The Guilt of Depression | Samantha Kinton | TEDxYouth@FranklinSchoolOfInnovation | Summary and Q&A

September 22, 2023
TEDx Talks
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The Guilt of Depression | Samantha Kinton | TEDxYouth@FranklinSchoolOfInnovation


A young traveler shares her experience of battling depression during a dream trip to Spain, highlighting the importance of acknowledging and discussing mental health.

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Key Insights

  • 🀘 Depression is a serious mental illness that affects millions of people worldwide, with over 280 million individuals reporting signs of depression in 2021.
  • πŸ§‘β€πŸ­ Depression can result from various factors, including genetic vulnerabilities, life events, and environmental factors.
  • πŸ€— The stigma surrounding depression hinders open discussions and understanding, making it challenging for individuals to share their struggles.
  • πŸ₯Ί People with depression can still lead functional lives and excel in various areas, despite the challenges they face.
  • ♻️ It is crucial to acknowledge and address depression, both individually and as a society, to create a supportive environment.
  • πŸ˜ƒ Engaging in activities that bring joy and relief can help combat depression and promote overall well-being.
  • πŸ˜€ It is important to find what makes each individual truly happy and work towards achieving a state free from worry.


[Applause] foreign I was going on a trip of a lifetime I couldn't contain my excitement I couldn't sit still I couldn't stop smiling I couldn't wait to be captured into a world of churros and cobblestone streets I went to Spain during the summer before my senior year we traveled all over the country to cities including Barcelona Madrid and Sevilla ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why did the author feel depressed and saddened during their dream trip to Spain?

The author experienced panic attacks, felt isolated on bus trips and in crowded places, and felt the need for solitude. These experiences caused constant melancholy and led to a deep depression.

Q: How did the author's perception of their depression change over time?

The author initially believed their reasons for feeling depressed were not valid enough and felt guilt for not being happy despite being in a beautiful country. However, they eventually realized the importance of acknowledging their emotions and that it is okay not to always have a reason for feeling depressed.

Q: What are the activities that bring joy to the author's life without triggering periods of depression?

The author finds peace, relief, and bliss in reading books, taking long drives, and writing stories. Engaging in these activities does not lead to overwhelming anguish like other situations, such as group trips or public speaking.

Q: Why do people avoid discussing depression?

People tend to avoid discussing depression due to the stigma surrounding it. There is a belief that individuals with depression cannot lead functional lives, hold stable jobs, or maintain healthy relationships. This stigma makes it difficult for those with depression to connect with others and seek understanding.


In this video, the speaker shares their personal experience of traveling to Spain while struggling with depression. Despite being in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, they experienced panic attacks, mental breakdowns, and a deep sense of melancholy. They reflect on the guilt they felt for not feeling happy and the toxic thinking that their reasons for depression weren't valid enough. The speaker emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and talking about depression, and encourages individuals to find what brings them joy and happiness.

Questions & Answers

Q: What were the speaker's initial expectations for their trip to Spain?

The speaker couldn't contain their excitement and anticipation for their trip to Spain. They expected to be captivated by churros, cobblestone streets, beautiful cathedrals, and stunning landscapes. They were looking forward to immersing themselves in a world of joy and happiness.

Q: Did the speaker have a positive experience during their trip?

Despite being in a dream-like location, the speaker had a challenging experience during their trip. They had four panic attacks, two mental breakdowns, and slipped into a deep depression. They felt a constant sense of melancholy that overshadowed the beauty of the country.

Q: Why did the speaker feel guilty during their trip?

The speaker felt guilty because they believed they should have been happy and enjoying their time in Spain. They had worked hard to save money and felt that they should have been having the time of their life. They compared their reasons for feeling sad to others and thought they weren't valid enough.

Q: How did the speaker's perception of their depression change during the trip?

The speaker had justified their depression in the past due to various reasons such as moving states or being introverted. However, during their trip, they realized that depression doesn't always have a finite box to fit into. They questioned why they put themselves in situations where they knew they wouldn't be happy and discovered that certain activities brought them joy while others led to depression.

Q: What are some activities that bring joy to the speaker's life?

The speaker finds joy in activities such as reading books, going on parkway drives, and writing stories. These activities don't lead to periods of depression but instead bring peace, relief, and bliss. They have learned that it is important to engage in activities that genuinely bring them joy and avoid situations that trigger depression.

Q: How widespread is depression?

In 2021, over 280 million people reported signs of depression. It is a global issue, and many individuals wake up feeling overwhelmed, emotionless, and numb. While the speaker's experience is unique, there are countless others around the world who can relate to their struggles with depression.

Q: How is depression defined by the American Psychiatric Association?

Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a common yet serious mental illness that negatively affects a person's emotions, thoughts, and actions. It can cause prolonged sadness, loss of interest or enjoyment in activities, and sleep disturbances. However, the symptoms and effects of depression can vary greatly as each person's experience is different.

Q: Why is there a stigma surrounding depression?

Depression carries a stigma due to misconceptions and lack of understanding. People often believe that individuals with depression cannot hold stable jobs or have healthy relationships. This stigma can lead to difficulty connecting with others, lack of empathy, and feelings of hopelessness. It can also make it challenging for individuals to open up about their struggles with depression.

Q: Can people with depression live functional lives?

Yes, many people with depression are capable of living functional lives. They can achieve academic success, plan for the future, and have fulfilling relationships. While some may experience difficulties in various aspects of life, it is important not to generalize the capabilities of individuals with depression. Everyone's journey is unique, and many individuals with depression overcome obstacles and succeed in different areas of life.

Q: What is the speaker's message to those who feel broken?

The speaker acknowledges that there is good in the imperfect and beautiful world we live in. They encourage individuals who feel broken to find what makes them whole and incandescently happy. It is crucial to find joy and happiness in life, but also important to talk about the struggle of depression. The speaker emphasizes that it is okay not to feel okay and urges individuals to live their lives to the fullest.


The speaker's personal experience highlights the complexity and impact of depression. Despite being in a beautiful country, they struggled with panic attacks, depression, and guilt. They discovered that depression doesn't always have a clear cause or justification, and that comparing one's reasons for sadness to others can be toxic. The video emphasizes the significance of acknowledging and talking openly about depression, as well as finding activities and experiences that bring genuine joy and happiness. It also sheds light on the harmful effects of the stigma surrounding depression, encouraging individuals to have empathy, understanding, and support for those struggling in silence.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The author went on a trip to Spain that should have been memorable and enjoyable but instead experienced panic attacks, mental breakdowns, and deep depression.

  • Despite the picturesque photos on social media, the author felt constant melancholy, guilt, and confusion about their emotions.

  • The author reflects on the validity and justification of their depression, leading them to realize the importance of acknowledging and addressing their emotions.

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