‘I felt a funeral in my brain’ – the opening to Andrew Solomon’s seminal TED talk and the most powerful description of depression I’ve encountered. Major depressive disorder, clinical depression, endogenous depression and anhedonia are a selection of descriptors which pepper my medical records, all of which fall woefully short of evoking its lived experience. Whilst I appreciate that labelling can be a gateway to support, I am uneasy with the increasing medicalisation of distress. I prefer the trauma focused perspective encouraged by Eleanor Longden, who exhorts that the most important question in psychiatry should not be ‘what’s wrong with you but what happened to you’.  

Andrew’s story of a series of losses, leading to a depression from which he believed there was no recovery, resonates strongly with me. Whenever people share what is real for them, my... [read more]