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  1. #31
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Only semi-rhetorical counter question: How can the depressed person possibly know what the other person can or can not imagine? By what right do you tell me what the borders of my perception, memory and imagination are?
    If I can not enter your head, neither can you enter mine. If I can't imagine what it is like to be depressed, can you imagine what it feels like not to be (pplchknz just mentioned this) and see the world with the eyes of a healthy person?

    What I mean by that is that both party's vision is partially impaired. Of course you can't just cheer up or snap out of depression, that is patently ridiculous. But once you accept the fact that you do have a desease there are ways to get better. It is hard work and it takes a lot of time, but you are not some damn emo snowflake nobody could ever possibly understand because your problems are so unique. They are not, and that is a good thing, because it is the reason that there are solutions out there.
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  2. #32
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    Agree with the OP's statement; depression is a subjective phenomenon that one can only truly know by actually having experienced it. It's annoying though when people who haven't experienced depression make blatently wrong assumptions concerning it; my mother seems to think that people with depression are just emo and need to toughen up out of it . Either way, the best way to deal with depression, from what I understand, is support from friends/family as well as drugs that boost chemical in the brain to make people happier.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Somehow, this topic reminds me of the "Mary's room" hypothesis... Can one "understand" depression if they only do so in the clinical sense?

  4. #34
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Its one of those things that I think people need to understand that they simply can't understand. Its hard for people to comprehend this because many mental/psychological problems seem a lot like other things; anorexia seems like over-enthusiastic dieting; alcoholism can seem like self-indulgence; and depression seems rather like sadness. People need to accept the fact that there isn't an easy equivalent in their own lives for these things and that these reductive comparisons often miss the point entirely. Once you admit you don't get it, the real learning begins.

    At the same time, empathy can cover a lot of ground; if you're willing to be patient and listen, it can be almost as worthwhile as true understanding. And a depressed person almost always must learn to accept help from others who simply can't understand what they're going through. I've found that sometimes saying that, "you don't understand what its like", can be such a cop out; a flat refusal to accept help and worthwhile advice because they don't want to actually face the issue at hand. But of course, "cheer up" is always an idiotic thing to say and doesn't count as real advice.
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  5. #35
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    You guys realise there is more than one type of depression right? Depression characterised by serotonin dysfunction associated with chronic stress and anxiety (and HPA axis hyper-activity) compared with dopaminergic deficiency, increased serotonin and hypo-activity of the HPA axis. Of course there are other neurotransmitters associated with mood disorders, including the rest of the monoamines, the cholinergics etc, so there are many more possibilities.

    So having a depression diagnosis wouldn't necessarily translate into knowing how others with depression may feel.

  6. #36
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    I agree. I don't understand it. I don't understand how people can lack the will to fix it. I just know that the chemistry in their minds is preventing them from being able to help themselves and for me, it's a terrifying concept. Seems like a prison.



  7. #37
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    I don't understand how people can lack the will to fix it.
    It's not necessarily a lack of will. There are those who cannot afford treatment, or are unaware that they have a treatable condition, or their condition is unresponsive to treatment. (note, I'm clearly referring to the worldwide incidence, rather than middle class American incidence).

  8. #38
    (blankpages) Xenon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    ...even people who have had depression have not had your experience with it (in the context of your particular life history and situation), so they also don't understand.

    Why is it so important to be "understood" to some arbitrary degree when nobody will ever understand you completely, and many people will understand you partially to various degrees?
    This. No one really knows what it's like to be someone else. The experience of depression is hardly unique in that sense.

    And, the term "depression" covers a lot of variation. Sometimes the person feels passive, sometimes s/he gets agitated. Some feel a lot of sadness and pain and some feel more numb. Sometimes it's a clear reaction to life circumstances, sometimes it's ongoing and results from twisted thinking or a poor self-concept, and sometimes it's more physiologically rooted. Sometimes it occurs on its own and sometimes alongside another disorder. Sometimes people can still carry about their usual activities and no one even guesses anything's wrong, and sometimes people are incapacitated to the point of needing hospitalization. How would having some sort of experience with some sort of depression give you some deep understanding of everyone else's experience?

    I agree with Southern Kross: the best thing you can do with someone else's pain is just accept that you won't necessarily understand it and be open to listening to them and learning about it.

  9. #39
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    agree theoretically; disagree practically. no one can ever really understand what another person is going through. we're not them, we don't have their unique conglomeration of experiences and thoughts and ways of thinking. but practically, we can get pretty close with a willingness to keep in mind that someone else's experiences may be drastically different from ours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity
    Why is it so important to be "understood" to some arbitrary degree when nobody will ever understand you completely, and many people will understand you partially to various degrees?
    Quote Originally Posted by blankpages
    I agree with Southern Kross: the best thing you can do with someone else's pain is just accept that you won't necessarily understand it and be open to listening to them and learning about it.

  10. #40
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    no one can ever really understand what another person is going through. we're not them, we don't have their unique conglomeration of experiences and thoughts and ways of thinking. but practically, we can get pretty close with a willingness to keep in mind that someone else's experiences may be drastically different from theirs.
    I agree with the first part, but I disagree with the "we can get pretty close" bit. I really don't think we can, unless we've been there.

    Many people think they can understand what experiences are like for other people but even those with open minds can't do so, what we can do is settle on empthising, listening and being non-judgemental. Everything in life that we witness someone else experience is seen through clouded eyes, we may experience something similar that gives us some insight into the other persons journey but unless we share that experience we can't live it. Example: I know first hand what discrimination based on stigma and stereotype is like, to be part of a minority that some believe would be better off dead, and while those same sentiments may be directed at other minority groups I do not know their journey. If I delude myself into thinking my experiences can give me understanding into another persons then I am by default not hearing what they say it's like. It took being in that position to realise this.

    I do not believe someone can really understand depression unless they live it, and even then their understanding is limited to what they actually experienced.

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