There are people out there - and I know this because I used to be one of them - who don't believe depression actually exists as a clinical condition. The old 'Oh just pull yourself together' brigade... you know who you are...
Well I can tell you for a fact that it bloody DOES exists, and at its worst it is utterly crippling. Having a broken brain is horrendous because it affects every single aspect of your life. I was knocked down by the depression bus several years ago and the bloody thing just kept on reversing over me, again and again. I didn't go out for years. I lived in my own headspace, a dark, cold little place without joy or optimism. It's reasonably easy to pretend to everyone that you're OK, you don't want their opinions or sympathy, so you carry on day-to-day but keep hidden in your burrow as much as possible and feel that your life is crap and that you are worthless and hated.
Anyway, I pulled through it all. Yes, it can be defeated. And for the last 3 years or so I have been myself again, not that strange, angry, nasty little shit I became for several 'lost' years. Suddenly I am loving life again, now with the foreknowledge that a simple chemical imbalance can screw a life up and chuck it in the bin, I take nothing for granted. I've managed to somehow develop a large social circle, with so many different dynamics and levels that it's becoming a full time job just to keep track of all my friends and decide where to go, with who, why and for how long. This is a world which was closed off to me for so long I stopped believing it even existed.
So, to all my current social buddies in the myriad pubs, bars and venues, flats, houses and towns we inhabit I'd like to say 'Fuck knows why you hang out with me, but thanks anyway. Mine's a pint."