According to data collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 17.3 million American adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017. That’s 7.1 percent of the adult population.
To Alex Korb, it’s more than a statistic. He suffered through his own dark period in his senior year of college. “It began with anxiety about the future, which … started looking bleaker and bleaker,” he writes. He didn’t have the energy to talk, making decisions seemed impossible, good food tasted bad, his body ached all over, and he struggled to sleep.
Despite these symptoms, Korb pushed on, socializing with his roommates, playing sports and going to class. It was only later, having earned a PhD in neuroscience, that he was able to see that forcing himself to persevere with these activities had helped him avoid full-blown depression. He realized that while our brains can send us into the dark hole of depression, they also have the tools to pull us back toward the light.