TED talk on Depression…(Kevin Breel)

I watched this 11 minute video: the comic Kevin Breel talks about clinical depression.
This is not a “science” talk nor is it a “how to recognize it” talk but rather “this is what it is like for us” type of talk.

I’ve talked about this topic before. Yes, I accept what the doctors tell me (that is is a very real, serious problem) and what others tell me about it. I have several friends and…yes…relatives and loved ones who have this. I posted a link to this talk on my Facebook wall and it generated some conversation, including some from my more “quiet” friends.

However, I can easily understand why society doesn’t “get it”. I’ll use my own life as an example:

when I was an undergraduate student, I had a lot of trouble with my knees; I had two major surgeries. But you could actually SEE my knees swell. When the doctors went in, you could see my “purple” inflamed synovium (lining in my knee). Then when I recovered, you could see doing my PT exercises and watch the progress.

Depression: I don’t know of a physical test for it; the symptoms are behavioral. Many of the symptoms, at least superficially, appear to be similar to being “down in the dumps” as I sometimes get in winter.

But doctors tell me it is real, and the people who have say astonishingly similar things, and the feelings that they describe are foreign to me. This whole thing is counterintuitive to me.

And as far as my “not wanting to deal with it” in others: it isn’t from a lack of compassion; it is that I just don’t know WHAT to do. What is healthy encouragement? When is “tough love” appropriate? What do you say to someone in this state? How can you even tell if they are in that state?

The only tool in my arsenal is “suck it up, buttercup!”, which is, as I am told by those who know, is woefully inadequate for depression.

This is a case where I need to let my intellect override my faulty intuition and go with the evidence.

But I CAN relate to a disorder that is defined in behavioral terms. I once weighed 320 pounds.


I had the discipline to make it through a Ph. D. program in mathematics. And prior to gaining all of this weight, I had worked up to a 3:33 marathon, a 39:50 10K and a 300 pound bench press (not all at the same time, to be sure). So I had discipline and yet could not control my eating. “Moderation” was impossible for me.

So I had to get help and fortunately, it worked and is continuing to work. But I have to make it a priority each and every day. I don’t know why but I do.

So I can accept that there are some conditions that really don’t show up in any currently known physical test (blood work, MRI, etc) and are diagnosed by behavior.
But I can also understand why “the public” might be deeply skeptical.


December 22, 2015 - Posted by | health, Personal Issues, social/political | , ,

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