Friday, May 25, 2018

Are You Institutionalizing Your Depression?

People sometimes end up in institutions for manic depression, but there’s also institutionalized depression that might have a bedfellow in chronic anxiety. What characterizes both conditions on an anecdotal basis is the fact that something generated by a cause or happenstance or even something that has intrapsychic or developmental roots takes on a life of its own. Like a virus or bureaucracy such states proliferate through a network of self-perpetuating internecine connections. It’s as if an affect were setting up shop, in a Darwinian sense becoming the fittest which survives despite the competition of other states of mind for the hegemonic spotlight (aka personality). It’s not really an abstruse idea. Let’s take anxiety and remember Freud’s famous remark, “neurosis is reminiscence.” Those who suffer from PTSD are often haunted by remembrance. Once an adrenalin rush is catalyzed it's likely to repeat again. An exhaustive course of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might be prescribed but the initial chain reaction may be hard to break. Ditto depression whose chemical component may very well be triggered by a perverse form of nostalgia, which draws some people back to the black holes of their mental history—working, like a default mode, through simple familiarity. Human beings can acclimate themselves to even the most maladaptive of situations. An individual hell, however, horrifying at least provides the psychic equivalent of four walls and a roof.

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