The Observer (UK): For millions of Britons suffering from depression, therapy and pills are a first-stop solution. But when conventional treatment failed him, Dan Roberts chose to play and pray.
As anyone who has experienced severe depression knows, it is a hellish state. Your confidence, self-esteem and energy are eviscerated by anxiety, self-doubt and a darkness from which there appears no respite. Symptoms commonly include insomnia, acute anxiety, loss of appetite, libido and energy, with even the most minuscule task taking on Herculean dimensions. In its severest form, depression is crippling, rendering the sufferer unable to lead a normal existence.
Depression is becoming the affliction of our time – one in four people in the UK suffer from it at some point in their lives. For the past 11 years I have been among that 25 per cent, laid low by bouts that can last for weeks and which have ranged from mild to severe.
Depression runs in my family. We are all hugely driven, highly motivated people, prone to often scathing self-criticism. We feel deeply, but vent our emotions poorly, especially anger. As in any good Jewish family, guilt is second nature and (one of the key components in any depressive personality) we expect a great deal – from life, love, the world. When our experience fails to match our lofty dreams we fume, often turning that indignation in on ourselves.
My own cycle of emotional boom and bust began with the untimely death of my father in 1992, when I was 25. I was travelling and hadn’t seen him for two years, so I never got to say goodbye – it was as if he just vanished from my life…