Depression reveals character if you don't survive it.

I don't think it builds it at all, it has just made me feel really fucking numb and unmovable.

SSRIs average the mood swings and maybe bring up the baseline, but for many it deprives them of orgasms and other peak experiences that sort of punctuate life in otherwise dreary circumstances. You may feel better, but like haTTer sez, after a while you sort of long for the last feeling that was real, even if it was real...bad.

While it isn't for everyone by any stretch, depression, can more a more 'enjoyable' state than drug induced happiness. Some of us, when depressed, attain a keen (if painful) awareness of evil. Awareness is a good thing. Some of us, when depressed, are intensely creative. Creativity is a good thing. Very near all my poems were written while on the low end of a mood swing. Also, if you have bipolar disorder, then the depression alternates with a fun, manic euphoria, which 'leveling' (a psychiatrist's term, not mine) anti-depressants can smother. And some people appreciate strong emotion for its own sake. Whatever the emotion is, it's real. It let's you know you are alive and feeling. Did you ever pick a scab and savor the sting? Depression is an opportunity to wallow in oneself, which is a good thing unless you are too scared to venture into your own mind.

icicle: You say Depression...can inhibit the patient's ability to be productive or to engage in life-affirming activities (i.e. poetry). Since when is poetry (such as I speak of, anyway) productive, or life-affirming? Far from it! Poetry by a depressed person is a heaving sigh. And if a depression is not so paralyzing that the person suffering from it cannot hold a pen, it is still possible, and often its content is provided by the thoughts the depression induces. Poetry is NOT productive. It does not create something anyone can really use, it does not (usually) earn a lot of money. It is NOT life affirming, for crying out loud! it's life condeming. I have sat in one spot on the floor for hours, too permeated, in your words, spiritual paralysis, a sense of worthlessness, emptiness, exhaustion to move, and yet I was writing...weakly writing, the lines on the page were light, but I could put my dark thoughts into words.

Mad haTTer's list of the symptoms of depression closely resembles those most knowledgeable people will give you, with one extremely important exception. Increased creative activity is NOT a symptom of depression. In fact, most people who fight or have fought depression on a long-term basis will tell you the opposite.

Depression is not just a sense of numbness or sadness - though those are of course symptoms. Depression is probably better described as a kind of spiritual paralysis, a sense of worthlessness, emptiness, exhaustion - all of which can inhibit the patient's ability to be productive or to engage in life-affirming activities (i.e. poetry).

Some people, who identify their symptoms as those of depression, wear black and write angry poetry and talk about losing their will to live - that is, their will to physically exist.

Not to say that those people don't have real problems or real pain, or that they're not allowed to play in the depressive swimming pool. It's just that if such a pool were actually built, those kids would actually have the energy to swim, where others would float or tread water. Or drown in it.

You are welcome to glamorize the symptoms of depression and idolize its famous sufferers. Those of us who've spent entire days in a fucking cloud - sleeping or staring at the wall, without a thought in our heads - don't really have that luxury.

There is no good depression. It's not sexy. It's not fun. It's not the new rock and roll.

Kurt Cobain and Hemingway both indicate in their final writings that they had run out of things to say, despite pop cultural speculation that genius is America's number-one killer and its casualties leave damn good-looking corpses. I do not believe these men, or any other suicidal, brilliant people, were more creative because they were depressed, that the combination of the two traits did them in. Depression is what kills. A lack of productivity feeds into that. You're still allowed to swim in my aforementioned swimming pool (or, if you'd rather) to shudder and cry in the bathtub with me), but please, check your 14-year-old goth sensibilities at the door.

(For further elaboration see Alcestis on the Poetry Circuit.)

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