“El engaño del malestar”, Laura Marajofsky, ventajas de la depresión, beneficios de la depresión, “amigarse con el malestar”, lo normal es estar deprimido, la tristeza como algo natural, causas subyacentes de la depresión, sobremedicación en psiquiatría, ”una lectura independiente sobre la depresión”, proceso de "rumiación", depresión y uso excesivo de medicamentos, “The deception of despair”, advantages of depression, the upside of depresion, depression’s upside, the normal thing is to be depressed, sadness as something natural, underlying causes of depression, overmedication in psychiatry, “an independent vision of depression”, “rumination process”, depression and excessive use of drugs, “Depression’s Upside” JONAH LEHRER The New York Times Magazine, Andrews & Thomson Virginia University, “Sadness: a natural antidote” Anjana Ahuja Times Online, 'Manufacturing Depression': Are Doctors Overprescribing Antidepressants to the Tune of $10 Billion a Year for Drug Companies? Amy Goodman Alternet.
From among the pages of a recent New York Times Magazine issue, a headline as controversial as representative of our times makes a shy apparition: “Depression’s Upside”. The article analyzes this affliction suggesting a hypothesis by which suffering depression may have some alleged "upsides". Thus, the article points out the widespread feeling of uneasiness this kind of phenomena creates in culture as well as the crossroads at which medical sciences seem to be, incapable of dealing with this problem.
The idea of depression being beneficial is not a new one. With statistics steadily worsening, a troop of specialists have devoted the last few years to the in-depth investigation of the evolutionary roots of this ubiquitous affliction. The most recent achievements in this line of vindication have been those of Andrews and Thomson, scientists at the University of Virginia, who focus on one of the main characteristics of the disorder, the process of “rumination” (the habit of intently focusing on certain thoughts), holding that it can turn up to be key when it comes to processing and solving our predicaments. In opposition to other specialists who assume the exact opposite - that rumination is just a waste of mental energy which can only lead to pessimism - Andrews and Thomson posit that a gloomy disposition could help individuals stay focused on their problems (“They see depression as a way of bolstering our feeble analytical skills, making it easier to pay continuous attention to a difficult dilemma”.)
Thinking processes after despondency may result in something useful, but yet it is somewhat unfortunate relying on sadness as an incentive to encourage change, particularly, taking into account that not all kinds of depression can lead to fruitful thinking, and also that afflictions like these usually leave people with little vital resources left. The impact this dreary state of mind may have over choices should not be dismissed either.
What kind of connection is there between this vindication of sadness and the impossibility of mobilizing resources in order to feel better? Maybe behind this attitude of befriending despair lies a strategy to cope with everyday life. These questions inevitably arise, especially when we notice the modern inclination to expand the realm of acceptability into more and more somber areas. As long as the messages we produce and convey -whether it is on a paper or in the media- keep saying it is normal to be depressed, lethargic, and uninspired, it is likely to expect not only that the underlying causes of dissatisfaction remain hidden, but also a tendency to minimize our everyday unhappiness.
It is also worth examining those theories which, in their desire to distance from current counterproductive trends as overmedication, and condemning how easily patients are labelled as depressive and prescribed drugs, end up considering certain afflictions as a result of modern life. In line with this habit to oversimplify, other viewpoint asserts that sadness is natural to human beings and therefore should be accepted, not treated with drugs.
It is curious, however, that the emphasis should always be on the human capacity for adaptation to harmful dynamics, rather than on his ability to change (both himself and his circumstances). Consequently, a movement of validation and preservation of current ways of life emerges, which aims to justify the reason why this state of mind is also productive. Something like struggling to find tasteful a patently dull meal.
Nevertheless, there still is one more angle from which to examine this matter. The idea that a little depression can do no harm (“Depressed affect made people think better”), or that suffering is some kind of bearable side-effect of the act of thinking (“Wisdom isn’t cheap, and we pay for it with pain”) arouse a slight suspicion with regards to how analytic processes are understood. The catch here may be a desire to promote the feeling that reasoning and analyzing reality is actually something that entails a high amount of suffering rather than a key which allow us to relate to the world in a way that is healthy, engaged and, more importantly, genuinely cheerful.
It could be that this is just a movement of self-preservation, but it no longer pertains to individuals. Instead, it belongs to the dominant culture, struggling to defend itself against a critical reflection that’s relentlessly lying in wait, just about to jump on it…
A pesar de ser una cobertura escueta, está bueno el hincapié que hace el autor sobre los modos en los que la salud mental y la cultura de autoayuda (entre otros) elaboran y reproducen estereotipos de aflicciones que pretenden remediar.
Tener como punto de partida un replanteo sobre las nociones mismas de las “patologías” psicológico-sociales puede ser un buen preámbulo para un análisis cultural y reconstructivo en lugar de dar por sentados objetivos y malestares.
"We are surrounded by therapies and diets and self-improvement programmes, all of which promise to fix us," (...). "What we don't realise is the way all of them tacitly reinforce our assumption that we are broken and need fixing. What if... we really deeply challenged that assumption once and for all?" Perhaps the problem, sometimes, is the notion that there's a problem.”