Depression TED talk

I have been researching different forms of depression and how they are treated for one of my current works in progress, and came across this wonderful TED talk.  It is a bit long but it was well worth the time.

I feel it is important to hear him say “The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.” when he is talking about the debilitating depression he experienced. I don’t think the general public appreciate how difficult it is for a depressed person to get through the daily chores of regular life. It is not about feeling sad, it is about not being able to get out of bed to brush your teeth because it sounds like too much work.

Depression is a serious illness that has been treated in many different ways over the years. I am fascinated by how the same illness was seen at the turn of the twentieth century versus today. I am still very much at the beginning of my research process, yet I have already learned a great deal. I will bring you tidbits as I learn more. If you know anything about the treatment of depression either in the 1910’s or in the 1950’s, I would love to pick your brain as background for my current work-in-progress.

Cognitive Vulnerability


I was listening to Morning Edition yesterday and was intrigued by Shankar Vedantam’s story, Gloomy Thinking Can Be Contagious. The story talks about how the people you see every day, like a college roommate, can effect your outlook on life. Essentially, if you live with a person with a pessimistic worldview, you are more likely to be negative. Cheery people tend to make you more cheerful. I did a bit more digging and read the study done at Notre Dame. To oversimplify the study, Haeffel and Hames found that when a person is in a cognitively vulnerable state, depressive thoughts can be contagious.

I’m fascinated by the idea that depression can be contagious.

I know quite a bit about the hopelessness that descends on a person when they are depressed. Most of the characters I write about are depressed. I spend hours exploring what in their background could have brought on their depression. Have I been barking up the wrong tree? Could mood be influenced by the company they keep? Are they cognitively vulnerable to depression? What do you think about depression being contagious?

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Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression Can Be Contagious