• Tzeentch
    36
    Depression is a problem almost every person, to various degrees, deals with at some point in their life. It is also somewhat of a mystery. For some people it disappears naturally after a while. Others get (temporarily) cured by pills, while others aren't. Still others get helped by a psychologist and finally there are those who do not find a cure for their problem and live out their days in a depressed state, or worse, commit suicide because of it. Depression is also a phenomenon that is often claimed to be steadily on the rise, especially among youths. Therefore I believe it is worthy of some contemplation, even though I am no psychiatrist myself.

    What struck me recently is the fact that despite all the attention this subject has gotten, I could not find an easy answer to the question I posed in the title of this thread. To me that seems rather strange. Wouldn't it be much easier to help people if we could put to words exactly that state of being that we are trying to achieve in someone?

    That's what I'd like to challenge you to think about. If we imagine "Severely Depressed" being at one end of a spectrum, what would be at the other end? Please elaborate on the term you chose and try to be as specific as possible.

    A term came to my mind, which I will share with you later. For now I am interested to see what your thoughts and opinions.
  • LD Saunders
    314
    If we view depression as an illness, then wouldn't a person being healthy be the opposite of depression, in the same way a healthy person would be the opposite of someone with cancer?
  • fdrake
    1.5k
    I don't really think it's a useful question to ask 'what's the opposite of depression?', but if I'd have to guess I'd say mania. Unipolar depression has a lot of things which are inverted in mania:

    Depression - socially isolating oneself, feelings of isolation and persecution, no motivation or energy, loss of interest in sex, flattened affect.

    Mania - lessened social inhibitions, feelings of love and togetherness, heightened motivation and energy, sexual promiscuity, heightened affect.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    If we imagine "Severely Depressed" being at one end of a spectrum, what would be at the other end?Tzeentch

    "Normal" would be at the other end. "Normal" is a good state to be in; "normal" means full function. It's very nice.

    Depression is a problem almost every person, to various degrees, deals with at some point in their life.Tzeentch

    If you define "depression" as having a down day, being sort of "blue", then sure, everybody gets depressed. But that's not what depression means.

    Maybe 20% of the population experiences clinical depression where normal mental and physical function is 'depressed' (below normal functioning for extended periods of time). A lot more people are very distracted, have poor sleep habits, use too much alcohol and drugs, are chronically angry, stressed out by debt, bad relationships, poverty, and so forth. They may not be functioning well, but their problems are not "depression".

    Depression is characterized by substantial...
    reduced ability to concentrate and remember; flat affect;
    anxiety; feelings of hopelessness; loss of interest and pleasure
    disturbed sleep; suicidal thoughts (with or without specific plans)
    irritability; obsessive thinking (ruminating on the same stuff)

    but if I'd have to guess I'd say maniafdrake

    If one is bi-polar, one swings back and forth (over weeks or months time) between depression and mania. Only about 1-2% of the population is bi-polar. It's a rough disease, though it can be moderated with medication. It isn't curable, but people with bi-polar disorder can also have years of normal functioning between episodes.

    Also, mania can zip through those pleasant conditions you mentioned into psychosis, which can be very horrible for people to experience.
  • fdrake
    1.5k
    Also, mania can zip through those pleasant conditions you mentioned into psychosis, which can be very horrible for people to experience.Bitter Crank

    Yeah. I can see why my list of things could seem like I actually approved of mania. I've been manic before (clinically), it felt like a lot of fun at the time but it was still pretty destructive.
  • eodnhoj7
    148
    Depression is passive Anger with Anger/Depression rooted in unmet desires and/or needs.
  • ssu
    688
    don't really think it's a useful question to ask 'what's the opposite of depression?', but if I'd have to guess I'd say mania. Unipolar depression has a lot of things which are inverted in maniafdrake
    And manic-depression is something ordinary, or as it's called nowdays, bipolar disorder. The name ought to tell what is the other extreme.

    I've been manic before (clinically), it felt like a lot of fun at the time but it was still pretty destructive.fdrake
    Many companies would just love to hire manic people at first, if they would stay that way with that positive upbeat. But usually it leads to burn out.
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    What's the opposite of a potato? Otatop a?
  • Jakus
    2
    I think conceptually it can partially be viewed as any other language problem of sorts, like a word puzzle. There are, as others have said, unmet needs in your idea of yourself. Unless your depression is caused by a pure chemical imbalance (and I am of the mind that initial emotional issues are what cause these chemical imbalances to begin with) then it is probably mixed with some emotional issues as well. Emotional issues are like any other belief-you need to not only hear the words that will solve your emotional stress but believe them as well. Think of them like a virus in a computer-the computer will probably work alright unless it is really bad, but until those strings of words causing problems are deleted, it won't be at 100%.
  • The Devils Disciple
    20


    That begs the question, What is the healthy state of being? Perhaps depression is a healthy response to the awareness of death.
  • Jake
    775
    I vote this is an excellent question. Yes, "what is the healthy state of being?" What is the optimum psychological state which we are reaching for in so many different ways? Where is it that we're trying to go?

    Away from depression obviously, and towards "normal" as a first step. If we keep going in that direction, what lies beyond "normal"? Normal is put in quotes because normal is hardly a state of perfect sanity.
  • fdrake
    1.5k
    Many companies would just love to hire manic people at first, if they would stay that way with that positive upbeat. But usually it leads to burn out.ssu

    It's a sad state of affairs when suffering from a debilitating mental disorder which often upheaves someone's entire life looks a lot like being an ideal job applicant.
  • Jake
    775
    I don't really think it's a useful question to ask 'what's the opposite of depression?', but if I'd have to guess I'd say mania. Unipolar depression has a lot of things which are inverted in mania:fdrake

    Well, yes, ok. So the opposite of one kind of malady can reasonably be said to be another flavor of malady. Fair enough.

    To clarify....

    Is the question, what is the opposite of depression? Or is the question, what is the opposite of an unhealthy mental state?
  • BlueBanana
    900
    -0=0. You don't want the opposite of that, you want to add something.
  • Evil
    48
    Expression
  • TWI
    93
    Optimism.
  • Ranger
    46
    depression is a result of incongruent behavior. Seeking that which you are externally obliged to seek instead of seeking that which you truly desire creates a gap between where you are and where you have become aware you wish to be. Clinical is possible, but becomes more likely the more times you have " the bouts ". If you are early into depression, you can reverse incongruency by dropping out of the incongruent aspects of your existence and changing your environment as soon as possible. The meds wont help unless you change your circumstances. They will just hold you over, and if you dont fix what the problem was, when you get off the meds, this creates bad bad things.
  • Nils Loc
    336
    There is research now that shows depression may follow from an immunological primer for anticipated trauma. It's a way for the body to prepare for physical damage (for fighting infection) based on levels of psychological stress. Chronic stress is likely the culprit for a lot of depression cases which is exacerbated by the knock on effects of all kinds of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

    They say extended periods of sitting is worse than smoking these days, so blue and weary philosophers beware, get out of your armchairs every now and then.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    That begs the question, What is the healthy state of being?The Devils Disciple

    Re mental health, the healthy state of being is whatever you're satisfied/comfortable with and whatever allows you to go about your daily business, so that you can house, feed, etc. yourself.
  • CarlosDiaz
    28
    it loos like a question for psychiatrists, not philosophers
  • SophistiCat
    528
    Many companies would just love to hire manic people at first, if they would stay that way with that positive upbeat. But usually it leads to burn out.ssu

    I had a colleague who was a manic-depressive. He did seem to feel great in his manic phase, but as far as job performance, it's hard to say whether it was better or worse. True, he worked like a demon, but he had a harder time concentrating on a single task and seeing it to completion. He would start things and quickly became bored and wanted to move on to something new. He even found some side jobs (and once tried to get me to join some startup with him), but that didn't last either.
  • Tzeentch
    36
    Interesting reactions so far. I see there are some different views about what exactly is depression, but let me just reiterate that I view it as a spectrum. Clinical depression or very severe depression being at one extreme. My intention is to view it in a broad sense, including those less severe forms of depression every person experiences. I understand the terms "healthy" and "normal" being used, but I would invite you to go a bit deeper. A doctor that treats a wounded or sick patient doesn't ask himself "How do I make this person normal again?", but "How do I stop this wound from bleeding?" or "How do I make this organ function again?"

    The term that sprung into my mind when contemplating my original question is "inspired". Before I delve into this, let me say that I base this on my personal experiences and by no means am I trying to "present the truth", but rather I'm trying to offer a perspective.

    It occurred to me that in many of the instances I've felt depressed, it was often a form of inspiration that got me out of it. Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it is temporary, sometimes it is permanent. It can spring from a finding a new hobby or a new interest, being introduced to new ideas and philosophies, it can spring from art or people. It can almost come from anything. Things and persons that inspire me have done a lot to give me a sense of purpose, and I cannot think of a situation in which I felt inspired and depressed at the same time. On the flip side, it's hard to determine how exactly to reach this state and needless to say it is different for everyone.

    What are your thoughts on inspiration being opposite to depression?
  • Michael
    7.3k
    Many companies would just love to hire manic people at first, if they would stay that way with that positive upbeat. But usually it leads to burn out.ssu

    Mania isn't being positive and upbeat, just as depression isn't being sad. Mania definitely isn't something anyone would want in an employee (or in themselves for that matter).
  • The Devils Disciple
    20


    Re mental health, the healthy state of being is whatever you're satisfied/comfortable with and whatever allows you to go about your daily business, so that you can house, feed, etc. yourself.Terrapin Station

    I know and have known depressed people, who work day in day out, simply out of neccessity because their families are dependent upon it, and i mean severly depressed.

    I also know people who are 'comfortable' being depressed, or at the least show no desire to stop being depressed.

    Are such people in a healthy state of being?
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    I also know people who are 'comfortable' being depressed, or at the least show no desire to stop being depressed.

    Are such people in a healthy state of being?
    The Devils Disciple

    What you quoted from me is my answer.

    Again: "the healthy state of being is whatever you're satisfied/comfortable with and whatever allows you to go about your daily business, so that you can house, feed, etc. yourself."

    So if they're satisfied/comfortable with it, and it allows them to go about their daily business, then yes.

    If not, then no.

    That's why I typed that out as I did. That's my answer to this question.

    (Maybe there was some confusion over my "and"? In other words, I listed two conditions that have to conjointly obtain. Logical "and," which obtains if the content on both sides of the "and" are the case, and doesn't obtain otherwise.)
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    It's rather obvious that the opposite of depression is lack of it. But, how does one explain a lack of depression is rather difficult.

    Any thoughts?
  • outlier
    7
    I have experienced depression for around two years now, and I have noticed that some days are much worse than others. Which leads me to thinking, would the opposite of depression be being happy all the time (even if you try and cover it up in the presence of others when feelings of sympathy and understanding are expected from you) with some days being incredibly joyful to the point where you simply can't hide it? Either way - I imagine that perhaps both of these two extremes would receive just as much disapproval from onlookers (with perhaps a slight favouring towards the more positive condition).

    Very interesting question you have there, none the less. I look forward to following this discussion.
  • Happy way
    2
    With such an integrated vision, life becomes, in the eyes of man, a dear treasure that he must invest, for in essence life is not worthy of any more attention than that given to realizing that it is a bridge to eternal happiness. As for the joys and diverse types of pleasures he encounters, these are only the enjoyment of life and its adornments. Allah says: {Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allâh has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him.}(Âl-’Imrân:14)
    source: https://www.path-2-happiness.com/en
  • leo
    27
    I would say depression is the disconnect between you and your desires. When you don't feel depressed you have desires, goals you strive for. Feeling these desires is what gives meaning to the goals that stem from them, you have these goals because you want to attain them. But when you feel depressed you don't see the meaning in these goals anymore, you have stopped feeling the desires that gave them meaning, that gave rise to the very existence of these goals, you don't feel joy in moving towards them anymore, you aren't driven to them anymore.

    But when you are depressed you suffer, you don't have a total lack of desire, a total lack of desire would be death, there is still something you want, you want to be where you are not, you want to get out of the state you are in, you want to stop feeling like you do, but you don't know how to, you don't find a way. You suffer, and all other goals are meaningless unless you can fix this suffering. You suffer because you don't know how to get where you want to be, because you don't know where that is. All you know is that it isn't where you are.

    Getting out of depression is finding where you want to be and how to get there. 'There' is not simply a location in space, the world is not just what is seen with the eyes, it is more than that. Then if I had to give an opposite to depression I would say it is being where you want to be. And that depression is being disconnected from where you want to be.
  • DiegoT
    65
    The opposite of Depresion is Sex.
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