Don't fight it. Just relax and try to go out with people that make You feel better, and when You are in a good mood, remember that feeling sad all the time is just… boring for You. This is what helps me and I hope it will help You 🙂

  25. I've come to realize after a great many years but for most of my life I've been depressed but undiagnosed, even though I have gone to several therapists over the years and I've certainly got my fair share of self-help type of work. The speaker talks about making lunch but then you have to take the food out of the refrigerator make the food etc etc. I viewed everyday and very much the same way as far back as I can remember I guess would have been first grade or kindergarten. I did not know at the time that this was depression. And since the option wasn't there to remain in bed and do nothing I don't think my parents would have allowed that, I powered through. And since I was able to power through, does that mean I don't have depression or that I have beaten it? Or am I just the most screwed-up person on the planet who has zero self-awareness and at 44 years old does not know himself any better than he did when he was 16?

  26. What a brilliant, insightful person… love the compassionate and understanding he has gained through his experiences

  27. "the only reason not to kill oneself is to not hurt other people" 1000% true. The scariest moment of my life looking back now is when I (i think because i felt this way and wanted to get around it subconsciously) pushed everyone away and got so angry at everyone that this stopped mattering to me. I was so ready to get in my car and leave forever. I had this weird idea that i would drive up to Algonquin park and go so deep that i would get lost forever and no one would find me. I even researched it to see if that would be possible. It was scary because i always thought that me knowing how terrible being on the other side is and how it hurts and fucks with your own mental health would stop me from actually going that far. Literally 2 days after i started seriously considering just doing it, my pet rabbit that i loved so fucking much died. In a crazy way, she saved my life because i was so focused on the pain of her loss that i had nothing left in me to give to my depression. I think it was also a cathartic release and that's why it seemed to help a little. I've never told anyone this lol so here ya go, youtube LOL.

  28. Yes good to know that we who suffer are not alone. I ask myself often, where does it come from this darkness, the sense of worthlessness? As it seems irrational, yet I/we suffer inexplicably.

  29. It’s started with one girl taking interest in me when I was insecure eventually leading me on from 5th to freshman year. Then finally getting a gf and visiting out of town by train at 18 she cheated and neglected me I self harmed myself thought I deserved it. Hurt me because she new I had that fear of cheating. Been going through it ever since I’m still going through it

  30. Roughly 5 years ago, i was laying in my rack, while attending a 3 month military training school. I was watching forest gump, and at the end of it, where he starts crying to Jenny's grave, about how their son was growing and was super smart and how much he is loved. It made me wonder… Who would care if i died right now? Would anyone show to the funeral? Would my family and friends actually cared if I died?
    Those were the worst questions, and when those went through my mind, i was afraid and i felt awful about thinking them. I called my dad, crying, pleading for help. Telling him how much i want to give up. He thought i was talking about the Navy, but in reality it was life in general. I couldnt muster up the courage to tell him that. So after that night i told him i loved him and he told me that he loved me, and was so proud of me.
    3 days later the same thoughts crossed my mind and the days prior i was anxious all the time, i was tired yet not tired all the time. My mind had an endless cycle of all my thoughts compiled into my own headphone strings.
    So I called my mom. The one who is supposed to be there and be understanding… When i told her how I felt, and what i actually wanted to do. She was angry with me, and i felt so low and my negative thoughts we're being proven. Eventually people started noticing how low i had actually gotten. How uninterested I was, amd that i was harming myself with smoking more often and drinking more excessive. They sat me down, i told them i was fine and that they should leave me alone cause i can handle it. I was wrong. On so many levels.
    Eventually one day we were learning about M4A1 rifles. How to take them apart and clean them. When that weapon was in my hand, I had teleported into a white room, with nothing but me and this rifle. It was the most peaceful moment I had felt in years. Yet it didnt feel right, as if all my instincts at once told me i need to run away. The fight or flight response. So I came to and I walked outside as fast i could.
    One of the Sargent's realized i had walked out in a hurry. He sat me down, and asked the one question i didnt realize i wanted to hear. "Are you thinking about suicide right now?"
    My eyes swelled with tears and i huddled and collapsed inbetween my knees, and he just hugged me.
    If it wasnt for him, and the others who realized the signs, i wouldnt be here today able to share my story. And I can say i have relapsed this past year, but being able to accept it, like he said, has made going through this process a lot easier than the last. Im not afraid of it anymore, and when it started once again i charged at it head on as if my life depended on it, which it does.
    For those suffering, reach out, dont be afraid. There are people who will understand. Dont let the depression and anxiety blind you of reality. As he said, "The truth lies." No truer words have ever been spoken about this illness.

  31. I am 18 i have depression since 15 people my age are so happy doing their life and i feel so bad just watching how people are happy

  32. It's all pointless, isn't it? There's a lot of work involved in getting out of the tunnel, but I'm incapable of it. I've been trying for decades. I've tried meds (horrible experience) therapy (worthless, endless, painful talking) all manner of treatments (humiliating and ineffective) and enough advice to build a pyramid of bullshit. For me, at least, there's no way out. I don't know if I'm just weak, or cursed, or genetically disadvantaged, but I'm tired to the bone from trying.

    I won't kill myself – mostly out of spite. But there's not a day that I don't wish I could. It's taking a ridiculously long time to write this, and an absurd amount of effort to hit the comment button. The vid was released years ago, it won't matter if I do, no one will see it. That makes it easier, but also less useful. And, in the end, I've wasted my time and end up looking weak and ineffective.

  33. This touches me soo deeply on so many different levels. Its like he is speaking directly too me and about me. I cant believe and am amazed that so many others feel like me. This is seriously bringing tears to my eyes but in a great way. When he described feeling like he had a stroke and stayed in bed for four hours frozen in fear that was me when my panic attacks peaked and i was frozen like a deer in the headlights unable to go to work. I love his comparisons and the way he describes it. He is removing the stigma surrounding it and is truly making me think deeply and out of the box. " Is depression a chemical disease or philosophical." End quote ( i know this isn't exact but close enough). And tbh i can get into the beginning of lots of ted talks but then i quickly lose interest. So glad i found this, has made my day. Sending positive vibes to all who suffer from anxiety and depression. We are not alone

  34. Last year I was on Gili Air island (Indonesia) and in a one month I took 4 times psylocibin cubensis…only months later, I felt that my chronic depression had been leaving me…psyloscibin does heal you, Try it…

  35. I survived the south side of Chicago in the 90's being exactly what I needed to be everyday to ensure that survival. These days I'm hardly surviving my own mind overwhelmed and crippled by fear.

  36. I gave up more than 19 years already… i am severely depressed since i was 17… i got maybe 7 years in those 19 that i actually felt alive… i mostly seek purpose… my only purpose shows when i'm on a relationship and i feel responsible for my girlfriend's happiness and welfare… after they leave i get crushed again till i find another purpose… i don't know how to be alone.

  37. His book is a gem! A must read if you find the subject interesting. Listen About the book right here:

  38. I have struggled with depression for over ten years since before I was 10 years old. This is one of the best speeches about depression I have ever heard. His example where he dreads preparing food and looking at the answering machine hit me pretty hard. I have tried many medications which have almost killed me because of my co-morbid bipolar 1 disorder. None of which prevented me from isolating myself from friends due to how exhausting social interaction was. None of the treatments prevented me from procrastinating on assignments until last second out of fear because each little assignment looked like an insurmountable tidal wave. No treatment prevented me from going to college reluctantly to please my family but not myself. I graduate in 5 days with two degrees with no idea what I am doing. Psychology and Criminal Justice. I can't be a cop, and law school, psych PhD or masters and so on require at least 2-4 more years of school. Yet I have to do something, even though I want nothing. Wish me luck and good luck to anyone else experiencing depression today.

  39. There's something so cognitively terrifying about positive words that don't apply into your life but are given for your life.
    For instance "It will get better".
    Since 2012 I'm still deeply sad
    I hope I don't kill myself before the year ends

  40. Dr. Arthur Janov always said that depression is repression. He is right. Depression is a state of repressing things into the unconscious or trying to keep them there with force and denial. It's a state of resistance. In meditation we can sit with the present moment and allow that pain to surface and become conscious so that it will be heard and seen because that is what it had been wanting to do all along. Lets communicate with that pain that wants to be heard because it's our inner child who was traumatized.

  41. I thought I knew what depression was until recently I had a wave of real depression(I had just come back from a month in Greece on vacation) to my home, no job, no responsibilities, no school, no purpose, and somehow after the best month of my life, I now understand what it feels like….

    The best way I can describe it is a subtle maybe even subconscious feeling of being terrified… that Is just there, crippling. And when I would try to distract myself it magnified… almost as if a more spiritual part of me was telling me I had work to do on myself.

    Please if your struggling with this you have to fight. I feel myself getting better from this illness. By improving my life and thoughts I am able to slowly just be okay with existing. YOU ARE NOT ALONE

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