Thursday, September 20, 2018

Are You Depressed or Merely Crying "Wolf?"

One of the definitions of depression is “a sunken or hollow place on a surface.” In meteorological terms, a depression is a low pressure area. In economic terms, a depression is a sustained or severe downturn in jobs, markets and other indicators of growth. You thus have a tropical depression which can lead to bad weather or a depression similar to what happened in the wake of the stock market crash of l929. Psychological depression is, of course, the elephant in the room. Numerous writers have attempted to describe their depressions. Familial, existential and physiological factors are often brought to bear in discussing these conditions, but it’s rare that sufferers from depression use geological, meteorological or economic metaphors to describe their states. One can’t help but feel wistful about a time, say in the world of a 50’s sitcom like The Life of Riley, when if someone said they were depressed they might be told to “cheer up.” Today, an expression of depression elicits those meaningful looks that can kill. In addition so many people complain of being depressed (bipolarity and suicidal ideation have almost become badges of honor in certain quarters) that it’s hard to determine who’s really depressed and who’s just crying “wolf.”

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