• Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Depression is a self-reinforcing loop. Depression entails metacognitive beliefs about one's self and the world. Often, the beliefs are cognitive distortions according to CBT. But, instead of the self-reinforcing loop that depression is, is there any means of providing an answer towards depression? I'm not talking about remedying those cognitive distortions with positive feedback or addressing them, and they are incessant and almost never-ending.

    Is there a metacognitive belief that one ought to keep in mind when facing depression?

    Is there some underlying theme that can be addressed with a question of one facing depression?

  • javra
    592


    What has helped me is this metacognitive attitude: Depression is nature’s way of telling you there’s something wrong.

    Figure out what that is, and then you can directly, enactively, address the problem. This may be an oversimplification, but this by simply choosing between flight from the problem (and the best means of so doing) or fighting the problem (and the best means of so doing).

    Otherwise, depression seems to me to be an unconsciously held certainty that there’s an insurmountable obstacle in the way. One that results in a consciously experienced blockage in motivation, often accompanied by great sorrow—again, this for reasons that are not consciously discerned.

    With this as context, then, the more the given underlying problem—often in the plural—has been ignored, the deeper within the unconscious mind it becomes buried. And the harder it is to bring up into conscious awareness. At which point, a drastic change in behaviors—either consciously willed or else also assisted by prescription medication—can then serve as a break from the underlying issue. If the underlying issue is not of immediate pertinence to one’s life, then it will start decaying (a neuroscience term for when synaptic connections between neurons are not used and begin wilting and, eventually, because of this, eventually no longer physically exists—being instead replaced by other, new, now functioning synaptic connections).

    If the depression is, for example, caused by a personal guilt—since this doesn’t apply to most here: say, that a woman began partying with booze when finding out that she became pregnant because she didn’t want to face the facts at the time, and then maybe had a miscarriage in the third trimester—then the depression could be resolved via meaningful self-forgiveness (such as by learning from the mistake and, maybe, helping others not to repeat it). If, on the other hand, the depression is, for example, caused by contextual factors such as our global warming, then making this explicit and consciously deciding to either do something about it (however small) or else deciding to live with the foreseeable consequences will get one to overcome the unconscious impediment.

    And somewhere in-between all this you could hold onto Nietzsche’s’ statement that what does not kill you will only make you stronger. (There’s also the Neon Flux version of “what does not kill you maims”—but this one’s likely to not help out in this situation, unless one’s into dark humor and can have a good laugh about it. :joke: )

    But I’m no psychiatrist. Still, hopefully some of this might help out.

    -------

    apropos, a joke about how things can always be worse: Guy gets a call form the doctor. Doctor says, "You're analysis is in. I've some bad news and some worse news for you. Which do you want to hear first?" The guy says, "Tell me the bad news." Doc says, "The results indicate that you only have 24 hours left to live." The guy is shocked, angered, and asks, "How can things possibly be worse?". The doctor replies, "Well, I forgot to tell you about it yesterday."

    :smile:
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    What if the depression is hereditary? Meaning, in the genetic makeup of the individual. Does one just have to cope with it then?
  • javra
    592


    Well, again, I'm no psychiatrist. I also don't hold onto the ontological notion of (full) biological determinism, believing there's always some "nurture" involved in our behavioral phenotypes. This then makes the issue of heredity more complex: for then there is both some measure of biology at play as well as implicit learning, especially during the formative years.

    To the extent that the depression is a biologically determinate property, where its physically caused, then physical remedies in the form of proper pharmaceuticals will be the proper remedy.

    Still, my non-expert belief is that what we biologically inherit are predispositions to, and not the actual result. Any plant will grow one way when held in a closet and another when held in sunlight. Some are more predisposed to this or that ailment as a result of interactions with stressful experiences; don't know who wouldn't break (or, at least, bend) given sufficient stressors. But we're each predisposed to this differently. For example, we likely do inherit a risk gene of some sort, but this doesn't predetermine who we will be. Same with clinical depression--again, in my non-expert opinion.
  • All sight
    181
    Have you tried fasting?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    Never tried that. Does that work for you?
  • All sight
    181


    Oh, you start to get pretty energetic the more empty you get, and more tired the more full you get. There are some studies that suggest that it works on depression.

    No, I don't have a problem with depression.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    Endorphins are helpful. Google exercise treats depression.

    I think part of the problem is dwelling on it, also. That is when it becomes a self-reinforcing loop - because not only are you depressed, you're depressed about being depressed. I think part of the mental knack is being able to develop some detachment from it - which I know must be a lot more difficult from inside the condition that from outside it.

    It's just that when you're in that grey state, everything is grey. I know that's what it feels like to me. I am very aware when a negative affect starts, and I know from experience that when I'm in that state, then I won't be able to see anything to be cheerful about. But the one thing I do know is that it will pass.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    I think part of the mental knack is being able to develop some detachment from it - which I know must be a lot more difficult from inside the condition that from outside it.Wayfarer

    This is an ongoing discussion we're having in the On Disidentification thread if you care to join us. In that thread, I attempted to disidentify from the condition and live by thinking that "I have depression, and not I am depressed." My trial ended with me feeling angry or frustrated that I still feel the symptoms of depression even if I didn't think I have the condition.

    I suspect endogenous problems like depression, are very deeply embedded in one's persona, so it can be difficult to disidentify from or become detached.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    But even in saying that, you're setting yourself up to not succeed. It's almost like you want to believe it. Just saying.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    But even in saying that, you're setting yourself up to not succeed. It's almost like you want to believe it. Just saying.Wayfarer

    Well, I do feel the symptoms every day, so I guess if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it must be a duck. I don't see how you can dissociate from that feeling of bleakness or apathy.
  • javra
    592
    This is an ongoing discussion we're having in the On Disidentification thread if you care to join us. In that thread, I attempted to disidentify from the condition and live by thinking that "I have depression, and not I am depressed." My trial ended with me feeling angry or frustrated that I still feel the symptoms of depression even if I didn't think I have the condition.

    I suspect endogenous problems like depression, are very deeply embedded in one's persona, so it can be difficult to disidentify from or become detached.
    Posty McPostface

    Just perused the other thread. Since I’ve already replied on this one, I'll add to what Wayfarer said here:

    There’s a different in ordinary cognition between, “I am angry/sad/jealous/etc.,” and “I feel angry/sad/jealous/etc.” The former captures that which you as first-person point of view momentarily is, what you as a conscious awareness is constituted of. The later captures what you as a conscious awareness introspectively apprehends as other than the you which is so apprehending.

    If I feel envy within myself, I then have a choice as to whether to shun this emotion/mood till it vanishes from my total being or, else, to actually become envious in relation to that concerned. If, however, I am envious, this is a matter of fact that I have no choice over for as long as I so remain. Here, all choices I that I can make will by default be made by envious me.

    As others have mentioned, to go from “I am depressed” to “I feel depressed” in a sustained way will take a good degree of cognitive work. And holding onto the belief that “I am depressed because it is how I am genetically; because I am ontologically predetermined to so be” is utterly antithetical to the process. Buddhism often has quite a lot to say about such forms of mediation in which one makes all experiences that which one in some way apprehends as an awareness—thereby experientially establishing the given awareness as ontologically independent of all which it otherwise will be constituted at any particular moment as a “self”. Note that within Buddhism, this is intended to be transformative in what one construes to be ontological, to be real, in regards to personal being. It is after all part and parcel of the ontological position of Buddhism. This process of meditation, however, is neither quick nor easy. It requires effort and perseverance. Still—in parallel to feeling envious v. being envious—until one experiences the “I feel myself to be depressed” reality one will perpetually experience the “I ontologically am depressed” reality: In the first there is a cognitive choice as to what to do about experiencing oneself to be depressed; in the second there is no such choice to speak of, for the depressed individual is who is doing the choosing by default.

    Imagine an either obese or muscle-challenged individual wanting to become fit and muscular, but not having any will or desire to engage in any of the exercises that are required to so become, then asking, “so what else can I do to become muscular?”

    If this is harsh, so be it: To what extent do you care about your own predicament of depression?

    You want to hold onto the believed truth that “I can’t do anything meaningful to change it, for it is part of what I am” and, in this case, your held belief shall be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believing otherwise—as with physical exercise to become muscular—also requires the needed effort and perseverance. Be this via dis-identification or some other means. Thought about action is not the action itself.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Buddhism often has quite a lot to say about such forms of mediation in which one makes all experiences that which one in some apprehends as an awareness—thereby experientially establishing the given awareness as ontologically independent of all which it otherwise will be constituted at any particular moment as a “self”. Note that within Buddhism, this is intended to be transformative in what one construes to be ontological, to be real, in regards to personal being. It is after all part and parcel of the ontological position of Buddhism. This process of meditation, however, is neither quick nor easy. It requires effort and perseverance.javra

    Thanks, that makes sense. So, in my own words, would you call this a metacognitive state of mind that Buddhism enforces, through the practice of mindfulness, compassion, and altruism? One then refers back to this state of mind, when dealing with depression?
  • javra
    592
    So, in my own words, would you call this a metacognitive state of mind that Buddhism enforces [teaches], through the practice of mindfulness, compassion, and altruism? One then refers back to this state of mind, when dealing with depression?Posty McPostface

    Yes, of course.

    There's the caveat, thought, that Buddhism is Buddhism and, thereby, not materialism. :wink:
  • Bitter Crank
    6.3k
    I have depression, and not I am depressedPosty McPostface

    Word games. Like "I am an AIDS survivor" or "I am living with cancer". "I am not a "victim". That's nice, but you still have AIDS, cancer, whatever. As far as being a victim or not... how much good has having AIDS or cancer done for you? Are they handing Nobel prizes out for that now? Yeah, they're a victim.

    Whatever helps, they say.

    You are "living with depression!" An inspiring achievement.

    Look, sarcasm aside (sarcasm is a symptom of deflected depression) no good advice is going to supply a magic cure. Chances are, you're going to continue to feel those symptoms every day, until you stop feeling those symptoms (I'm not suggesting it's your choice and I don't know when, how, or why they will stop). "Living with depression" means you feel depressed (various symptoms, behaviors -- like perseverating, self-criticism, etc.). Living with depression means that you still have to get up, take a shower, eat breakfast, go to work or whatever it is one does, have lunch, chat with friends, philosophize on America's LEADING PHILOSOPHY FORUM, for which some of the honor goes to YOU, watch the evening news, read the paper, walk the dog (if there is a dog), clean the cat box (if there is a cat), do laundry, fix dinner, wash dishes, read for a while, go to bed and stare at the ceiling till 3:45 a.m.

    Repeat. Repeat despite life seeming, some days, like one pile of shit after another.

    I might have recovered from depression, or maybe I am merely experiencing nice hypomania. Bipolar patients rave about nice hypomania. I don't really know for sure. Maybe I am experiencing a brief respite before it returns, much worse than before. Time will tell.

    All I can say for sure is that one can live with depression. Not being, having, and experiencing depression is better; so is not having heart disease, cancer, AIDS, malaria, TB, stroke, COPD, arthritis, blindness, deafness, alzheimers, and a few dozen other diseases.

    I was about 37 when I first experienced depression. It came on very suddenly after slipping on ice one fine winter day while I was out for a run. My fairly strenuous exercise program came to an abrupt and screeching halt. Depression descended like a lead brick. The value of my stocks plummeted. I don't think my mental health was entirely on the level before age 37. I sometimes engaged in behaviors which were counterproductive, harbored a few counterproductive (but highly valued) ideas, hung around with people who were dysfunctional and had a high tolerance for other people's dysfunctions. I created some of my problems, and some of them were created for me. But... life went on. I got up, ate breakfast, went to work, yada yada yada. On many days I felt like killing somebody (excellent candidates for murder are a dime a dozen) but I didn't, and the mortgage got paid off, the house got painted, the dog got walked, and so on and so forth.

    Maybe you will/should/can't help but/ take the above as depressing. If you do, you do. What I mean to say, "Keep going. It's what people do." (When you're going through hell, keep going. There's a sucky CW song attached to that quote, I'll spare you.)
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    One would think that after so much thought and so many threads, that some answer might come to my mind. Yet, here I am still pondering over this issue. Won't seem to go away. I'm getting pretty darn tired as it is so I hope someone else can chime in.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    171
    I don't think there's any purely 'mental' solution to the problem. We are biological beings, thoughts are more a product of our biology than other way arround. So I don't think a mere idea or belief will get you out of depression.

    You can probably rationally come to see certain ideas as distortions, and that may help somewhat, but in the end it's probably more an emotional problem. Thought's are tied into that and probably reïnforce it, but at base it's emotional. If a baby or child cries or is sad you don't try to rationaly talk him out of that... you engage with him on some emotional level.

    I don't know what your social situation is, but relating on a regular basis with close friends, family and spouse could probably help some. And if that is no option, a therapist can be a proxy for that. Or maybe the right meds if it's something more genetical...

    I do belief a good social enviroment is key to long term mental health.
  • unenlightenedAccepted Answer
    2.6k
    The question I tend to ask someone who is depressed is, 'what are you depressing?'

    As if it is an activity, something one does to press down some other even more intolerable feeling. Anger, greed, frustration, hatred, perhaps. Which is to say that it has a function, such that one cannot manage without it, and this makes it 'incurable', because the cure is worse than the disease.

    I have learned, probably at a very early stage, that my strong feelings are dangerous - mother will abandon me, my love is of the forbidden kind, my anger will cause the family and the world to fall apart - so whatever in my life excites my passion, I learn to avoid. i become afraid of myself, and thus afraid of all meaningful, intense relationships.

    How do I come to learn, how can a therapist help me to discover, that my feelings do not destroy me or the world? It is difficult, precisely because I avoid intense relationships, and de-press intense feelings. So the closer the therapist comes, the harder I push him away and my own feelings down - thus the more depressed I become. "you see? Nothing helps." I need to go to the place I most want to avoid.

    So here is a safe exercise, that requires no therapist or equipment, and which does the opposite of what everyone else is telling you. Find a quiet place, lie on the floor, and pretend to be dead. Feel the intensity of depression; nobody cares, least of all you, that you are lying dead in some corner. Life goes on elsewhere, and nothing is happening to you. My own experience is that it takes about 20 minutes of being dead to arrive at a definitive 'bugger this, I've got better things to do'. It might take you longer or shorter. Then go and find someone to talk to and care about.
  • Jake
    287
    I don't see how you can dissociate from that feeling of bleakness or apathy.Posty McPostface

    1) Bleakness and apathy = thought.

    2) Turn down volume of thought.

    3) The intensity of bleakness and apathy are reduced.
  • Jake
    287
    Others above have commented that those in depression suffer from low motivation, and thus meet any constructive plan with a lack of enthusiasm. Can drugs address the low energy problem? Hookers? :smile: Something else?

    Does it make sense that the low energy obstacle must be addressed before there is much point in talking about any kind of constructive plan?
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    On my bad days I'll just kind of lay around and do nothing of consequence. I've gotten to a point where I don't always feel bad -- and actually most of the time I don't, even though sometimes I do. I don't know the exact route of how I got there. I remember pretty distinctly that there was one day I just decided that I didn't care what it would take to feel better I'd do it: prescription drugs, therapy, religion, vote correctly, be homeless, work in a kitchen, go to college, volunteer, binge watch television shows, masturbate daily, drink two shots, abstain from drinking, prayer whatever. And then I started trying stuff I wasn't trying before and eventually landed where I'm at.

    I infer that there isn't an answer because it seems everyone's story is different. You just have to experiment.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    The question I tend to ask someone who is depressed is, 'what are you depressing?unenlightened

    Is the answer ever so straightforward? It seems to me, that depression is under layers of thought and memory that isolating the cause is never so obvious.

    So here is a safe exercise, that requires no therapist or equipment, and which does the opposite of what everyone else is telling you. Find a quiet place, lie on the floor, and pretend to be dead. Feel the intensity of depression; nobody cares, least of all you, that you are lying dead in some corner. Life goes on elsewhere, and nothing is happening to you. My own experience is that it takes about 20 minutes of being dead to arrive at a definitive 'bugger this, I've got better things to do'. It might take you longer or shorter. Then go and find someone to talk to and care about.unenlightened

    I lay in bed most of the day, so I know how intense the depression is. It isn't intolerable, just persistent apathy and lack of interest in things.
  • unenlightened
    2.6k
    It's not straightforward at all! It's a deep challenge, and I'm not expecting a quick answer here, or in general.
    How could someone tell me about a feeling they refuse to have?

    I lay in bed most of the day, so I know how intense the depression is. It isn't intolerable...Posty McPostface

    That's not apathetic, that's making yourself comfortable in your misery, and that's why it's tolerable. At the risk of provoking some feeling in you, I will point out that it is self-indulgent.
  • All sight
    181
    "But even in saying that, you're setting yourself up to not succeed. It's almost like you want to believe it. Just saying."

    I mean, it seems mean... but this seems completely right to me. Almost certainly on account of the things you're doing or not doing... and almost certainly not due to "chemical imbalances", or just because some people feel random ways that have nothing to do with the things they're doing or not doing...

    It's obvious and simple stuff. You know... in the factual and causal department, but as they say, the truth isn't complicated, people are.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    But the issue is, when you're in that place, the problem is not obvious, and having others say that it is doesn't help. That's where good counsellors/teachers/coaches really help.

    Practical steps - get physically active and fit, find a fitness coach or a program of action. Also some life coaching might be beneficial. Don't spend time thinking about it 'gee I wonder what that would be like'. You know the Nike ad: Just Do It.
  • All sight
    181


    Personally, I think that one should break down, and admit the truth to themselves, and take responsibility. I think that helps, and has helped much more than anything else has. Though, it certainly is different, the causes and what to do about them.

    I don't know that they help. A lot of people I know are medicated, and even though they are at a higher mood, they still act perplexed why they cannot sleep well while drinking coffee and pop all day... they stop people from complaining, and feeling bad, by drugging them... are they helping? Counseling besides the kind that just allows you to vent, and doesn't offer a solution at all, but just listens, does that fix them? Unless it gets them to change their life, and habits, then I doubt it. How one gets to the point where they do that is complicated, but I think that the facts are, that that is always what needs to be done, and entertaining in any sense that it doesn't, can't be helpful.

    All because someone "helps" for a living, doesn't indicate to me that they're helping at all.

    Personally, I don't think that depression is motivating enough, particularly if medicated, I think that one has to succumb to feeling worse before they can feel better. Their situation must become intolerable, or why else bother to change? Maybe one has to be faced with "die or change" for real change to occur... but it seems that most don't live or die, they just float.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    I think that one should break down, and admit the truth to themselves, and take responsibility.All sight

    Of course, but you can have reasons for not doing that, and sometimes those reasons can be subjectively compelling. Again that's where skilled counsellors are really helpful. (And sometimes depression really does seem to be endogenous, which is like the psychic equivalent of anti-biotic resistant bacteria.)

    I was lucky to enrol in an awareness-training group when I was in my twenties. Helped a lot, but seeing people coming to terms with their buried memories (colloquialised as 'elephants') was an eye-opening experience.

    But where in modern culture is that taught any more? I think it's generally not. That was actually one of the functions of culture proper. Drama enacted the mythos, philosophy as a form of psychology. But modern culture is in such a state of decay that nothing like this is taught any more, you have to seek it out yourself.

    One of the mantras that helped me grow up was 'my life has been a whole series of crises, most of which never occurred.' ;-)
  • All sight
    181


    I think that you're kinder than I am to maintain the first half. I think that expediency is what is sought. The medical industry doesn't treat causes, but symptoms. You come in and complain about symptoms, and they deal with those symptoms, the fastest, cheapest ways possible. Chemical lobotomy tends to be most popular.

    So, I wouldn't agree that they are very helpful. I think that once something turns from charity and humanitarianism to profit, and corporatism, it becomes corrupt. The incentives for doing it vastly shift. As for possible endemia, perhaps, but a gross minority, particularly when you can just look at their health and circumstances and behavior and pretty easily infer that they are less than ideal.

    Only in the arts, it seems to me, but art isn't mythos anymore, it's mere entertainment -- and when it disagrees with millennia old myths, and misrepresents causality, and the affects of behavior by any type of person playing any type of person without appreciation of the affects of life-style and character on one's appearance, it becomes the worst propaganda, and confusion generator the world has ever seen. The opposite of what it once was... though there are still some diamonds buried in the rough.

    Sometimes I do fear that these are the end times... lol soon spirit will die entirely, and AI will take right over. The humanity!
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    It's not straightforward at all! It's a deep challenge, and I'm not expecting a quick answer here, or in general.
    How could someone tell me about a feeling they refuse to have?
    unenlightened

    I don't feel much at all. I'm on two mood stabilizers and an antidepressant, so I don't know if that has anything to do with it. My emotions feel muted to some extent. I feel as though it's hopeless to try and figure out the root cause. It's deeply embedded into me in some sense and I have no way of reaching it. That's I think a predicament many depressives face. Of having their depression so deeply intertwined with their being that they can't separate the two. This again reminds me of disidentification and its perhaps use.

    That's not apathetic, that's making yourself comfortable in your misery, and that's why it's tolerable. At the risk of provoking some feeling in you, I will point out that it is self-indulgent.unenlightened

    Seems to me like apathy. I just don't want to do anything. It's not dysphoric though. More like you said earlier, about a general decrease in affective mood or engagement with the world.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Practical steps - get physically active and fit, find a fitness coach or a program of action. Also some life coaching might be beneficial. Don't spend time thinking about it 'gee I wonder what that would be like'. You know the Nike ad: Just Do It.Wayfarer

    Wish it were that easy. I suppose I better stop ruminating over it as much as I do.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Personally, I don't think that depression is motivating enough, particularly if medicated, I think that one has to succumb to feeling worse before they can feel better. Their situation must become intolerable, or why else bother to change? Maybe one has to be faced with "die or change" for real change to occur... but it seems that most don't live or die, they just float.All sight

    That's interesting. So, things have to get worse to get better in the end?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment