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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Sadness v Depression

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1

  3. INT. SLEEPING ROOM - 4.45am

  4. PETER wakes up.

  5. PETER (V.O.): Well, I've slept for less than one round. Let me try again.

  6. Peter rows over in bed from time to time.

  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Can't fall sleep again.

  8. Getting up, Peter grabs his phone and researches.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Am I experiencing DSM-5 symptoms?



  12. Over dinner, Peter is discussing with his SON.

  13. PETER: In court today, I cross-examined vigorously an expert - a psychiatrist as old as me. He testified the accused didn't have the criminal intent while shoplifting.

  14. Act 2


  16. Pausing.

  17. PETER (Cont'd): I challenged his criteria in diagnosing the accused as suffering from Major Mental Disorder (MDD).

  18. Pausing.

  19. PETER (Cont'd): When the expert said he followed the American standard, I recited the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

  20. SON: Yes, DSM-5.

  21. PETER: Yes, it's the 5th Edition...So DSM-5. I see. Is this common knowledge?

  22. SON: Not quite.

  23. PETER: The defence counsel interrupted by saying that I was giving expert evidence myself.

  24. Pausing.

  25. PETER (Cont'd): As I research on the philosophical issue of determination and freewill, I've learned from scientists that humans have the capacity to make the right decision within milliseconds.

  26. Pausing.

  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): So, when I put this as my last question to the psychiatrist, I knew the expert couldn't deny the science.

  28. Peter's son nods.


  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): See if I can diagnose my mental condition.

  31. Peter reads texts on his phone screen.

  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There're 2 main criteria: (1) depressed mood and (2) anhedonia.

  33. Reading

  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As to (1) depressed mood, I've negative emotions as I feel sad, having lost 2 close relatives within a week.

  35. Pausing.

  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As to (2) anhedonia, do I no longer feel any pleasure or interest in the things I once enjoyed? I haven't stopped running and dancing.

  37. Reading.

  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But if I've either (1) depressed mood or (2) anhedonia, I can be diagnosed as depressed.

  39. Pausing.

  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Since I've (1) depressed mood, I need to consider other secondary symptoms.

  41. Pausing.

  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For somatic or body-related symptoms, I've sleeping difficulties.

  43. Pausing.

  44. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For non-somatic symptoms, I just feel low.

  45. Reading.

  46. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): If I had 5 of the 9 symptoms listed in DSM-5, a diagnosis of depression is recommended...I've got only 3.

  47. Reading

  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, there's one rider on duration. For the diagnosis of MDD, the patient would have to experience the symptoms most of the day every day during one 2-week period.

  49. Thinking.

  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Am I OK? Or my depression hasn't yet started?

  51. Act 3


  53. In an open space, Peter is practising steps of Waltz, Jive and Cha-Cha-Cha.

  54. PETER (V.O.): I'll do more while I still can.


  56. Sitting in bed, Peter is reading texts on his phone screen.

  57. PETER (V.O.): I've also found out the difference between sadness and depression.

  58. Reading.

  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Sadness is a normal human emotion. It usually passes with time. Only when it doesn't would it be one of the symptoms of depression.

  60. Reading.

  61. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Depression is a mental disorder that overpowers a person's life.

  62. Pausing.

  63. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I won't let that happen to me. See if I can sleep well again.

  64. Putting on his eye-mask, Peter tries to sleep.

  65. FADE OUT.

  66. THE END

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