The unspoken implication is that depressed people are looking at their normal, happy life and seeing a distorted gray haze instead. You know, like in that cartoon they show on TV:
You would be depressed, too, if you woke up one day and
realized you were a poorly drawn circle.
Well, here's the deal with depression: Nobody knows what the deal is with depression. Those drugs they advertise on TV barely work better than placebos, but, strangely, placebos work pretty well. So do weird alternative treatments or exercise -- it varies from patient to patient. How does that make sense if it's just an issue of balancing brain juices?
It's because it is not that simple. For one thing, if you look at the causes and risk factors for depression, alongside the biological stuff (neurotransmitters, hormones), you see things like "the death of a loved one," "being homosexual in an environment that isn't supportive," and "chronic pain." In other words, sometimes people are depressed because their lives are depressing. If you have a friend who can't get off the sofa because he lost his job and girlfriend in the same week, you're not going to make him feel better by telling him it's all just wonky brain chemistry. As one psychiatrist puts it, "One patient lost a husband to cancer, and medication may take the edge off of some of those emotions, but the process she requires is to work through the elements of grief. There's not a pill for that."
"I barely even remember what's-his-face anymore!"