Is depression a natural reaction to an insane world?
This is a thought I have been pondering for a while.
The default to view depression as "something wrong", or a "brain chemical imbalance" or as "a disease" or something that "needs to be fixed" or requires "medication" or "therapy" appears to be the most common response of practically everyone.
From doctors, to psychiatrists, to therapists, to the general population, to the depressed individuals themselves... the universal belief appears to be that "the person needs to get help".
But what if... the living in depressed state is correct? What if it isn't an "imbalance" or isn't something "wrong"? What if being depressed is the only natural state to be in for an intelligent, empathetic, compassionate, informed, thinking individual to exist in the current state of our world?
What if to NOT be depressed about is the true indication of mental sickness?
I'm not saying that being depressed is fun in any way... most people on this forum would be well aware that it sucks. But that is not what I'm saying.
What I mean is... could existing in a state of depression be completely natural for someone living in a place where so many things are obviously terrible... both on a personal level and in the world as a whole?
My reasons for this perspective are numerous. Far too many to write in only 2500 words. But basically...
The real world is an extremely depressing place for any person that cares at all about anything outside of themselves.
Eg. If you care about animals... the reality is many beautiful species are already lost forever, many others are so close to the verge of extinction that even if everyone worldwide decided to do everything they could to save them... they would still be lost. At home there are people that still buy people animals as christmas gifts, refuse to desex their pets, the massive amount of pets put down in pounds annually. There is backyard animal cruelty, the dog racing industry using live bait, shooting race horses with legs, women's hormonal treatments for menapause, the meat industry, birds choking on our plastic half a world away, overfishing. The list goes on and on.
It is reality and it is depressing. Care about animals and feeling "depressed" about it IS correct. And that is one tiny subject in a plethora of subjects.
3 billion people in starving poverty, the water wars, religious fanatics, corrupt governments, womens rights violations, slavery, wars, child rape, etc etc
It's the people that are not depressed that worry me.
I am still "out here somewhere". As before I haven't been on the site for a long time as I haven't been able to think of anything worthwhile to contribute to it and I'm not one who just talks for the sake of talking. Never been too keen on that personally.
Which is probably pretty fortunate because as far as I know I am capable of talking forever about pretty much anything. There is little that I don't have an opinion or perspective on in this world... not that any of it is necessarily correct of course.
Do I have any "words of wisdom"? Probably... there is a great deal rattling around in my head as always, this is likely to never change. I'm sure among all the junk there is a pearl or two hidden underneath a pile of dirty socks or something.
Probably best to be more specific though... I could probably write enough to fill up this website single handedly if I tried. Whether any of it would be "wisdom" though would probably come down to the eye of the beholder though.
Normal untrained people are messy. Many of them are able to cope BECAUSE they don't delve too deeply into their own heads, don't know their own truths. Now if they are happy and coping well in their own lives I can certainly understand why they are not exactly enthusiastic to "poke around in their own brains". Which makes the "give and take" scenario you are talking about far more difficult.
It can't be an "equal exchange"... you have thoughts that you are sharing with them that are exposed parts of your soul that are causing you problems to deal with and that you think about all of the time as a result. Most of them have never dug that deeply into themselves and are kind of ignorant to it. To expect them to naturally bring up equal levels of hidden parts of themselves in exchange for your own is just not realistic. Most people do not obsess about these things like we do... they are not playing on an internal loop 24/7. In fact they are likely not aware of them at all. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
I don't think that it is simply that "you don't have an inner life that anyone gives a toss about". I think that it is more that many people either don't or can't understand it. Don't know how to relate to it. Or these exchanges risks exposing parts of themselves that they are not ready to face yet... or have no interest in facing if they can avoid it.
Which we of all people should be able to understand. Don't you think?
This is a great point, we are living in a world where I feel we are causing a lot of suffering and destinations because of our lifestyle.
However with regards to depression, I am curious if there is a way to be fully aware of everything that is happening without overloading our own individual mental load.
This is what I'm going to try. Ask myself, is there anything I can do about this. If the answer is yes, take that action. If the answer is no, let that problem go.
I think doing this, at least I leave myself some bandwidth to do my own little good in the world.
Your post really helped me clarify my own thinking, considering I'm in exactly the same spot. Thanks!!!
I have not been on this forum for quite some time. So I apologise for the extreme delay in this response.
I can only hope that over the last year and a half since you posted this that things have improved for you. That there is something that you encountered in which you have found some comfort or strength. In short, that general "day to day" life has gotten better or easier for you.
I've never suffered much from anxiety myself, "the fear" that you spoke about. For me it has only ever been a persistent and relentless sadness but without any fear attached to it. So while I could understand the basics of the "how's" and whys" of people developing anxiety and living under the tyranny of constant fear... I still had no personal relating point for it. For me it was a strange alien thing that seemed to only happen to other people.
That was until coincidentally around about the time you posted on this thread. Where I experienced for the first time what is commonly referred to as a panic attack. But because I literally had no previous experience with it, and because it kind of came out of nowhere with no warning whatsoever I genuinely thought I was having a stroke or a heart attack at the time.
And after it happened a few more times over the next year or so I have genuine anxiety or "fear" simply of it happening again. Primarily because I cannot predict its occurrence as I still don't know precisely what causes it, thereby making avoiding any "triggers" quite impossible. Combined with not knowing if it could happen again in the next second, or the second after that, or literally at any given moment of any given day for that matter makes the potential impending next event simply continually "hang over my head" without any relief.
Which of course just exacerbates the whole core problem... the snake consuming its own tail so to speak.
My point being that at least I have a better understanding of the fear you speak of now, which previously I had no reference point. Which I suppose is some kind of positive I guess. At least the only one that I can think of related to it. However, the daily "draining" aspect you speak of I am pretty much overqualified in understanding... this I do know all about and far too intimately.
In all honestly I don't know if "the world is getting any worse", I personally don't think that it is. I spent a lot of time reading about human history right back to the very beginning and I see little evidence for any era being particularly fantastic... but likewise not necessarily worse either. Every era having its own challenges and successes with various people "in charge" who probably shouldn't have been.
I think that the main problem is and has always been that as individuals most of us are either decent or at least don't actively try to make things worse for others. But as a species entire however we are kind of jerks overall. So the only main difference in modern times being that since there are more of us, our overall "jerk potential" is consequentially that much higher.
But honestly it just seems to me to be just "more of the same" rather than actually "worse". Which for me has of course always been part of the problem.