Repost: Is Depression Good for You?

Here's an interesting one from 2 years ago -

British researchers made headlines with their report that antidepressants are for the most part ineffective. (
But in a fascinating development, now researchers point to growing evidence that depression might actually be good for you. (

Interesting. I have very often told people that their "problems" were not their problem, but rather that their judgments of their problems were their problem. And when I taught my class on psychopatholgy, I felt that the best moments were when we examined our "disorders" and "dysfunctions" as adaptations and devices that perhaps regulated the pace of our unfolding into our higher life path. The caterpillar's coccoon is an apt analogy. Created to protect the caterpillar while it is maturing into a butterfly, the coccoon is quite functional, but to the butterfly needing to spread its wings and fly, it is dysfunctional, something necessary to get out of in order to survive. So, too, with our human emotional and psychological defenses. They are created to help us survive the vulnerabilities of childhood, but then we need to shed them in order to soar as adults.

Here's some excerpts from the article on depression:

"A leading psychiatrist, Dr Paul Keedwell, an expert on mood disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, says that depression is not a human defect at all, but a defence mechanism that in its mild and moderate forms can force a healthy reassessment of personal circumstances.
'There are benefits and that's why it has persisted. It's a tough message to hear while you are in depression but I think that there's a life afterwards,' Keedwell says. 'I have received e-mails from ex-sufferers saying in retrospect it probably did help them because they changed direction, a new career for example, and as a result they're more content day-to-day than before the depression."
"One woman left an abusive relationship and moved on, he says, and might not have done so if depression had not provided the necessary introspection. Similarly, unrealistic expectations are revised when depression sparks a more humble reassessment of strengths and weaknesses. Psychological unease can generate creative work and the rebirth after depression brings a new love affair with life.
"Aristotle believed depression to be of great value because of the insights it could bring. There is also an increased empathy in people who have or have had depression, he says, because they become more attuned to other people's suffering."

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