I don't know if people would want to talk about this. Sometimes it helps - each to their own. When I got caught in the grip of depression, it lead to some quite bizarre forms of empathy.
I can imagine myself in situations quite unlike the real life I lead. For example: I used to dwell on what it would be like for a slave: someone abducted, sold into bondage, and forced to do whatever the person who 'owned' me chose, no matter how exhausting, demeaning or hateful. It could break the spirit. And the bitter reality is that human creatures have had to live that way. That thought used to impose on my mind and become a morbid obsession which I could not shake off. Other times the situation on my mind was that of a person whose marriage breaks up, and who loses their home, their contact with children, and who suffers a blow to the heart that can leave them psychologically winded and flattened. It is how some people find themselves derelict, living on the street. Another scenario was being left seriously disabled. If you've seen that film "Born On The Fourth Of July", in which the soldier is left paralysed, you might remember the line: "Who's going to love me?" in the sense of making a marriage with him. It could be derided as self pity if you were callous enough to deny the sheer pain expressed in that comment. The point being, what a shocking and heart-breaking thing to happen to someone. And I would go on and on beating myself up imagining things like this, and descend in a black pit of despair at the thought of it. I can think of just one positive: it was a way of sharing to some extent in the hurt and suffering of others, which is what a human should sometimes do if they are going to call themselves a caring member of the race.
The danger lies in the feeling so overwhelming you that you go down yourself. I do not believe I was ever dangerous to anyone except myself. It would not have been my reaction to go mad and kill my family or some pure horror like that. What did happen, which was scary, was that I became careless of danger. On a really bad morning, driving to work so bleak that I hardly knew what I was doing, I nearly caused a serious accident. I pulled out of an intersection in the path of a truck, which only narrowly missed a collision. The driver yelled wildly at me, I heard it because the two vehicles passed so close; and it was a reminder that I was putting stress on others. That truck driver did not deserve the trauma of being involved in a major, possibly fatal, accident. So I needed to get a grip and think of others. The condition is much improved now because I'm out of the job that was driving me over the edge; and because the doctor found an anti-depressant medication that works for me. But the entire experience was shocking. It was impossible not to feel bitter and bleak about everything. What I might have done without the help of God is desert my family, run off somewhere trying to escape the misery, thinking that somehow I would find a new and better life somewhere else. It would not have worked. There would have been too much hurt to the ones I abandoned. Knowing that would have spoilt any attempt to be happy somewhere else. Now that the foulest moments are past,
I'm seriously thankful I didn't lose it to that extent, or let myself give in to selfishness. And yet the thing can blind you to reason sometimes. The 'grim stealer' can lacerate your mind and distort your perceptions, horribly. Another odd reaction was that I used to want to eat things I normally never touch, like licorice. Then there were the night sweats, as if I had a high fever; and the nightmares, the worst of them literally sickening. The thing I need to be glad of is that I was got past it. Last night's T.V. viewing narrated the suicide of a teenage girl who could not get past it. That's another bitter theft: a bright young life stolen. I wish that I could do something like the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas yet to come in "A Christmas Carol". It would involve taking people on a journey, showing them what can happen if....and showing them that there will be better times ahead, if they wait it out. The wretched thing is, the victim can lose hope. It can be a huge rescue operation if instead they can be sustained until they get past it. Effective medication is a God-given life saver. It can also make the critical difference if the sufferer knows that other people understand and care. Happily for me I had a family and friends, and congregation members, who did understand. But some people, including some I worked with, could only make futile cliched comments about 'trying to get your mind on better things' or ( I got to hate this one!) 'implementing strategies to counteract it'. (Useless!)
Every age seems to have a particular scourge that afflicts it. The list would be too long to compile here, but some examples are the plagues that hit the world in the Fourteenth Century - bubonic plague, which killed a third of the people between India and Iceland. The rest of the world was then unknown to European chroniclers. We can't know what happened there. There were appalling wars which ravaged entire populations, as well. Historians and commentators have said much about them. One particular blight of the late Twentieth and early Twenty First Centuries is clinical depression - the grim stealer which can leach the will to live out of the human heart. I owe a debt of gratitude to friends and loved ones who helped me through it, and to Christian faith. Without that, I could have lost any sense of hope and the will to fight on through it. It is easy to see why that old fable has Satan gloating that depression is one of the deadliest weapons.
I should finish by saying: anyone who has been there for a depression sufferer, and aided them in getting through it, has done a fine thing that could have saved a life. May God commend you for caring.