My mind has been spinning for the past couple of hours – and it’s all my own fault. A young man who is a work acquaintance of mine posted something on facebook about depression. I think we can all agree that depression sucks. Feeling depressed is never an enjoyable thing. My outlook and response was that this young man should seek out a positive thought; a positive outlook; a silver lining to whatever dark cloud was hanging over him. I suggested that based on my 51 years of life and the experiences I’ve had therein. Another online friend of his – a 20 year old young man – began to argue with me about how depression, being caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain – couldn’t simply be thought away; or defeated by having a better outlook.
My first impulse was, and is, to educate the young man about all the various types of depression, their causes, cures, etc and how ALL TOO OFTEN people just assume that if they’re feeling down, no matter how briefly, it MUST be caused by a chemical change in their brain. Yep, almost went down that path. Then I realized that no matter what I had to say and no matter how I could back it up, the young man I’d be arguing with would maintain his position. I could already hear his two arguments: 1) someone else had told him something else and he chose to believe them because he at least knew them, and 2) He knew what he’d been taught in school and there was no way I could ever convince him of anything different. I also came to the realization that, depending on what type of person he actually is, he may PREFER to believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain because believing that relieves him of any responsibility for his own emotions AND it provides a ready excuse to try to self-medicate with any substances he might find available or have access to.
That brought me to the point of thought….
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