I recently watched a Stanford University lecture about depression that my friend recently linked to in her blog. In the lecture, Stanford professor Dr. Robert Sapolsky argued that depression is one of the most debilitating diseases a person can experience. Currently, according to the World Health Organization, depression is the fourth leading cause of disability around the world. By 2025, depression will move up to the No. 2 slot.
I’ve had five major depressive episodes since I was 18 years old. I’ve seen multiple therapists and have taken many, many drugs. So inspired by Dr. Sapolsky, I’m going to do a five-part story series about my own experiences with major depression.
I hope that you’ll be entertained by my experiences, particularly about some of my treatment fails. I also hope that you’ll benefit from my highly simplistic understanding of some of the biology of depression. Most of all, if you have depression or know someone who does, then I hope that the series will inspire you not to ask, either verbally or in your mind, “Why don’t I/they just snap out of it?”
A depressed person wants nothing more than to feel normal again. During my experiences, I’ve berated myself because I felt as though I was letting down my friends, my family and my employees. I’ve prayed to go to sleep and never wake up. You see, clinical depression isn’t about being in a temporary funk, the way that you are when something bad happens at work or when you have a few fights with your significant other. Clinical depression means the inability to derive any pleasure from life. The simplest tasks seem astronomical. The activities you used to love lose their meaning.
I’ve embedded the Stanford University lecture below in case you want to watch or listen. You can also point your browser to YouTube, search for “Stanford University depression,” and find shorter segments of the lecture. Next week: You can enjoy Part One of my story series. Enjoy? Yes, that’s the word I chose. Laughter heals a lot of wounds.