how the florida gingersnaps came to be
2 years ago
Let me first stress that this is a clinical social worker. For those of you not in the know, a clinical social worker is NOT the equivalent of a Psychiatrist, and is not capable of and/or trained to perform medical diagnostic procedures. Beyond which, does it really need to be pointed out that we still have things such as wisdom teeth, the appendix, and the foetal "tail"? Or to go to something intrinsic, the feeling of falling that suddenly wakes you in the night may well be an instinctive reaction to our ancestors being arboreal. Long story short, real science postulates that there are a plethora of things within our biological make-up that are either functionless or possibly detrimental.
"When you find something this deeply in us biologically, you presume that it was selected because it had some advantage, otherwise we wouldn't have been burdened with it," says Jerome Wakefield, a clinical social worker at New York University and co-author of The Loss of Sadness: How psychiatry transformed normal sorrow into depressive disorder (with Allan Horwitz, Oxford University Press, 2007). "We're fooling around with part of our biological make-up."
Wakefield believes that in humans sadness has a further function: it helps us learn from our mistakes. "I think that one of the functions of intense negative emotions is to stop our normal functioning, to make us focus on something else for a while," he says. It might act as a psychological deterrent to prevent us from making those mistakes in the first place. The risk of sadness may deter us from being too cavalier in relationships or with other things we value, for example.This made me litterally laugh aloud; the idea that one has to feel depression in order to learn from mistakes is almost like the begining of a crude joke. I've been in many detrimental relationships and because of the depression I reflected the mistakes of my partner onto myself; what was a communication error on their part became in my mind an extension of my failure as a human being. Ergo, I learned so little from my experiences I allowed it to happen time and again; it has only been through my treatment that I've developed a greater sense of awareness, and thusly been able to do things such as step back and spot personality patterns that I need to avoid. With depression there is an incredible self centeredness to it; not vanity as we're most accustomed to associating with the term, but the constant hyper-awareness of ones misery becomes the sole focus from which it's almost impossibly difficult to turn away.
What's more, says Paul Keedwell, a psychiatrist at Cardiff University in the UK, even full-blown depression may save us from the effects of long-term stress. Without taking time out to reflect, he says, "you might stay in a state of chronic stress until you're exhausted or dead". He also thinks that we may have evolved to display sadness as a form of communication. By acting sad, we tell other community members that we need support.My laughter at this point dissintigrated into an enraged and firey discussion with my parents, friends, whomever was in ear or typing shot. If you simply google the words "depression" and "stress" within the same search, you get hundreds of thousands of links that state elloquently how stress hormones are often exagerated by or the cause of some very extreme depression. The Society for Neuroscience has a fascinating article about Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and how, "Studies have shown that abnormally high activity of this stress hormone is present in many cases of depression." Here is what the Mayo clinic has to say about the issue, and here is an article about depression and stress specifically at holiday time.
Then there is the notion that creativity is connected to dark moods. There is no shortage of great artists, writers and musicians who have suffered from depression or bipolar disorder. It would be difficult to find enough recognised geniuses to test the idea in a large, controlled study, but more run-of-the-mill creativity does seem to be associated with mood disorders. Modupe Akinola and Wendy Berry Mendes of Harvard University found that people with signs of depression performed better at a creative task, especially after receiving feedback that was designed to reinforce their low mood. The researchers suggest that such negative feedback makes people ruminate on the unhappy experience, which allows subconscious creative processes to come to the fore, or that it pushes depression-prone people to work harder to avoid feeling bad in the future (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol 34, p 1677).The only people to ever be creative are apparently miserable; beyond which what kind of horrifying test encourages people to be miserable? How that got beyond the APA's "ETHICAL PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGISTS AND CODE OF CONDUCT" I can only guess at, but one study is hardly an effective indicator, especially when there is evidence to the contrary. Returning to the APA, "The researchers found no direct link between depression and creativity." but rather a link between self rumination and creativity, the former can possibly lead to depression. However, one can self-ruminate without becoming depressed (as I can attest to personally) making the subject moot- creativity is simply that, and not the result of depression.
Medicating sadness, Keedwell suggests, could do the same - blunting the consequences of unfortunate situations and removing people's motivation to improve their lives. Giving antidepressants to people whose real problem is something else - a bad relationship, for instance - may allow the person to continue in an unhealthy situation instead of addressing the underlying problem.This is the summation of the article, and beyond pointing out how inarticulate and clumsy the entire paragraph is, I'll simply address what little facts there are to find. The suggestion that happiness negates logic is, as I've previously stated, foolhardy. If one is capable of seeing a mistake, one is also capable of correcting it, regardless of the "happiness" of the individual person. Depressed persons are just as likely to ignore a situation because they find it to be hopeless; ergo, bad choices are viable options to anyone.