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Is depression a benefit in disguise?

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Ginkgo

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Chronic depression is not necessarily melodrama, hysterics, or incessant tears. It acts like a tumor that replaces your passions and drives. It can begin with a feeling of emptiness or hopelessness, but soon that very feeling becomes a cumbersome weight that impedes every other thought and action. Soon you grow numb to it, knowing nothing but it, as you sink into a claustrophobic tunnel vision of apathy. At its worst, your thoughts become so mired and ingrained that you struggle to perceive the outside world. At best, this serves as a shield from anything that might, once again, trigger depression. It negates the sufferer from actually seeing it as a thing of value in that moment. However, if it is overcome, it may reinforce the sufferers resilience that much more.
 

Forever_Jung

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I would say melancholy is a benefit in disguise, while clinical depression isn't. Greek philosophers often associated melancholia with deep contemplation and creativity.

This is important to recognize, particularly in North America's self-help culture, where we seem to think that positive emotions are the only permissible emotions. Rather than repress/deny/numb/avoid these darker feelings, we should instead accept them and try to use them to your advantage. It's like emotional martial arts. Rather than trying to directly block your opponent's strike, you should guide/control their force to your own advantage. Similarly, rather than pop some prozac after the loss of a loved one, you should use the intense internal focus melancholy affords you to help you properly sort through your grief and make sense of it. To integrate it into your being in a healthy way (Major disclaimer: there's nothing wrong with medication, it just isn't always the answer). And when you're super happy and excited, go with it! Take on high-energy challenges, and use your enthusiasm to inspire and encourage others. Ride that wave of joy, just don't expect it to last forever.
 
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garbage

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It provides a pretty damn enlightening existential perspective--including musing about free will and agency, the meaning of life, etc. But it's best if it can be overcome.
 

Honor

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It certainly can be.
 

Qlip

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I was depressed for a huge chunk of my life. It sucks, it doesn't matter what good I did because of it, all of what I did was just to remain above water. It's not a call to action, because your drive to solve problems are weakened. The only natural purpose that I can imagine for depression, if there are any, is the impulse for the weak to go off somewhere alone and die and not hold the tribe back.

I certainly have perspective that is unique and a better scope and sensitivity of what suffering is, but I wouldn't wish it on my grandma.

Contra to the OP's opinion, I was able to leave depression behind by leaving behind religion.
 

AphroditeGoneAwry

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I was depressed for a huge chunk of my life. It sucks, it doesn't matter what good I did because of it, all of what I did was just to remain above water. It's not a call to action, because your drive to solve problems are weakened. The only natural purpose that I can imagine for depression, if there are any, is the impulse for the weak to go off somewhere alone and die and not hold the tribe back.

I certainly have perspective that is unique and a better scope and sensitivity of what suffering is, but I wouldn't wish it on my grandma.

Contra to the OP's opinion, I was able to leave depression behind by leaving behind religion.


I could see needing to leave behind religion to be free of depression. There are numerous false doctrines out there.

It does not mean leaving behind God though. :)
 

Qlip

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I could see needing to leave behind religion to be free of depression. There are numerous false doctrines out there.

It does not mean leaving behind God though. :)

Once you leave, you see that the doctrines are neither false or true, they're just believed or not. And once you understand it, there's no need for them anymore.
 

AphroditeGoneAwry

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Once you leave, you see that the doctrines are neither false or true, they're just believed or not. And once you understand it, there's no need for them anymore.


But then you are still no closer to having true peach and happiness.

Only God can offer you that.
 

Qlip

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But then you are still no closer to having true peach and happiness.

Only God can offer you that.

Whether I have true peace or not, whether it's God giving it to me or not. We both possess it. That's the other thing you cannot unsee, there is no single holder of the truth, or exclusive dispensary of happiness. But, there are an unlimited amount of people who want to convince you that there is. The only ones that are right are the ones that tell you that the true source is yourself.
 

AphroditeGoneAwry

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Whether I have true peace or not, whether it's God giving it to me or not. We both possess it. That's the other thing you cannot unsee, there is no single holder of the truth, or exclusive dispensary of happiness. But, there are an unlimited amount of people who want to convince you that there is. The only ones that are right are the ones that tell you that the true source is yourself.

If the true source is yourself, then you would have it right now. We would all have it. Right?
 

Qlip

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If the true source is yourself, then you would have it right now. We would all have it. Right?

What makes you think I don't have peace and happiness, is it because I don't have a halo around my head? I have it in moments, and those moments are amazing, but they're not trophies, they're landmarks. We all *can* have it, and by 'it' I mean a meaningful life, but it needs to be cultivated. And as everything in life, it's not something that can be won once and had for eternity. It has to be continually fought for.

I've never seen a Christian that is more happy or more at peace than happy and at peace people that are not Christians. I have seen plenty attempting to look happier and peacefuller, in many different denominations.
 

AphroditeGoneAwry

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Whether I have true peace or not, whether it's God giving it to me or not. We both possess it. That's the other thing you cannot unsee, there is no single holder of the truth, or exclusive dispensary of happiness. But, there are an unlimited amount of people who want to convince you that there is. The only ones that are right are the ones that tell you that the true source is yourself.

What makes you think I don't have peace and happiness, is it because I don't have a halo around my head? I have it in moments, and those moments are amazing, but they're not trophies, they're landmarks. We all *can* have it, and by 'it' I mean a meaningful life, but it needs to be cultivated. And as everything in life, it's not something that can be won once and had for eternity. It has to be continually fought for.

I've never seen a Christian that is more happy or more at peace than happy and at peace people that are not Christians. I have seen plenty attempting to look happier and peacefuller, in many different denominations.

Just going by what you didn't say. :smile: If someone has peace, they usually want to proclaim it to others, so they can share in the good feelings. That is what proselytizing is all about.

I, on the contrary, have seen the best people who have the truest smiling faces, and who emit love from their body and aura, be true Christians. I noticed this even when I was an atheist.
 

Qlip

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Just going by what you didn't say. :smile: If someone has peace, they usually want to proclaim it to others, so they can share in the good feelings. That is what proselytizing is all about.

I, on the contrary, have seen the best people who have the truest smiling faces, and who emit love from their body and aura, be true Christians. I noticed this even when I was an atheist.

Ugh, the toll it takes to affect this is only paid in self-satisfaction. The most smiley beautiful person I know is a non-Christian and worships at the altar of Pharrell Williams. She's an obvious E7.

If I would preach anything, it's not peace and happiness, those are pretty, but fleeting. What I would preach is a meaningful existence, where even your sorrows *count* for something. But I don't preach, but maybe I should?
 

AphroditeGoneAwry

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Ugh, the toll it takes to affect this is only paid in self-satisfaction. The most smiley beautiful person I know is a non-Christian and worships at the altar of Pharrell Williams. She's an obvious E7.

If I would preach anything, it's not peace and happiness, those are pretty, but fleeting. What I would preach is a meaningful existence, where even your sorrows *count* for something. But I don't preach, but maybe I should?

But you can only have true peace and happiness if you have a meaningful existence in obedience to God.

And I don't just mean smiley, silly. I mean that genuine smile of love, that never ends, and comes quickly to the eyes, and seeps into your heart. Haven't you seen it? :heart:
 

Qlip

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But you can only have[I] true[/I] peace and happiness if you have a meaningful existence in obedience to God.

And I don't just mean smiley, silly. I mean that genuine smile of love, that never ends, and comes quickly to the eyes, and seeps into your heart. Haven't you seen it? :heart:

As far as true peace an happiness, I disagree about the idea that you can only have it in obedience to God, and I've never seen or felt evidence to the contrary. If there is a God, he gave me my senses and my reasoning, so I must honor that.

I met a girl at a bar yesterday, she smiled at me like that, it was beautiful... it wasn't Godly, though, at least not by Christian reckoning. She did for a moment try to suspend her Atheism to express that she felt we met for a reason, fate. It was a moment, due to circumstances, that was meaningful by its humanity, but would have been denied it's beauty, because you would withhold the word 'true' from it.

Anyway, I know these arguments and how they go. I've seen people read Bible verses to each other for hours at a time for years worth of Mondays and have seen nobody change their minds. Good day AGA.
 

Kasper

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But you can only have true peace and happiness if you have a meaningful existence in obedience to God.

And I don't just mean smiley, silly. I mean that genuine smile of love, that never ends, and comes quickly to the eyes, and seeps into your heart. Haven't you seen it? :heart:

Then why aren't the religious statistically less likely to be depressed than anyone else?

Spiritual and religious beliefs as risk factors for the onset of major depression: an international cohort study

If you don't want to click:

Results The analyses included 8318 attendees. Of participants reporting a spiritual understanding of life at baseline, 10.5% had an episode of depression in the following year compared to 10.3% of religious participants and 7.0% of the secular group (p < 0.001). However, the findings varied significantly across countries, with the difference being significant only in the UK, where spiritual participants were nearly three times more likely to experience an episode of depression than the secular group [OR 2.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.59–4.68]. The strength of belief also had an effect, with participants with strong belief having twice the risk of participants with weak belief. There was no evidence of religion acting as a buffer to prevent depression after a serious life event.

Conclusions These results do not support the notion that religious and spiritual life views enhance psychological well-being.​
 

Such Irony

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I think I read somewhere (sorry don't have the source) that depressive people better assess their own abilities and shortcomings than non-depressive people. There is a tendency for most people to think they are above average in most things and depressives are less likely to make this error. I also think they are more aware that reality can be harsh sometimes and less likely to just take things for granted.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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There are kind hearted Christians, but also some that feel "jesus died for me and so should you." There are some mean, arrogant ones resulting from the theology, albeit distorted from Jesus and Old Testament focused.. The church i grew up in tends to be a bit arrogance and less compassionate than average. We ended up homeless when they pressured my mother to resign from a church school where there was a stupid church fight. So many, many stupid church fights over music and the decor and what people wear, etc. Lot of control boundary confusion in religion because the public and private is all felt within the private, entitled realm by many groups. I think that discussion was off topic except that it is depressing.

I think depression might have a survival application to slow the metabolism and sleep during famine and plague historically. Getting stuck there isn't fun, but I do think the energy conservation in response to pain and disappointment the result of successful evolutionary processes.
 
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