We are living in an epidemic of depression. Every indication suggests that all over the world more people are depressed, more of the time, more severely, and starting earlier in their lives, than ever before. We need to attend to it as a major public health problem. But that’s difficult to do because the idea of depression frightens us all—we think of a descent into madness—and thus we avoid the subject. We want to think of depression as something that happens to somebody else, but every fourth person you meet is likely to have a serious encounter with depression at some point in their lives.
My hope is that this website will provide some education and inspiration to those who are suffering from depression, and their loved ones. It’s based largely on my book, Undoing Depression (2nd ed., Little, Brown, 2010). The book arose from my frustration after 15 years as a clinic director, where I saw far too many people coming to us for help when it may have been too late—they had suffered from depression for years and not recognized it, and during that time depression had wrecked their relationships, destroyed their self-esteem, led to self-destructive habits, made it difficult to work productively, or concentrate, or make decisions–and added a heavy burden of guilt and self-blame. If they had received the right help when they needed it, it’s quite likely that depression would not have ruined their lives. I wanted to write a book that might reach people before they hit bottom. Maybe this website will reach you in the same way.
Part of my motivation for writing and posting is that I also suffer from depression. Not only does it run in my family, but I’ve had some difficult experiences in my life that contribute to the problem [link to About Dr. O’Connor]. There were times in my life when I hit bottom and felt that I couldn’t go on. But with help from some excellent therapists, medication, and the support of my wife and family, I lead a pretty good life now. My experience, both personal and professional, gives me a unique point of view. Many readers have told me they feel that they feel understood for the first time when they read my books. I hope that comes through here as well.