This is Your Brain on Depression – Any Questions?

NB – I wrote this a while ago – it’s more stream of consciousness than I normally do, but I have kept it as it is. It captures my state of mind while feeling pretty depressed.

So strange what a human mind can do. All we are is just puddles of water with some chemicals thrown into the mix and a battery running through it. We can paint Sistine Chapels and we can invent hells, populated with demons drawn from the lowest depths of our psyche.

Recently someone asked me if I were manic depressive. I scoffed at the very idea. ‘Of course not,’ I said, ‘I don’t get the highs.’ Yet that’s not strictly true. While it is the case I have seldom if ever had flashes of true euphoria, I have tasted pleasure so overpowering I wished it would never end. And I have most certainly tasted despair, not mere sadness, but true, excruciating despair. A black, overpowering, vampiric anti-matter, draining every morsel of life out of the all-too frail human shell. Depressive then? Yes. Manic depressive? No. Not truly.

And yet who would have thought my brain, the same brain always, could spend so much time making me feel a loser, while the flip-side of the coin was so rarely shown. It had the power to make me feel a hero, a warrior equal to any task pitted against me. And yet the image was blocked by the overpowering wraith which hovered around my head and whispered its evils to me.

All of us can taste the highs and lows. We can be the Stones in ’69, howling Gimme Shelter at the face of the apocalypse or we can be the clapped-out 80s version stumbling through the dross of Dirty Work, one eye on the clock and the other on our bank balance. Choice is ours.

Except is it? Do we depressives have the capacity to choose for ourselves as humans like to believe they can? That I may address elsewhere. But if we do, it’s curious why one would ever consciously choose to experience the demons over the angels of our mental Sistine Chapels. Remember that, dear friends, next time they tell you to ‘choose happy.’



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