Andrew Solomon’s recent talk on depression at TEDx MET is remarkable. It’s remarkable for the fact that he found the clearest words I’ve ever heard to describe what depression feels like, and the fact that his insight provided moments of new illumination on a subject that has been extensively written about and talked about for decades and decades.
In discussing treatment for depression, this commentary of Solomon’s stood out especially:
“If you have brain cancer, and you say that standing on your head for 20 minutes every morning makes you feel better, it may make you feel better, but you still have brain cancer, and you’ll still probably die from it. But if you say that you have depression, and standing on your head for 20 minutes every day makes you feel better, then it’s worked, because depression is an illness of how you feel, and if you feel better, then you are effectively not depressed anymore.”
If you feel better, then it’s worked…
In a world where we so often look to other people to tell us what will make us feel better, we often forget that we are our own best test subjects.
The experience of others can give us a starting point, but when it comes to what makes us feel good, feel happy, feel fulfilled, feel healthy – we can only discover the best answers for us by testing the potential answers on ourselves.