• What is depression?

    The opposite of depression is not happiness. In psychology happiness can broadly fit into being described as a mood state , emotion, or feeling . It is not the baseline state of being. It can arise from a positive experience, reflection, be proactively cultivated, or be of random inexplicable happenstance.

    However the opposite of sadness isn’t happiness. The opposite of any mood state is the baseline of experience that’s unique to each human being. Sadness and happiness are deviations from the baseline consistent measure of mood we operate from on a daily basis.

    Happiness and Sadness come about in their proper time and place. To be mindful is to recognize their impermanence and accept them for what they are, without, for example, clinging to sadness and making it who you are and losing yourself to it.

    I’m assuming that you are not distinguishing between what sadness and depression are and thereby you have the question of how we can love depression.

    Th “Depression” you are referring to has some resemblance to sadness. However that is only because there is a lack of language to truly describe the nature of depression and justify the effects it has on the life of human beings

    I think that yes, we can romanticize and even love ordinary sadness. Sadness is a part of the hero’s journey in the classical story narrative. It is a mood state that flows in and eventually flows out of our stream of conciousness. Happiness and sadness come and go and are a part of everyday life. We romanticize life and even the arch villain sadness has it’s time and place in the lime light.

    Depression though, is a horrible sickness. A pathology with no present cure. It is far from ordinary sadness, and it is absolutely unloveable.

    Yes, sadness and depression can look the same, sound the same, and equally be precipitated by some form of environmental adversity. However, where depression differs mutates any common DNA to an unfathomable and excruciating extreme of absolutely unlovable experience.

    You cannot pin down the experience of depression. Words cannot do it justice and the subjective experience of it varies. For some, it is like living in a world engulfed in a screaming fire. For others it’s a silent and freezing paralysis. What is definite is that it is a completely immersive state of undesirable experience. It effects everything. How you feel things, how you see things and how you react. Your entire construct of reality, the world of your mind that you live in, in each and every fiber, molecule, and gram. In all it’s space and time, is lost to the tightly sealed encapsulating coffin of depression. Depression is only darkness.

    On the other hand, the melancholy of ordinary sadness can be loved for some of it’s redeeming qualities.

    For example:

    1) Sadness provides our busy and inattentive minds a focused space of self-awareness and and can catalyze personal growth. It tells us to stop and listen to what’s going on. It is a life monitor that advocates needed life changes. However, Depression doesn’t teach. There is no insight or light in its darkness.

    2) Sadness makes us more empathetic. Feeling sad is humbling and deepens our empathy toward others dealing with hardships. On the other hand, Depression is a guilt ridden and painful self-absorption.

    3) Most importantly, sadness can be lovable because it is self-validating as it provides an emotional experience that validates our relationship with adversity. Depression though, does not reflect reality. Their is no self validation.

    4) Sadness can also be loved for it’s vitality. Sadness can be subtle and yet also rage with a passion that is emotionally expansive. Depression on the other hand, is the death of vitality.

    5) Sadness can be loved because it is cathartic. It facilitates a release of tears, pent up emotional energy, that provides a resolution and a more calm positive state of mind. Depression though, provides no catharsis. It is a stable state of pain with no release or positive direction.

    The absence of these redeeming qualities in clinical depression is what makes it’s sadness only a viciously empty deterioration of life quality. As William Styron writes in his memoir of depression, everyday sadness is only a “hint of the illness in its catastrophic form.” This catastrophic form of sadness, is very much unloveable.

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