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Shooter12's avatar

Do depressed people actually like to be down?

Asked by Shooter12 (69points) June 24th, 2010

I’ve fallen into a little state of the blues – but everytime this happens to me, I actually feel like I get some gratification out of being down. Does this happen to everyone or am I weird?

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15 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I can only answer for myself. As a person with bipolar disorder, I get deeply depressed about twice a year.

I hate it. Absolutely, HATE it.

It saps my will to live and leaves me a shell of my real self. It often makes it so that I am unable to function and spend days in bed.

I can’t stand it.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s weird. There are times when I just want to stop seeing people. I wish I could hang in my room and get more and more miserable. I think if I did that, I soon spiral down in that death cycle.

Fortunately I’m married and have kids and work and obligations, so I can’t just lie there and feel bad and then worse. My wife gets me to go see friends. My sense of obligation makes me go to work. My love keeps me going with my family.

It’s that desire to get worse and worse off that scares me. Maybe depression is my only way of escaping, but it’s really not that. It’s like my mind just wants me to die. The call of depression is seductive. I don’t get it. I’m trying to figure it.

I hate it, but there’s a part of me that wants it—depression.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I can understand what @wundayatta is getting at. There is a seductive call to depression, but that’s part of the disease in my opinion.

And that’s another thing I hate about it.

dpworkin's avatar

They may become accustomed to it, and depend on it for a feeling of safety, but au fond no one given a choice wants to be depressed.

jazmina88's avatar

@dpworkin read my mind. there is a bit of safety. very frustrated with dysfunctional family.

Berserker's avatar

I very highly doubt it.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I don’t know about actually liking feeling down, but we do have a tendency to cling to familiar feelings. I’d prefer to feel down rather than have an out-of-control manic episode such as I’ve heard described. At least being “down” allows one to remain cautious.

Shooter12's avatar

Thanks everyone – I think the word seductive is a great way to describe what I feel. It’s not that I want to be depressed and down, but when I’m there – it’s almost too much effort to think about crawling out of the hole.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Shooter12 You described it exactly right.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

They don’t like to be down but their brains like the chemicals produced from the emotional extremes, getting down is one way to get that release.

netgrrl's avatar

Real depression (as opposed to occasionally getting the blues, or being down temporarily because of a negative event) sucks, it robs you of the very ability to see the color in your world. It robs you of your past, your present, and your future. Chronic depression (dysthymia) is chemically-based and treatable.

Since I tend to run a low-grade depression I’ve developed a few steps that help me manage it. (I am choosing at this time to live without medication, but I have taken it at times in the past.)

First, I do tend to give into it—as a planned event. I give myself a time limit. In some cases, I’ll almost plan for it – tell myself that I just need to hang on, until the weekend, for instance. Then I tell some people who might worry about not hearing from me that I intend to “unplug” for awhile – I may not be available right way by telephone, text or the social sites I am on.

After the time limit (usually 2 days in my case, because that works for me re: keeping it from getting out of hand.) I start to do simple things. Get up. I don’t want to, but I just do it. Take a shower. Get dressed – even to putting socks and shoes. Cook something instead of nibbling out of the fridge. Change the sheets on my bed. Start to touch base with the world.

I don’t seem to have much of a choice about the depression. But how I choose to manage it is something within my control. These steps seem to help me reduce the length and depth of depression.

Now major depressive episodes are completely different. I’ve had three. They aren’t something I’d try to manage alone.

downtide's avatar

As someone who’s spent around 75% of his life depressed, I’d say that I absolutely utterly hated it.

wundayatta's avatar

What @netgrrl said reminds me of something I’ve been thinking about for a while. The one-liner version is that I think we should hold happiness close but hold depression even closer.

I just heard a story on the radio about a woman who travels alone in places like Sudan and the Phillipines in areas where rebels of all different kinds live. She told a couple of stories of how she handled herself when faced by a group of teenage men with guns. She would march up to them and say, “I am so glad to see you!”

It utterly confused and disarmed them. The gang in Washington ushered her to the subway, all the while warning her against walking alone in the area she was in. In the Philippines she ransacked every house in the village for sugar and coffee, and when they arrived she said, “I am so glad you finally came.” She served them coffee, and they went away without damaging anything.

It reminds me of a story Grace Paley, the author, once told at some gathering or another. She said she came home to her house to find a young man with a gun standing in her kitchen. “You look hungry,” she said. “Can I get you something to eat?” And that’s what she did and then he left, taking whatever it was he found, but leaving her alone.

What does this have to do with depression? I am thinking about the negative thoughts we terrorize ourselves with. Sometimes, I think, it does no good to fight them. They want you to fight them, and if you try, they win. But you can really confuse them if you say, “What took you so long to get here?” Invite your terrorists in and give them coffee, and they will be so confused, they’ll leave without hurting you nearly so much.

For me, this is a mindfulness technique. I learned it the hard way. I fought and fought and fought. I had been trying to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques and I lost, and the more I lost, the more I blamed myself for losing, and the worse it got. Finally, I had to give up. And when I did; when I no longer devoted all my energy to fighting my depression, it didn’t have as much to hold onto, and much of it slipped past without grabbing me.

Now my attitude is that my depression is a wonderful thing. Not because it doesn’t hurt. It hurts like hell. But it is wonderful because it teaches me so much. But the funny thing is that now, when I embrace my guest and offer it a beer, it isn’t so interested in hanging around. I guess it’s not the touchy-feely type.

netgrrl's avatar

@wundayatta GA. Once I stopped fighting, hating myself for it & accepted it, I stopped being angry & could begin to find good coping mechanisms.

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