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Beyond Blue

Depression’s Upside? Let’s Rethink That

depression's upside.jpgImage by Ben Weeks.
Here’s where I sound very, very bipolar. I wrote an article a few weeks ago on “10 Good Things About Depression” and now I’m supporting psychiatrist Ron Pies’s viewpoint that we should not perpetuate what he calls “The Myth of Depression’s Upside.”
Pies, who is Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric Times and a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, gives a much needed response to Jonah Lehrer’s essay “Depression’s Upside” in the Feb. 28, 2010 New York Times Magazine about all the wonderful tasks depression can do for you … foster creativity, sharpen analytical skills, improve problem-solving skills, yada yada yada all the way to the psych ward.
Now, as I said in my “10 Good Things” post, I verify that many of my strengths arrived in my black night, or with the arsenals that blew up my living room: I care less about what people think of me because I now know that there is a tenacious strength within me that doesn’t have to yield to or depend on daily opinions, I’m no longer afraid to die (if fact, some days it’s desired!), and I can better identify what’s real from what’s false … especially in relationships, and acknowledge a blessing before it’s gone.
However, this is a basically an exercise in squeezing the hell out of a couple of lemons to extract some juice. Had I been offered just plain, straight-up lemonade … or even a lemon with a peppermint stick, I would have gladly taken it and saved myself the effort. And, as such, I think it would be ludicrous for a person suffering from major depression or another severe mood disorder to forgo treatment in order to better access the creative genius hiding inside the limbic system. Hell no, take the drugs and get your butt in therapy. Because then you will be able to hold the paintbrush without tremors.


Here’s where I think articles like Lehrer’s (and you can include my 10 Good Things if you want) are most dangerous: they forget that, for some, depression means trying every single day to stay alive and to thwart all thoughts and energy going into ending their lives. In his Psychcentral post, “The Myth of Depression’s Upside,” Pies writes:

Lehrer is a thoughtful writer, but in this article, his conflation of terms like “depression,” “sadness,” “melancholy,” and “low mood” produces a kind of conceptual tossed salad. Some of the studies he cites, in which subjects are tested under transient, experimentally-induced states of low mood, have evidently befuddled Lehrer, who assumes that these brief, artificial states are somehow comparable to clinical depression.


Pies then challenges the assertion by Lehrer and others that since depression is so highly prevalent in our population, that “this must mean that the condition confers some kind of evolutionary advantage, or represents a useful ‘adaptation’.” Meaning, we are supposed to be depressed … it refines us as a human species, and so therefore, let’s not give it the bird.
Pies shakes his head no. Instead he suggests that depression remains “conserved” in the human genome as a spandrel–a kind of genetic hitchhiker that does nothing to improve the ride. It’s with us only because it was too cheap to pay for public transportation. Pies explains that you can have traits that are simply byproducts of other (presumably adaptive) traits. So, if I say that depression has made me more sensitive, altruistic, and compassionate, it’s not really the depression that did that. The traits–sensitivity, altruism, and compassion–are adaptive … we need them to evolve as social creatures. And the depression, cheap bastard that it is, has merely hitchhiked along with those other traits.
Make sense? Here’s Pies’s straightforward and wise conclusion:


We should not renounce or disown the part of us that produces depression — it is a piece of our messy, complex, and wondrous humanity. And, to be sure: ordinary sadness or grief may indeed be a good teacher. We should not rush to suppress or “medicate” what Thomas à Kempis called “the proper sorrows of the soul.” At the same time, we should be under no illusion that severe clinical depression is a “clarifying force” that helps us navigate life’s complex problems. That, in my view, is a well-intentioned but destructive myth.

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  • Jacqueline R.

    I wondered a lot about the post on the good things about depression. When I’ve battled depression, the only good thing was that I clung to God more, so that was good, and what saved me. But the daily pain and the struggle to just get through the next hour and day — well, I can’t say there was anything good there and the quicker I got medication and was out of that state, the better my life became.
    So forget the romance that some people attach to melancholia and depression — it’s a myth. Get some medicine and get to counseling is right!!

  • Tony

    All too often people think that when some trait is common, it must be adaptive, especially when it involves the brain. Get real! Asthma is common, allergies is common, and diabetes is common. Who in his or her right mind conclude those are “adaptive” traits? Some of these are attached to adaptive traits, but in some people they are taken too far. In nature, traits are generally expressed in a bell curve. The middle part of that curve is “good”, but the tails of the curve can be either “good” or “bad”. When in the “bad”, that is considered disease. The Lehrer article seems to focus on the mild depressions where there is still enough cognition and energy to do something about it (the “good” middle part of the trait depression). But what about the tails where we fall into melancholic or psychotic depression? No mention of that in Lehrer’s essay. But this is the realm of depression where cognition has ground to a halt and energy has disappeared. It is the depression that doesn’t respond to placebo but does to medication. It is the 105 fever that lands you in the ER (not the 101 fever that boosts the immune system). That was not discussed in Lehrer’s musings about depression.

  • caroline (

    Fascinating! Thanks for commenting on the link.
    I see your point on the “hitchhiking” with actual beneficial traits like empathy…I think the question here is one of chicken-or-egg: do these sensitive traits bloom from depression, or has depression hitchhiked on our genes that make us social beings?
    I’m not a doctor, but I think my gut it telling me that the answer is both. it’s very scary, risky, and somewhat insulting– especially to those of us who have struggled with clinical depression– to attribute anything positive to depression. There would be resentment from cancer survivors when people talk about the silver lining of that experience. but that perspective is from a psychological standpoint, rather than a biological one. I dont have the anthropological chops to dismiss the article in NYT, but I do see your point.

  • David

    Depression can keep me between the lines…keep my feet on the ground and be my conscience…a good thing..and let’s face it..we can’t live in the clouds and be hunky dory all the time…life has many peaks and valleys..makes us appreciate the good times…good points, Therese!

  • Jaliya

    It’s been said that every gift contains a curse, and every curse a gift … so it strikes me that there’s some truth in both perspectives. I’ve not yet read the cited articles, but will after offering some thoughts in response to your words, Therese …
    I *love* the phrase “conceptual tossed salad”! It reminds me of the idiotic belief that “depression is the common cold of mental illness.” (Does anybody know who first coined that phrase?)
    The prevelance of major depression in our time might be a provoking factor in an evolutionary leap (or trudge, since so many humans are truly depressed) … but as a “red flag” — a canary in the mine.
    There’s still that sneaky stigma associated with any illness whose primary symptoms are in the realm of mood, cognition, and behaviour — and the associated blame. Somehow, a “mental illness” is *still* judged, ever so insidiously and craftily, to be the patient’s fault. It’s seen as something entirely *inside the person*, whether considered a chemical glitch, a weakness of will, a metabolic failure, a moral lapse, “the common cold” … (name your judgment).
    Our error lies in this perspective. Depression as an illness and as a force to be reckoned with spans every culture, age, and status (Andrew Solomon’s *The Noonday Demon* is an eye-opener). In a sense, yes — depression is “common” — it has become that prevalent in our time. The question becomes: What are we doing as individuals, cultures, and a species to cement a condition (often hidden or disguised) that could be considered epidemic? A thoughtful person only has to turn on a TV or open a newspaper to see how most, if not all of us experience an insidious, chronic malaise that affects *every* human system from the metabolic to the cognitive, the relational, spiritual and volitional. How can it be otherwise? Me, I call it “implosive exhaustion.”
    We all have our own “conceptual tossed salad” of beliefs about depression. My salad includes a belief that depression is, in part, a *symptom* of a species-wide disorder — our human penchant to conquer, amass, take, and destroy. We all contain this penchant … just as we contain its opposite: the will to do good … to express respect, relation, reverence, and mercy … to understand rather than judge.
    We’re all in this together.
    … Great article, Therese … Thank you so much!

  • Lacey

    I wholly believe that God gives us trials to help us become stronger, to teach us, etc. etc. I can appreciate making light of depression and I agree with Therese’s post and other comments that it can be dangerous. Just because depression is becoming more common in society in one form or another does not making it an evolutionary advantage. Is depression more common or is it just exposed more? It’s not like people with genetic illnesses just keel over. We have technological advances to treat illnesses so people with these illnesses can be reproductively healthy. And I’m starting to ramble so I’ll just say, another fabulous article, Therese!

  • Ronald Pies MD

    Thanks to Therese and to all the readers who have contributed to this blog. I am very appreciative that my article was cited, but more than that, I am glad that this important issue is being discussed! There are so many out there who are battling mood disorders, and so few are getting the help they need and deserve.
    Best regards,
    Ronald Pies MD

  • Emily

    While I agree that depression is not the state that we are suppose to be living in, and that it’s not healthy to “bask” in the “benefits” of what depression can bring, I disagree as to the reasons offered by Pies.
    I also agree that while depression, once we emerge on the other side, can have benefits, these benefits do not arise because of the depression.
    While I do not know Theres’ full view on God and religion I do know that she frequently supports a healthy spiritual view in regard to depression and mental afflictions. She also sees how our spirituality can help us through the most difficult days, weeks, months and years of depression.
    I would like to submit that it is not the depression that causes us to see positive results once we learn how to cope, and it’s not our spirituality that allows us to feel some sense of hope in the midst of our difficulties. It’s the God behind them both. Our faith and spirituality are only as strong as the object of our faith, and only God who has allowed us to experience unhappy circumstances has the ability to bring good out of those situations.
    The Bible is clear about the role God plays in our lives and evolutionary, natural, or social advantage has nothing to do with why positive things can be seen to emerge from depression. God is behind all the good we see in the world. He allows bad, he doesn’t cause it, so let’s give glory to whom glory is due for the peace we can experience on the other side of depression and the growth in ourselves that can often be seen as a result.

  • Your Name

    Depression is a serious,deadly disease. I think we can mistake depression for sadness.
    In the last year I have had a heart attack,lost my home, lost my job, my 15 year old dog died,lost my truck,and my son went to prison for the rest of his life and I feel like crap. Imagine that?
    Hope has not died in me so I am feeling depressed,not suffering from depression. A mental state vs. a mental illness.
    Depression is real and kills so many people. If you tell your friends and family you have cancer they come to your aid, If you tell them you suffer from depression so many avoid you out of a fear of mental illness that is ingrained in most of us from an early age.
    Most people who think they need help do. Be honest with yourself and your healthcare workers.

  • Jill Villalba

    Hi there, I really liked what Emily had to say on this topic. And I also agree with “Your Name” that it can be a deadly disease, because I have been severly depressed now for almost 2 weeks and I have no health insurance. I think I am going to die now for the last 3 days. I’m getting worse each day. Theres really nobody to talk to because it freaks people out to talk about these mental problems. They look at you like your crazy THEN you start wondering if you are also. I had a fear come over me like while my grabddaughter who is 6 yrs. old was in the hospital. I, at the time thought it had to do with the long relationship I was in, in which we always planned on getting married, but it never happened. But people just told me like a week ago, whom they are spiritual, told me I might be going to hell for being with this man for so long and not married. I became a Christian in 2003 and hung on this guys every word. But people have scared the living daylights out of me by telling me this. ( 2 people said that to me) Don’t people realize when you are scared to death like I am, you need a friend and comfort, not condemnation. I am so fearful now, I don’t know if God has left me and thats why I feel so bleak, scared, can’t eat, losing too much weight, (in a short amount of time). But nobody knows what to do or say and I feel I need help asap, but where do I go with hardly any money. I don’t think the hospital will help me with no insurance, plus what kind of drugs would they put me on, stuff that will cause me to hallucinate? See, that scares me too. Someone, please give me your advice or opinion, cuz I can’t hardly function anymore and my mind doesn’t feel too good right now. I am so weak in every way. Please email me if you can, I can’t always find these things when I go looking for them. My email is Please will someone talk to me while I’m still competent. God Bless all who read this! Jill (I’m 49 by the way) and have never had mental problems.. thanks.. JiLL

  • John A.

    Jill, I’ve been where you’re at several times in my life. The first time I was in my mid twenties and was shocked by the way how bad and negative I felt. In fact the fear of feeling bad was almost as bad as feeling bad.I thought I was losing my mind. Fortunately I turned to the college psychologist who eased my mind and made plans to see me once a week. What a comfort. As far as medication is concerned I too was scared
    but they were effective as well although they take some getting used to.
    You probably qualify for charity care so don’t worry about money. Each step in the process helps you feel like you are taking control of the situation. And, of course, keep posting because you’re helping me.

  • Anne

    I just e-mailed the NYT article to my husband. Part of the reason is that he works in Community Mental Health. He’s a very talented clinician and I know he will chew on this information and utilize it (I also sent on this article from Beyond Blue). As well I want to discuss this with him for my own reasons. I’ve struggled with the up and the very down side of depression since early childhood. While the moods have been a scourge so has the belief system in society that depression is something to be medicated and managed… western medicine fails us by listening for symptoms and that hopeless ring in our voices. Some of our friends and family send on the message one way or another that we should just pull ourselves up by our boot straps and get a grip. While I am greatful for clinicians who work with people to help them find a way through the dark caves of their mind… I can barely contain my anxiety when I hear someone has gone to the psychiatrist for help with depression.
    I have to admit that at first after reading the NYT I was disappointed. Who doesn’t know individuals who struggle with the ups and downs of mood afflictions are more insightful…. who isn’t aware of the individuals in our midst past and present who are brilliant and talented? The title had me hopeful but I wasn’t quite sure for what and in my disappointment I gleaned some hope. I took a step back… the article did give way to some deeper compassion. A more human and beautiful face to this picture of darkness. Medication has it’s place yes but let’s begin looking beyond just the moods of people affected with “profound sadness” and see the functional aspects of their journey through the dark hole and furthermore let’s help them appreciate themselves and the journey more with understanding, compassion and not just pity and awe. It’s subtle but it’s a beginning. Message: Don’t doubt the darker side of depression.. it kills the soul but can we maybe find a better way to live with it and create more hope?
    I believe there is so much more to understand about depression. My sense of the genetic link in families is that it’s more than just genetics that lead family members down this road… it’s the way we all behave and the way we view depression and the effects of depression in our family life. The secrets, the mannerisms, the feeling of being marked for this death. (My own father died of heart problems but I always believed it had more to do with depression and self-hatred than it did with his physical heart… he never spoke of his affliction but he certainly tried to hand off to me and my siblings the fate of his emotional self-loathing. Thank God I declined but I still ended up with the moods and the fears.)
    As I sway back and forth with a little bit of hope and a sense of disappointment in these researchers I say… Let’s keep working on this shall we!

  • Tamara Wyrick

    I just wanted to say that I am now getting help with my clinical depression. I kept denying that I even had a problem for the longest time, but things just got worse for me. I feared the name calling and admitting that I was going insane. I went as far as to study psychology to find answers for myself instead of going to a doctor. Finally everything come crashing down and I became like a zombi. My parents wanted to commit me in a hospital. Instead of that, I just ended up moving in with them and kept crying and denying that anything was wrong. I had no money of my own and so got on wel-fare and foodstamps. Tried to follow a work progam for my government help and ended up failing. I finally broke down and cried to my social worker and she told me to go to my primary doctor and fill out some disability papers. I am 43 years old and spent most of my life in misery. Finally the doctors said that I had clinical depression. I am just starting to take medicine for it and it has help. One thing I also found is that helps me as well as others is to finally speak out and tell your personal story to others. You get stronger with a group than trying to fight it all by yourself. Communication is the key to all successes. Keep talking to someone hears you. Then you can learn what good comes out of your horrible past.

  • Tracey

    Hang in there Jill. John has good advice.Each day look for positve factors in your life. God will not leave you. You have friends here on earth. You have my email, keep in touch. There are medications that can help you with anxiety and depression.

  • DD

    Good Luck Jill, the best advice I can give is to try to get some help with a therapis, keep a positive attitude and know that you will get better if you believe that you will. I have been depressed many times in my life and was put on meds to be able to cope with my fears. Advice to you be careful with the meds, I became an addict due to anti-depressants and Xanax. I had to dtox and are now attending group and one on one therapy. Please be careful and God Bless!!

  • Your Name

    Another great, informative article, Therese. I know each of us feels that we are out there alone. By the comments, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Of
    course, Some believe as I do, God can help us and carry us, when needed. All we have to do is ask God for help and guidence. Sure it will come down to us trying to help ourselves, any way we can.
    I believe that the first place to go is to a clergyman or woman. They have had training in helping folks with emotional problems and marriage counciling. That person may be all you need to put in place in your life. Try to help them help us AND YOU WILL LEARN TO HELP YOURSELF.
    Jill, you have come to the right place. We have all been in your shoes, in one way or another. I am so tired of trying to stay here and battle depression. Yes, dying would be a simple way to go. But I believe that would not please God AND I DO WANT TO GET INTO HEAVEN.
    And suicide is the WORST LEGACY to leave your families.
    I want my grandchildren to remember how fun I was to be with. My adult kids assume there is something wrong with me. But they still want me to sit with their kids, when needed. I must be in better controll when with them.
    Good luck to all of us and God Bless!!
    Many blessings to all of you and to me.

  • Anne

    I found this article very pertinent here. Wanted to share it for what it is worth.

  • Maria

    I am struggling on 2 fronts. My beloved husband of 38 years passed away on Thanksgiving day of 2008, my eldest son is bipolar and is sitting in prison till 2011, my two other sons will not share their grief with me. I AM ALONE!

  • janet

    Squeeze away. This article made me very angry. Depression has done the following for me:
    1. ruined my life
    2. ruined my career
    3. I can’t think as well as I once did, and everything is colored with negativity. I am no longer a critical thinker, but a worrier.
    4. helped me to lose some friends and family.
    I wonder what could be accomplished by high achieving depressed people if they weren’t depressed. Depression sucks out the pleasure from life. It becomes a struggle to even get out of bed, so think of the cost of accomplishing anything.
    I cannot think of one benefit of depression. Not one. This article is farfetched IMO. Talk about a stretch. Lehrer – get real.

  • Tamara Wyrick

    To Maria:
    You are NOT ALONE! In a round about way, I found out that getting into a group that deals with the twelve steps of recovery and new thinking.
    To Janet:
    I too use too use to think like you and couldn’t see how any good came out of depression. It wasn’t till I join a group with my addict boyfriend and listen to the AA and NA meetings, which taught me the twelve steps. I also joined Nar-anon group. My bad past is helping others gain strength and courage to fight this disease. What I am doing now is what is good. I am helping others to stay a float in the worst storm of thier life. My past experience is helping others to cope better and not fall as deeply as I did. Telling about all my negitive past is giving another person hope. The more you reach out and try to sympathize and understand the others pain is actually helping yourself. It is like finally turning the cycle of abuse the other direction. You no longer feel things are going to get worse and worry so much. I think that is what is trying to be said. Changing the bad negatives of the past and making them positives again. Yes it is hard to fight against gravity, but it can be done if you gather enough people with string to twine in the strongest rope ever. You become able to stay alive through the help of others. Good can come out of mental illness.

  • Maria

    Thank you Tamara for your encouraging thoughts. But I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t change other people, even your own children. I have been in groups and have only come away from them with feelings of confusion and uncertainty.
    Ultimately, I do know that I am alone but it’s the acceptance of that fact that is giving me a lot of difficulty. I was an only child and when my husband and I married I always wanted a big family. And we were happy for a long time but then my eldest developed bipolar in 1991 and our “family” has been in a mess every since.

  • Tamara Wyrick

    Your welcome Maria. Congradulations! You have done the first step. I would love to talk further about the other twelve steps that seem to be helping me. I am here on the community and join Beyond Blue group. I would love to chat with anybody that wants to talk to me. You are now on the road of recovery. Hope to hear more from you.

  • Gail C

    I am sorry for your grief, Maria. You are not alone but may need help-any hospice organization would be happy to talk with you and you don’t have to be a patient or family of someone in hospice care. That could be a really good resource for you.

  • Maria

    Yes, I went to hospice, my husband was with them the last weeks of his life and they did help me. But my problem is that I NEED my sons to share with me and they won’t. I’ve tried emails, thinking it would be less emotional, but they don’t answer me. On the anniversary of my husband birth, Jan. 26 I wrote a letter to them of how lonely I had been and how much I needed their emotional support and my one son responded with “Now you know how I’ve felt in the last 10 years!’
    I’m ready to just give up trying and go it alone.

  • Tamara Wyrick

    Hi Maria, I have some questions to ask you, if I may? Why is it so important for you sons to support you right now? Why do you have the need to share this with your sons? What are you hoping for if you do get the right responces from them?
    You said they didn’t answer you, but one has and I feel you are not really listening to him. What does he mean by what he just wrote to you? What happen to him those last 10 years?
    My thoughts on this is he is angry and lashing out at you for some reason. He is probably feeling this: Why should I start support her when I feel she never was there for me? He is also probably thinking that the burden is really on you and not him. You are the parent and should be stronger and take care of the kids instead of kids taking care of parents. If you still love your children, don’t give up. Love is not giving up. There needs more communication here. Keep trying to talk to them, but when they do talk; please really listen. Communication only works if you use both parts; talking and listening.
    One of your sons did respond and now it is your turn to respond back. Keep tossing the ball of communication back and forth somehow. You do have one ball on your side of the court. What are you going to do? Are you going to write back? Are you going to ask what he meant by that? Ask him to please explain if you really don’t know what he means? Keep bouncing that ball of communication.

  • Leeannd

    My comment is to Therese..Thank you for your boldness and your wonderful blog as usual you have spoken to me. I believe as a person with severe depression/Bipolar that I AGREE TOTALLY with you. Meds and Therapy. As you somedays it is hard to just get through the day. My problem is and I am working on is caring what others think of me, I know part of it goes back to my childhood and coming from an abusive, alcoholic family and always wanting to fix things and thinking being PERFECT (which now knowing there is only one who is) that all would be fine, well it carried over into my adulthood. I have been hospitalized, gone to Respite x2. Now I have so much more stress recently back surgery two weeks later in the hospital for pheo. in both lungs and a blood clot in one and on top of that will be going through a second divorce so ya everyday is a battle for a person without Mental illness add that to it and boom it is even worse. I hope the woman supports her loved one, I know it is hard my family has been through so much b/c of my illness and have tried for 16 years my husband and now we are divorcing not just b/c of my illness but he has tried at least and put up with me and has done the best he can!!! Good luck and let the person know you are there and if needed go to support groups do whatever needs to be done.
    God Bless you Therese and your family and all your posts and the woman struggling with her family member. I know see it from both sides of the fence.
    I have bought 3 of your books can’t wait to get them and start reading them the new one, mother one and preordered pocket one! They all sounded great so I ordered all three on Amazon.

  • Janet

    Tamara, I still disagree with you. Instead of telling people about my past and present struggles, I do my best to not burden people with my depression. Most people have little patience with depression. Most think you can snap out of it if you try. People have suggested a vacation to me, more sunshine, St. John’s Wort. In reality, the pills don’t work for me (drug resistent) and ECT does work, but at such a high cost. I’ve actually had people tell me that ECT causes massive brain damage and leaves people with half a brain. I never share that I’ve had ECT and rarely share the depression. I stay home and out of sight when I am very depressed. I can’t help anyone.

  • Erika

    “Here’s where I sound very, very bipolar”
    Um, this is a bad and discriminatory use of language. Just so you know. You know that, right? Bipolar doesn’t mean changing opinions quickly, and it doesn’t even mean general mood volatility. Technically it means having experienced at least one episode of mania. It has nothing to do with being generally flighty or moody. Just so you know. But you’re the expert, right.

  • Tamara Wyrick

    To Janet:
    When you said that most people think you can just snap out of it, you got me thinking of my father. My dad believes that mental illness are just week minded and lazy indivials that just refuse to do anything to make their lives better. Right now I am living back home with this man telling me everything that I am doing is wrong. Therapy is a bunch of hog wash and psychology is nothing but another religion or something. My mother doesn’t understand this either, but at least she is trying to understand and tells me to ignore my dad. There is no plase for me to hide and I felt attacked every single day. I have no choice but to talk to drown out what bad things are being said about me. If I had the opportunity like you, I would hide, but what am I really doing. I am isolating myself and making it easier to think bad and depressive thoughts. I think it is safer, but is it really for me. I begin to think suicide thoughts and probably would do it if I was left alone for too long. Believe me that I did think and was you about a year ago. I am just saying what I needed to do to say my life and you might think you way is better. That is ok! I am just letting you know there are other ways out there.

  • Janet

    You are right.

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  • John A

    I’ve been thinking about the “upside” of depression for awhile and I must say that I’m coming up a little short. I do give those people who have it a tremendous amount of respect and even admiration. Although I cannot speak for others, generally speaking, I look at it as we’re the ones who have to carry this cross. There are others who have physical impairments and they have to carry that cross. As for those who say to snap out of it is like telling someone who is a quadrapleagic to get out of that wheelchair and walk. The fact is it’s a mental condition that should be better understood by the general public but probably never will be. At the same time, I do not wish that everyone should just try it on for a week or two so that they do understand it. Once again I thank all of you for helping me through the day.

  • Tamara

    I am so glad you wrote that John. You are so right! I couldn’t understand the differance between bleeding to death on a side of a road from a car accident and nobody stopping and just ignoring and keep on driving by like nothing is wrong. What is worse than that is thinking someone stopping by and starting screaming at me and telling me to stop bleeding all over the side of the road.
    I think of mental illness like someone bleeding to death from their soul instead of the heart. The blood is invisible and no one can see this. Your soul is draining and your energy; your other life blood is spilling out all over the ground. Seeing is believing and since they can’t see this; they can’t believe that anything could be so wrong and one is actually dying inside. Why won’t anybody reach out to save us like a person in a car accident?

  • Casae

    Therese – you should always know that the sensitive, altruistic, and compassionate parts of you will be there with of without the depression. Because on the days that you aren’t feeling badly – you don’t abandon this world of comfort and safety that you’ve created here at Beyond Blue for all of us who may be going through one of the worse days. You may piggyback other traits onto the sensitivity, altruism and compassion on those days, maybe less admirable ones – negative ones – for your reasons for blogging. But like depression’s tendency to hitch a ride with those more noble traits, any negative thoughts are just a cheap attempt to drain your awesome humanism.
    When no physical location exists to comfort me on my worst days, I always have Beyond Blue – maybe there aren’t fluffy sofas or a coffee bar – but my mind is allowed to take a break and the thoughts to subside a bit and so, as far as I’m concerned – its certainly as good, and possibly better than any brick and mortar sanctuary.

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