Depression builds walls around people and between people. When someone you love has been dragged inside those walls, there can be a distance between you both that feels relentless. You miss them, but they’re right there beside you, except that they’re kind of not. Not in the way you both want to be anyway.
When depression latches on, it settles in and rearranges you to get a better grip. You stop loving the things you loved. You stop looking forward to anything. You feel hopeless and you feel sad.
In the Western world, 1 in 10 people will suffer depression during the course of their life. It has more of an effect on physical health than diabetes or arthritis.
One of the worst things about depression is the loneliness and the sense of the world getting on with things without you. If someone tells you they have depression, know that they are showing you part of the beautiful, messy, unpredictable frailties that come with being human. We all have them. It can be difficult to know what to say to someone who is depressed, but know that it’s unlikely you can make anything worse.
A fascinating theory has been put forward by Turhan Canli PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Radiology at Stony Brook University, which could change the future direction for research and treatments of depression.
According to Dr Canli, depression should be re-conceptualised as an infectious disease. His argument is a compelling one.