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How Andrew Solomon's TED Talk Helped Me Better Understand My Depression

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I recently listened to an amazing TED Talk given by Andrew Solomon titled “Depression, the Secret We Share.” Speaking from his own experience with depression, Andrew was able to articulate so well a major part of my experience with depression.

Andrew said:

“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.”

Yes. This is so me. My depression does at times feel like a gray veil, a dark cloud coming over me that turns my mood sour. The way I experience depression on almost a daily basis, however, is feeling as if the rose-colored glasses I once viewed the world through have been ripped from my eyes, and I am left staring endlessly out at life as it really is. Depression feels like I am left to exist in a world that is gray, chaotic, confusing, empty and meaningless.

Andrew’s talk didn’t end there, though. Yes, depression makes me believe the veil of happiness has been taken away and I am now seeing truly, but that is not the truth. “But the truth lies” was the exact phrase Andrew used next, and that was a phrase he said he clung to in his fight against depression.

“But the truth lies.”

I began to think about what false truths depression might be telling me. You don’t really matter. Life is meaningless. You are expendable. You are too much to truly be loved by anyone. You are too much for your friends and family. You will always be insecure. There isn’t purpose to anything. Having faith will only bring you pain.

Being a very rational person, I like to believe I know how to discern truth from lies. I trust in my ability to sort out reason from deception. But as I listened to this TED Talk, I wondered if my brain’s great ability to think has unknowingly become a victim to a cunning enemy. An enemy that masquerades itself as reality while it silently steals away all hope and vitality from its prey.

Thanks to Andrew Solomon’s TED Talk, I feel I’ve been given a lot more insight into the enemy of depression I am in an ongoing battle with. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep this enemy at bay while at the same time beginning to repair the damage it’s already done.

I highly recommend listening to Andrew’s talk, whether you are fighting depression yourself or know someone who is. I encourage you to ask the question his talk spurred me to ask myself: What are the false truths depression tells you? And what would it look like to maybe, just maybe, start challenging the lies depression so cunningly says are true?

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Originally published: February 3, 2017
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