I found myself not sleeping at night when I should have been sleeping and then falling asleep at strange times during the day, and doing less and less and feeling more and more overwhelmed
and finally, everything became impossibly difficult.
I am Andrew Solomon. I am the author of 'The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression'
If your life is really going very well, and you suddenly start feeling miserable all the time, you are much more likely to realize that you have some kind of a mental illness.
I think one of the important things is to have understood if you have been through previous episodes, what the depression is
and a sense both of how to avail yourself of the support from the people whose support you need, friends, parents, people around you.
If you know that you have people around you who love and care about you,
and if you know that there are people who can understand what you are going through at least to some degree, it gives you a reason to get better.
George is my adopted child and Andrew's biological child and Andrew is himself a biological child and I am myself an adopted child.
So having George has been really fascinating for me because it has allowed me to feel what my own parents felt.
One of my thoughts when I decided to have children was to worry about whether I would pass on the vulnerability to depression to them, and I know that it's possible that I have.
It's my hope that I have also passed on many other compensatory qualities that are well worth it.
But also I think because I know a lot about depression, I think if my children were ever to begin to develop those symptoms, I would be able to recognize them and address them,
and hopefully get them to the point at which they were able to recover more efficiently than I did.
Part of the symptom of the illness is you somehow lose track of the people who love you the most.
You just forget that they are there because the enormity of the void that you are facing doesn't allow you to perceive those blessings in your life.
You have to keep trying to support even when the depressed person even when the depressed person seems to be trying to undermine your support.
I think the most important thing is to assess who the people are around you who will actually be able to understand what you are going through
and offer you the love and support that will make it tolerable and ensure that those people know what you are going through. And don't let yourself get isolated.
Depression is a disease of loneliness and people who isolate themselves in depression are much more likely to end up committing suicide,
and are much more likely to have the depression spin out of control.
You have to have the conviction that you are doing the right thing as best you know how. And if you are not sure, do some reading or talk to a mental health professional yourself
and try to get some more information, but try not to let your own self-esteem rest on the reactions of the person you love who is dealing with depression.
Because if you let yourself feel spurned when your best efforts of help are rejected. Then you will go away which is really the last thing that the depressed person needs.
Sometimes you just have to sit outside the room because even your presence is overwhelming, but you have to be right outside the room, you can't go away.
What you need is for the person to feel that you're present.