Discussing depression in depressing ways makes depression doubly depressing

The World Health Organization (or WHO) has chosen to stimulate action on depression through this year’s ‘world health day’ events. Who in WHO are tasked with coming up with ‘themes’ for such annual happenings, I wonder? A most unenviable task, for sure. Those who did it this time round have done well to select a subject that has major public health consequences. Their choice of words, ‘Depression: let’s talk’ is sensible. And I am happy they state clearly that the remedy for depression is not only medication (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/world-health-day/en/).
Talking is a good idea. Not talking is generally depressing anyway. But talk that is depressing is also depressing. Not moving enough is depressing. Living with or being in the company of certain individuals (whom we should call depressogenic people) is depressing. Boring jobs are depressing. The list is long. These may all lead to sadness and a loss of interest, an inability to carry out daily activities, loss of energy and zest, difficulty in concentration, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness and thoughts of self-harm. A disease process affecting the brain, which also is called ‘depression’ (so as to keep everyone baffled), leads to similar features. And it is easy to confuse this cause with the ‘causes’ listed first, such as being in the company of depressogenic people, that can lead to similar symptoms.
Psychiatrists are gently guided by drugs marketers to recognize and treat depression of the first kind with medications designed for depression of the second kind. There is no countervailing push that can help level the field. Maybe we should, in partnership with WHO, see how the necessary corrective can be generated?
Let’s in the meantime talk. But talk too should be of the right kind, not depressogenic. In these times, where misery is being made fashionable globally, it’s up to each of us to produce a little good cheer.