“One obstacle to a more affirmative national conversation is that depression has lacked a unifying public symbol that could bring it out of the dark, and Livestrong(c) bracelets did for cancer or the rainbow flag did for LGBT. When most people think of depression, their first associations are to unfortunate images, such as a dark cloud, the color black, or a noose. One reason why depression stigma lives is that depression has a serious bumper stick problem.
But this is essentially an issue of failed marketing and messaging. It should be possible to develop a unifying symbol, and it is presented in a compelling way, many might rally. Conservatively, thirteen million US adults are currently in an episode of depression, more than twice that number have had depression in the past. When we add caregivers , millions more are indirectly affected by the quality and the quantity of our national dialogue about depression. Have no illusions. Even with a strong public education campaign, stereotypes that have been decades in the making will resist change. Still with so much to gain, it is high time that we try.
But in my view, finding more humane ways to discuss the predicament of depressed people is not just good marketing, it’s also good science. The mood science perspective tells us that depression, deep or shallow, is a natural product of the mood system. However a person gets there, facing deep depression is a supremely difficult trial. Rather than weakness or defectiveness, we should acknowledge that getting through depression requires considerable strength. Rather than assuming permanent debility, we should recognize that some depressions are followed by thriving. Writing these words fourteen years after my episode, I recognize that I am not broken. Getting beyond the disease model will require us to honor the strengths of formerly depressed people, to see their potential for rebirth after depression and the ways that, once reborn, they can help others build enduring recoveries from depression. It is possible.” Copyright(c) Rottenberg, Jonathon. The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic. (2014) Basic Books. New York, Pages 198-200.
This work of Jonathon Rottenberg is one that everyone need to read. Not only does it provide us with a insight into “mood science” it also is a positive statement on the depressed person’s strengths. And then it promotes the fact that once a depressed person recovers they will go on and help others rebuild their lives.
If you are fortunate to be a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship you will understand this statement completely: helping others rebuld their lives completely. In fact this is where our Twelve Step program challenges the person recovered “having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps. we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. (Personal Stories).
Our Big Book has more than 30 personal stories of how these stories of the recovered members of Depressed Anonymous have had their lives rebuilt and now are thriving and strengthened and reaching out to others depressed. It is possible.