“I felt a funeral in my brain”… Expressing our experiences of depression
The words from the blog title are from a poem by Emily Dickinson, a 19th Century American poet and a woman who was no stranger to isolation; both in a physical sense and the emotional seclusion that comes with depression.
The first two verses of this poem are:
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading–treading–till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through–
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum–
Kept beating–beating–till I thought
My Mind was going numb–
Andrew Solomon, in his 2013 TED talk (see the video below) speaks these words so eloquently and then goes on to describe his own descent into depression and how he subsequently found a path which led him to explore others’ experiences of mental illness. He speaks powerfully of the resilience that has allowed some sufferers to survive and learn from their depressive episodes.
This blog is intended to be an outlet for those of us who have depression; a place to share how that feels and what we have learnt that has helped to lift us out of the darkness. All the authors here have experience of depression, either through personal experience and / or through treating others who have depression. We want to end the stigma around the condition and educate people about the illness itself.
There is effective treatment which can enable people to learn the tools they need to prevent future bouts of depression but the resources to provide that treatment across Britain are very limited. Part of the reason for the Living with Depression Community of Interest coming into being is to campaign for better resources and to fight for appropriate treatment to be made easily available to all who seek help for their depression.
Please read and share this blog and follow our future posts in order to help us get the word out – Depression is a serious, debilitating illness which can be treated successfully if we can get the resources we need. The treatment pays for itself many times over by saving lost days at work, preventing the emotional and economic costs of relationship breakdown and by harnessing the talents of those whose depression could prevent them from contributing to the world in so many ways.
If someone were to suffer a heart attack and be told that they need to wait months in order to get the medical attention they needed, there would be a national outcry. This is exactly what happens when people have an acute episode of depression. Why is this scandalous anomaly allowed to continue?