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Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity.
- As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe only antidote for melancholia is action. However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth.
- Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) (1990)
- I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
- Depression is known to be caused by a deficit of certain neurochemicals or neurotransmitters, especially norepinephrine and serotonin.
- Daniel Amen, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, (1998), p. 48
- So what could be so useful about depression? Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time.
- Analysis requires a lot of uninterrupted thought, and depression coordinates many changes in the body to help people analyze their problems without getting distracted.
- But depression is nature’s way of telling you that you’ve got complex social problems that the mind is intent on solving. Therapies should try to encourage depressive rumination rather than try to stop it, and they should focus on trying to help people solve the problems that trigger their bouts of depression. (There are several effective therapies that focus on just this.) It is also essential, in instances where there is resistance to discussing ruminations, that the therapist try to identify and dismantle those barriers.
- Though modern therapies exhort you to act against your passions (compulsions), claiming health and integration lies in that direction, you've learned that delving more fully into your pain, anger, despair, depression will move you through them to the other side, where you can use their energy to heal.
- Gloria Anzaldúa, Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality (2015)
- The solution to your depression lies en esa cueva oscura [in this dark cave] and a deeper integration of your psyche.
- Gloria Anzaldúa, Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality (2015), p. 111
- The soul uses everything to further its own making. … States which disrupt the smooth flow (complacency) of life are exactly what propel the soul to do its work: make soul, increase consciousness of itself. Our greatest disappointments and painful experiences—if we can make meaning out of them—can lead us toward becoming more of who we are.
- None are so desolate but something dear,
Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd
A thought, and claims the homage of a tear.
- Depression is seductive: it offends and teases, frightens you and draws you in, tempting you with its promise of sweet oblivion, then overwhelming you with a nearly sexual power, squirming past your defenses, dissolving your will, invading the tired spirit so utterly that it becomes difficult to recall that you ever lived without it...or to imagine that you might live that way again. With all the guile of Satan himself, depression persuades you that its invasion was all your own idea, that you wanted it all along. It fogs the part of the brain that reasons, that knows right and wrong. It captures you with its warm, guilty, hateful pleasures, and, worst of all, it becomes familiar. All at once, you find yourself in thrall to the very thing that most terrifies you. Your work slides, your friendships slide, your marriage slides, but you scarcely notice: to be depressed is to be half in love with disaster.
- Desolate—Life is so dreary and desolate—
Women and men in the crowd meet and mingle,
Yet with itself every soul standeth single,
Deep out of sympathy moaning its moan—
Holding and having its brief exultation—
Making its lonesome and low lamentation—
Fighting its terrible conflicts alone.
- Alice Cary, Life; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 189
- I am cross and depressed, and people bore me with their excessive attentions. I can't breathe, I can't work; I feel alone, alone, alone, although I am surrounded. There are a whole lot of ladies, 70 to 80 year-old lords, but no young folk: they are all out shooting. One can't get out of doors because it has been raining and blowing for several days.
- The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.
- Leonard Cohen, as quoted in The International Herald Tribune (4 November 1988)
- Eros conquers depression. It delivers us from the inferno of the same to th atop, indeed the utopia, of the wholly other.
- Byung-Chul Han (Korean philosopher), "The Agony of Eros," 2017, p.7
- In the last decade, neuroscience and psychiatric research has begun to unlock the brain’s secrets. We now know that mental illnesses – such as depression or schizophrenia – are not “moral weaknesses” or “imagined” but real diseases caused by abnormalities of brain structure and imbalances of chemicals in the brain.
- Richard Harding (President of the APA), "Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets", Family Circle magazine (20 November 2001), p. 62
- That terrible mood of depression of whether it’s any good or not is what is known as The Artist’s Reward.
- In this arid and dark night wherein He sets the soul, God has restrained its concupiscence and curbed its desire so that the soul cannot feed upon any pleasure or sweetness of sense, whether from above or from below; and this He continues to do after such manner that the soul is subjected, reformed and repressed with respect to concupiscence and desire. It loses the strength of its passions and concupiscence and it becomes sterile, because it no longer consults its likings. Just as, when none is accustomed to take milk from the breast, the courses of the milk are dried up, so the desires of the soul are dried up. And besides these things there follow admirable benefits from this spiritual sobriety, for, when desire and concupiscence are quenched, the soul lives in spiritual tranquillity and peace; for, where desire and concupiscence reign not, there is no disturbance, but peace and consolation of God. ... Finally, inasmuch as the soul is now purged from the affections and desires of sense, it obtains liberty of spirit, whereby in ever greater degree it gains the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit. Here, too, it is wondrously delivered from the hands of its three enemies—devil, world and flesh; for, its pleasure and delight of sense being quenched with respect to all things, neither the devil nor the world nor sensuality has any arms or any strength wherewith to make war upon the spirit.
- John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul, Chapter 13, as translated by E. Allison Peers (1959)
- He's turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed.
- In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant. ... My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known—no wonder, then, that I return the love.
- Søren Kierkegaard “Diapsalmata”, Either/Or (1843) Vol. 1, of 1987 Hong translation
- Enough has been said about the light-mindedness of the age; it is high time, I think, to say a little about its depression. … The egotistical depression naturally fears on its own account and, like all depression, is self-indulgent in enjoyment. … Sympathetic depression is more distressing and also somewhat more noble; it fears itself for the sake of the other.
- Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or (1843), Vol. 2, Hong translation, pp. 24-25
- Sometimes, my heart hurts so much, I beat it with my fists. I try to run. But you cannot run away from this. You cannot run from it. Wherever you run, it waits for you. Even when you think you have escaped it, it is there, where you have run to. It waits for you, to ambush you. It is like those vines called lianas, those tropical creepers that grow around you and strangle you. You cut off one branch, but there is another that grows. You leap over the wall of one ghetto and find yourself in another ghetto.
- Klaus Kinski, as quoted in "Klaus Kinski & The Thing" by Marcelle Clements, in Playboy (November 1985), Vol. 32, Iss. 11, pg. 84-86 + 178-190
- Although previously the monoamine systems were considered to be responsible for the development of major depressive disorder (MDD), the available evidence to date does not support a direct causal relationship with MDD. There is no simple direct correlation of serotonin or norepinephrine levels in the brain and mood. In other words, after a half-century of research, the chemical-imbalance hypothesis as promulgated by the drug companies that manufacture SSRIs and other antidepressants is not only without clear and consistent support, but has been disproved by experimental evidence.
- A low serotonin level . . . can dry up the wellsprings of life’s happiness, withering a person’s interest in his existence and increasing the risk of depression and suicide.
- Ronald Kutulak, in his book Inside the Brain; cited in Awake! magazine (22 October 2001)
- The First Truth is an assertion that all manifested life is sorrow, unless man knows how to live it... the Cause of Sorrow is always desire. If a man has no desires, if he is not striving for place or power or wealth, then he is equally tranquil whether the wealth or position comes or whether it goes. He remains unruffled and serene.... Being human, he will of course wish for this or that, but always mildly and gently, so that he does not allow himself to be disturbed... the Noble Eightfold Path... can be taken at all levels. The man in the world, even the uneducated man, can take it in its lowest aspects and find a way to peace and comfort through it. And yet the highest philosopher may also take it and interpret it at his level and learn very much from it.
- How often, for example, a young man desires affection from someone who cannot give it to him, who has it not to give! From such a desire as that comes often a great deal of sadness, jealousy and much other ill-feeling. You will say that such a desire is natural; undoubtedly it is, and affection which is returned is a great source of happiness. Yet if it cannot be returned, a man should have the strength to accept the situation, and not allow sorrow to be caused by the unsatisfied desire.
- The way nerves talk to each other, and communicate, is through the secretion of a chemical called a neurotransmitter, which stimulates the circuit to be activated. And when this regulation of chemical neurotransmission is disturbed, you have the alterations in the functions that those brain areas are supposed to, to mediate. So in a condition like depression, or mania, which occurs in bipolar disorder, you have a disturbance in the neurochemistry in the part of the brain that regulates emotion.
- Jeffrey Lieberman, Causes of Depression, University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell (19 June 2012)
- No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Endymion (1842), Stanza 8
- Abomination of desolation.
- Matthew, XXIV 15; Mark, XIII. 14
- Depression is the inability to construct a future.
- Rollo May, in "Love and Will" (1969), Ch. 9
- Buddhism’s famed Four Truths are called noble because they liberate us from suffering.
- Melvin McLeod in "What Are the Four Noble Truths?" (12 March 2018)
- Males with depressed roommates may end up feeling a bit blue themselves, according to Daniel Eisenberg, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Michigan who recently led a survey of 1,600 freshmen at two universities — a public one in the Midwest and a private one in the Northeast — on the issue. He found no such carryover for female students.
This mood contagion seems to occur when the student keeps his feelings bottled up, Dr. Eisenberg says. And it’s only a mild case; roommates typically don’t develop their friends’ more serious conditions.
“It’s not like you catch a mental-health cold,” he says. “People are resilient. They have a lot of coping strategies.”
- The melancholic errs by turning against his own ego all the critical energies that ought to be directed outward against the powers of the status quo. ... Encouraged to draw all of his aggressions inward, away from the true source of discontent, the compliant melancholic sets up a superegoic agency harboring the ego’s own former rage against the object. ... Introjection becomes a form of deflected critique. Meanwhile, the berated and debased ego, busy with its own internal insufficiencies and thoroughly discouraged from political activism, is not only fully censured but also is fashioned into a willing, productive—if ultimately impotent—participant in society. ... The ideal subject under capitalism is melancholic.
- Am I a rock? What is it with me, that I am not stirred by this liquor and these songs?
- What is the light that can dispel this ignorance of ours and remove all sorrows? A. The knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, as the Buddha called them... How can we escape the sufferings which result from unsatisfied desires and ignorant cravings? A. By complete conquest over, and destruction of, this eager thirst for life and its pleasures, which causes sorrow.... By following the Noble Eight-fold Path which the Buddha discovered and pointed out...The man who keeps these... in mind and follows them will be free from sorrow and ultimately reach salvation.
- Can you help me remember how to smile
Make it somehow all seem worthwhile
How on earth did I get so jaded
Life's mystery seems so faded
I can go where no one else can go
I know what no one else knows
Here I am just drownin' in the rain
With a ticket for a runaway train.
- People here [in Congress] often think of depression as being sad; no matter what I tell other legislators, they don't know. They don't understand how it is emptiness, how it is a vast nothing.
- Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. … It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It's a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.
- My desolation does begin to make
A better life.
- Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.
- Living with depression is like trying to keep your balance while you dance with a goat — it is perfectly sane to prefer a partner with a better sense of balance.
- Depression is melancholy minus its charms—the animation, the fits.
- Susan Sontag, in Illness as Metaphor (1978), Ch. 7
- In the nineteenth century, ... official Western medicine recognized drapetomania, the tendency of slaves to run away from their owners, as a disease. ... With hindsight, drapetomania is easily dismissed as a harmful fabrication of fictitious disease, in a culture violating human rights. Less easy is it to recognize harmful fabrications of our own era for what they are.
- Are you sure that medicine and psychiatry are on the right track, morally and scientifically, in providing millions of persons with drugs after having diagnosed them as depressed?
- Wim J. van der Steen, Vincent K. Y. Ho, Ferry J. Karmelk, Beyond Boundaries of Biomedicine: Pragmatic Perspectives on Health and Disease (2003), p. 29
- More serious depression, or depression that is quickly getting worse, should be treated with medication. Antidepressants are not “uppers” and they have no effect on normal mood. They restore brain chemistry to normal.
- Nada L. Stotland, (President of the APA), About Depression in Women, Op.Cit., p. 65
- What had been drapetomania became depression. ... Modern man runs away from a life that seems to him a kind of slavery.
- Thomas Szasz, "The Sane Slave: Social Control and Legal Psychiatry," American Criminal Law Review, vol. 10 (1971), p. 346
- My profession of psychiatry still views depression purely as an illness. Insurance limitations have pushed many psychiatrists away from talk therapy and toward the more efficient prescription pad. So “there’s a lot of institutional and scientific investment in the exclusively disease model of depression. I’m basically telling colleagues they’re medicating people when they shouldn’t be. That’s not going to be welcome news.
- J. Anderson Thomson, "Does Depression Have an Evolutionary Purpose?" Matthew Hutson, Nautilus, (February 9, 2017).
- The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p. 25
- The pain that you create now is always some form of non acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it. In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering - and free of the egoic mind.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997)
- Why does the mind habitually deny or resist the Now? Because it cannot function and remain in control without time, which is past and future, so it perceives the timeless Now as threatening. Time and mind are in fact inseparable.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997)
- If you are trapped in a nightmare you will probably be more strongly motivated to awaken than someone who is just caught in the ups and downs of an ordinary dream.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p. 101
- Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry, or hard-done-by person. You will then ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p. 119
- All inner resistance is experienced as negativity in one form or another. All negativity is resistance. In this context, the two words are almost synonymous. Negativity ranges from irritation or impatience to fierce anger, from a depressed mood or sullen resentment to suicidal despair. Sometimes the resistance triggers the emotional pain-body, in which case even a minor situation may produce intense negativity, such as anger, depression, or deep grief. The ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality and get what it wants. It believes that through it, it can attract a desirable condition or dissolve an undesirable one.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p. 119
- I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual teacher and how this book came into existence. Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else's life.... What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
When someone goes to the doctor and says, "I hear a voice in my head," he or she will most likely be sent to a psychiatrist. The fact is that, in a very similar way, virtually everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all the time: the involuntary thought processes that you don't realize you have the power to stop. Introduction
- Your unhappiness is polluting not only your own inner being and those around you but also the collective human psyche of which you are an inseparable part. The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space. Either stop doing what you are doing, speak to the person concerned and express fully what you feel, or drop the negativity that your mind has created around the situation and that serves no purpose whatsoever except to strengthen a false sense of self. Recognizing its futility is important. Negativity is never the optimum way of dealing with any situation. In fact, in most cases it keeps you stuck in it, blocking real change. Anything that is done with negative energy will become contaminated by it and in time give rise to more pain, more unhappiness. Furthermore, any negative inner state is contagious: Unhappiness spreads more easily than a physical disease. Through the law of resonance, it triggers and feeds latent negativity in others, unless they are immune - that is, highly conscious. Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? You are responsible for your inner space; nobody else is... p. 53
- How can we drop negativity, as you suggest? By dropping it. How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy and useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don't want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it.
- For a moment, I was able to stand back from my own mind and see it from a deeper perspective, as it were. There was a brief shift from thinking to awareness. I was still in the men’s room, but alone now, looking at my face in the mirror. At that moment of detachment from my mind, I laughed out loud. It may have sounded insane, but it was the laughter of sanity, the laughter of the big bellied Buddha. “Life isn’t as serious as my mind makes it out to be.” That’s what the laughter seemed to be saying. But it was only a glimpse, very quickly to be forgotten. I would spend the next three years in anxiety and depression, completely identified with my mind. I had to get close to suicide before awareness returned, and then it was much more than a glimpse. I became free of compulsive thinking and of the false, mindmade “I.” p. 23
- Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as of disease. The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing in your head perhaps for many years. This is what I mean by "watching the thinker," which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence. When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You'll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This I am realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.
- Eckhart Tolle inA New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, p. 17, (2005)
- The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all – from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others.
- Eckhart Tolle inA New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, (2005) Chapter 10
- When you suffer, think not on how you can escape suffering, but concentrate your efforts on what kind of inner moral and spiritual perfection this suffering requires.
- The best thing for being sad … is to learn something.
- T. H. White, The Sword in the Stone (1963), Merlin, to Arthur
- In a strange way, I had fallen in love with my depression. I loved it because it was all I had. I thought depression was the part of my character that made me worthwhile. I thought so little of myself, felt that I had such scant offerings to give to the world, that the one thing that justified my existence at all was my pain.
- Anger management
- Four Noble Truths
- Mental health
- Positive thinking
- The Power of Now