Learning from low times

There’s an article on the BBC website at the moment called “Is depression good for you?” about how some people have come out of periods of lowness and depression to a much stronger state. (Emphasis on some people is important here!) Given my own experience of emerging much stronger and more secure from a low period which briefly skirted mild depression, this makes a lot of sense for me.

The article makes some interesting comments on how depressin is dealt with in different cultures:

“Depression can be traced all the way back to the Stone Age, say Dr Keedwell, when close-knit communities of about 50 people would have identified it quickly. The rest of the group would have rallied round and changes followed, such as a new role for the individual… The Banda tribe in Uganda calls it “illness of thought” and those affected are allowed time out from the group, a concession not extended to many with the condition in the UK.

I think there are many aspects of modern Western society that are conducive to depression – it’s no wonder so many people seem to get it nowadays. Not much exercise, distance from friends and family, pressure at work, the overabundance of choice, the stigma that is still attached to any form of mental illness, and the feeling that you should just “pull yourself together”.

There’s a lot of pressure to have it all, to be a superman/woman who never has moments of doubt or weakness. But that’s so unrealistic.

Sometimes stopping and reexaming what matters to you is painful – but from my own experience it is definitely worth it when the clouds start to lift!


3 responses to “Learning from low times

  1. Here are a couple more factors that I personally think contribute to the prevalence of depression in our culture: eating an abundance of fast foods, rushing from place to place without the time to stop and “smell the roses”, and overpopulation.

  2. I think you’re right.

    The weird thing on population is that in our big cities there’s an element of “people, people everywhere, but nobody to talk to.” Which is very sad.

  3. Quite true! I don’t really remember ever feeling so desperately ‘alone’ as in a crowd of people I didn’t connect with as opposed to times when I was by myself.

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