Depression and the Cosmos
> 2/28/2006 8:46:02 AM

In today's Washington Post writer Jan DeBlieu adapts an essay from her work of non-fiction Year of the Comets: A Journey from Sadness to the StarsWith a deft touch, DeBlieu recounts her husband's debilitating depression and the struggles that they endured as a family.  The disease's onset and remission are bracketed by the appearance of comets in the night sky, a real world metaphor which DeBlieu utilizes to illustrate our relative lack of understanding of the workings of the mind.

She writes:
Objects in outer space respond to a well-defined set of natural laws. There is no arguing with the forces of gravity and energy. We can look into the universe and use precise mathematical formulas to predict what will happen to a star as it ages or a beam of light as it travels toward Earth.

The human mind, on the other hand, may respond to a set of circumstances in an infinite number of ways. Science's goal is to tease out the neural pathways down which depression gathers its forces, then invent medicines capable of treating individual patients -- regardless of how their experiences may have shaped their illness. This is an immensely difficult task, among the most difficult humans have ever faced.

As she is sure to note, the swirling of uncertainty and reclusiveness that often surround those who suffer from depression, especially severe derpessive disorder, only add to the difficulties of treatment.
Living through Jeff's depression, I came to understand how cruelly our society treats people with mental illness. "If I had cancer," Jeff said at one point, "people would be asking me how I'm doing, instead of acting like I'm a jerk." 

DeBlieu is a skilled writer and her piece puts a very human face on a disease that often (and I implicate myself here as well) gets an all to academic, clinical treatment.  Depression can decimate those it touches.  Deblieu's story is a reminder of how the battle can be won and the stigmas of depression can and should be overcome.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy