Oprah Describes How Depression Can Feel Like a Veil

In the September issue of “Vogue,” Oprah Winfrey — former talk show host, actress, producer and all around power woman — opened up about a more turbulent time in her life. In 1998, her movie “Beloved” flopped, a public failure she said caused her to sink into a period of depression.

“I actually started to think, maybe I really am depressed. Because it’s more than ‘I feel bad about this.’ I felt like I was behind a veil,” she said.

While she had spoken to people on her talk show about what it feels like to experience depression, she said it wasn’t something she could understand until she experienced it herself. “I could never imagine it,” she said. “What’s depression? Why don’t you just pick yourself up?”

While it’s natural to feel crushed or sad after a disappointment, Oprah said this period of depression lasted for six weeks. For people who have clinical depression, symptoms typically last for about four to eight months at a time, but can last even longer. For people who develop situational depression though, symptoms usually last until the individual has adjusted to a new situation.

But just because your depression is situational, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously, or that you don’t deserve to seek professional help. For Oprah, this looked like slowing down and practicing gratitude. For others, this might mean seeking help from a professional and getting extra support.

Winfrey said the experience taught her she couldn’t value her entire self-worth based on her work. “Do the work as an offering, she said, “and then whatever happens, happens.”

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