Depression has hit my life. I don't personally experience it, other than the occasional glum mood. Yet, like most people, I have friends and family members who pop pills in hopes of normalizing their moods.
I have a comatose friend who readily admits she hasn't experienced genuine happiness in over 20 years. I also have a friend diagnosed as bipolar who has regularly been admitted into the psych ward because he refused to stay on his lithium.
I have heard countless stories of people going to their doctor feeling low and coming out with a prescription for happy pills.
Apparently 1 in 4 people suffers some kind of depression and yet, we know so little about it. Depression is the leading disability worldwide.
Questions I would have about depression include: If I have to take medication is it making me more fully myself or is it making me someone else? And who?
Is it a chemical problem or a psychological problem? Apparently science says both have a role to play and nobody has been able to draw the line.
To an outsider the treatments for depression seem ridiculous. The ups and downs that can come from experimenting with medications to find the right dose. The sometimes comatose state you see once vibrant people in.
Add to this, so many people hide and are embarrassed to admit they suffer from depression. Hiding medications because they fear others will see them as weak.
Depression isn't just sadness. Everybody gets sad.
Some people have mild depression and some have extreme cases and yet they may take the same medication, just different doses.
Everyone has experienced depression and everyone knows someone who suffers regularly from it. Silence about anything makes it worse. Talking about things makes it more real and more tangible. It also opens it up for discussion.
In studying depression I came across a quite humorous motivational speaker, Andrew Solomon talk about depression in a Ted Talk.
He gives the example that if you have brain cancer and you say I will stand on my head for 20 minutes everyday because it makes you feel better, it may make you feel better but you still have brain cancer. However, if you say you have depression and that standing on your head for 20 minutes makes you feel better, then it's worked. You feel better.
There is a vast world of alternative treatments for depression that maybe should be exploited well before traditional medicine promotes medication.
As a humorous motivational speaker, I believe in the power of humor and laughter to boost your mood, however it's not a long term cure.
Keep the discussion alive.