Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:28 am

One of the things that pisses me off more than anything else is people saying "it gets better" in response to literally every kind of adversity. It's the kind of blatantly and desperately optimistic crap that typically comes from people who have no idea what the fuck they're talking about.

Yeah, the phrase started to try and comfort homosexuals who were being persecuted for it, and on paper it's a very sweet thing to say to someone. On a basic level, we don't want said people to suffer. The problem is that a large group of people far more concerned with validating themselves and convincing themselves that they're good people have basically stolen this quote, and now use this to essentially try and shame depressed people out of being depressed. Natural progression, since people in the LGBT-whatever-the-fuck-they-call-it-now fold tend to have higher rates of suicide.

It just gets on my nerves. This isn't exactly a "rant," per se, because I actually want to talk about this and why any person in their right fucking mind would call someone with depression selfish because some kid is starving to death in Africa. No one is saying that child is suffering, nor is anyone saying that we privileged folk are suffering worse than they are. But suffering is suffering, and calling someone ungrateful for having a mental disorder is like calling someone ungrateful for drowning.

I don't even mind the trolls in comparison, because even if they are assholes who will tell you to kill yourself, they ironically have the decency to keep their intentions pretty straightforward. They want to hurt you, plain and simple.

It's that other group who are the real insidious shits. When Robin Williams hung himself, literally everyone I knew online went into some long-ass rant about what an evil man he was and how he made people suffer because he died and so on. Blah-de-blah. How selfish he was, and so on. I'm not making any arguments that suicide isn't selfish, but it's still stupid.

It's just a complete disregard to the person suffering from depression (I'm one of them, obviously). I'm not referring to the "oh boo hoo I broke a nail" common garden variety version that bored teenage girls like to claim they have, I mean to the point where you're barely able to stand because the barrage of awful memories on repeat through your head literally makes it hard to stand up. To the point where you're on the ground in the fetal position crying, holding your head and begging your mind to stop the pain. And it won't. And this happens once every few days if you're lucky. You wanna call that shit selfish, go right the fuck ahead.

So case in point, don't ever fucking say that to someone. I don't care how happy you are, not everyone is you. Not everyone gets to have a stable mind. No, I don't have it the absolute worst. I don't have it the best either. But it's a fantastic way to get me mad at someone.

Anyway, ending questions: what's a better way to deal with depression? Sure as shit not what I just mentioned. Do you really think that every single depressed person alive right now has a chance in hell?

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by kath on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:14 am

Pretty conflicted with how to reply to this post. I know you're hurting, Glides. I'm going to try to address some of what I see as problematic in the post, as well as address your questions.

I don't think people who try to shame depressed people are in their right mind, totally with you there.

A better way to deal with depression for people who are talking to people who have depression? I'm not sure what the best way is. Seeing if you can support them in getting some mental health treatment or counselling? Point them to some of these resources: http://nerdlounge.canadian-forum.com/t7-suicidal-in-crisis-in-danger-of-self-harm-or-depressed-please-read? Try to be as supportive as I can, not dismissing their experience, but not reinforcing their negative beliefs / impressions? None of these are perfect answers.

Yes, I think "every depressed person has a chance". I can't back that up with anything except that evidently, 100% of depressed people do not kill themselves, and, like shroedinger's cat, you don't know who will before it happens. Additionally, interventions are sometimes successful, and some people who attempt but do not succeed in committing suicide do not then have a successful attempt. So yes, I think everyone "has a chance" - but I don't think that is comforting for people who are currently in a really bad place.

Still, I'm not quite sure why ranting about suicide being selfish is different, in terms of its indication of respect for others and reasonableness, than characterizing "garden variety depression" claimed by [but not actually had by] "bored teenage girls" the way you have. Which, given that you've said you don't like it when people minimize depression of the type you have by comparing it to the suffering of people in very different circumstances, seems to be minimizing the depression of others as well. Why would you rail against that, and then do it later in the same post? I also think this post may have been clearer / more focused if you cut out the first paragraph (which is potentially pretty dismissive of the entire idea of "it gets better", not just the people who use it to shame others).


Last edited by kath on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:18 am; edited 1 time in total
avatar
kath

Posts : 352
Reputation : 159
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by nearly_takuan on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:18 am

Glides wrote:what's a better way to deal with depression? Sure as shit not what I just mentioned.
It's exactly as you say: practically anything else is "better". But as for what's an effective way to deal with depression, well, that's the question everyone wants an answer to. Huge medical problem, and stuff.

Glides wrote:Do you really think that every single depressed person alive right now has a chance in hell?
I don't. I think maybe some do. I think probably some don't. Because what, exactly, is supposed to "get better"? The problems? They're ancillary, and often Depression hurts people even (and especially) when there are no identifiable external problems at all. And of course not every problem is guaranteed to just solve itself with time, anyway. Depression itself will also not get better, until enough breakthroughs occur to answer the question and literally cure Depression.

...Hm. I think what would help me specifically right now is some promise that there's something still left for me to discover in this life—that my continued existence won't just be for its own sake, and there's still something in the set of things worth doing that I haven't done and still can. Rock climbing, I suppose. A friend invited me to go rock-climbing a few weeks ago, but I was out of town at the time and therefore could not, and then I forgot to take him up on the rain check. And after that, I guess we'll see.

It may help to take refuge in whatever beliefs you have. As an agnostic presuming atheism, I'm as certain as I ever am that I can't be certain what will happen to my "self" when I die. If it's the sort of thing that can be observed, that seems kind of cool. If not, there won't be a self to be disappointed. Either way, no rush: it'll happen some day, and then I'll find out (or not). And the same goes for everything along the way, because I also can't be certain there isn't some event at some point in the future that will turn out to be worth waiting for. Well, that's usually the internal argument that gets me to keep going, anyway.

I don't know what will work for you.
avatar
nearly_takuan

Posts : 1052
Reputation : 428
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:47 am

Interestingly, when I'm depressed, "it gets better" is my mantra to myself. I might not feel like its true but I can remember that I feel good even if I can't really grasp how I ever felt like that. So remembering that I'll get back there through some mysterious process eventually is a big help.

_________________
Gentleman Johnny
Not John Galt
avatar
Gentleman Johnny

Posts : 555
Reputation : 213
Join date : 2014-10-02

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by UristMcBunny on Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:59 am

I can see it as both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on circumstance. But yeah, I have totally experienced the "it get's better" as bland but meaningless dismissal of the fact that shit sucks and I would actually like to be allowed to feel like it sucks for a little while.

On the one hand, telling myself that my worst moments are always going to be temporary, that this too shall pass, that I will have something good in the future... that basically it gets better... has helped me during some of my lowest points, when I was in crisis mode and losing the fight to resist self-harming and couldn't get through on any helplines and genuinely awful situations in my life were making me unable to stop crying. Sometimes, for myself, it helps me to cling to that hope. There's a reason that when my life feels out of my control, I listen to Dr Steel's We Decide It on repeat instead of The Smith's Asleep.

But I think it's going to be very easy for the same statements that feel affirming when I say them to myself to feel likeunadulterated BOLLOCKS when someone else who isn't going through what I am says them.



/ADTWO37.png


I think every depressed person has a chance to get through it. I do. But I don't think that's because stuff blandly gets better. I think it's because people have a stunning capacity to power through shit and find a way to survive and even work on their problems in spite of an astounding amount of stress. But not everyone will. Because it's hard work, sometimes it's hard just to get through each crisis intact and not even try to actually progress. Sometimes it might turn out that the burden one person has is too much for them. That doesn't make them weak, or selfish, or lazy.

As to what is a good way to deal with depression... that really depends on the individual. First though, you need to be ready to make changes. That's the hardest part, because depression robs you of motivation, energy and the ability to believe that anything can work. But if you can get through that first part - starting - you've got a shot.

Personally I've found what helped me has been a mixture of more fully embracing my weird little pagan faith and making small, sustainable life changes in things that improve my mood in the long-term. And rewarding myself for every good thing I do as though I was five. So changes in diet (I now attempt a breakfast every day, including protein and leafy greens), changes in self-care (I made myself an easy-care pack so I can easily brush teeth and run a wetwipe over my face at minimum), changes in activity (I have VERY slowly been increasing the amount of exercise I do - and concentrating purely on stuff I enjoy that makes me feel good) and so on. Whatever works.

Also, one small thing. And it is a small thing, but we want to start the forums out right, so just a thing to keep in mind.

Glides wrote:I'm not referring to the "oh boo hoo I broke a nail" common garden variety version that bored teenage girls like to claim they have, I mean to the point where you're barely able to stand because the barrage of awful memories on repeat through your head literally makes it hard to stand up.

[mod] please not this, Glides. Not necessary, and I know you're better than this anyway[/mod]

_________________
Some of you will know me as Bunny from the old forums.
avatar
UristMcBunny
Moderator of "Romantic and Sexual Relationships"

Posts : 371
Reputation : 116
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile http://uristmcdorf.tumblr.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:46 am

I'm going to mostly skip over a lot of the meat of this, because others have handled it very well, but one thing I want to add is that there are a lot of people on the internet who talk about depression in a very thoughtful, respectful, and kind way.

In part due to the circles I choose to be in online -- mostly through adoptive communities like this one -- the message I heard about Robin Williams' death included literally not one word about selfishness and instead a message that he had finally succumbed after a life-long battle with illness.

Which is 100% a true statement, I think.

Glides wrote:Do you really think that every single depressed person alive right now has a chance in hell?
This, to me, is like saying, "Do you think every person with diabetes has a chance?" Yes. Are they all going to survive? Probably not. But there are treatments, and there are medications, and there are ways they can minimize their risks. If they seek medical help, and if they work to control their illness, they can improve their chances.

Sometimes (like with Robin Williams) it's too much. They make all the right choices, they get the help they need to seek, and they still end up succumbing in the end. It's sad, and it's tragic, but it's not selfish, any more than someone who stops fighting in the end phases of kidney failure is selfish, or someone who puts in a DNR is selfish. But that doesn't mean they didn't have a chance. It just meant that they couldn't pull through.

And it means that we need to improve the treatments, as a society. We need to start recognizing people with (diabetes/depression) earlier, so we can treat them before the damage has grown too bad. We need to find ways to fix damage instead of just slowing it. And we need to stop making people afraid to ask for help. It's not selfish. It's smart.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Enail on Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:18 pm

A couple of thoughts, in addition to what everyone else has said.

The "It Gets Better" thing has its basis not just as a nice, comforting but meaningless thought, but because, for many LGBTQ people, getting out of your teenage years can mean new possibilities opening up in ways that allow them to get out of a harmful situation into one where they can be around people who accept them, where their sexuality and/or gender identity is not something that gets them continual harassment or abuse, where they have the same human rights as other people, where they are not dependent on a family that may reject them and kick them out or abuse them. In concrete and significant ways, the world many LGBTQ youth are stuck in at that time is not necessarily the world they are going to have to live in all their lives.

To a lesser degree, I think this is often true for other people in their teens and early 20s - for many, there are aspects of their lives that contribute to depression, and that are likely to have less impact as they are able to gain independence from their family and make choices about their surroundings.

I agree, it's often used as a vague, meaningless form of optimism, but it does have a real and specific meaning. It may even apply to you in some ways - your parents' attitude sounds like it can be quite harmful for you, so being more free to reset the terms of your relationship (which is something most people do as adults) might relieve that one negative pressure on you.  

Which is not to say that will fix everything and you just need to wait for it to get better.  It's likely you're going to need to take a long-game approach and a multi-pronged one. You probably have heard a bunch of suggestions of things that can help with depression - the ones that sound ridiculously trivial, like exercise for a quick mood boost; the ones that you have reason to be skeptical of, like therapy; the ones that sound impossible and dangerous, like talk to friends you can trust.

The key is that no one thing is going to be magic - exercise is not a cure-all, it's just one of a series of things that together can help keep a day-to-day mood a little higher and stabilize things a little more, which can allow you to build further, make some of the things that sound impossible now become possible. Even small things, whatever you can do, can be a part of gradually setting up a life that supports your well-being in lots of different ways, that makes the next steps to feeling better easier by finding tools and developing skills to tackle the bigger things bit by bit, have as many resources in place as possible to weather crises. Little steps, a lot of them, but over time, that can help your day-to-day mood be happier and less anxious, it can help reduce the frequency and/or intensity of down periods, and it can help you deal with them and recover when they happen.

As always, I'm going to suggest a carefully chosen therapist, one who has a constructive approach and is willing to work with you on the goals that you choose, because that's something that can help you develop more skills to head off and/or cope with crises.  I'd also suggest giving the medication route serious consideration, because for some people it can be a huge help in stabilizing mood and lessening the intensity of depressive episodes. And I'd suggest building up an idea of what a life that supports you in dealing with depression would look like; look at what other people who deal with depression do, think about what things make you feel the happiest and the most stable and about what things are harmful and you want to reduce in your life, consider what sorts of people you want in your life and how to find them - and over time, do whatever little things you can do to build that life. Even if it's slow, it can make a real difference over time. Depression may be something that will always be a part of you, but your situation can affect it a lot.

Echoing what others have said, I do think every depressed person has a chance. And I do think what they do (and what the people in their lives do) can help get them through it- but that doesn't mean that someone who commits suicide or attempts it just wasn't doing enough or was weak or selfish; sometimes in a storm, a wave swamps the boat, no matter how well-constructed and well-captained. But building the boat as strong as you can and learning to steer it well sure as hell improves your chances in a storm.
avatar
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3222
Reputation : 1520
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Lemminkainen on Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:12 pm

Something else that's awful about the way of talking about depression that you've described, Glides-- it reduces something which is really a biochemical illness to a willpower problem, which is basically bullshit. People still unfortunately subscribe to something like Cartesian dualism far too much of the time-- they fail to recognize that the mind is grounded in the meat-stuff of your brain, which can stop working properly for totally physical reasons just like any of the other meat-stuff in your body. I feel like as a general rule, you shouldn't say anything to a person with depression that you wouldn't say to a person who has cancer or something similar.

I also think that telling people with clinical depression that "it gets better" on its own is kind of misleading. Yes, a lot of people with depression do get better, but they usually do it with the help of antidepressant pharmaceuticals (which are usually very, very effective) and therapies that systematically rewire neural hardware, particularly behavior-focused methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Recovering from depression is usually about active intervention, not waiting-- just like recovering from any other major chronic illness.

Lemminkainen

Posts : 143
Reputation : 58
Join date : 2014-10-02

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by nearly_takuan on Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:40 pm

I hope this doesn't come across as antagonistic, because I'm really just curious about the way you're looking at it... It seems like a lot of you are saying that everyone has a chance, but also some people are doomed no matter what they do. That doesn't sound like having a chance to me.
avatar
nearly_takuan

Posts : 1052
Reputation : 428
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Enail on Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:17 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:I hope this doesn't come across as antagonistic, because I'm really just curious about the way you're looking at it... It seems like a lot of you are saying that everyone has a chance, but also some people are doomed no matter what they do. That doesn't sound like having a chance to me.

I'd say that everyone has a chance, but there's an element that's up to, well, chance. It's not that some people are doomed from the start no matter what they do and we just don't know who. Rather, people who are struggling with depression can do many things in the short- and long-term that can help them cope with it, and those things can give them a better dice to roll, as it were, help reduce the consequences of a bad roll, reduce how often the dice get rolled, borrow someone else's dice for an extra saving throw. And those things can have a huge impact on how their depression affects or harms their life. But even so, sometimes external circumstances or internal factors coincide in such a way that that bad number does come up.  

It's like, any one of us could get hit by a car. It's a risk of living in a place where cars drive. Some people get hit by cars even if they look both ways, if they only cross at the lights, if they wear highly visible clothing and so forth. No one person is doomed, and there's a lot that any given person can do to improve their chances, as well as lot that society, city planners, car manufacturers, drivers can do to reduce the risk. But some people get hit even on the safest street while obeying all the traffic rules. Does that make more sense?
avatar
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3222
Reputation : 1520
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:42 pm

Enail wrote:

It's like, any one of us could get hit by a car. It's a risk of living in a place where cars drive. Some people get hit by cars even if they look both ways, if they only cross at the lights, if they wear highly visible clothing and so forth. No one person is doomed, and there's a lot that any given person can do to improve their chances, as well as lot that society, city planners, car manufacturers, drivers can do to reduce the risk. But some people get hit even on the safest street while obeying all the traffic rules. Does that make more sense?

I like that line of thinking a hell of a lot more. And I personally like the way you put it in your suicide thread: "things can get better." I like that wording a lot more.

But by saying that everything will be OK no matter what and you're just complaining and being impatient about it, that's what gets on my nerves. You're acting as if I know exactly when this is going to end, if it ends (not YOU, the generality of "you").

Those are the people I'm referring to. In no way am I saying that every single person who is currently depressed should kill themselves because nothing will ever be OK. I'm just saying that it's the wording that suggests ignorance or apathy, and I'm very sure it's generally apathy.

I can understand the perspective behind it: oftentimes it's out of people not wanting to be indirectly responsible for a suicide by not doing anything. They don't want the survivor's guilt that comes with being aware of someone attempting to kill themselves. I have been on both sides of that fence and it's absolutely awful both ways. So instead of being truly considerate and realizing that said person feels deeply alone and doesn't want to anymore, and doesn't feel strong enough to continue, said person proceeds to half-ass it, honestly thinking such Upworthy-esque horseshit will help.

Literally every movie about suicide does this. A film called It's Kind Of A Funny Story ends with that exact statement. The author of the book that the movie was based on killed himself very recently. Clearly things didn't get any better for him. My point being, people severely underestimate what it's like to feel that kind of hurt. And don't bother to try and look from that perspective, even though doing so is incredibly easy. Doesn't mean they're obligated to help anyone, but it smacks so clearly of a desperate attempt for self-validation, using the depressed person as bait, that I can't stand it.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by kath on Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:08 pm

OK, Glides, so you really hate when people say "It'll get better". What you hear is "everything will be OK no matter what and you're just complaining and being impatient, you useless depressed person!" Probably not all of them mean that. Some of them might mean what Enail actually said: "things can get better" or "I think things will get better for you and hope for that. or "I know you're working on this, and I think that work will pay off / is paying off and will continue to do so" - but if they don't actually say those others things, it's totally reasonable that just "it gets better" sounds like a useless, condescending platitude. If you're bothered because people you know in real life say this to you, and if you feel up to it, you can ask them to stop, and they should respect that.

I also totally agree that people should just throw that out there with no other context about what they mean - how it might get better or whatever the other actual emotions they are trying to convey - if they are good and supportive ones. And hopefully they will not say anything if what they actually mean is terrible.
avatar
kath

Posts : 352
Reputation : 159
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by nearly_takuan on Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:20 pm

Glides wrote:Literally every movie about suicide does this. A film called It's Kind Of A Funny Story ends with that exact statement.

Ugh, well, now I feel validated in my decision to never watch that movie. How do you miss the point that badly? Like the entire premise and point of the book was that Craig's a successful kid with successful friends and his future looks objectively pretty good but then none of that matters because he is depressed and depression does not care if your life is supposed to be pretty good.

I had a sneaking suspicion they'd take that and turn it into the Family* Feel-Good Movie of the Year, and hey. There we go, I guess.

Enail wrote:I'd say that everyone has a chance, but there's an element that's up to, well, chance. It's not that some people are doomed from the start no matter what they do and we just don't know who. Rather, people who are struggling with depression can do many things in the short- and long-term that can help them cope with it, and those things can give them a better dice to roll, as it were, help reduce the consequences of a bad roll, reduce how often the dice get rolled, borrow someone else's dice for an extra saving throw. And those things can have a huge impact on how their depression affects or harms their life. But even so, sometimes external circumstances or internal factors coincide in such a way that that bad number does come up.  

It's like, any one of us could get hit by a car. It's a risk of living in a place where cars drive. Some people get hit by cars even if they look both ways, if they only cross at the lights, if they wear highly visible clothing and so forth. No one person is doomed, and there's a lot that any given person can do to improve their chances, as well as lot that society, city planners, car manufacturers, drivers can do to reduce the risk. But some people get hit even on the safest street while obeying all the traffic rules. Does that make more sense?

That does make more sense. I guess the way I've been looking at it is, anything I don't have any control over is indistinguishable from "fate", and if I'm fated to die tomorrow then I don't have a chance of being alive next week. Whereas if there's some kind of decision I can make to avert that, then I have a chance of making the right decision, and that chance is affected by available information. Which, now that I say it that way, is clearly not consistent with the language of predictions in probability—it's like saying the meteorologists were wrong when they predicted a 55% chance of rain today, because there either was or wasn't. On the other hand, if I was accused of a crime and asked for a chance to plead my case, I'm sure I wouldn't expect the judge to make me play janken to decide whether I'm entitled to habeas corpus. So I'm not quite prepared to concede that my perspective is wrong yet, either. Wink

*Maybe not so much "family" if they kept the sexy parts in?
avatar
nearly_takuan

Posts : 1052
Reputation : 428
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Enail on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:15 am

I think there are a lot of people who aren't lazy when they say those kinds of things so much as, they don't understand depression, even if they're doing their best - they haven't experienced it, maybe they don't know anyone who has and has talked about it in a way they could grok, it's not an imaginative leap they've been able to make - so they try to empathize by imagining a time when they were really really unhappy, and how it felt like the end of the world at the time, but then their feelings faded over time or with a change of situation. Because that's the closest they can picture.

I don't know that it helps any to think of it that way when you're being beaten over the head with platitudes, but some of them, at least, are trying to reach across the gap by saying those things, they just don't know how far the gap in understanding is so they're not managing. :\
avatar
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3222
Reputation : 1520
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by kath on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:18 am

Nearly: but if you got the "chance" and the jury came to the conclusion that you were guilty based on available evidence and you were sentenced to life in prison ... you did "get your chance". You just were still found guilty.

Since we can't know the future, and there are so many factors affecting our lives that sure, any of us could die seconds from now of an aneurysm or an diagnosed heart condition [wow I hope that doesn't happen to someone reading this] or whatever. But that doesn't actually mean we don't currently have a high chance of living to tomorrow. Unless the statistical probability is something that changes after the outcome is known. (that sounds like quantum mechanics to me)
avatar
kath

Posts : 352
Reputation : 159
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by nearly_takuan on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:33 am

kath wrote:Nearly: but if you got the "chance" and the jury came to the conclusion that you were guilty based on available evidence and you were sentenced to life in prison ... you did "get your chance". You just were still found guilty.

Eh... It still feels like there's a difference between wrongful punishment by a kangaroo court and that same punishment delivered by a court where you just didn't argue your case as well as you needed to to pass. (Whether or not it was possible to argue that well is another matter, too, of course.) In the latter case, I have the rest of my life to think about how I might have done it better, and wonder what might have happened if I had chosen a different argument. In the former, nothing at all can be gained.

Choice is an illusion and a placebo, but still it would be preferable to certain despair.
avatar
nearly_takuan

Posts : 1052
Reputation : 428
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by Werel on Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:23 am

In addition to the many wonderful things you guys have said so far, there is a version of this platitude which is useful to me: "it gets different." If anything is useful to hear when I'm in the depression trenches, it's a reminder of the fact that change is the only constant. Regardless of what I'm experiencing at the moment, I will be experiencing something different at a given moment in the future. It won't necessarily be something better--even contemplating the possibility of something nice happening can feel unbearably false to the depressed mind--but it will be something different. No one specific form of suffering can endure unchanged. And that's actually very comforting to think about when you're on a long walk with the black dog.*

*reboot, I told you I would steal and cherish that phrase... Wink
avatar
Werel
Moderator of "Meeting People and Dating Advice"

Posts : 1758
Reputation : 949
Join date : 2014-09-25

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by kleenestar on Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:44 am

I'm just going to pop on my researcher hat and say that for teenagers, training them in the idea that their circumstances can change over time has a surprisingly large impact on mental health. For teens - and I'm specific because I think there are some very good reasons why it has an impact on that specific population - "it gets better" is in fact itself an intervention that makes it more likely for them to have a good outcome. The interventions themselves are about halfway between "it gets better" (e.g. the structural factors of your life will be more under your control) and "it can get better" (e.g. here are some people who have used that to address their problems), which I think is a pretty sweet spot for teens.
avatar
kleenestar

Posts : 289
Reputation : 204
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by kath on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:15 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
kath wrote:Nearly: but if you got the "chance" and the jury came to the conclusion that you were guilty based on available evidence and you were sentenced to life in prison ... you did "get your chance". You just were still found guilty.

Eh... It still feels like there's a difference between wrongful punishment by a kangaroo court and that same punishment delivered by a court where you just didn't argue your case as well as you needed to to pass. (Whether or not it was possible to argue that well is another matter, too, of course.) In the latter case, I have the rest of my life to think about how I might have done it better, and wonder what might have happened if I had chosen a different argument. In the former, nothing at all can be gained.

Choice is an illusion and a placebo, but still it would be preferable to certain despair.

Re: your first paragraph, of course there is a difference between those two things, I was just illustrating how you can have been "given a chance" in that context and still not be successful in your plea - IE you got a chance, but in the end you weren't successful. If you're concerned about "fate" and things you have no control over retroactively meaning that you "didn't have a chance", I'm not sure why "having a chance" is different in terms of the technicalities of the "chance" you will be convicted, if the outcome can erase the "chance" you had. If the outcome erases your earlier chance, there actually is no difference; you were convicted either way.

Particularly, in this case, you aren't actually talking about a probabilistic chance. You're talking about whether the system is fair. I would say there are certainly people who are dealing with unfairness in their lives, and that could certainly impact their mental health, but I don't think unfairness in the world is a death sentence for people who deal with both unfairness and depression? Like it's certainly not "fair" that one is depressed.

Is a foregone conclusion that any given depressed person will kill themselves? No. Is it a simple enough set of factors that we would be able to accurately predict who will and will not kill themselves? It seems not. Therefore, they all "have a chance". The eventual outcome isn't retroactively changing that.

I strongly disagree with your last sentence, but doubt there would be a super productive conversation there.
avatar
kath

Posts : 352
Reputation : 159
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:04 am

kath wrote:Re: your first paragraph, of course there is a difference between those two things, I was just illustrating how you can have been "given a chance" in that context and still not be successful in your plea - IE you got a chance, but in the end you weren't successful. If you're concerned about "fate" and things you have no control over retroactively meaning that you "didn't have a chance", I'm not sure why "having a chance" is different in terms of the technicalities of the "chance" you will be convicted, if the outcome can erase the "chance" you had. If the outcome erases your earlier chance, there actually is no difference; you were convicted either way.

Particularly, in this case, you aren't actually talking about a probabilistic chance. You're talking about whether the system is fair. I would say there are certainly people who are dealing with unfairness in their lives, and that could certainly impact their mental health, but I don't think unfairness in the world is a death sentence for people who deal with both unfairness and depression? Like it's certainly not "fair" that one is depressed.

Is a foregone conclusion that any given depressed person will kill themselves? No. Is it a simple enough set of factors that we would be able to accurately predict who will and will not kill themselves? It seems not. Therefore, they all "have a chance". The eventual outcome isn't retroactively changing that.

Almost everyone deals with unfairness, and as you say, depression's bad enough to make a person's life unfair almost by default. Also as you say, I'm referring to the colloquial sense of "chance" that indicates being able to fight back, not a statistical prediction. As I understand it, that's generally what is meant when someone asks to "have a chance" to do something or whether they "have a chance" at something.

And I thought the whole idea was that the outcome doesn't erase having a chance.
avatar
nearly_takuan

Posts : 1052
Reputation : 428
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Depression and "It Gets Better" Mentality

Post by kath on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:35 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Almost everyone deals with unfairness, and as you say, depression's bad enough to make a person's life unfair almost by default. Also as you say, I'm referring to the colloquial sense of "chance" that indicates being able to fight back, not a statistical prediction. As I understand it, that's generally what is meant when someone asks to "have a chance" to do something or whether they "have a chance" at something.

Hmm, that was not at all how I interpreted this particular question, because the context of "Do you really think that every single depressed person alive right now has a chance in hell?" was an earlier discussion about people being shamed for committing suicide (particularly Robin Williams). So I interpreted the question as "Do you really think that every single depressed person alive right now has a chance in hell [to recover / not commit suicide]".

In that case, if you use it in the "it's unfair" sense ("that person never had a chance ... to avoid joining a gang because of their socioeconomic reality", you are also implying / saying that you think some depressed people are 100% past all help.

I do think that depression is unfair, and that no one should be shamed for depression, and if you are depressed it's not because of something you did / your fault (one of the reasons you would said someone "had no change" to avoid being involved in a gang, for example). But I'm really really really not comfortable implying in any way that I think depression is actually a hopeless situation for anyone. I don't think it is, even for people who don't, themselves, have any hope (I'm also not saying they should have hope / they are wrong not to have hope; I'm saying I have hope for them. Me telling them I have hope for them may not be at all helpful, which is why I wasn't like "It gets better is a great thing to say to all depressed people", even though I think it can get better.)

And yes, my point was that the outcome does not change whether or not someone had a chance before the outcome had been determined.
avatar
kath

Posts : 352
Reputation : 159
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum