Sharon Begley, science editor for Newsweek and author of The Plastic Mind: New science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves, just wrote an interesting article titled The Upside of Depression. In this article she reviews some recent research that basically flies in the face of the “Happiness” surge and says that depression is actually adaptive. In other words, it is part of our evolutionary make up.
How can this be?
She reviews an article titled The Bright Side of Being Blue, by J. Anderson Thompson at the University of Virginia and Paul Andrews at Virginia Commonwealth University who give a scientific argument that:
Here is my take. While I disagree with pieces of the article, I don’t want to totally debunk the idea that there is a bright side to depression, because ultimately, I feel like having had depression gives someone the ability to notice it again in the future which is one of the things that this article is alluding to, have compassion and empathy for others who are struggling, and provides the opportunity for us to learn how to relate to our stress and pain differently. At the end of the day, these are all good nutrition for feeling well.
13th century Sufi poet Rumi said:
at the bandaged wound. That’s where
the light enters you.
In other words, turning a kind attention to our difficult feelings such as sadness, anger, and even shame is important to learn how to do rather than our traditional habit of suppressing, repressing or always turning toward the “quick fix” to get rid of or avoid them.
With mild depression we have this opportunity, but with major depression, this seems like a distant possibility and at times we may need to distract ourselves to get a place where we are able to find the bright side of depression.
As always, please share your stories, thoughts and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (November 4, 2009)
The Mindful Beat » Blog Archive » The Upside of Depression (November 5, 2009)
From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: November 6, 2009 | World of Psychology (November 6, 2009)
aflow (November 19, 2009)
From Psych Central's Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
Awaken Your Life Right Now: Mondays Mindful Quote with Carl Jung | Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (December 14, 2009)
Last reviewed: 4 Nov 2009