August 14th, 2014

Being depressed

The suicide of Robin Williams has started a lengthy discussion of depression, with those who’ve suffered from it trying to describe its depths, and why depression could drive a man like Williams to do what he did.

Depression is an inherently depressing topic, of course. It’s also one of those things that most people have had some experience with, or at least think they do. After all, almost everyone has been sad.

But that’s misleading. Regular, garden-variety depression is to major suicidal depression as a hangnail is to ebola. And yet, it has superficial resemblances that lead people suffering from the regular type to think they understand the more serious type. But the difference is not just a difference in degree, it’s a difference in kind.

One of the best descriptions of extreme depression I’ve ever seen is a cartoon (yes, a cartoon; humorists are particularly subject to depression) written by internet superstar Allie Brosh. Brosh had everything going for her: young, attractive, funny, talented, immensely successful at something she’d long dreamed of doing, surrounded by a loving family and boyfriend. And yet severe depression claimed her in its potentially deadly grip, and for a long time would not let her go.

Not all intense depressions are alike, so Brosh’s may not describe them all. But it took a not-uncommon trajectory. What was uncommon was her skill at describing it. Intense self-loathing was followed by the absence of feeling, which Brosh perceived as intensely unpleasant and almost unendurable. Although that itself is a feeling of sorts, it is a feeling caused by the lack of feeling; paradoxical but true. Lack of feeling can be experienced as suffering of an intense kind, ennui and deadness and lack of interest in everything.

People tried to talk Brosh out of it, which of course did not work and cannot work:

And that’s the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn’t always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn’t even something — it’s nothing. And you can’t combat nothing. You can’t fill it up. You can’t cover it. It’s just there, pulling the meaning out of everything. That being the case, all the hopeful, proactive solutions start to sound completely insane in contrast to the scope of the problem.

What stopped Brosh from killing herself when she starting thinking that death might be a really really good idea? She says nothing mattered, but it turns out that the feelings of her loved ones still somehow mattered to her. So something must have been left in the wastage of her life:

I somehow managed to convince myself that everything was still under my control right up until I noticed myself wishing that nothing loved me so I wouldn’t feel obligated to keep existing.

Something loved her—some people, that is, and her dog (Brosh is very into dogs and some of her best cartoons are about them).

It was incredibly hard for her to find the will and strength to keep living. And yet she did:

When I say that deciding to not kill myself was the worst part, I should clarify that I don’t mean it in a retrospective sense. From where I am now, it seems like a solid enough decision. But at the time, it felt like I had been dragging myself through the most miserable, endless wasteland, and — far in the distance — I had seen the promising glimmer of a slightly less miserable wasteland. And for just a moment, I thought maybe I’d be able to stop and rest. But as soon as I arrived at the border of the less miserable wasteland, I found out that I’d have to turn around and walk back the other way.

The love she received from others was a burden. But it was a burden she shouldered despite her great reluctance to live and her conviction that she could not get better:

The absurdity of working so hard to continue doing something you don’t like can be overwhelming. And the longer it takes to feel different, the more it starts to seem like everything might actually be hopeless bullshit.

When feelings finally returned, they were not pleasant ones, either:

I had not been able to care for a very long time, and when I finally started being able to care about things again, I HATED them. But hatred is technically a feeling, and my brain latched onto it like a child learning a new word.

That was followed by a turning point—which was so silly it’s hard to describe. You’ll just have to read it. Suffice to say that raucous and sustained laughter came from nowhere for a bizarrely trivial reason. For Brosh, that near-hyterical laughter was the beginning of the glimmer of the possibility that her depression wouldn’t last forever.

80 Responses to “Being depressed”

  1. matilda Says:

    I remember reading Allie Brosh’s cartoon a while back. I thought it was good, but in the discussion about it I thought there was one key piece of information missing – Allie stated before that she was diagnosed with ADHD and had been taking ritalin for years when her prescription ran out and she did not get it replaced and was suffering withdrawal. I don’t know the time span between that and the depression but I have heard other people relate stories of how they went through crushing depression a few months after coming off some medications, such as opiates for back pain.

    Just a thought.

  2. waitforit Says:

    Life is a gift of immense pretense. Suppose you don’t suffer, and you will. Cry too often, and you will.

  3. q, just q Says:

    I must not be depressed. that cartoon caused a lot of emotions in me.

    q

  4. waitforit Says:

    Sorry.

    Who knows who the River is? The River!
    The river, the street of gold I was promised
    if I were a good gold mine, then Inner
    would develop because I had delivered.

    My heaven, my treasure, my child failed.
    No known refuge prevailed, but you
    struggled and flailed and I watched
    as the River carried me. . . away from you.

  5. RickZ Says:

    Winston Churchill famously wrote about ‘the black dog of depression’ hounding him his whole life.

    Miss Emily:

    I’m Nobody! Who are You?

    I’m nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there’s a pair of us -don’t tell!
    They’d banish us, you know.

    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public, like a frog
    To tell your name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!

    I can totally understand depression as I have experienced suicidal ideation mostly as a result of my health issues and medications. It’s not pleasant and there’s nothing anybody can do as my health can never be fixed, only maintained before eventually declining to death or an organ transplant (which is not something I look fondly to happening at all). You either pull through such ideations, or you don’t. Robin Williams didn’t. But to my mind, he had all the money in the world to do whatever the hell he wanted. That Williams could not survive even with all that wealth tells one depression is not just financial, or a breakup, or a job loss, or degenerating health. It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain that is yet to be fully understood. But from what I remember reading, depression is a hereditary disease, so they’ve made some progress in trying to map out the illness. But for now, there is no ounce of prevention when it comes to depression.

  6. Don Carlos Says:

    A great deal of depression is rooted in self-pity, IMO. What we have heard of Williams fits that. Including today’s rather overblown claim by his wife that he had “early Parkinson’s disease” but was not yet ready to go public with that. Go public?? An early form of a treatable disease?? This is huge self-pity, the spin-off of self-centeredness and grandiosity. Poor poor Robin.

    A chemical imbalance in the brain is the source of depression exactly how? A nice and oft-cited claim that is pretty meaningless to most of us. Do we have any chemical imbalances elsewhere in our bodies? How are brain imbalances assessed by non-invasive means? I guess “chemical imbalance” sounds better than “I don’t exactly know.”

    Placebos help depression in about 20%; the best antidepressants help in about 40%, at the cost of side-effects. I personally think antidepressants are mostly a waste of money, if they work only twice as well as placebo.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    From the linked cartoon:

    “It’s weird for people who still have feelings to be around depressed people. They try to help you have feelings again so things can go back to normal, and it’s frustrating for them when that doesn’t happen. From their perspective, it seems like there has got to be some untapped source of happiness within you that you’ve simply lost track of, and if you could just see how beautiful things are.. At first, I’d try to explain that it’s not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you’re horribly bored and lonely, but since you’ve lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you’re stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is.”

    I should first of all admit that I have never experienced severe depression and only briefly been depressed over some at the time seemingly catastrophic event. But I’m a “the glass is half-full” type of person and have always quickly returned to that perspective.

    Secondarily, I should preface what I’m about to say by stating that I do believe that many severe depressives are suffering from a chemical and/or genetic imbalance but I do not believe their depression to be strictly a matter of biological chemistry.

    Yet regardless of my inexperience, I’m fairly certain that I have some insights into severe depression.

    I strongly suspect that severe depression is connected with a spiritual crisis. If that is true, then a discussion of severe depression cannot be separated from discussion of the spiritual.

    I suspect that deep depression is a soul’s recognition of how divorced from the divine they have become. If God is actually the source of all that is good, then what basis is there for optimism, when a soul’s separation is unusually profound?

    But what drives that separation is not God but the individual. I am certain that God is not holding ‘him’self aloof but rather the opposite, it is we who prevent our reconnection with the divine. And I believe that Christ was the ‘wayshower’ his mission to illuminate the path that leads to reconnection with the divine. If that is true, and as C.S. Lewis pointed out, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, but if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” then individual’s experiencing severe depression are actually experiencing what has been called a “crisis of the soul”. On the profoundest of levels, I suspect that to be exactly what Robin Williams was experiencing.

    In Brosh’s cartoon certain themes repeat; loneliness, nothingness, a profound sense of being alone and a loss of connection to everything, that ‘nothing’ is all there is… she mentions profound self-hate and I see all of this as profoundly revealing.

    Someone once said that the other side of the coin of being alone is sensing that we are all one. I suspect that if there is a heaven and I believe there is, that one fundamental aspect of heaven is experiencing a perfect synthesis between our individuality and being one with everything and everyone.

    If that is so and if there really is something that we call a soul, then on some level we must subconsciously know this to be true. But a soul who knows that they are profoundly disconnected from ‘the divine’, the source of all that is good, must feel both profound disgust with itself for having strayed that far from its source and the deepest of depression at its loss.

    I think that I ‘get’ at least somewhat why Brosh found the ‘lost’ kernal of corn so unexpectedly fulfilling. The corn wasn’t lost at all, it merely symbolically ‘believed’ itself to be. Brosh had been seeing herslf as the kernal of corn; lost, meaningless and ‘dried up’ but when she saw it she gained for the briefest of moments, God’s perspective (a kind of ‘out-of-body’ experience if you will) and that was a balm for the soul that no ‘medicine’ can match.

    People keep expecting God to somehow make this world a better place but the world is mostly a reflection of our cumulative immaturity. We can only make the world a better place by making of ourselves better human beings but to do that on the most profound of levels, we have to deeply consider the possibility that it is not God who has separated himself from us but we, who have separated ourselves from the divine.

    Any other approach to bettering the world that abjures the goal of reconnection with the divine is attempting to create heaven on earth. Lincoln, in the most trying of times possible, put it well: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” I believe that Lincoln rightly had the horse before the cart and that severely depressed people, profoundly divorced from God have the cart before the horse.

  8. Ruth H Says:

    His wife said today he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s. My dad died of Parkinson’s in 1989. The drugs he took had side effects. I know they have new and better drugs now, but I wonder if the side effects increase the depth of depression in those patients who already have a problem. I hope there is some research going on looking into that aspect of the disease.
    I am posting this thought on several different sites in the hope of getting a neuro scientist thoughts on it.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Ruth H:

    The disease Parkinson’s can itself cause or exacerbate depression.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos:

    As you probably know, being an MD, depression and Parkinson’s are often linked, and could be connected with brain changes, since the brain is affected by Parkinson’s.

    I’m not a big fan of antidepressants. But they can help certain people a lot, and not just by the placebo effect (although I wouldn’t knock the placebo effect, either). If there are 100 people and 20 are helped by placebo and an extra 20 by drugs, to those extra 20 the drugs are certainly worth it, if they judge the benefits to be greater than the deficits of the side effects.

    Few drugs are 100% effective, or even close to it.

  11. rickl Says:

    I saw a couple of comments at Ace of Spades earlier today that he had Parkinson’s Disease.

    That adds another dimension to his situation. Being diagnosed with an incurable degenerative disease would turn almost anybody to thoughts of suicide, even if they didn’t already suffer from depression.

    There’s not a lot to look forward to for someone in that situation.

  12. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I went through — what I later guessed was a relatively mild but atypical case of post-postpartum depression for a year after the birth of my daughter. Somehow it seemed like everything about me — about my life — was gone wrong. I couldn’t do anything right, I was falling apart, my work and professional life was a horrible failure, and I had the feeling that if I ever lost control, I would begin screaming and never be able to stop.

    But I did have friends, and supportive family, although at the time, the family was thousands of miles away. I don’t know if I would have benefited from the help of a psychiatric therapist; one good friend tentatively suggested it, and I remember that I said, “No, as long as I have you to talk to.”

    I never seriously considered doing away with myself, even at my most depressed – because I had my infant daughter, and I was extravagantly in love with her. If I did something so final – it would leave my daughter alone. So, there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that would tempt me to a final solution to personal pain.

    But I do understand why someone would take that way out. There are situations which can so hurt so deeply that one might go to any lengths just to not feel the pain any more.

  13. Don Carlos Says:

    GB has said something very important above. I was hesitant about injecting the spiritual issue and am glad GB has done so.

    Look, Williams’ history is marked by loneliness, drugs and alcohol. And he made stuff happen—-the essence of self-centeredness. When things didn’t work out, as recently, he fell into a well of self-pity, more alone than ever.

    Clinically we should not link depression to early Parkinson’s. The depression of Parkinson’s patients is largely related to their degree of neurologic dysfunction, when it is bad enough to depress anybody. I very much doubt Williams felt in any way connected to a God in the sense GB does and has explained so ably above.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos:

    The research I linked to and quoted about the timing of depression and Parkinson’s contradicts what you say about it being linked to the degree of neurologic dysfunction.

    However, as I said, we can’t say whether Williams’s depression was linked physiologically to his Parkinson’s or not. But it certainly could have been, even in early Parkinson’s.

    And deeply religious people are hardly immune from serious depression. I think Gerard Manley Hopkins is an excellent example of that. Read this if you’re interested.

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “deeply religious people are hardly immune from serious depression. I think Gerard Manley Hopkins is an excellent example of that. Read this if you’re interested.” neo

    ‘deeply religious’ is a very broad category. Hell and brimstone types, whom I believe to be today’s Pharisees in that they follow the law’s writ without a smidgen of understanding of the law’s spirit are ‘deeply religious’ but I am confident that Jesus will say that, he “knows them not”. The Westside Baptist ‘church’ is a perfect example.

    In reading about Hopkins, I was struck by this observation;

    “Hopkins God seems to be dominating, terror-inducing, a potential annihilator; it is difficult to search for, let alone surrender to, such a God. As we have seen, these poems and others seem to reveal a relationship with a distant, stern God: a hard taskmaster who must be obeyed. Even in Hopkins’ happiest poems, such as ‘Hurrahing in Harvest’, the imagery is still of remote majesty. I suspect that many depressives have a similar image of God”

    IMO there is no way that such a concept of God can lead to reconnection with the divine, in fact, I would posit that such a view would inescapably lead one away from God, even deeper into separation.

  16. MollyNH Says:

    The late Pope john paul II was a famous Parkinson’s victim with quite a few physical manifestations as I recall. Yet he took his affliction as an opportunity to let others see that you can function with a grave illness.
    I recall him being too weak to walk the long aisles & was wheeled about in a special podium. I suspect however that JP II’s devotion to his Lord helped him see himself as someone with a human affliction. Trust in the Lord enabled him to accept his misery & use it for good.
    It appears that Robin Williams had no Faith to help him through what lay ahead. Sad.

  17. loppolos Says:

    The brain is the one organ where certain kind of disorders are simply disallowed by some people.

    Not to say we don’t have fakers, but one should be careful not to simply say, I had the ability to snap out of something, why doesn’t everyone?

  18. Ann Says:

    Jesus seemed to have great compassion for the mentally ill. Did he tell them that they were in that state because of a “crisis of the soul”? To my recollection, he mostly rolled up his sleeves and got to work casting out their demons.

  19. Dave Says:

    Depression has different forms for different people. I suffer from major recurring depressive disorder. The happiest I ever feel deep in my soul is what most people would think of as sad or depressed. Suicide is always on my mind. There is a fear that Heaven or Hell is less desirable than nothingness. I stop to all thought, feeling, and self-awareness.

    Living with this for me has some similarities to Brosh. There is isolation, a lack of interest or enjoyment in anything, and love from people actually feels like pain. But there is so much more, and honestly talking about it to people who do not suffer from this is like being extremely fat and trying to describe the difficulty of weight loss to a person that has never had more than 3% body fat. There is no understanding.

    The hell of it is that you don’t want to cause loved ones pain, but that is all you do. Eventually you think of suicide as a way of ripping the band-aide off instead of slowly pulling it off. But, then you worry about their security etc. etc.

    I am a coward and don’t want to feel a great amount of pain with death, but the best ways leave a mess behind that needs to be cleaned up by someone. Almost all the other ways are too likely to fail, and there is nothing as embarrassing as a failed suicide attempt.

    When I heard about Robbin Williams my deep depression flared up. It was not that I was sorry for Williams or his family, but that I envied him. He had achieved wealth, fame, family, and was able to end it all when he was ready.

    As for faith…I am a Christian, and I feel abandoned. I see Christ as having committed suicide himself. I see the world as bad and getting worse. I find the thought of a better afterlife than actual life to be the most torturous thought of all. With all of that I still believe, but I believe that best God does not care, and at worst God hates me.

    None of this is logical. It is based on emotion and electrical-chemical biology that has been reinforced through situations in one’s life. It is the same in nature as insanity.

    For the record I am seeing professionals so please no advice.

  20. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I like to think Ann that had I the ability I too would cast out demons. Jesus actually spent relatively little time performing medical miracles, perhaps when he did, his intentions encompassed more than simple compassion? Nor is observing a possible link between a “crisis of the soul” and severe depression necessarily a condemnation…

    As evidence of that link I would offer portions of Dave’s comment. “a fear that Heaven… is less desirable than nothingness” “I see Christ as having committed suicide himself.”

    Absolute bliss is less desirable than nothingness?
    So much for being Christian and Christ, blameless, sacrificing for the forgiveness of the world’s sins.

    “I see the world as bad and getting worse.”

    There’s no ignoring the pain in the world and God knows we incessantly talk about the bad here but anyone who doesn’t see the absolute joy in ordinary life all about is profoundly lacking in perspective. A half empty glass is half full. Not one or the other.

    “I find the thought of a better afterlife than actual life to be the most torturous thought of all. With all of that I still believe”

    How could the thought of relief from his pain be torturous? Other than embracing the pain as deserved?

    “I believe that best God does not care, and at worst God hates me.”

    A Christian believes that God hates his child? A Christian rejects Jesus’ assertion that God is aware of the smallest bird and is indifferent? This is a man who has decided that God has given him more than he can bear and has no purpose in apparent failure to relieve him of that burden.

    This is a man who looks at the pain of the world and has concluded that there is no God as described (a loving Father) by the fount of the religion, he tells himself he still believes in.

    None of this is meant as a condemnation of Dave, it is entirely understandable that he feels as he does but Dave is a perfect example of a crisis of the soul. He just has the cart before the horse. Clearly believing that his soul’s crisis is the result of his depression, rather than his depression being a result of his soul’s crisis. He thinks, as I suspect do you, that his soul being born into a body with a chemical and/or DNA predisposition toward depression is… an accident. Rather than the particular ‘cross’ that he and God agreed to… before his ‘birth’.

    Personally, I don’t think that Jesus spoke lightly when he said, “Let each man pick up his cross and follow me”. We all have a cross to bear (the sins we cling to) and for many its apparent lightness allows them to pretend its not there. They are the ones who grow least of all for they are apparently the ‘richest’.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Having read a great deal of Hopkins’s poetry, I completely disagree with that quote.

    When Hopkin’s wasn’t depressed, he felt the world was filled with the wonder and beauty of the glory of God. He wrote many, many poems about it. In fact, he seemed to experience religious ecstasy quite a bit (my guess is that he may have actually been manic-depressive—that is, bipolar).

    He was a deeply devout Jesuit priest who had converted to Catholicism and alienated his Protestant family in the process.

    Here’s a poem of Hopkins’ that expresses some of these religious feelings of his:

    GOD’S GRANDEUR

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge |&| shares man’s smell: the soil
    Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs –
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast |&| with ah! bright wings.

    And then there’s this one, which contrasts a depressive outlook on life with a religious one, in the two halves of the poem:

    THE LEADEN ECHO

    HOW to kéep—is there ány any, is there none such, nowhere known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, láce, latch or catch or key to keep
    Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, … from vanishing away?
    Ó is there no frowning of these wrinkles, rankéd wrinkles deep,
    Dówn? no waving off of these most mournful messengers, still messengers, sad and stealing messengers of grey?
    No there ’s none, there ’s none, O no there ’s none,
    Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair,
    Do what you may do, what, do what you may,
    And wisdom is early to despair:
    Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done
    To keep at bay
    Age and age’s evils, hoar hair,
    Ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death’s worst, winding sheets, tombs and worms and tumbling to decay;
    So be beginning, be beginning to despair.
    O there ’s none; no no no there ’s none:
    Be beginning to despair, to despair,
    Despair, despair, despair, despair.

    THE GOLDEN ECHO

    Spare!
    There ís one, yes I have one (Hush there!);
    Only not within seeing of the sun,
    Not within the singeing of the strong sun,
    Tall sun’s tingeing, or treacherous the tainting of the earth’s air,
    Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one,
    Oné. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place,
    Where whatever’s prized and passes of us, everything that ’s fresh and fast flying of us, seems to us sweet of us and swiftly away with, done away with, undone,
    Undone, done with, soon done with, and yet dearly and dangerously sweet
    Of us, the wimpled-water-dimpled, not-by-morning-matchèd face,
    The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet,
    Never fleets móre, fastened with the tenderest truth
    To its own best being and its loveliness of youth: it is an everlastingness of, O it is an all youth!
    Come then, your ways and airs and looks, locks, maiden gear, gallantry and gaiety and grace,
    Winning ways, airs innocent, maiden manners, sweet looks, loose locks, long locks, lovelocks, gaygear, going gallant, girlgrace—
    Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them with breath,
    And with sighs soaring, soaring síghs deliver
    Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before death
    Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver. 35
    See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost; every hair
    Is, hair of the head, numbered.
    Nay, what we had lighthanded left in surly the mere mould
    Will have waked and have waxed and have walked with the wind what while we slept,
    This side, that side hurling a heavyheaded hundredfold
    What while we, while we slumbered.
    O then, weary then why
    When the thing we freely fórfeit is kept with fonder a care,
    Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept
    Far with fonder a care (and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder
    A care kept.—Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where.—
    Yonder.—What high as that! We follow, now we follow.—Yonder, yes yonder, yonder,
    Yonder.

  22. dicentra Says:

    A great deal of depression is rooted in self-pity, IMO. …

    what drives that separation is not God but the individual. I am certain that God is not holding himself aloof but rather the opposite, it is we who prevent our reconnection with the divine.

    Don Carlos, Geoffrey, everyone else with nicely balanced neurotransmitters.

    Please, I beg of you, stop speculating as to what clinical depression is and is not. You have no idea what a kick in the gut it is to hear everyone boldly and arrogantly tell us that we’re wallowing in self-pity or lazy or not trying or lacking in faith or being whiny little bitches who can’t deal or worse, turning out backs on God for whatever sinful, hubristic reason we can concoct.

    We’ve all been taught that we cannot control what happens TO us but we CAN control how we react to it. And if you’re Christian, you’re taught that free will is the only thing that is truly yours that you can give back to God. The logical conclusion is that of all the things in this life, the ONE thing you always have control over is your own mind.

    And of all the things you WANT control over, no matter what, you want control over your own mind.

    So when you find yourself unable to control it, the humiliation and self-loathing is overwhelming; you’re failing at the one thing you’re not supposed to be able to fail at.

    So what kind of loser must I be if I can’t get this irrational anguish out of my mind?

    A tremendously loathsome one, that’s what. One that pretty much doesn’t deserve to be in polite company and perhaps is too putrid to waste any more of the earth’s precious oxygen.

    I’ve spent the better part of the past two days begging people to please understand what we’re going through, to stop beating us up with your profoundly ignorant opinions. Right now I’m shaking and on the verge of tears at reading Even More Arrogant Assertions about what you suppose to be my character flaws.

    Unforgivable character flaws, as it turns out, ranging from wallowing in self-pity to a satanic rejection of God.

    No wonder people like me wish we were dead: we damned well deserve it, right? Because who wants to be THAT PATHETIC?

    Do we have any chemical imbalances elsewhere in our bodies?

    You cannot be serious. You’re a doctor? A doctor doesn’t know what the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM DOES? How many diseases result from over- or underproduction of hormones? How many from the inability to synthesize enzymes? From deformed or missing proteins? From any one of the thousand thousand of our biochemical process going awry?

    The body is nothing BUT chemistry, malfunctioning all the way to the doctors’ bank accounts. But neurotransmitters? Those are the one set of bodily chemicals that never go out of balance; otherwise, we’re just contributing to the Culture Of Buck-Passing.

    Because of free will, I guess. Here’s a medical explanation of neurotransmitter action and how it informs depression and other mood disorders.

    God Almighty, the compulsion some people have to pass judgment on those whose suffering they don’t understand. What is it? A desire to show off your superior coping skills? Your stellar character? Your incandescent insight into the human condition? Your spiritual perspicacity?

    Do you really think that the only reason you haven’t experienced clinical depression is because you’re TOO DAMNED GOOD AT LIFE????

    What part of “difference of type not degree” did you not understand from the resident PSYCHOLOGIST????

    Do you boast to diabetics about your effortless insulin/glucose balance? Do you scold people with cerebral palsy for letting their limbs flail around like that? What’s the matter with them that they don’t get that EMBARRASSING movement under control, amiright?

    You’d never pull that shit with any other disease. Ever.

    And yet everyone and his smirking friend thinks he has the moral obligation to pontificate on mental illness; fortunately, the less they know about it the louder and more obnoxious they are.

    Loud like you, Don Carlos.

    Self pity. And from an MD, no less.

    That’s like declaring that cystic fibrosis results from SMOKING TOO MUCH, in your opinion, and then scolding the sufferer for supporting Big Tobacco.

    Frankly, I’m shocked that some of the worst, most malicious speculation about mental illness is found on this thread, on this blog. Even Matt Walsh’s infamous speculation wasn’t as misinformed as “self pity.”

    Do we have other chemical imbalances in the body.

    Holy shit, that’s a doozy. Did you get your medical degree from a Nigerian prince?

    Clinical depression is like being pinned down and forcibly injected with mind-altering drugs. Ever been drugged? Did you notice that the sumbitch has its way with you and there wasn’t a damned thing you could do about it?

    Or perhaps you’re such a stud that you can resist going under when the anesthesiologist injects sodium pentothol into a vein. WITH YOUR MIND!

    As for religion and depression, please read this article by a pastor who fights depression every day of his life. Also read this plea in the pastor’s comment section, wherein you see why idle speculation about another person’s anguish is a sin before God:

    As the mother of a Christian son who has been tormented by severe mental illness for decades, I warn you folks that the very worst thing Christians can do is to cast judgment on someone who is afflicted with this. Remember Job’s friends. They ran into trouble with God when they tried to make Job’s suffering fit their theologies. As long as they sat in silent grief with him, they were within God’s will. It was when they started offering up their opinions and then misjudged Job that they ran into trouble with the only One who knew the real reason for Job’s suffering. Folks, pray for those with mental illness. Reach out and help lighten their loads. But do not add to the weight of their suffering by blaming them for what is largely the organic dysfunction of their brains.

    I would add that non-religious people who try to make a depressive’s suffering fit into their Life Philosophy is just as bad and just as cruel.

    Robin Williams was most likely bipolar (or did you MISS the manic phases?) and his self-medication exacerbated the brain damage, as would the Parkinson’s. A person with mental illness usually suicides in a state of insanity. It’s the height of malice to suppose that Williams was just a big fat crybaby who couldn’t face the realities of life.

    One more time, do not EVER speculate idly about another person’s suffering, mental or otherwise. Your initial assumptions, fact set, experience, and wisdom are not equal to the task. You’re not God.

    Just make sure you’re not one of Job’s friends, either.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    dicentra:

    My 2 cents—

    People are going to speculate and have opinions on these things. You can’t stop it.

    And some people want to place depression in a moral sphere and say that depressed people just feel sorry for themselves, or whatever.

    I suggest that you not trouble yourself in trying to win them over to another point of view. All any of us can do is present them with facts (such as the links I gave about Parkinson’s, the brain, and depression) and leave it at that.

    As an aside, however—I am not a psychiatrist nor am I a psychologist. Brain diseases are not my field of training.

  24. Don Carlos Says:

    Dearie me.
    Well, I have been through a pretty bad depression, over a number of years. The two psychologists and one psychiatrist were not the way out. My understanding of my own self-pity gradually grew, and as it grew my depression lightened. The Lord’s Prayer is worth meditating on every word. Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven pretty much says it all. Thy Will, not my will; takes reflection and discovery.

    As to other chemical imbalances, I wondered what the answers would be. I see; we have imbalances, not excesses and deficiencies. Glucose and insulin are imbalanced in diabetics, and taking insulin restores a balance? It’s an odd way to think about it, and balance is a most fleeting thing in this context. Imbalance is a word not used in medical education. But if it works for you….

  25. brian Says:

    dicentra – I want to hug you for saying that. The thing that people with normal brains will never understand, because it’s just not something that you can wrap your mind around, is the total loss of control.

    Depression is where the one organ that does all your thinking and feeling betrays you. You aren’t driving, you’re just along for the ride, but the driver looks damned familiar.

    And it becomes clear pretty quickly that he’s not too concerned with your feelings on how he drives.

    So those of you blessed with functional and loyal brains, please go read what Allie wrote. I can point you at scores of other writings from people who have dealt with depression and anxiety and what it’s like.

    You know there’s no reason to be anxious, but your brain doesn’t care, it’s already bouncing off the rev limiter and you’re puking your guts out. And then it gets really quiet for a while.

    I didn’t think it was real, mostly because I was trying to convince myself that it wasn’t happening to me. Projection ain’t a river in Egypt.

  26. SteveH Says:

    Theres a slight problem with the concept of no fault/chemical imbalance behavior. It inevitably means every murder and rape has a diseased origin that couldn’t be helped.

  27. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Having read a great deal of Hopkins’s poetry, I completely disagree with that quote.” neo

    Presumably the author you linked to is well versed in Hopkin’s poetry as well. But you provided the link neo, now you want to discount it?

    All I did was quote from it and then opine that such a view would lead away from God.

    As for Hopkin’s conversion to Catholicism, speaking generally, that sect of Christianity posits that man cannot have a personal relationship with God that supersedes the priesthood’s understanding. Given that Hopkins left Protestantism, I take that to indicate that he rejected the contrary assertion; that man’s personal relationship with God supersedes all else for each individual. I conclude that to be a soul seeking an intercessor and that, I believe supports my case rather than disproves it. Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps I’m right but as dicentra points out, only God knows for sure.

  28. brian Says:

    Steve – just, no.

    There is a gulf as wide as the Milky Way between depression and the personality disorders present in the typical murderer.

  29. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    dicentra,

    I will more fully respond tomorrow as its late. I fully admit to my inexperience. I don’t think however that the ‘you can’t understand because you’re healthy’ argument is entirely valid. That said, your words if IMO a bit overwrought (perhaps justifiably) are impactful and I am particularly sensitive about the point you make regarding Job’s friends. So I’ll take your words to heart and reflect upon them before responding further.

  30. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    I provided the link because it discussed Hopkins and depression, and because I was making the point that Hopkins was both religious and depressed. I certainly do not endorse the entire article and everything in it.

    My point is merely that many devout Christians (or people who believe in other religions) are depressed. I certainly cannot vouch for anyone’s exact relationship with God, but from the evidence in Hopkins’ poetry the paragraph you cited from the essay is incorrect. And people who are familiar with a poet’s work can certainly disagree about a poet and his/her poems.

  31. Ann Says:

    There really should be a new term for clinical depression. Something to set it apart from the feeling of mild depression or melancholy we’ve all experienced at one time or another. Because of this, it’s somewhat natural that we’d think rationality can fix things for someone suffering from clinical depression — we think we’ve been there, even if only slightly.

    So unlike our attitude toward, say, schizophrenia, which I think we would all say is a condition that rules out rationality. Probably largely because we’ve not heard voices or had terrifying hallucinations.

  32. jaed Says:

    Dicentra, thanks for posting that.

    Some people need to learn a little humanity.

  33. dicentra Says:

    I don’t think however that the ‘you can’t understand because you’re healthy’ argument is entirely valid.

    Why not?

    Ever tried explaining the color wheel to someone who is congenitally blind?

    You will fail, every time, because the blind person has no point of reference for color because one sense cannot be described in terms of another. The blind person might think he “gets it” because he can remember which position each color has and which ones are opposite each other and that if you mix red and yellow you get orange.

    You’ve spoken about wavelengths, and he’s experienced sound waves of different frequencies, so he thinks he might have some idea of what color is: sound for the eyes? A texture, perhaps. A vibrating sensation.

    And yet he doesn’t get within a country mile of understanding what color is. Not because he’s stupid but because he just plain can’t. He probably won’t like hearing you tell him that, either, but what else are you going to say?

    If your neurotransmitters have never been out of whack, you cannot imagine what it’s like because there’s nothing else to compare it to. This is the brain we’re talking about, the very organ of perception.

    I’ve never had a stroke to render me unable to speak, so I don’t pontificate on aphasia except to say that it must be extraordinarily frustrating. Were I to badger someone with aphasia to “just spit it out” — because come ON, everyone has a speech center in the brain — I HOPE someone would smack me upside the head to stop me cold.

    Likewise, I don’t chalk up dyslexia to stupidity or amnesia to inattention or prosopagnosia to rudeness, even though I haven’t the faintest idea what any of those conditions are like.

    “That said, your words if IMO a bit overwrought”

    I express myself strongly because PEOPLE DON’T LISTEN. They don’t believe me when I tell them that they don’t understand, because such a thing offends their intellect, and nursing their offended intellect is more important to them than accepting their own incomprehension.

    I get “overwrought” because running into idle speculation about depression is like getting smacked on a day-old typhoid injection site.

    Ever been inoculated for typhoid? Your arm develops such intense fever, swelling, and tenderness that you startle like a horse if anyone comes within three feet of your arm. I’ve had all the inoculations for South America, and none of them comes close to the pain of a typhoid shot.

    From your perspective, you merely clapped me on the arm, an act that’s not meant to inflict pain at all. But by clapping me on that super-tender, extra-painful, insanely inflamed injection site, you’ve sent me into paroxysms of pain, and I’ma plant a knee in your groin to make you back off RIGHT NOW.

    Merely saying “ouch” and wincing risks you doing it again, because why the hell would that hurt?

    Instead of interpreting my “overwrought” words as a hyperbole, maybe assume first that they’re a howl of pain, just in case.

    That way, you don’t land a second blow before you know what’s going on.

  34. Ari Says:

    I read the bit about the corn and immediately started laughing and crying at the same time. Partly because her description of it was hilarious, and partly because I’m all too familiar with the sensation of ‘I’m having an emotion and by God I haven’t the faintest idea why.’

    I’m still muddling through depression, as well as an anxiety disorder – it’s been better lately due to some changes in medication, but I’ll still have days where I’m just like ‘Fuck this, fuck that, and fuck me in particular.’ I more connected with the end of the comic, because for me depression hasn’t been an absence of feeling – it’s more been all the feelings, all the time, at their highest intensity. Thankfully I have never been suicidal, but I have had days where I wished someone would just switch me off and fix me.

    … this turned into something of a ramble, but anyway, yeah… depression is an awful beast.

  35. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I have not been near the awful experiences of people like dicentra — but have been depressed enough to know that it was far beyond my control and that I desperately needed help from somewhere outside myself. I am generally a self-disciplined and competent person who can usually solve my own problems — or at least, knows what I ought to do, even if I can’t quite summon up the internal fortitude to do it, but not when I was depressed. Not hardly. That beast with iron claws sat on my chest and ripped at my heart — always at her worst at 3 a.m. — and nothing I could do would drive her off, nor could I really believe that driving her off was possible.

    Objects began speaking to me with terrifying messages: a tree along the roadside was an opportunity to crash the car into it, a large window high above the street a chance to throw myself through. Understand, I did not want to do those things at all, knew that I would never do them, was not driving those thoughts, was not choosing them, did not want them in my head, loved my life and my family, knew they loved me, wanted my future. Nevertheless the alien ideas appeared within me of their own accord: this knife in my hands, chopping chicken, could chop me, too. Look, how easy it would be! Chop, chop!

    I got help, and by some accident of fortune, it worked for me, whether because of some lucky accident of chemistry or because I was never really all that ill or who knows why. I have not revisited that country since, though I’ve caught glimpses from time to time. But what worked for me does not work for everyone, I will never again put up with the utter nonsense of declaring that recovery from depression is possible for anyone with self-control. In some mild cases, maybe, yes. But not otherwise. It would make about as much sense to insist that I could have healed the hip that I broke years later by willpower, and it was just a result of my shiftless laziness that I could not do it alone and required the assistance of an ambulance, a surgeon, and fleets of EMTs, nurses and physical therapists to get back on my feet. In both cases, the bone and the brain, I was fortunate indeed that help was forthcoming and worked to save me.

  36. dicentra Says:

    I suggest that you not trouble yourself in trying to win them over to another point of view.

    That doesn’t say very good things about people, does it?

    I exert myself an awful lot to figure out people whose inner lives are different from mine. I read up on stuff. I listen to what they’re saying. I try to comprehend, and where I can tell I don’t, I refrain from filling in the blanks with self-flattering explanations about their lack of character.

    Don Carlos says he experienced a depression that actually was a bout of self-pity. I accept that. I’m not going to say “no, it was really biochemical, you just didn’t know.” It was HIS head he was in; when he recognized the self-pity for what it was he could undo it. The cure provides the diagnosis.

    DAMNED if I’m going to insist that everyone else’s emotional misery is the same as mine. What the hell kind of person does that?

    Do you see the expressions of relief and gratitude from those who suffer the same as I? Do you not know how badly we crave to hear someone articulate what we’re going through? Do you not sense the torture we endure when all of the other diseases and disorders and sicknesses are considered legitimate, but ours is just cry-baby pouty face stop wallowing in it you’re just making excuses?

    Part of our disorder is that we already beat ourselves up ceaselessly and mercilessly and irrationally. We hurt so badly — SO BADLY — but any time we try to say “it hurts right here” or “I think this is broken” people refuse to believe us.

    The well-meaning ones are like the responders to Allie’s dead fish: they keep offering solutions to problems you don’t have, and to make it worse, aren’t interested in hearing that they’re not getting it.

    The callous ones will look at the arterial spray from the gash in your arm and tell you to plug that thing up, you’re staining the carpet. And don’t play with knives, ya freak.

    Nobody says, “gee, I’m sorry you’re in such pain. Would you like to talk about it?”

    Nope. That’s for people with real problems.

    Ours are just made up.

    Maybe the people I engage directly on the Internet won’t ever get it. But if someone else does, and as a result provides even one moment of comfort to a depressive, I think that my trouble is worth it.

  37. dicentra Says:

    Imbalance is a word not used in medical education.

    Heavens.

    I have a serotonin and dopamine deficiency, then.

    The medication helps prolong their presence in the synapses to make up for some of the deficiency. Or at least that’s what they think it does. Short of jamming a needle into a synapse, I don’t know how they’d measure or observe it.

    Doesn’t matter. Physicists cannot tell you what gravity is actually made of but that’s no reason to question its existence.

  38. buzibi Says:

    Dicentra Listen up: for I can show you a way to escape from depression.

    For starters – Go back and read what you wrote and note this: Everything anyone wrote that tried to be positive towards you – you recreated into a tool with which to continually beat yourself up while simultaneously knocking them down too. Did you notice that when you wrote it?

    You’ve learnt how to kill two birds with one stone. WOW! A truly neat trick! Such a trick (which involves tricking yourself) takes a long time and a lot of repetition to learn. Depression for years?

    Another thing stood out: You cry that you don’t want people to be helpful – just to sympathise with your plight! Honestly – Why would anyone else want to do that? Why would anyone want to become your depression enabler – seriously- can’t you just imagine everyone rushing to apply for that fun job! Would you apply for it?

    If you knock down all suggestions and in doing so simultaneously knock yourself down, then what options have you left yourself?

    There are simple things that I can tell you that will give you a means to change how your mind works – If you want. All you have to do is ask me for them. The difficult part is that you actually have to do them for them to work. The good part is – if you do them they do work.

  39. dicentra Says:

    You cry that you don’t want people to be helpful – just to sympathise with your plight! Honestly – Why would anyone else want to do that? Why would anyone want to become your depression enabler

    That’s a joke, right? A performative of How To Do It Wrong? How to make sure the depressive in your life shuts down and never asks for help?

    Because your comment is the equivalent of standing at the edge of a river while someone’s being swept past, and saying, “Don’t GURGLE so much while you cry out for help. It’s very off-putting! And all the flailing and splashing about — you’re getting us wet!”

    Either you’ve been where I’ve been or you’ve just established yourself as the last person on earth to approach for help.

  40. Sharon W Says:

    If we deny that we are spirit, soul and body and only accept that we are body, then we have painted ourselves into quite a corner when it comes to such complex problems as depression or mental illness for that matter. I personally know of 2 cases that can be understood to have had a genetic origin (medication used as a bridge along with psychiatric therapy brought healing to one, the other has been struggling for 8 years), 3 cases that had a spiritual origin (prayers of deliverance eventually unlocked the hellish prison) and 1 case that began with an immoral descent into evil–beginning with a seemingly innocuous theft (stole a shirt from A & F at 17), self-medicated with vicodan (prescribed for a wisdom teeth extraction) and alcohol at 20 and culminated in a full-blown addiction to heroin resulting in criminal theft by age 24. Drug-induced pyschosis resulting in life-threatening depression is indeed a grave evil. As a Catholic I consider it one of Satan’s greatest weapons, as it destroys the individual, harms the family and works to destroy the culture as well. At what point addiction becomes obsession is another mystery. Because when it does, that is when it becomes deadly. He could be the poster boy for all the things our world tells you if you have them, you are set for life–good looks, intelligence, humorous, personable, athletic ability, raised in a loving home by 2 parents, good educational opportunities, no financial concerns, trained in the Judeo-Christian virtues. But when one bad decision, followed by another leads to a bondage resulting in an obsession, all hell breaks loose. He’s been working on getting free (with a considerable support network) for more than 2 years. Dealing with depression in the midst of this recovery is part of the equation. Drug-free and facing the ugly facts of failure, disappointment, guilt, hurting the innocent people in your world that have only loved and supported you isn’t easy, but must be done. So I’ve witnessed a battle against depression. Since March 23 he is in a one year program, offered for free by a church, and is dealing with the fact that he could not handle reality or freedom. Facing that truth, drug-free (yes–no prescription meds used), able to engage the giftings that are his by birth so that he can embrace reality and make moral choices while still enjoying the support of a loving community is his path to freedom and it appears to be working. So again, genetic, spiritual and moral. I’ve seen all 3.

  41. MollyNH Says:

    GB,sorry I need to correct your misunderstanding for you and others on the blog who may/will find it offensive, unfortunately.
    Catholicism (the Mother Church & not a “sect”)
    in no way teach us that we cannot have a relationship with GOD apart from the PRIEST !!!!!
    That is just absurd !
    Why would you post something as odd as that
    (that Catholics are dependent on our Priests) to have a relationship with God) without first investigating from CATHOLIC SOURCES the role of the priest in the spiritual life of Catholics.
    As far as your *pure speculation* of Manley Hopkins
    reasons for rejecting Protestantism, you readily placed THAT into YOUR OWN narrative & I can assure you it is incorrect. Perhaps you should read his biography with an open mind, as Lauren Bacall would advise.

  42. Artfldgr Says:

    Not all intense depressions are alike, so Brosh’s may not describe them all.

    mine is more situational less emotional
    that is if i can change the situation, i instantly feel better
    but if thats not possible in a good way, i am stuck
    like now at work, where they get to under pay me, and not train me, so i cant leave, but cant achieve either (as my home life is slowly inexorably destroyed in the process)

    now will someone please shoot me?
    sign me / dead in everything but body…

  43. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    dicentra,

    I started to address your comment point for point and then realized that our disagreement is reduced to a simple issue. You apparently believe that severe depression, mental illnesses and physical disease are strictly a matter of a bodily dysfunction. I do not. Which is not to say that I deny, in any way the largely “organic dysfunction of their brains” or a physical disease’s presence.

    My intention was not and is not to engage in ‘idle speculation’. But I am asserting there to be a mind-body-soul connection that IMO cannot be dismissed. Perhaps I’m wrong about that but obviously I don’t currently think so. I say currently because I value the truth above dogma. And it is pursuit of the truth of severe depression that leads to my ‘idle speculation’.

    Perhaps I am engaging in the sin of Job’s friends and if so, everyone of whom I have offended has my deepest of apologies. But until I am persuaded that to be so, I must remain true to my own light as I see it.

  44. Artfldgr Says:

    Don Carlos, parkinsons is not treatable, its a managed thing that slows down the dying… ie. extends the pain of it for longer for those who can. thats it… your meds have bad side effects, and things become more and more impossible, you become more and more of a burden to your family, emotionally as well as physically and economically… having aids is more manageable.

  45. Mac Says:

    True, Molly–”cannot have a relationship with God apart from the priest” is kind of classic Protestant misconception.

    The connection of Allie Brosh’s depression to Ritalin really caught my attention. As I understand it, Ritalin is basically a form of what we used to call “speed”, of which methamphetamine is the extreme. And when I hear people describe true clinical depression, it sounds exactly like the experiences I had with speed, long ago, using dexedrine to stay awake for exams. It was an indescribable sense of desolation which I remember very vividly. And most definitely not the same thing as sadness or melancholy, with which I’m very familiar.

  46. Artfldgr Says:

    GoB : But I’m a “the glass is half-full” type of person and have always quickly returned to that perspective.

    basically glass is half full glass is half empty is an erroneous description of the condition.

    that is, you have a deluded view… it exists in a suppositional state in which you do not have enough information, and so you choose one.

    An optimist will tell you the glass is half-full; the pessimist, half-empty; and the engineer will tell you the glass is twice the size it needs to be to hold that much water.

    out of the three, only one is an accurate description of the situation.

  47. Mac Says:

    To clarify: the desolation came when the drug wore off. Speeding itself was actually a lot of fun, as is too often the case.

  48. Lizzy Says:

    Excellent post, Neo! I have a loved one who struggles with this.
    Thanks for the Link to Allie Brosh’s website – loved the cartoons, and the ones on depression are incredible.

  49. Artfldgr Says:

    i can tell you EXACTLY what is wrong in my case…
    its not hard.

    the best example i can give is from the show brain games and the show about anger.

    ie. we still have our primitive brains

    so i am in a situation where i have to perform a task, much like a capuchin monkey in a cage, and am rewarded with a cucumber. however, because of the forces on me, my co workers who are women and minorities, are given a grape. no matter what i do, i cant get better than a cucumber. this kicks in your primitive mind, and anger… however, you cant react in anger to this, as others will not understand at all. so your forced to internalize it. you keep doing it until you start to attack yourself for not being able to earn the grape, even though in this case the game is rigged against you (arbitrarily to you, in some personal set of reasons for others who feel justified in imposing this unfair and eeoc illegal situation where you are not allowed to achieve or grow or have what others are allowed to have…)

    Capuchin monkey fairness experiment
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSryJXDpZo

    you may say you are smarter than that monkey, but your not… as this stuff is still in you because its needed.

    the problem is that people subject people to such things and then they have no way to change that situation. what do they do? well some wackos who are stuck, go the i will get them all route… but if your not wacko, then what? you cant yell, you cant even tell the boss, its unfair… they wouldnt be doing it to you if the situation had an out!!!!!!!

    i cant find a video to show it, but they set up a game show kind of experiment. the first to 500 wins. the host asks questions of the three, but one buzzer is rigged (and can be switched so as to not be rigged when tested)

    the person KNOWS something is up. their buzzer is not working, the others in the competition are dancing then they get scores… but no matter what, his buzzer will not ring to give him a chance. he gets angrier and angrier and angrier. but who do you attack? the other team mates? the host? they stop the game to check the buzzer… it works.

    you literally watch a person go slowly bezerk…
    doing exactly what i am tricked into doing at work…
    since others depend on me, i cant express, and they dont believe it, and the bosses deny it

    so what do you do? hurt your family a lot? or suffer and they are ok?

    its BLACKMAIL of the most sordid kind
    and there is only one way out

    be punished by them no matter what

    Jason Silva on Anger
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG7ZH6JmsUs

    the relationship to depression is clear
    if you cant let it out, it rots you from inside
    this tension cant be maintained nor the stress
    and so, it pushes you
    you cant address it, and so, your body saves you the harm by making you docile and depressed.
    a kind of holding pattern that in primitive days would not go on and on as such conditions do not go on as they do today..

    anger at the world, becomes anger at oneself
    then you call yourself names as one who is angry calls others names… now if you dont like yourself, that dont give you much room… and its a feedback spiral.

    Brain Games DIY: The Anger Game
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPHqPDVnA14

    Brain Games DIY: The Age Game
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToW5jxoe3fg

  50. Artfldgr Says:

    Do you boast to diabetics about your effortless insulin/glucose balance? Do you scold people with cerebral palsy for letting their limbs flail around like that? What’s the matter with them that they don’t get that EMBARRASSING movement under control, amiright?

    nah.. they lambast me for writing too long and do not want to believe the “excuse” of aspergers.

    normal thinkers tend to beat up on others as a way to “teach” them to be normal.

    arent they so wonderul nice as they believe they are? such compassion the mentino verbally, is absent otherwise.

    oh.. and if this doesnt work, they then try to find others to team up on you. nothing like a group talking in third party in front of you and basically attacking you en masse..

    yeah.. that will cure autism
    or will that drive someone to kill themselves?
    well, the second one solves their problem, dont it?
    the removal of the one who isnt the same

  51. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Artfldgr at 12:19 pm,

    Facile wordplay is beneath you.

    Pour half the water out of a glass and it is both half empty and half full. Your engineer is an idiot, as no matter what the size of the glass, you can always pour out half of it.

    Out of the three, all three are a partially accurate description of the situation because all three descriptions are, individually, incomplete.

  52. buzibi Says:

    Brilliant Dicentra – it shows you’ve got your gameplan in good working order. You know how this part of the game goes… it’s the part that uses just two simple steps to shut out any argument that might help:

    1. Take what someone says and turn it into a strawman argument using a completely different analogy.

    2. Then state that what help was offered cannot possibly help you because of how ridiculous the strawman argument is.

    LOL!

    Good one.

    I love how you’re reply to me:

    “..How to make sure the depressive in your life shuts down and doesn’t ask for help”

    Dicentra, that’s THE first basic thing that all depressives do! The basic strategy on how to maintain a life of depression is:

    A. Don’t tell anyone you’re depressed.

    B. After some time – If they don’t ask if something is wrong – Complain bitterly, ridicule and talk down to anyone who then offers help that you can’t be helped because no-one can possibly understand what it’s like.

    Surely you recognise that? That’s EVERY depressed person. Every one of them knows that no-one knows what its like. (Apart from millions of other depressed people and all those who work with them – Doh!)

    How long has it been since you tried NOT sabotaging help that was offered? I bet it’s been years.

    You’re right about one thing. I am probably the worst person to ask for help – because I won’t ever give you what you want.

    You want confirmation of your right to be depressed (The “Oh dear, poor Dicentra, how dreadful to be forced to face every day under the awful weight of depression, everyone should see how you need hugs and sympathy sympathy sympathy blah blah blah Isn’t Dicentra wonderful for being so strong in such circumstances) and anyone that gives you that merely gives you license to make your depression worse. Sorry no – I don’t do that because that wont help you.

    However – If you are serious about wanting to not be depressed I’ll show you how. It is quite simple – but it something only you can do.

  53. Artfldgr Says:

    dicentra:
    Do we have other chemical imbalances in the body.

    Holy shit, that’s a doozy. Did you get your medical degree from a Nigerian prince?

    for the record…
    your DNA has a SNP about every 300 base pairs.
    this means that everyone here has 10 million SNPs in their human genome

    we have evolved to get around MOST of them to an AMAZING degree… but all it takes is one in the wrong place, and you will have porpheria.

    in the case of the endocrine system, all kinds of things can go wrong, from the chemicals themselves, to the parts that act like a computer to keep things regulated

    and not only that, but some things are age or desease related… in that, if you dont get the condition, the chain of things does not occur and the problems dont appear.

    a person with sickle cell anemia has two copies of a gene, a person who is a carrier one. the carriers seldom experience the pain and problems that their children may suffer if they marry someone else with it.

    how do i know this junk?

    easy.. i have a 175IQ and work for one of the worlds top medical schools / hospitals.. and i work in research computing…

    what i have found is what dicentra has found. clinical people are very evil, and nasty and ignorant!!! while average people are nicer…

    in a fortune 10 company, they would nevr do what they are doing ot me here!!!

    here they pick the winners and losers…
    and do so based on whatnot… a mix of their personal situation where they then rationalize it to some pc thing or some other thing… the bottom line is that they are the ones that concieve of ovens and using them, while regular people would be horrified.

    i have solutions to many issues and have tried tob ring them forwards. in fortune 10, this would be a huge plus. to a place like XXXXX XXXXX hospital and school, its violating the design… (or endangering the fact that only management get raises and pretty much no one else does)
    [edited for length by n-n]

  54. Artfldgr Says:

    GOB: I don’t think however that the ‘you can’t understand because you’re healthy’ argument is entirely valid.

    your really wrong on this one

    just ask anyone who has done psychedelics if they can be described… no way, no how..

    hows this.. can you describe a flavor to someone without an analogy?

    how about a color?

    go ahead… i DARE you to try! the BEST you can do is try to relate it to somethig else that it isnt…

    this is why the jews say if you save a life, you save a world… because you live in your own little world, in which you have a verbal line to other worlds that are different

    normal is basically the worlds that have the most in common… abnormal is the worlds in which things are different

    this is why people with aspergers dont like the abnormal label, in that its a wrong measure… ie. we are not abnormal, we are different. what we have does not hurt anyone, and often what we have makes us better people thatn the normal people. (ergo how normal people beat up and hurt people who live in different worlds as a way to align them. works when your a child, but what if your 50?)

    if you could climb into my head, you would see a completely different view than the one you have, which is a NT neuro typical view which you take for granted because your more average than others!

    in fact, we LOVE average over unique. the most beautiul women are beautiful because they are the most average… with the actual average being a very rare thing to be!

    some conditions come with benefits, which is why people think they exist while others have disappeared.

    i can say confidently that in the case of snps, it is often that only one codon can make the thing work, and some codon codes are more unique than others.

    i wrote a paper from a data analysis point as to wht the first genetic codes were, and how they got bigger. to a data analyst of long experience, its obvious what happened… given my friend was a top geneticist, he took the time to listen and was amazed that my results matched results that came from studies of archea…

    but he is also flabbergasted that some of my reasons are completely different and more elegant and easier to postulate in a logical way… i guess he used to bother with me as it bugged him how i could reproduce 30 years of investigative work with just a week of looking at the codes and how they are structured and nothig else.

    my mind does not filter out minutea. i see what you dont… even funnier, you think you see it all, but you dont at all. i have proven this to people over and over and over.

    an NT brain spends a lot of time filtering out stuff so that the thing you call yourself does not get drowned in information that does not matter. ie. its the CEO and the CEO does not care about minutea so much

    if you look at a severely autistic child, they tune out the world. they are too sensitive to the inputs. they cant take the flood of information that comes..

    take acclimation.. some autistics cant acclimate. you acclimate. or else you could not wear clothes or jewelry… they would bother you to no end and you would not find it comfortable to put them on and then forget they are there.

    i could sit and give all kinds of deep explanations and even tell you which ones are from medical journals currently, and which ones are from my insight.

    heck.. i told the geneticst about what they will find about stem cells years before they did. we had runningbets. but thats cause i worked out the morphology system, the addressing.

    yes, i worked out the address system of the biological form and how it generates a you!

    but no one cares about that from an outsider.

    even if that person can explain it and so on
    the doc is amazed, but he is more amazed that i cant participate…

    and now, my aspergerts has me rambling again
    sorry

  55. Artfldgr Says:

    in a way, my employer is using the fact i can self train to deny me the training so i cant leave (i am paid about 60k less than others are – which means no one will hire me as to them there is something wrong. add to that i am turning 50, and programming is a field in which ageism keeps the ages to an average of 28-35)

  56. dicentra Says:

    Perhaps I am engaging in the sin of Job’s friends and if so, everyone of whom I have offended has my deepest of apologies. But until I am persuaded that to be so, I must remain true to my own light as I see it.

    What I posted earlier today is still caught in the spam filter because it has several hyperlinks in it.

    So let me pull a few key sentences:

    People need to know why “taking a stand” or “establishing your position” on depression is not a neutral act.

    Please go back to Allie’s cartoon and look at the part about the dead fish. Notice how it ends: “I started spending more time alone.”

    If she had offed herself after that, the people she left behind would have anguished about not seeing the signs and wondered why she didn’t reach out.

    But she did, you morons. You just wouldn’t listen.

    People who are depressed or suicidal need to reach out.

    But to whom?

    To the people in the dead-fish example?

    Staking out your position on depression and suicide is to announce to all within earshot that they should never so much as TRY to reach out to you. That if they’re seeking safe harbor they’d better move on, because you’re the sharp rocks that dash ships apart.

    “Don’t even THINK about approaching me with some crap about dead fish, because in my opinion, there’s no such thing as dead fish.”

    Either you’re safe harbor or you’re not.

    Nobody stakes out a position on Alzheimer’s or deep-vein thrombosis.

    If I come up to you and say, “Hey, this mole looks kinda weird: odd coloration, weird shape,” you’re not going to blow me off with “I know people say that’s a sign of melanoma, but in MY OPINION, they’re wrong.”

    By holding forth on What Depression Is you’ve just informed all depressives in your circle that if they try to reach out to you, they can expect a dissertation on YOUR OPINION about depression, a truckload of YOUR IDEAS about how it should be dealt with, and that any and all attempts to say “that’s not what I’m going through” will be met with, “My personal theology doesn’t admit the possibility that neurotransmitter deficiencies can make you hate your very existence. Sorry, but I’m very invested in this.”

    You’re not OFFENDING people over a difference of opinion.

    You’re DRIVING PEOPLE OFF. Confirming their suspicion that people don’t care, they don’t want to hear it, and that if they’re feeling suicidal, they’re better off keeping it from YOU.

    Maybe that explains why I was “overwrought”?

  57. dicentra Says:

    How long has it been since you tried NOT sabotaging help that was offered? I bet it’s been years.

    I wasn’t asking for help, especially not from you, and if you think that I’m hoping to “get permission” to be depressed — if only people would just let me enjoy this little slice of hell — then your understanding of what some people go through is so deficient and depraved that you’re a danger to anyone who needs to reach out.

  58. buzibi Says:

    Dicentra – Did I say you were asking for help? No – I suggested that you were sabotaging “help that was offered” not help that you asked for. I know you have accepted your “little slice of hell”.

    Why would you need help to get away from something that fills so much of your life? From your writing it appears that depression has become your life – it is your life’s work.

    I merely offered you a chance to try something different.

  59. Artfldgr Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says: Pour half the water out of a glass and it is both half empty and half full. Your engineer is an idiot, as no matter what the size of the glass, you can always pour out half of it.

    its a famous joke..
    you can buy T-shirts on it

    and i said:
    it exists in a suppositional state in which you do not have enough information, and so you choose one.

    i should have said superpositional or superposed AND suppositional (in terms of not having enough information to cause the superpositional state to collapse into one arbitrary choice or the other)

    i was not being facile…
    feel better now?

  60. Artfldgr Says:

    by the way. most people dont understand superpositional states, or even care to… in fact, given a situation, they will ‘pick’ something rather than glean the true nature and say, its superpositional

    and actually, to be even MORE correct, i was using a term from Quantum physics, as superpositional itself is not quite right either.

    but i find if i use QED terms and analogies, people for some reason just dont get it…

    do you concur?

    Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics that holds that a physical system—such as an electron—exists partly in all its particular theoretically possible states (or, configuration of its properties) simultaneously; but when measured or observed, it gives a result corresponding to only one of the possible configurations (as described in interpretation of quantum mechanics).

    the funny thing is that non physical things in our minds OFTEN have this state..

    we even entertain ourselves with it.
    see: Jimmy Durante – did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to stay, and wanted to go..

    a superpositoin of an emotional state

    ie. when depressed we exist in a superposition of states and hope that it does not collapse to the negtive side of the equation, but the positive side.

    the angst is from being caugt in the superposition

    my friend once had a rock by his door
    on it he painted “please turn me over”
    on the other side he wrote “there now, dont you feel better”

    :)

  61. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Artfldgr at 1:33 pm,

    “GOB: I don’t think however that the ‘you can’t understand because you’re healthy’ argument is entirely valid.”

    “your really wrong on this one”

    perhaps but your categorical dismissal of my assertion that the argument ‘‘you can’t understand because you’re not me’ NOT being entirely valid is problematic.

    That’s the ‘a white person can’t understand a black person’ argument. Which is partially valid and partially invalid. Thus my assertion that it is not entirely valid. And I’m sure that a person of your vaunted IQ can figure out the implications of that paradox.

    No, you were not being facile merely contrary for contrariness’ sake. And you still are…

  62. dicentra Says:

    Regarding the body-mind-soul thing.

    If your brain is ravaged by Alzheimer’s can your “mind” or “soul” override the effects? Will your spiritual dimension retain your memories despite the physical deterioration of the material brain? Will seeking out God ensure that you can recognize your own children, even when that part of your brain has ceased to function?

    During this mortal sojourn, the spirit is at the mercy of the flesh and suffers its afflictions. The mind/soul cannot override the brain’s limitations.

    This is not materialism: this is medicine. If I inject you with anesthesia, you will fall asleep because of the drug’s effect on the brain. Your mind, spirit, and free will cannot stop or even impede that.

    If you get screaming drunk, your mind cannot make good decisions anyway while the judgment part of your brain is impaired. You can’t will yourself to be sober; you have to wait for your liver to metabolize the alcohol.

    If a stroke renders you unable to speak, your mind cannot override that damage, so you will remain mute, very much against your will.

    Look up the example of Phineas Gauge. Brain damage changes people whether they like it or not, and can turn a decent person into a sociopath.

    If my neurotransmitters are deficient, it affects my brain just as any drug would. My mind and my soul cannot override the effects, no matter how badly I would like them to.

    I’m not sure why people resist such a notion on theological grounds when ample empirical evidence exists to the contrary, and especially when they would never hold forth on how the brain damage of Alzheimer’s patients and stroke victims is not the explanation for their cognitive gaps or behavior.

    The brain and its limitations are part of our fallen state.

    INCLUDING mood disorders.

  63. dicentra Says:

    I suggested that you were sabotaging “help that was offered”

    No help has been offered, only entrenched opinions.

    You do not care about me. You do not have my best interests at heart. You mock me and reduce my condition to “boo hoo I want someone to enable my ever so fun depression.”

    You accuse me of playing games and slaying straw men as part of my strategy to stay sick, as if I were the 700-lb woman manipulating people into bringing me a triple-sized chicken dinner.

    How very endearing.

    I must be really devious to sabotage your irresistible offer.

    Whatever am I thinking?

  64. Ymarsakar Says:

    “That doesn’t say very good things about people, does it?”

    Well that’s because most people are flawed. Which is another way of saying that they are retarded, and cannot be fixed, as opposed to ignorance or deficiencies that can be fixed or made up for.

    Imbalance isn’t used by credentialed doctors on high because they have no idea what a balance is. Science and medicine isn’t about figuring out where the universe’s tipping point is, only what things have side effects or can fix an issue, if only temporarily. As such, the point of balance is meaningless to them. It’s not something they are structured to use or comprehend.

    “buzibi ”

    Listen up, I can detect trash when I see it, and unlike others, I’ll actually point them out. When people won’t take them out, someone eventually will.

  65. Ymarsakar Says:

    “You do not care about me. You do not have my best interests at heart. You mock me and reduce my condition to “boo hoo I want someone to enable my ever so fun depression.””

    A more or less correct assessment of the conflict.

    However, notice that it only picks on what they perceive as vulnerable targets. Few people in life or the net, picks on the most challenging target. It’s not worth the risk or hassle.

  66. Sharon W Says:

    dicentra-

    Regarding mind-soul-body, since you used the example of Alzheimer’s, I want to share a factual occurrence. My maternal grandmother died of Alzheimer’s after having suffered with it for about 3 years. My mother and her sister took care of her, and visited each day the final year when she was living in a care facility. They were both with her when she died. She had long ago ceased having any recognition of who they were. At the time of her death, both were with her during the final hours. Her last words were, “Look the Holy Mother” as she sat up and directed her stare and pointed to the corner of the room. And then she died. My Aunt told me this story, and said that it wasn’t until the following Saturday when she was praying the Rosary at church that the words, “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death” struck her. We have a number of other family experiences with the supernatural and death that bolster our faith in the afterlife. This one just happens to speak to your certainty regarding Alzheimer’s and the inability to engage spiritually.

  67. neo-neocon Says:

    buzibi:

    You remind me of those online sites that advertise “One weird trick to flatten your stomach!” Just click here and follow the link—and then watch a 30-minute video that ends by asking you to buy some e-book or product.

    So, you have a cure for depression. Forgive me if I’m a bit doubtful.

  68. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    dicentra at 2:03 pm,

    “Nobody stakes out a position on Alzheimer’s or deep-vein thrombosis.

    If I come up to you and say, “Hey, this mole looks kinda weird: odd coloration, weird shape,” you’re not going to blow me off with “I know people say that’s a sign of melanoma, but in MY OPINION, they’re wrong.”

    By holding forth on What Depression Is you’ve just informed all depressives in your circle that if they try to reach out to you, they can expect a dissertation on YOUR OPINION about depression, a truckload of YOUR IDEAS about how it should be dealt with, and that any and all attempts to say “that’s not what I’m going through” will be met with, “My personal theology doesn’t admit the possibility that neurotransmitter deficiencies can make you hate your very existence. Sorry, but I’m very invested in this.”

    Actually, my Mother has Alzheimer’s and my 92 year old Father and I are acting as her care givers. And, there’s no doubt whatsoever in my mind that her Alzheimer’s has a spiritual component. Not because of my ‘theology’ but because of what I know of her and see with my own eyes and hear her repeatedly offer for those with ears to listen.

    You seem to think that the same themes that an Alzheimer’s sufferer repeats ad infinitum are accidental, I don’t. So too with a depressive. It’s the SAME themes over and over again. And if you don’t see that as indicative of a spiritual component, then you don’t want to see.

    ALL physical dis-ease has a spiritual component.

    It also seems obvious that all depressives reject all suggestions, that their default response is “that’s not what I’m going through”. The proof of that is that depressives don’t talk about what advice, insights offered or external help was efficacious. What you’re actually saying is that commiseration is all that I can accept. And, if you don’t see the connection between that attitude and God, then you don’t want to see it.

    I’ve repeatedly stated on this thread that, I fully accept the reality that “neurotransmitter deficiencies can make you hate your very existence”. Yet you falsely accuse me of not admitting it because I claim that more than just physical ailment is involved. And then you add to that, that in offering insight for whatever it might be worth, that it’s proof that I don’t care and that I don’t want to hear it. News flash! I wouldn’t waste my breath offering insight, however mistaken it might be, if I didn’t care. And, that’s true of anyone who tries to offer help, regardless of how mistaken it might be. Instead, I’d just blow you off as a whiner, which I HAVEN’T done.

    So, who exactly is not listening?

  69. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Anyone who claims “all depressives reject all suggestions” is probably guilty of overgeneralization, wouldn’t you say?

  70. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “If your brain is ravaged by Alzheimer’s can your “mind” or “soul” override the effects? Will your spiritual dimension retain your memories despite the physical deterioration of the material brain? Will seeking out God ensure that you can recognize your own children, even when that part of your brain has ceased to function?” dicentra

    Of course not, nor am I arguing otherwise. And I do have experience with this, my sister just visited after a 5 year absence and my mother did not recognize her, she had no idea who she was, so no the mind and soul cannot overcome the “physical deterioration of the material brain”.

    That said, your encapsulation of the situation is both incomplete and flawed. Alzheimer’s and severe depression as is all dis-ease is an indication and reflection of either the soul’s condition OR the challenges it has accepted, not the reverse.

    Your soul is the body that your spirit wears. Just as your body and mind are the operative organs that the soul uses to exist on this plane of existence.

    I can’t prove that to be true but I do believe that circumstantial evidence demonstrates it to probably be true and personal intuition leads me to accept it as likely. Yet if disproven, I can adjust and discard that theory because once again, truth is far more important than dogma.

  71. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    Yeah, I did go overboard to make the point. It’s hard not to respond emotionally when emotion is being thrown at you, especially when I’ve made my position clear.

  72. buzibi Says:

    Dicentra: “No help has been offered”? Funny – I thought that was the first thing I offered. Silly me.
    – “… Only entrenched opinions” .. which means what? – anything that disagrees with Dicentra?

    This entire comment is you playing with comments I made to make them fit a “Dicentra as victim” narrative. You’ll have to excuse me for I feel no guilt about not playing along with that.

    You say: “You do not care about me”
    Whether I appear to care is irrelevant – Caring or not caring will be used equally against me. That’s how the game works.

    The game goes on…
    How dare I not be sympathetic to your illness.
    How dare I not accept your beliefs about your illness.
    How dare I challenge what you know and that I cannot know.

    Well sorry – but that game’s a bad game. It’s a bad game because what you “know” is destroying you. If you want to change it then you need to rethink about it because obviously what you’ve done previously hasn’t made it go away.

    How would my being nice to your idea make you challenge it? It wouldn’t would it. But me being slightly annoying to you has made you defend your position – so it has made you think just a teeny tiny bit about it.

    Mock you. No – I’m mocking your depression narrative. I’m mocking your methods not you. I’m reducing your strategy not your condition. Your condition is real – but equally real is your gameplay.

    Depression is a manipulative illness. It manipulates the Depressed person and through them it manipulates those around them. That is the gameplay.

    If you pay attention to it you can change it.

    You may object to me calling it a game – but a game it is because it is all about playing with interpersonal thoughts and feelings. That’s what depression does.

    You know if you give your depression a name (for example call it “Brad or Janet”) – you can then make it appear as something separate to you and your life and start to make fun of it yourself. But that would be silly … wouldn’t it?

  73. buzibi Says:

    Ah Neo – I must admit after I wrote the comment I thought it looked like those “just one weird trick” ads too. LOL!

    Of course what I offered isn’t a cure all. It is though a simple thing that does help regardless of the root cause of the depression.

    I’ll give it to you here so anyone can try it.

    Here it is:

    Depression creates habits that turn all thoughts and experiences into negative ones.

    The cartoons of ‘Hyperbole and a half’ to which you linked show this well.

    There is a simple way to combat this internal narrative habit… but it takes practice. It has to be made into a habit to work.

    Whenever you notice that your thoughts are turning negative you need to DO something other than “think”. Because at that stage you’re not really thinking you are taking part in an internal narrative.

    The easiest way to break out of it is to use your senses. Just like the way some people comfort eat when they feel depressed. Instead of comfort eating you can PLAY games with your other senses. For example:

    Pick up something that has lots of parts or lots of different surfaces and gently run your hands over the surfaces and describe the feelings of those surfaces. Talk to yourself inside about the different surfaces – using as many different adjectives to describe them as possible. Get curious about the object.

    Use your eyes – Look for something with many different colours – describe those different colours to yourself again using as many different adjectives as you can.

    Do this with every sense. The thing you want to achieve is a level of PLAY with any and every item.

    Once you can PLAY a game describing a thing in many different ways you can then go on to actually adding in a narrative. So just like a child you take a thing and turn it into something to be explored. Something to be wondered at.

    And that is the first stage in getting away from depression. The one thing depression will not let you do is PLAY with the world around you. It dulls and deceives you into thinking the world is boring and deceitful and horrible etc etc, and that you are boring and useless too.

    If you can learn to play with the world – you eventually become interested in the world. The more you use your curiosity the less depression can have a hold on you because it cannot use your thoughts when you are using them for positive play. That alone is a major benefit.

    I know you wont believe me – but that’s all there is to it. Play with the world and it gives the depression less opportunity to bring the world crashing down around your ears.

    Also don’t treat the depression like it is a part of you. Make it something separate. Make it an entity to be fought and beaten. While you allow it to be part of you it is that much harder to work against because you are fighting yourself. When you can see it as separate to you it is much easier to deal with. Also using your imagination positively stops your depression using it negatively.

    That’s it. You see – simple.

    I could alternately title it “How to be mad in a completely different way” if that helps?

  74. HR Says:

    [i]Do you boast to diabetics about your effortless insulin/glucose balance?[/i]

    I actually noticed a trend of people with good pancreatic function sneering at diabetics, because apparently it only affects moral degenerates who have not led a virtuous life with regards to food. Family history? Irrelevant! They’re clearly all undisciplined hedonists, and now they want to force society to pay for their soda-guzzling ways! SINNERS! THEY MUST BE CAST OUT!!

    Ridiculous, and even people who should know better do it.

  75. Ymarsakar Says:

    You’ll have to excuse me for I feel no guilt about not playing along with that.

    Who are you that you think you can play around here, boyo?

  76. Ymarsakar Says:

    How would my being nice to your idea make you challenge it? It wouldn’t would it. But me being slightly annoying to you has made you defend your position – so it has made you think just a teeny tiny bit about it.

    This is why people don’t like shrinks or psycho path esque psychiatrists.

    It’s also why therapists often need a second opinion, their own therapist checking on the original therapist’s patient-doctor issues.

    The Doctor Credentials and their various wannabe sorts feel proud of their accomplishment, even though they only accomplished it by profiling mentally vulnerable targets rather than the challenging ones, the Real Crazies.

  77. neo-neocon Says:

    HR:

    I once knew a woman who claimed that anyone who got sick had become ill because that person did not take care of him/herself and/or didn’t have the right attitude.

    Isn’t that also more or less the stance of Christian Scientists?

  78. buzibi Says:

    Ymarsakar: Yep, acting shrink-like is always ewww.

    The problem of chatting in a blog comment is that making a serious comment to tweak someone in a fun way takes someone with a quick agile mind… and my mind is a refurbished old model. So I cheated and resorted to old worn tactics.

  79. praent Says:

    Various things one can believe about mental fitness/illness

    Can the brain be damaged physically by illness, abuse, or even go defective through genetics?

    Can behavior be entirely cognitive – (think some suicidal teen with limited life experience)

    Can evil people use mental illness as an excuse?

    Can mental illness cause people to act like evil people?

    I think all are true. Surely, some conditions are for lack of coping mechanisms.

    Others are biochemical. As real as a broken arm, but a broken brain.

    I wouldn’t dismiss treating conditions as bunk. I would say, it’s hard to suss out sometimes what is what and what to do about it.

    Good luck to all in dealing personally with such things.

  80. Ymarsakar Says:

    buzibi: You didn’t answer the question. Why bother responding if you’re going to dodge the issue in such an obvious manner? Do you think you’re swimming in a sea of idiots?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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