The Black Dog


#1

In day to day life I can only think of a couple of people who have made public their emotional difficulties. There’s huge prejudices.

I think what’s much more interesting is the number of people who are labelled or just assumed to be lazy, negative, pessimistic, procrastinators, not performers, etc and are given negative performance ratings in work (and life). A lot of them are depressed, suffering from anxiety, neurotic problems. They just plough on. And the boss and the life long friends never think depression


#2

My major issue is that people say, ‘it’s important to talk about it’ etc. Maybe it is but I doubt it, what does it achieve? Travelling is the same, you can’t escape your own thought process. Far better to eat well and go the gym. A few deadlifts will help eradicate anxiety and deliver a massive hormonal boost. Young people today are physically broken due to sedentary lifestyle and how it destroys the body which is a hidden epidemic.

If they’re suicidal: take some powerful natural hallucinogen, ideally someplace it’s legal.


#3

Deadlifting and mushrooms are all very well but as you say in the end you’re left alone with your thoughts. Negative self criticism and commentary ‘sometimes the harshest things people say are what they say to themselves’.
We’re stuck in a vortex where what the Buddhists call ‘the comparing mind’ has never been more normalised and reinforced by the society we’ve constructed.


#4

Far worse not to talk about it. I have lost too many friends, former schoolmates, clubmates and neighbour’s over the years who didn’t talk about it and we only put the clues together at their funeral. If you have depression, FUCKING TALK ABOUT IT, IT JUST MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE. If you don’t want to hear about someone’s depression don’t listen.


#5

People have a genetic component for their happiness, they have a background of life experiences contributing and they have their current life situation.

The more I reflect on the people I’ve known who have sank into despair and suicide the more I think that they were almost all ‘sensitive people’ as discussed in Elaine Aron’s work. They were sensitive to setbacks and less resilient, they get triggered for shame about events that others forget and write off, they believed they ‘were a failure’ rather than ‘had a failure’, they blamed themselves a lot. Their instinct that something needed to die was right - but it shouldn’t have been their body, it should have been their cruel inner dialogue.


#6

I agree that if suffering from depression, talk about it to close personal friend/family/counsellor but I don’t think it’s a good idea to announce it on Facebook and make it a part of your personal identity.

Traditionally there are two main world views:

1)The world affirming Germanic style paganism.
Society generally was a highly ordered structure in which each individual had an assigned role. A person learned how to live within the constructs of this role. Society had order and was hierarchical. Tribal living effectively. Purpose was to perform your role to the very best of your ability. Generally men were warriors, no greater honour than to die in battle etc.

  1. The world denying religious/metaphysical systems, e.g. Platonic/Buddhist/Vedantic/Christianity etc.
    Gave people the solace of a higher order and their purpose was then to live in accordance with God’s laws.

What exactly can we say is the modern purpose? No one has any assigned role, so people often question their utility and feel worthless/without purpose. The time is ripe for a world denying religious structure to sprout, the conditions are very similar to Rome in this regard before Christianity.


#7

Agreed yes life can appear humdrum compared to the varied glamour of an idealised celebrity existence.

It’s also important not to over focus on suicide and despair - a lot of people are sad without ever being an actual realistic suicide risk.

I think the chance of a world denying religious structure is low. There is too much scientific rationality and an overwhelming focus on the importance of worldly success and pleasure

Speaking of self criticism. Maybe someone will invent a multi vitamin pill that makes you more narcissistic. They’re not self critical and have low suicide risk (unless surrounded by Red Army)


#8

Having had a quick look at suicide statistics they seem low/average compared with historical rates. I agree it’s unlikely but having looked at the evidence I’m not sure the evidence/‘scientific rationality’ is undisputable but most people believe it is there and that is all that matters.


#9

Alternatively, maybe you should consider that neither you, I nor the larger universe has any detectable purpose of any kind at all and you know what? I’m entirely relaxed about that idea. :smiley: I’m mildly motivated to want you not to be unhappy (mostly because unhappy people have habits that make my life uncomfortable in the short term and if my neighbours are happy, they are less likely to have habits that disturb my peace), but if you truly want to be miserable, that’s your prerogative and who am I to deny it? :slight_smile: :confused:
If it’s anybody’s problem at all, it aint mine. :wink:

Liberal Utilitarian Epicureanism has a lot going for it. :smiley:


#10

It doesn’t really matter if the universe has a purpose or not. What is important is the effect that living without purpose has on people. I personally think this is an issue but there are many other issues leading to depression.

You appear to live very much like someone I described in the first category above. Lots of old pagans were not particularly bothered by the afterlife or religion. Their main motivation for living was to do their ‘job’ well.


#11

Well, I’ve lived more or less my entire life without purpose, at least once I became sufficiently self-aware to think about the question. So far as I can see, it’s just led me to have rather pointless debates (of course, what other kind can there be in a pointless life? :wink: ) with random strangers on the internet. :laughing:
Still, I suppose it all helps to fill the endless hours until I croak, so I suppose by being complicit, you’re performing a public service, according to your lights, and if our posts amuse others, so am I. :smiley:


#12

I agree. Being shocked at someone killing themselves while depressed just gives the clue that it’s too far hidden.

Part of it is the inability of people to listen, though and to either say the right thing or just to sympathise and offer a willing ear. Depression is not going to be fixed by a quick chat, so giving solutions is not always helpful, and men are genetically driven to look for and provide solutions.


#13

Suicide numbers are very difficult to track but do tend to be consistently under-reported. Per this RTE investigation, suicide rates have remained surprisingly steady in Ireland for many years.
rte.ie/news/investigations-u … e-figures/

I live abroad in Latin America where huge class economic divides exist with the vast majority of people living in poverty by any reasonable standard of measurement, yet suicide rates appear to be much, much lower than in Ireland.
Just last week, I discussed this with a friend who at 45 has known of only 1 person to have died by suicide whereas I knew at least 7 from Ireland, all quite well known to me. As we discussed the topic, I found myself referring to parochialism, conformity, and high levels of sensitivity as traits in Ireland that exist on a much different scale here. In particular, I perceive very high levels of self-blame among Irish, a type of never forgiving oneself for any mistake and carrying the problems of the world on one’s shoulders.
The local macho culture here is quite the opposite with forgiveness for all sorts of personal wrongs being common as is living with being wronged by others. I have friends here who live with depression but who seem much less likely to seek to self-harm within that illness but rather wear it more openly and are quite Ok to talk about it with close friends. Usually the depression has to do with being wronged rather than perhaps chemical imbalance or other causes but society does not seem to judge. At the higher and middle classes, therapists are very common for everything from a child being a little mean to others or not paying attention at school to adults with relationship problems or personal issues. In summary, neither society or individuals seem to be very sensitive to challenge or negativity.
I have used that old joke that we do not have therapists in Ireland because it’s easier to just tell someone in the locality and everyone knows but in thinking about it that is actually quite the opposite and local negative zen seems to add significantly to personal depression in Ireland. Society and individuals seem to be very sensitive to challenge or negativity, fatally so for many individuals.
The solution I feel rests with changing society as much as with individual therapy. One wonders if genetic psychology has a part to play, has a lack of mixing of the Irish race got something to do with it, perhaps lasting scars from the brutal purges of Irish society in the 1600s and 1700s including massive slavery, the devastating famine of the mid 1800s, the doctrine of the Catholic church pre Vatican 2, and some smaller traumas of more recent times?


#14

Bressie was on George Hook’s new show at 12pm on Newstalk today…discussing depression and mental health issues.

The interview started well:
Hook- “So tell me, where did the nickname ‘Bressie’ come from?”


#15

I blame researcher laziness. I imagine the conversation goes a bit like this:

Producer: “OK, we’re going to do a segment on depression. Find someone for Hookie to interview.”
Researcher: OK, I can spend the morning ringing mental health charities, seeing who they have as a potential spokesperson, talking to them to check whether they can actually talk on the radio, checking that they’re not mental, and briefing them. Or, I can just open the Big Newstalk Rolodex to “Mental Health” and ring Bressie.
Researcher: “Done”


#16

I’d say it could have been a very good interview if Hook himself was in the humour to open up. He’s talked of making preparations to top himself when he was nearly broke and dodging creditors. He knows all about male despair. Feeling like a failure.

On the societal and historical aspects yes these are fair points and countries with traumatic histories do have higher rates of addiction and psychiatric problems. But it’s not all about suicide - depression and anxiety seem to be increasing all across the western world.


#17

But why is anxiety and depression increasing? It is because we compare our lives to others and it’s so easy to do so thanks to social media?


#18

Well, the first question should probably be, are they actually increasing? There is less of a social stigma attached to them than there used to be (partially because people DO talk about them more, going back to the starting point of this thread), so people are more likely to talk to their doctor about them. Modern GPs are also more likely to have the education required to pick up on them; back in the day they often had a fairly poor understanding of mental health, but they get training both in college and via CME these days. Postpartum depression, which is common, was often diagnosed as some form of insanity in the 50s and 60s, for instance.

There’s a similar question around suicide, in many ways; back in the day it was usually not reported as suicide for statistical purposes (and this probably still happens a fair bit), so, has it really gone up? It may have, but it’s not as clear-cut as “the line has gone up on a graph”.


#19

nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/02/a-new-way-to-understand-and-treat-depression.html?mid=atlantic

Interesting read this. The article suggests that there’s a purpose to depression.

Sometime in my mid-twenties I went through a phase of a few months where I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, socialize or do anything other than stay-in the Apartment and read into the small hours. A few months later however I had taken up new hobbies, joined a few clubs, and overall made a better effort to develop a social life outside of work. Mentally I completed the move from home to my new city, as up till that point, I’d escaped back home whenever I could. Overall, I was definitely the better for it, but those few bad months were very bad indeed, and not times I’d ever gladly revisit.

This isn’t meant to belittle or trivialize any other individual’s experience of depression or lethargy, and I was obviously fortunate that the episode was relatively brief and minor that I was able to drag myself out of it.

But it closely matches something I experienced.


#20

In a study of 61 depressed people 80% thought their rumination was helping them ! That’s the whole point ! Depressive ruminatinators think that by reliving and reanalysing the past they can “learn from it” and self protect. Ruminators think their rumination helps them that’s why they cling to it. It really really doesn’t :stuck_out_tongue: Acceptance is about giving up any hope for a better past.