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The Quick Segment on 'The View' That Helped Me Explain My Depression

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The other day I flipping through channels and ended up on the daytime show, “The View.” The co-hosts were talking about depression, and as woman who lives with depression, I was curious to hear what these ladies had to say. I was pleasantly surprised to find their conversation to be both interesting and honest. One of the co-hosts
even admitted to her own battle with depression. But the moment of the conversation that resonated with me was when Whoopi Goldberg explained depression as a “mind storm.”

As one who has desperately tried to explain to loved ones what depression is like for me, I think “mind storm” is a such an effective way for me to express the chaos and complexity of my depression. After all, most people have a pretty good grasp on what a storm is like. They understand that no two storms are ever the same. They understand storms can be unpredictable and that even the best meteorologists can’t tame them. They know storms can be loud and dark and destructive. And they don’t have to
understand all the science of prediction or weather patterns to know storms are real. They know these things because they have seen and felt the impact of many storms in their lifetime.

But depression is different. Not everyone lives under the shadow of a depressive disorder. So it makes complete sense why people often have a one-dimensional perspective on depression. For example, they may understand depression to be sadness. And yes, depression can present itself as such. But depression, like a storm, is multi-dimensional. Depression is also emptiness. Depression is drowning. Depression is tormenting. And the list goes on and on.

But I have a confession. While I sometimes get frustrated when trying to describe my depression to my loved ones, I am even more frustrated that I haven’t been able to explain this disease to myself. I know depression is one of the hardest challenges I have ever faced. I can spew clinical definitions, list every depression symptom imaginable, and break down types of medications that exist on the market. But if I’m being honest, I don’t get it. I don’t get why I have depression. I can’t tell you why my mind rebels against me and tries to convince me that self-destruction is the answer. But thinking of this disease as a storm provides me some relief and clarity. I can’t explain the intricacies of a thunderstorm and likewise, I can’t explain the intricacies of my depression. Yet I know without a doubt they are both powerful and real.

That quick segment on “The View” was an “aha” moment for me. It is my sincerest prayer that all of you will experience similar moments in the coming days that give you both clarity and hope. Best wishes as you brave your own inner storms. You are stronger than you know.

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Originally published: February 12, 2017
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