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Questions to those who have been chronically depressed

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I find depression to be a fairly interesting topic given the (increasing?) prevalence of it today. It's also a bit mysterious to me because I have never been chronically depressed myself, despite the fact that I am at high risk for it being a Philadelphia sports fan. The feeling of chronic depression seems vague to me and given the simple tag of "prolonged sadness."

 

So I have a few questions:

1. Is chronic depression simply prolonged sadness or something more?

2. When you were depressed, did you have a specific reason for being depressed? Did you find reasons to be depressed? Did you have no reason to be depressed at all?

3. A lot of artistic genius seems to come out of depression. Did you find this to be the case? Any other positives?

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I've never been depressed (at least officially), but from what I've heard, it's not so much sadness, as pessimism and a general lack of energy and/or desire to do anything.

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Be mindful that actual depression is vastly different from what "Mainstream depression" is. It is very easy to get a diagnosis for depression, but having the actual kind is a different beast all together, from what I have heard.

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despite the fact that I am at high risk for it being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Good thing I have only been an active Philadelphia sports fan for the year 2008 specifically and entirely by coincidence. -.-

 

Did you have no reason to be depressed at all?

I find that while one may have a certain reason to be depressed, it is also likely that they may have no reason not to be depressed. Naturally, the latter is more likely to be associated with chronic than short-term depression, because it often takes more time to find meaning in life than to get over a break-up, as an example.

 

A lot of artistic genius seems to come out of depression. Did you find this to be the case?

While that seems to be true, at least anecdotally, the specific reasons for those sorts of success coming out of depression seem to me to be uncertain, or perhaps inconstant. One reason, I believe, is that somebody who is content with the course of their life will have little incentive to undergo significant change, whereas somebody who is depressed has, in a sense, nothing to lose and potentially something to gain by what somebody else may see as dramatic measures. Here's a crappy analogy: Civilizations that lived in more unforgiving environments of the world historically experienced less technological advancement, whereas those that were forced to go above and beyond did, resulting in long-term success. For example, the hospitable regions of Pacific islands convinced their indigenous peoples that they could sit back and eat coconuts all day, whereas those that lived in the more merciless northern regions of Europe saw some of the greatest innovations that ultimately led to their superiority, which, at a glance, seems paradoxical considering that they were given inferior territory. In the same manner, a depressed person has reason to be willing to exceed what content people would typically see as reasonable bounds. But I'm not a psychologist, so treat this as though it's conjecture. -.-

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3. A lot of artistic genius seems to come out of depression. Did you find this to be the case? Any other positives?

I'm pretty sure that this phenomenon is generally associated with bipolar disorder, that is, the artist gets a lot of inspiration when they have their good moments and then are depressed the next.

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1. Is chronic depression simply prolonged sadness or something more? The difference between general sadness and depression is that if you are sad without being depressed, you'd typically have healthy coping mechanisms to improve your mood, or at least see hope in improving your mood. One indicator of chronic depression is extreme feelings of hopelessness, that things will never improve. Also changes where your former coping mechanisms and interests no longer help you.

 

2. When you were depressed, did you have a specific reason for being depressed? Did you find reasons to be depressed? Did you have no reason to be depressed at all? I still am depressed which isn't constant, it gets triggered by certain events, sometimes big and sometimes small. I didn't look for reasons, but if something set me off at the wrong time, it set me off. Perhaps from someone without depression, these reasons would seem trivial. Maybe they are, but to someone with depression, if it is a big deal, then it is a big deal.

 

3. A lot of artistic genius seems to come out of depression. Did you find this to be the case? I don't think being an artistic genius is worth living with depression and I wouldn't like to call it a side effect correlating to depression, but yes it is very common. Disorders like depression, borderline personality disorder, etc, make you a lot more sensitive to emotions and changes in moods. It could give you a unusual outlook on the world, of course one that's usually cynical. I don't know if I like the idea of artistic genius being associated with a crippling mental disorder, it kind of leads to people romanticizing the disorder, but yeah a lot of artistic geniuses are sufferers.

 

Depression is a very widespread diagnosis, and artistic geniuses account for a vastly small amount of the population, so I think there's a lot more to it.

Edited by Twist of Fate

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1. Is chronic depression simply prolonged sadness or something more?

It's something more. Imagine being told happiness is right around the corner, but you live in a circle. It's like, it feels like nothing can help and nothing you do seems to work. Typical coping mechanisms tend to be less effective because you're not fighting a fire with a source many times. At least for me, I'll have an episode for a few days, weeks, months, etc. for no particular reason. It's hard to fight a bottomless fire at the source.

 

2. When you were depressed, did you have a specific reason for being depressed? Did you find reasons to be depressed? Did you have no reason to be depressed at all?

Not always.

 

3. A lot of artistic genius seems to come out of depression. Did you find this to be the case? Any other positives?

Artistic things do tend to help me a little. Letting the feelings out helps me a lot. Not as much as I'd like, but it's certainly better than nothing.

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I find depression to be a fairly interesting topic given the (increasing?) prevalence of it today. It's also a bit mysterious to me because I have never been chronically depressed myself, despite the fact that I am at high risk for it being a Philadelphia sports fan. The feeling of chronic depression seems vague to me and given the simple tag of "prolonged sadness."

 

So I have a few questions:

1. Is chronic depression simply prolonged sadness or something more?

2. When you were depressed, did you have a specific reason for being depressed? Did you find reasons to be depressed? Did you have no reason to be depressed at all?

3. A lot of artistic genius seems to come out of depression. Did you find this to be the case? Any other positives?

I do not suffer from chronic depression, but have had a brief encounter with depression before in a way that differed from ordinary grief/sadness and I've been pretty close with sufferers of clinical depression. One important point to keep in mind is that depression (in addition to other mental health issues) may not necessarily be increasing in prevalence, as much as they are finally being attributed as we become more familiar with psychological disorders.

 

1. Chronic depression is a mental health disorder that can exhibit itself in consistent depression or swings. It differs from ordinary sadness, I'd personally say it's a feeling of complete overwhelming and helplessness.

 

2. For me it was a series of life events, but luckily I don't suffer from clinical depression. For those that do, even if you have all the reasons in the world to NOT be depressed, there's nothing you can do since you can't alter how your brain operates just by willing it.

 

3. Just my interpretation, but artistic genius may come out of depression and is accepted so widely because we all face sadness and potential depression. Someone who is chronically depressed (and has the artistic ability to describe it either in word or paint or some other way) can be very familiar with these feelings and able to describe it in such a way that the rest of us can relate to. I appreciate a good depressing movie or song because it takes me to a feeling that I am somewhat familiar with but do not experience very often.

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I have had struggles with depression in the past.

 

I've noticed that many people I know in college also exhibit signs of depression. It's very easy to get caught in it in college because you have to spend a lot of later hours in sedentary positions. In my case I'm not naturally depressed, it's not a chemistry thing. If I spend too much time being sedentary it comes in and I feel increasingly lethargic and my mind starts going all over the place, to the point where I've wondered at times if I have some kind of attention deficit issue.

 

It's really hard to break the cycle when you don't have family close by and struggle to make friends due to your past. I've been pretty seriously handicapped by my upbringing and the community around me and its lack of openness toward people with anything but a run-of-the-mill Christian/conservative attitude just further restricts me from wanting to go out and do things even though I know that's good for me. My saving grace is that I have work and that motivates me to get outside and occupy myself with something.

 

Fortunately, my plans are to transfer yet again, this time to a larger state school with a more diverse group of people.

Edited by Thomas Jefferson

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To answer your first question:

 

Depression is not just a feeling of sadness. Really it's more than a feeling at all. It's better to define Depression as more of a state of being. My girlfriend I met a little over a year ago was battling depression before I had met her. She was very severely depressed and was not eating regularly and becoming malnourished as a result. There is obviously the stereotypical thoughts of self harm and suicide involved. (which may not be the case for everyone). What I have found in my girlfriend's case is that a lot of different things played into her depression. Things like rejection from her own family and she once lost a friend while speaking to him on the phone. Depression is not a term that should be taken lightly as it creates more than a general feeling of sadness. She has told me that the medication she took in order to help would typically either a) not work, or b) alter her personality. We are a lot alike in the aspect that we also do not want to have to take pills if it is not necessary.

 

I was also slightly depressed at a point in time. I found myself pushing everyone I cared about away and trying as hard as humanly possible to stay home alone. I would often have thoughts about how much better it would be to not have to live. I had a bad way of dealing with my problems which I believe actually made them worse. I began to heavily smoke weed and drink with my friends a lot which actually at times had me feeling bad. I began to stop hanging out with the friends of mine who didn't use. Usually I would tell myself that I was a bad person for doing those things until I was high or tipsy again. But for me depression I think was slightly hereditary but also caused by the way my father treated me and how I was treated in school. My dad would put me down in front of people or tell me things like I won't go anywhere in life if I play so many video games and he would call me a good kitty! (pardon my french), and a lot of other things. A sad thing about that story is that I didn't really start to feel close with him until I was drunk and high with him in Vegas with his family and I was able to talk to him. I really believe that family life has a lot to do with depression.

 

Sadness does play a huge part in depression but it does a lot more than just make you sad.

 

Really I didn't notice all of these things until after the fact. And now I have some pretty huge regrets that I wish I could take back.

 

So all in all depression is more than just a feeling. I obviously was not hurt by it as much as a lot of people but I did change a lot when it really started to affect me.

 

And no, I did not find artistic inspiration. Although, i'm sure if I looked for it I would have haha!

 

 

I hope this has solved some mysteries for you. And I apologize if anyone is offended by anything. There was a lot more to what I just said but honestly i've done a good job letting that escape my mind and would rather not go too far back. It feels good to be able to talk about this though thank you for this topic. Have a good day! :)

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