This Ted talk by Andrew Solomon is very good.
I want to say that the treatments we haveÂ for depression are appalling.Â They’re not very effective.They’re extremely costly.Â They come with innumerable side effects.Â They’re a disaster.Â But I am so grateful that I live nowÂ and not 50 years ago,Â when there would have been almost nothingÂ to be done.Â I hope that 50 years hence,Â people will hear about my treatmentsÂ and be appalled that anyone enduredÂ such primitive science.
…So now people say,Â “You take these happy pills, and do you feel happy?”Â And I don’t.Â But I don’t feel sad about having to eat lunch,Â and I don’t feel sad about my answering machine,Â and I don’t feel sad about taking a shower.Â I feel more, in fact, I think,Â because I can feel sadness without nullity.
It’s timely in a week where the Office of National Statistics reports the highest male suicide rates since 2001 (and a rise in all suicides); while women are more likely to suffer from depression, men are more likely to die from it.
Matt Haig, writing in the GuardianÂ about his own depression:
Suicide is now â€“ in places including the UK and US â€“ a leading cause of death, accounting for more than one in 100 fatalities. According to figures from the WorldÂ HealthÂ Organisation, it kills more people than stomach cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, colon cancer, breast cancer, and Alzheimerâ€™s. As people who kill themselves are, more often than not, depressives, depression is one of the deadliest diseases on the planet. It kills more people than most other forms of violence â€“ warfare, terrorism, domestic abuse, assault, gun crime â€“ put together.
…So what should we do? Talk. Listen. Encourage talking. Encourage listening. Keep adding to the conversation. Stay on the lookout for those wanting to join in the conversation. Keep reiterating, again and again, that depression is not something you â€œadmit toâ€, it is not something you have to blush about, it is a human experience. It is not you. It is simply something that happens to you. And something that can often be eased by talking. Words. Comfort. Support. It took me more than a decade to be able to talk openly, properly, to everyone, about my experience. I soon discovered the act of talking is in itself a therapy. Where talk exists, so does hope.