Two Kinds of Depressions
by phil on Saturday Oct 4, 2003 1:20 PM
There are two kinds of depression, a coping one and a cope-free one.
A coping depression is characterized by sadness combined with one's ability to creatively deal with it. Coping depression is fun, sometimes even more fun than a coping happiness, which explains why it's so popular among our fun-loving youth.
In a coping depression, the depression becomes a positive force. You get to wear all black, you get to write good poetry, you get to listen to dark music, and you get to become an activist. Socially, you get to commiserate with others, an act that commonly comprises the majority of a lot of ppl's connections. You get to philosophize, asking the great miserable question, "why, oh why?" In other words, a coping depression helps you meditate and withdraw into yourself. It separates your world neatly into enemies and friends, the evil and the ideal. A coping depression is one characterized by justification when one feels bitten with injustice.
A litmus test for whether your depression is coping or not is to identify how much you care to change your mood. For example, today, I've noticed that I'm generally sad. So what have I done? I've been listening to tunes, I've been ranting on my blog, I've been thinking about the negative qualities of the world, I've been using humor with my friends in order to make light of the injustice that is plaguing me. And while I noticed I was sad, I also felt unmotivated to change myself. In part, because it was giving me time to just lie down and stew, to relax, to not do work because "screw it."
A cope-free depression, on the other hand, really sucks. I've had this many times. This is when you get depressed about being depressed. When you're sad, and then attempt in vain to change your mood. You become frustrated and "stuck" and then the sadness ceases to be fun.
How do you control which side of the spectrum you want to get into? Well, I don't know the exact answer. But my guess, based on experience and based on the fact that emotion precedes thought, is to just "let go" and let your body and mind naturally guide you properly.
Because if you're depressed and actively exercising your thinking skills, chances are you're over-analyzing or coloring all thought with negative bias. So the solutions you come up with may not be pretty. For example, whenever I get sad and try to bring myself out of it, I always tend to avoid "coping" strategies because I rationally feel bad not attacking the source of my ills.
So to take a more emotionally intelligent approach, one should tap into the self-regulating faculties of our intuitions and heart. If you need to cope, you will, if you need a solution, it'll come by, and if it can't be found, then you'll learn to bear pain.
Kind of goes back to something Rousseau said: "That which proceeds from Nature is good, that which proceeds from the hands of Man is bad." This statement is not an absolute, but it's generally good thinking it that we can ruin ourselves with the active application of our reasoned good intentions.