Another Depression Breakthrough?

depression breakthrough

If there was a depression breakthrough, and I could be cured, would I take the opportunity? That may sound like a ridiculous question. Of course, you’re probably thinking. Who wouldn’t want to be cured? It may seem easy, but I’m not sure. Yes, the manic stages are maddening and can get me in a lot of trouble. Yes, the depressive stages can make me lethargic, uninterested in the things around me, and possibly make me suicidal. But, they are a part of who I am.

Would I Want a Cure?

Back to my absurd question…why would I have to think before wanting to be cured? The simple answer is that it scares me. I hate depression, but it’s been a part of my life as far back as I remember. It is a large part of who I am. It would be giving away a major part of me. Worst of all, if there is a depression breakthrough, being balanced would require me to be more self-sufficient, a working member of society. I’ve managed people, operated multimillion dollar operations, dealt with budgets, contracts, etc. and the idea of going back to that is overwhelming. I think it scares me because I currently am unable to go back to work in that environment. I’m sure I wouldn’t even be able to be a bagger at a grocery store. At least not for long. My pdoc, my therapist and I all agree that it would be a disaster. It feels like hell in this shell I’m in, but I’m comfortable here too. I function in my dysfunction.

I’ve Been Through This Before – Kinda

When I got sober 12 years ago, I felt the exact same feelings. OMG, I’m not drunk all the time. I need to work on my life, I need to make it better. I need to actually be a productive member of society. It was overwhelming, but I did it. I did it until hell broke loose again. I became manic, I became depressed, I became agoraphobic, I had panic attacks. Just as my life was truly getting better, I was hit in the face with a shovel.

The Study

Why am I bringing this up now? It’s because there has been a depression breakthrough (though small) discovered by the University College London.

The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, found that the habenula, a pea-sized region of the brain, functions abnormally in depression. The same team previously showed that the habenula was activated in healthy volunteers when they expected to receive an electric shock. According to the study,

A prominent theory has suggested that a hyperactive habenula drives symptoms in people with depression: we set out to test that hypothesis” says senior author Professor Jonathan Roiser (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience). “Surprisingly, we saw the exact opposite of what we predicted. In people with depression, habenula activity actually decreased when they thought they would get a shock. This shows that in depressed people the habenula reacts in a fundamentally different way. Although we still don’t know how or why this happens, it’s clear that the theory needs a rethink.


The study was small. It involved only 25 people with depression and 25 who were never-depressed, so it needs a lot more research. But who knows? Maybe discovering how the habenula works, scientists will find a depression breakthrough. I’ve posted many times about other possible “cures,” but I’ve never seen any of them pan out, but I can’t stop hoping. What? Didn’t I just say I would not get “cured.” Now I’m saying I hope they find one. I’m conflicted on this, but I hope, someday, something will come out that will significantly help, or even cure depression. I then will have to make that decision. I hope for myself and millions of others that that day will come.

If they found a cure for depression, would you be afraid?

Source: University College London

26 comments on Another Depression Breakthrough?

  1. Honestly, if they found a cure for depression or even manic-depression, I do not think I would go there. Having had diagnosed & treated manic-depression for about 14 years and undiagnosed and therefore, untreated, manic-depression for another 14, it has become something I deal with daily. I struggle daily with the fact that I can’t work as effectively as a “normal” person (a person often defines themselves by what they do for a living). I struggle daily to eke out a “living” on the amount I am awarded by Social Security Disability; in other words, I am living way below poverty level. I struggle to find creative and useful ways to occupy my frequently overactive mind. Daily living is a struggle with either depression or manic-depression for many people. Sometimes, I am one of those people. Sometimes, I am cruising along just fine. Having lived with something for 28 years, I feel it is kind of like an old friend. Yes, manic episodes can get me in trouble, but they are also capable of producing great creativity. Depression is something I have lived with my entire life which would be about 45 years now. I am a mixed-episode manic-depressive. I am always in a “low mood,” but I am also partially manic at the same time which seems to head off the depression (it does kick me in the butt now and again). I do not really know what it feels like to be “normal.” Frankly, I do not know what I would do with myself were I to be in that category. So, yes, it would be nice if they found a cure for either one; many people could be helped if they so chose. I do not think I would take the cure. Being “normal” could be worse. I think that many mentally ill people have so much to contribute to society. They bring a unique viewpoint to topics that could help build stronger safety networks, intervention work, etc. that “normal” people just do not have.

  2. You asked, my Lose It! Wonder, so I shall tell you how I feel.

    I hate depression more than I loathe Trump, Hitler and Stalin.
    So my answer if that I’d be stoked if a cure was disclosed.
    I use the word “disclosed” because I have a feeling the cure might exist…
    That’s all I’m gonna say….for now!

    Great post (I expect nothing less from you), and it’s fascinating to read your take on this topic.

    Dyane “Shrinky Dink” Harwood

    p.s. The Target jeans I couldn’t fit in 4 months ago and hid in a drawer, hopeless that I’d ever fit into them again, are now seeing the light of day, and they’re loose!

    1. Yay! on the jeans fitting. I’m proud of you and your success. Keep kicking me in the ass

      1. Thank you so much, Bradley – and yes, I’ll keep on you – in fact, I just messaged you via Lose It! 😉

  3. I was actually just discussing this with a friend! I got all manner of bizarre looks when I said that I had a love-hate relationship with depression and that it was my default setting-so I was comfortable there. I mean, I think we all want to escape depression, but at some point, it becomes the standard way of life, something you know how to cope with. Your coping skills may not be the best, the most acceptable or even the easiest things to do, but you know how to behave so that it doesn’t consume you as often as it might. Being stripped of that would destroy all of who I have become, all that I have fought for. Without depression, my most creative moments wouldn’t exist. Without depression, I wouldn’t know who was looking me in the mirror each day. Does that mean I cling to my depression like a crutch-it might. But at least it’s a crutch I’m familiar with.

  4. I would welcome a cure. And even though they are pinpointing where all this is happening, it does make things better for me. Just knowing, ya know? I’m not holding out for a “cure”, but continued work to understand why depression itself happens would be a giant leap!

    I hate my depression; it prevents me from doing so many things. It creeps in and latches on for dear life, and I just have to “ride it out”… I would be so happy to be rid of that demon.

    1. I seem to agree with every comment. Obviously I’m conflicted. I think the reality is I’d jump at the chance to have my depression cured, but right now it’s a scary thought.

      1. I can understand. It would be a part of you that is gone. It would take some adjustment for sure.

  5. I would feel the same way as you. I have been depressed since I was born, I think. It’s what I know. Yet, I still would be happy at the same time. Confusing!

    1. I don’t think it’s the scientists fault. I blame the press. For instance, this study only involved 50 people. It will take other facilities and larger numbers to validate this college’s findings. Before that happens, the press gets ahold of these and post, “Scientist May Have Found Cure For Depression” They’re just looking for a story, or at the very least, filler for their papers.

  6. I would take that cure! 🙂
    I didn’t believe in depression until I got it 4 years ago. I can barely recognize myself now and I miss the “old me” but I guess it’s different for everyone and what we have been through. 🙂

    1. True about everyone being different. I think a lot of it has to do with people being afraid of change even if it’s good change. Also, I can’t remember not having depression so we probably have different perspectives.

      1. We are all afraid of change because we never know if it’s going to be better or worse. 🙂
        And for sure our perspectives are different, you are used to you now and I have a hard time accepting myself now 🙂
        In any way, I only hope it gets better for the both of us <3 🙂

  7. “Function in my dysfunction” hits the nail on the head for me. I would be hesitant to be cured. This is all I know. And I’ve found pockets of happiness within it

  8. I would take the cure in a heartbeat for the mere fact that I envy people who never have to endure the thoughts and visions of killing themselves in various ways. It’s quite maddening.

    1. It is maddening. I’m surprised, however, at the number of people who, like me, would be unsure about taking the drug. Thanks, Wil

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