What Exactly Is Depression? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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What Exactly Is Depression?


I noticed that on the Secondary Disorders forum, the last person replying to a thread on Depression was Hopeful12, so maybe it is proper that helpless be the first poster to a new thread on Depression.

I've read a lot about Depression, and I suppose it is a loosely used term, and a lot of us, myself included, sometimes, or even often times, say that we are "Depressed" meaning "feeling blue," (there was some song with those words as lyics, repeated over and over again, the song might have been by John Fogherty).

Other ways of putting it, might have been, feeling sad, or helpless, or hopeless about things.

My mother, born in 1917 and long deceased, came from a family of 4 children where all of them had at least what was then called "nervous breakdown."

When Mother was hospitalized in 1971, and I was told she had sufferred another of her countless "nervous breakdowns," I knew something wasn't quite right about that term, and with no internet, and only books to look through, I finally found the answer.

"Nervous breakdown," even tho the term persists to this very day, was, by 1971, considered medically meaningless and based upon a discredited theory about the nervous system, although through the years, it is used to describe any kind of situation where some emotional problem causes a person to be unable to function with the duties and responsibilities and duties of their daily lives.

Fine with me, if people want to continue to say "nervous breakdown," and use it in this way.

What I found out is that my mother was suffering from Manic Depressive Syndrome.

I hope I'm remembering the term correctly, but if not, or if a different term is now used, feel free to correct me.

Both of my parents, and the children they produced, including myself, suffered from and those of us, myself included, continue to suffer from emotional problems.

In the discussions I have read of the medical condition of Manic-Depression, that all of us have times of "feeling blue," helpless, hopeless, and sad, as well as times when we are "manic," and are very "up" feeling.

But, these feelings that all of us have, are not the same as Manic Depression, which is a very serious medical condition.

On one of the threads I just read, the term "clinical depression" was used to refer to mood swings which are a serious medical condition.

In my own case, I don't think I suffer from a serious medical condition, but a simple lack of motivation to do things.

My "blue, helpless, hopeless" feelings do not keep me from working at my job, and taking care of my responsibilities, and taking care of paying bills, and other things, but once these necessary obligations are taken care of I just feel like I do not want to do anything at all, even though I could be busy doing all kinds of things, and pursuing all kinds of interests that I have, but for the most part I don't.

Could my condition be best described as just plain old "laziness?"

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 01:39 PM
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Your mother might have suffered from psychotic depression, which is why she had to be hospitalized.

Manic depression is an antiquated term for bipolar depression.

You probably suffer from dysthymia, which is chronic, mild depression that zaps your energy and makes you "lazy."

Just google depression and you'll find more info.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 02:58 PM
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In the discussions I have read of the medical condition of Manic-Depression, that all of us have times of "feeling blue," helpless, hopeless, and sad, as well as times when we are "manic," and are very "up" feeling.
It's called bipolar now.

But as for actual depression or major depressive disorder, I think a lot of stuff gets misdiagnosed as that since lack of motivation and mood issues and such are symptoms of lots of mental health disorders.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helpless View Post

In my own case, I don't think I suffer from a serious medical condition, but a simple lack of motivation to do things.

My "blue, helpless, hopeless" feelings do not keep me from working at my job, and taking care of my responsibilities, and taking care of paying bills, and other things, but once these necessary obligations are taken care of I just feel like I do not want to do anything at all, even though I could be busy doing all kinds of things, and pursuing all kinds of interests that I have, but for the most part I don't.

Could my condition be best described as just plain old "laziness?"
I can't say for sure what it is, but this last part where you describe your feelings describes my outlook fully. I question too whether it is laziness or something else, but I have the same exact outlook lately toward working, responsibilities and then the other things that aren't necessities but I seem to be uninterested in.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 11:47 PM
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An invisible black hole sucking away at your existence. Sometimes endlessly. Other times it just creeps up on you. You'll be laughing and the next minute crying. You'll wake up in the morning and just stay there all day. You're half-awake and half-asleep. You feel numb. Nothing matters as much as it used to. You get tons of thoughts all pretty much saying you're worthless and everything is pointless. You'll go on a walk and contemplate some dark thoughts. Maybe consider never coming back. Then you'll go home and smile and talk to a relative or roommate like none of that just happened.

Until you're alone again, with nobody watching. You can just fall apart, because it's how you feel on the inside all the time. It's not always crying. Sometimes you just sit there, staring, or lie there, numb. Empty. Void. Nothing to care about.

Something inside just hurts and it doesn't make sense why, and it doesn't matter what you do or try, it hangs in there. It's unexplainable sadness, emptiness, pain. Pouring out of nowhere, washing the dishes or making a grocery list or at work or in class. You're suddenly sobbing and trying to hide because people will think you're insane. Because you're tired of people telling you how you should feel or how much worse they feel. Pain is pain, invisible or not.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helpless View Post
I noticed that on the Secondary Disorders forum, the last person replying to a thread on Depression was Hopeful12, so maybe it is proper that helpless be the first poster to a new thread on Depression.

I've read a lot about Depression, and I suppose it is a loosely used term, and a lot of us, myself included, sometimes, or even often times, say that we are "Depressed" meaning "feeling blue," (there was some song with those words as lyics, repeated over and over again, the song might have been by John Fogherty).

Other ways of putting it, might have been, feeling sad, or helpless, or hopeless about things.

My mother, born in 1917 and long deceased, came from a family of 4 children where all of them had at least what was then called "nervous breakdown."

When Mother was hospitalized in 1971, and I was told she had sufferred another of her countless "nervous breakdowns," I knew something wasn't quite right about that term, and with no internet, and only books to look through, I finally found the answer.

"Nervous breakdown," even tho the term persists to this very day, was, by 1971, considered medically meaningless and based upon a discredited theory about the nervous system, although through the years, it is used to describe any kind of situation where some emotional problem causes a person to be unable to function with the duties and responsibilities and duties of their daily lives.

Fine with me, if people want to continue to say "nervous breakdown," and use it in this way.

What I found out is that my mother was suffering from Manic Depressive Syndrome.

I hope I'm remembering the term correctly, but if not, or if a different term is now used, feel free to correct me.

Both of my parents, and the children they produced, including myself, suffered from and those of us, myself included, continue to suffer from emotional problems.

In the discussions I have read of the medical condition of Manic-Depression, that all of us have times of "feeling blue," helpless, hopeless, and sad, as well as times when we are "manic," and are very "up" feeling.

But, these feelings that all of us have, are not the same as Manic Depression, which is a very serious medical condition.

On one of the threads I just read, the term "clinical depression" was used to refer to mood swings which are a serious medical condition.

In my own case, I don't think I suffer from a serious medical condition, but a simple lack of motivation to do things.

My "blue, helpless, hopeless" feelings do not keep me from working at my job, and taking care of my responsibilities, and taking care of paying bills, and other things, but once these necessary obligations are taken care of I just feel like I do not want to do anything at all, even though I could be busy doing all kinds of things, and pursuing all kinds of interests that I have, but for the most part I don't.

Could my condition be best described as just plain old "laziness?"
As a couple of others have said manic depression is now called bipolar. You might have the milder form of it - bipolar 2. The mania apparently isnt as extreme for those people.

I don't think I saw anything in your post mentioning you feel manic sometimes?

From what I've read it can be more like a much "lighter" feeling, much more happy than usual, more talkative etc - but not the full-blown mania of bipolar 1 where you go off and start buying everything in sight.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helpless View Post

Could my condition be best described as just plain old "laziness?"
I don't even think laziness is a meaningful term in any sense of the word.

when a person it's lazy it's usually 1 or more of the following reasons:
- amotivation caused by mental distress
- inability to think clearly caused by anxiety, which then leads to inaction because making decisions is too taxing or simply not possible

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by A Toxic Butterfly View Post
An invisible black hole sucking away at your existence. Sometimes endlessly. Other times it just creeps up on you. You'll be laughing and the next minute crying. You'll wake up in the morning and just stay there all day. You're half-awake and half-asleep. You feel numb. Nothing matters as much as it used to. You get tons of thoughts all pretty much saying you're worthless and everything is pointless. You'll go on a walk and contemplate some dark thoughts. Maybe consider never coming back. Then you'll go home and smile and talk to a relative or roommate like none of that just happened.

Until you're alone again, with nobody watching. You can just fall apart, because it's how you feel on the inside all the time. It's not always crying. Sometimes you just sit there, staring, or lie there, numb. Empty. Void. Nothing to care about.

Something inside just hurts and it doesn't make sense why, and it doesn't matter what you do or try, it hangs in there. It's unexplainable sadness, emptiness, pain. Pouring out of nowhere, washing the dishes or making a grocery list or at work or in class. You're suddenly sobbing and trying to hide because people will think you're insane. Because you're tired of people telling you how you should feel or how much worse they feel. Pain is pain, invisible or not.
shxt, A Dark Orchid - this hit me...

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 12:47 PM
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An invisible black hole sucking away at your existence. Sometimes endlessly. Other times it just creeps up on you. You'll be laughing and the next minute crying. You'll wake up in the morning and just stay there all day. You're half-awake and half-asleep. You feel numb. Nothing matters as much as it used to. You get tons of thoughts all pretty much saying you're worthless and everything is pointless. You'll go on a walk and contemplate some dark thoughts. Maybe consider never coming back. Then you'll go home and smile and talk to a relative or roommate like none of that just happened.

Until you're alone again, with nobody watching. You can just fall apart, because it's how you feel on the inside all the time. It's not always crying. Sometimes you just sit there, staring, or lie there, numb. Empty. Void. Nothing to care about.

Something inside just hurts and it doesn't make sense why, and it doesn't matter what you do or try, it hangs in there. It's unexplainable sadness, emptiness, pain. Pouring out of nowhere, washing the dishes or making a grocery list or at work or in class. You're suddenly sobbing and trying to hide because people will think you're insane. Because you're tired of people telling you how you should feel or how much worse they feel. Pain is pain, invisible or not.
Very articulate and couldn't have been described better.

*Warning: What is said from here on is a bit sensitive and somewhat subjective. Still think it should be expressed for people who can read/do not fully understand manic/depression.*


 
It's a losing battle either way it's looked at, via society and within the individual suffering from it. Failed 'medical' interventions would be considered as the icing to the cake. Then after giving up on it and the thought of having to start the whole process over, which could take months if not some years (especially with manic depression), then having to be the lap dog for psychologists who want to pick at old wounds as if what happened x amount of years ago will solve the current issues at hand...

When you see the mirrored reality in others and some eventually losing that battle...yeah, that is definitely the motivational killer from wanting to continue on. Try to find reasons to stay - with life (which nobody had the choice of), with menial events such as listed in terms of relations where you're supposed to be happy... Sorry to say, but it's not a good reason and I'm even starting to get tired. I complain about so much, but this is one where I really try not to dive into so much because of how it summarizes much of my life from the beginning to the present... I would rather have natural selection run its course sooner than later.

(Decided not to quote the user since I know the person who wrote this is in a vulnerable spot as well... But I think this still needs to be said for those who don't understand in its entirety as to how it's not something to just brush off, despite society and even ourselves try to do...)
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 01:15 PM
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****, that's what it is.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 01:35 PM
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Depression is a huge topic, so I'm just going to focus on laziness, since it's a pet peeve of mine.

There are many reasons for laziness:

A: If the activities that you routinely engage in are very draining, physically or mentally, then it shouldn't be surprising if you find you lack the energy to pursue other activities in your time off. If Jim finds interacting with other people on the job enjoyable, and Bob finds interacting with people exhausting, Jim will go home at the end of the week with more energy left over for recreational activities than Bob. Does this mean that Bob is 'lazier' than Jim?

B: If Jim believes that achieving his goal is possible; if he believes that achieving it is worthwhile; and if he believes he is personally capable of achieving it; then he will be motivated to invest the effort in attaining it*. A failure in any of these areas will result in a state of apathy: if you do not believe a goal is possible; if you do not believe a goal is worthwhile (eg. you have anhedonia, or a nihilistic philosophy); or if you do not believe you are personally capable of achieving it; then you not invest the effort in attaining it.

If you have no alternate goals, or don't believe any are worth pursuing, this will produce a result that looks like 'laziness' to people who have achievable, worthwhile goals (who will be happy to inform you that their non-analogous situations are analogous to yours). The difference has nothing to do with how much effort one is willing to expend, but with the person's circumstances or beliefs. Most of the people who condemn themselves for being lazy, ime, either have goals they believe are impossible; believe that no goal is worth achieving; or believe that they personally lack the ability to achieve their goals (or some combination of these).

*Also, the closer one is to achieving a goal, the more highly motivated a person is to achieve it. Which is one of the reasons competition for first place in anything tends to be incredibly ruthless.

C: There is a third kind of laziness that comes from entitlement. If you feel that it is not your responsibility to achieve your goals, and that it is someone else's responsibility, you will tend to punish other people for failing to provide for you. Often, this takes the form of criticism; sometimes it takes the form of criminality. But even in this case, the problem isn't so much that the person refuses to expend the effort to achieve their own goals, but that they don't understand that it is their responsibility to achieve them.

D: There's also positive laziness, in which a person takes the time to enjoy activities which other people might define as lazy, but which are intrinsically enjoyable. Like playing games or reading a book or lying on the beach. There's nothing wrong with that kind of laziness as long as it doesn't interfere with achieving other goals. Most often, when people condemn themselves for being lazy, they're engaging in these kinds of activities instead of achieving other goals; but they're not pursuing those other goals for one of the reasons I mentioned in B, or because they have been too exhausted by routine activities as in A, not because they're 'lazy'. There are also people who find these activities more satisfying than the kinds of goals they're 'supposed' to value. The idea that everyone is supposed to want to achieve some kind of goal above and beyond simple pleasure is just another kind of cultural prejudice.

When people condemn laziness, they're usually condemning laziness of type C or deviants who enjoy type D activities instead of curing cancer. The problem is, all laziness tends to look like type C to people who do not have the kind of obstructions to achieving their goals that I mention in B, or who do not find social interaction draining, as in A. So while one person may be justly criticized for their sense of entitlement, another engaging in superficially similar activities may not.

People with SAD tend to suffer from both A and B, and then are accused by others of being C, so they internalize a deep sense of shame over their 'laziness'. Some of those people try to turn it around (C) on the princple that: "if you're going to do the time, you might as well commit the crime". They have little to lose by adopting a sense of entitlement, since people already assume that they have it.

If laziness is a problem for you, it is worthwhile exploring the reasons why you have trouble coming up with goals, or engaging with your goals. It's almost certainly not because you "aren't working hard enough". Hard work is what happens when a person is highly motivated to achieve what they consider an achievable and worthwhile goal.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the good responses everyone, and I have found all of them very useful and helpful.

I could possibly give periodic reports on my laziness or lack of motivation, and have a continuing thread going, as I have done with "Took A Shower Today," which I see in my life as often due to laziness.

Today, I woke up too early, and was of course unhappy that a lot of places I wanted to go to and conduct business might have been closed for their employees to have a four day holiday weekend.

And, some places I wanted to go to were just closed, on Monday, Holiday or not.

On matter that might need a thread of its own is opening and closing schedules of the US Post Offices which are extremely variable from one place to another, but again, that's getting off the topic.

I went back to sleep and woke up about noon, feeling very motivated to do a lot of things I've been wanting to do, and got as many of these things done as I could and still feel motivated to do more things until probably midnight tonight, and make a list of things to do tomorrow, hopefully feeling just as motivated tomorrow as I have been today.

One thing that especially annoys me, and bothers me, and I'm sure it's the same with many others, is the dominance of modern society by electronic and mechanical devices which do not function right, and probably the biggest example is loose electrical connections. I like to have all of the machines and electronic devices that I use in my daily life working in good condition, but that is just not possible, and fixing such things takes a lot of learning how to, as well as taking the time, once you learn, and laziness very much comes into play in both learning and doing in this case.

Many thanks again for all the good and insightful replies.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 06:43 PM
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Motivation is directly related to potential reward via dopamine in the brain, which makes you feel good and makes you want to engage in that activity again. But if doing something doesn't make you feel good, you don't have motivation to do it again, other than a threat of getting fired or yelled at. Negative reinforcement is nowhere near as effective as reward.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 07:13 AM
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Like these are a list of all the proposed disorders that effect motivation and goal oriented activity (as in a significant part of the diagnoses):

ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, major depressive disorder (I don't think dysthymia is a diagnosed disorder anymore btw,) schizophrenia (and various schizophrenia spectrum disorders,) Schizoid PD, Schizotypal PD, bipolar, cyclothymia (not sure if anyone really ever gets this diagnosed,) Antisocial personality disorder.

Will have missed some. There's so many.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 08:00 AM
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It's the educational system that instills this goal oriented mindset into people from a young age.
This gets the individual into the mindset of constant preparation.

Preparing for an exam
Preparing for college
Prepare for a career
Preparing for retirement
Preparing for death

Anyone who has somehow fallen out of this mindset is automatically considered lazy or mentally ill.

But take a moment and look at the universe and nature here on earth. Do they have goals?
Of course not! They just exist moment to moment.
Human beings are the only organisms who are neurotic about "achievement" .

Getting people into a goal oriented mindset has been great to advance society but what are the costs? More and more people on antidepressants and a planet of pollution and oceans full of garbage.

Think about how much **** we are surrounded by because of other people's goals! Because an individual wants to be a "somebody" in the eyes of society we all have to subsidize it in some small way.
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 04:56 PM
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I've been told I have depression by one doctor, and dysthymia by another. So I can take my pick which label I prefer I guess.

I can function, hold down a job, put on a "mask of wellness" etc, but I have no motivation to do the things other people seem to expect of me, such as study, trying to get a more well-paid job, forge a career; to "better myself", for want of a better term.

However, I am motivated to do what I enjoy and what I feel makes me happy. The problem is that this doesn't fit in with society's expectations of constant progress and "improvement", so it is regarded as a 'problem".

On the other hand, my partner is motivated to do what society expects, so there is this constant conflict between us. She, perhaps rightly, I don't know, says that if I can be motivated to do what I enjoy then I should be motivated to work to "progress in life", for her as she puts it.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 05:01 PM
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Motivation is directly related to potential reward via dopamine in the brain, which makes you feel good and makes you want to engage in that activity again. But if doing something doesn't make you feel good, you don't have motivation to do it again, other than a threat of getting fired or yelled at. Negative reinforcement is nowhere near as effective as reward.
I have found that when I succeed in doing something, (like doing posts here on the forums, and getting replies), that I feel motivated to do more things on the net, as well as in other areas of my life, such as getting rid of a lot of old ring around the collar, yellowed beyond being wearable clothes that just jam my clothes closet, making it impossible to push the hangers apart.

This newfound motivation which came upon me last night, has resulted in my having four bags of unwearable useless clothes, as well as clutter from inside my refrigerator, all ready to take to the dumpster.

And, let's hope I'll soon get the motivation to take them to the dumpster before midnight tonight.

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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 02:18 PM
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Depression is the realization of reality.
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 02:25 PM
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