Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Depressive Advantage

Sure, I heard of The Bipolar Advantage, but this article in brings up the intriguing point: depression isn't all bad, if you happen to be a depressive realist.

Many psychologists and researchers have something to say about this intriguing theory. In 1988 psychologists, Shelley E. Taylor and Jonathon D. Brown, reviewed evidence that non-depressed individuals held positive illusions in three domains:

• The non-depressed view themselves in unrealistically positive terms.

• They believe that they have greater control over environmental events than is actually the case.

• They hold views of the future that are more rosy than data could justify.

In essence, this theory proposes that the typical non-depressed person uses happy illusions to maintain their self esteem and get through the day. In comparison, the individual having mild to moderate depression is reported to have a more realistic perspective of his or her image as well as in interpreting information from the external world. Some would caution to not extrapolate that all happy people are necessarily delusional nor does it mean that people with depression are not sometimes distorted in their thinking. Yet this theory does seem to give a silver lining to having what some people call a depressive personality....

EDITORIAL NOTE: As one with personal experience with depression, I frankly confess it's something I wouldn't wish on my own worst enemy. On the other hand, it has forced me to learn patience, and during my days in the intelligence field, I did not let political correctness or false optimism deter me from reflecting on the evil that man is capable of.

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