"Brain" would seem the more correct spelling of your name :) Terrific post IMO.chewybrian wrote: ↑June 20th, 2018, 6:56 amThat part about an attempt to garner support--if no support arrives, it seems like it could become self-reinforcing and lead to severe depression. I think depressed people selfishly expect the world to be able to see how much they are suffering, but most other people are actually rather immune to the signals. The depressed person sends out ever stronger, yet still too subtle signals, getting ever more distressed that others are not picking up on them. I know 'selfish' sounds like a harsh way to describe a depressed person. But, that incorrect assessment of the world and their place in it is a huge element of the problem, and they would ironically be happier, as you say, if they could realize they matter less, as expectations could be more easily met at that point.
Leaving out the small percentage of people with serious wiring problems, I think our American lifestyles lead to depression, much as they lead to heart disease and diabetes. We reinforce the physical and mental causes of depression in many ways. We put people in jobs that are repetitive and non-rewarding (see Marx), keep them out of the sun, enable them to avoid exercise, offer them mostly poor food choices. Our culture often values material things over people, and makes people the means rather than the ends. Perhaps most troubling is the unrealistic expectations we put in peoples' minds from an early age, through television and other means. Top it off with the fact that depression sufferers here are likely to be surrounded by enablers who will reinforce the problems, or other depressed or self-absorbed people. You can 'inherit' depression, for sure.
As with heart disease and diabetes, the cures which would probably work best for most people are not medicine. Medicine alone may only mask the symptoms while allowing the causes to continue their work underground. It puts the disease in partial remission without curing it. It is the perfect answer for the physician who wants a speedy, lawsuit-resistant answer that allows him to ring the register each time the prescription must be renewed. And, it allows the sufferer the comfort of avoiding responsibility for either causing or needing to work to cure their ailment.
Real cures for depression would be found in psychotherapy, in really examining the patient's contribution to their suffering and their ability to contribute to the cure. They need to reset their expectations of the world and their place in it to a more rational level to avoid undue disappointment. If I think I should be a 9 and I think I am a 2, then the gap seems too big to overcome. If I realize that maybe I'm really a 4, and it's OK to be a 6, then I might have some hope of reaching my goal. Add exercise, a better diet, owning pets, getting outside, forming connections to others (even helping them instead of worrying about yourself)... These things, I think, would alleviate the symptoms for most people, and make their lives and the lives of those around them better in the process.
I'm not saying medicine is useless or that nobody needs it. I'm only saying it should rarely be the first answer, and most people would be better off with lifestyle and behavior changes. It's terribly difficult for the depressed person to see that they may have caused their own depression, or that they have the power to cure it by their own will, but that is my take. Yes, I have been there and I know how hard it is, but this is the real path out for the long haul, and worth all the effort if you see it through.
Finally, it would help if we could remove the stigma from the problem. People can talk openly about diabetes or some other ailment, but they are likely to keep their depression to themselves, which is exactly what they don't need to do. How comforting would it be for them to talk to others openly about their experiences with depression? "I was depressed, and here is what worked for me, and here is what you need to watch out for at this point", etc.
The stigma issue you raised at the end relates to the problems you highlighted early - attention seeking attempts to have one's pain acknowledged, validated and thus become somewhat of a "Get out of gaol free" card.
The plural and diverse nature of our giant societies confuses people. There are thousands of people out there who really do care about your problems (or would if they knew). However, there are many millions of others who truly do not care a jot.
With a big enough population, there will be thousands of hypersensitive people who seem to find room to actually care for many others, but there will be millions who are flat our caring for themselves and their own, let alone taking on extra baggage, and this is where depressed people miss out. They qualify as "baggage," whereas a person with a physical ailment might still be upbeat and enjoyable to be around.