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PennDrago

Depression and Objectivist

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Have any of the Objectivist on this board ever dealt with clinical depresison and how did you over come it?  

111 members have voted

  1. 1. Have any of the Objectivist on this board ever dealt with clinical depresison and how did you over come it?

    • No, I've never had to deal with clinical depression.
      39
    • Yes, but I take meds.
      6
    • Yes, but I just deal with it.
      15
    • Yes, but then I found Objectivism.
      14
    • Yes, other
      2


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Do you mean, "ever had to deal with a clinically depressed person"?

No, actually I was curious about Objectivist themselves. If any of them at some point in their lives, including right now, could/have been deemed "clinicially depressed"

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Diagnosed with severe depression and OCD in January of 2003 (had both for much longer). Was in therapy, on anti-depressants/psychotics until March 2004 when I discovered Ayn Rand. On June 23, 2004 I threw my pills out and learned how to live life. I saved my own life, with a little help from a woman to was an intellectual giant.

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I saved my own life, with a little help from a woman to was an intellectual giant.

First off Toolbox, I think you have awesome quotes :D

I wasn't doing so hot before I picked up Ayn Rand. It re-inspired me and I'm working through a lot of things now with the help of Objectivism. Finally realizing where contradictions stem from, and having the tools to locate and change your premises, is better than any wonder drug. I can honestly say she's changed my whole life. I wouldn't say it cured my depression, I'd say it gave me the tools to cure my own, which I'm in the process of right now.

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Hi PennDrago, With 25 votes in how's your theory shaping up? Just curious.

well while 25 is hardly enough to have my theory confirmed or denied-- it is shaping up about where I thought it would be.

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I wouldn't say it cured my depression, I'd say it gave me the tools to cure my own, which I'm in the process of right now.

Brilliant. :) You hit the nail on the head here. Most of modern counseling therapy focuses on giving people just enough help to put them on their feet, and make sure they are able to continue helping themselves after they discontinue the counseling. Giving them tools, as you said. I think therapy would benefit from some sort of application of this philosophy, but alas, most people in psychology, particularly counselors are collectivist socialists...

And in reply to the poll, I was suicidal on and off in high school, then got to college and met my future (and now current) fiance, who had basically been an Objectivist since he was old enough to realize he was an individual. Recently he found Ayn Rand and I stole his copy of Atlas Shrugged... basically Rand put words to many of the thoughts he had. I became MUCH happier after meeting him, and now feel great joy on a regular basis.

(edited to add content)

Edited by Adleza

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According to a website (www.wrongdiagnosis.com) the life-time risk of clinical depression is about 8%. From this (admittedly unscientific) poll it would appear that 45% of people answering have had depression!

That's a huge difference. I wonder if it is because so many people on this board have experienced clinical depression (I doubt that), or because the people answering are classifying the wrong symptoms as being clinical depression, or a lot of people who have never been clinically depressed did not bother to answer the poll.

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According to a website (www.wrongdiagnosis.com) the life-time risk of clinical depression is about 8%. From this (admittedly unscientific) poll it would appear that 45% of people answering have had depression!

That's a huge difference. I wonder if it is because so many people on this board have experienced clinical depression (I doubt that), or because the people answering are classifying the wrong symptoms as being clinical depression, or a lot of people who have never been clinically depressed did not bother to answer the poll.

I was in the process of putting together a series of thoughts on this -very- scientific method. And, I had come across that statistic (8%) as well. I was amazed at the response of people as well.

and Elle (and other mods),

so far as my posts go if I have made an error and you correct it-- it isn't going to hurt my feelings.

Paul

Edited by PennDrago

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According to a website (www.wrongdiagnosis.com) the life-time risk of clinical depression is about 8%. From this (admittedly unscientific) poll it would appear that 45% of people answering have had depression!

That's a huge difference. I wonder if it is because so many people on this board have experienced clinical depression (I doubt that), or because the people answering are classifying the wrong symptoms as being clinical depression, or a lot of people who have never been clinically depressed did not bother to answer the poll.

Well, speaking for myself, I have never been diagnosed by a psychologist as depressed. I was determined, even at times I wished I could kill myself, that I would help myself. I tried every self-help method under the sun, from Buddhism to Nathaniel Branden (imagine my surprise when I learned who he was after I started reading Ayn Rand's books!). However, none of that helped me since what I really needed was to change my psycho-epistemological habits. Philosophy and Ayn Rand (with a little cognitive self-help) have helped me do that and I am slowly becoming a different person.

I imagine many people who have depression are like me and never get diagnosed.

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Clinical depression should be a more serious thing; it should be a symptom of chemical or physiological problems with the brain, rather than of merely having adopted some incorrect ideas.  Clinical depression should be something that can not be treated just by talking it out (not even if you take a very long time to talk), but requires actual (physical) medical attention to fix.

Clinical depression is like diabetes; some can be controlled through diet or constant effort. Some require medication. Depression is also peculiar in that it comes and goes; someone can be fine for years and then suddenly become incredibly depressed. Some just snap out of it.

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According to a website (www.wrongdiagnosis.com) the life-time risk of clinical depression is about 8%. From this (admittedly unscientific) poll it would appear that 45% of people answering have had depression!

That's a huge difference. I wonder if it is because so many people on this board have experienced clinical depression (I doubt that), or because the people answering are classifying the wrong symptoms as being clinical depression, or a lot of people who have never been clinically depressed did not bother to answer the poll.

I would say it's your last statement. If a person was ever depressed he would more likely check this thread out and therefore respond to the poll compared with someone who had never been depressed.

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I would say it's your last statement. If a person was ever depressed he would more likely check this thread out and therefore respond to the poll compared with someone who had never been depressed.

Thats a good point and something I hadn't considered before taking on this very scientic evaulation, so I thank you for your insight.

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I was depressed for a while, though I don't know for sure if it qualified as "clinical depression." The passage of time helped me get over it. It was also before I discovered Objectivism, but I probably would have been depressed, even if I had. Women, man...they'll do it to you every time.

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Just something I was curious on.  I am by no means a psychologist.  I am just testing a theory.

Would like to know what your theory is. I'm clinically diagnosed as having "recurrent depressive disorder". I have suffered clinical depression about 10-12 times so far.

What has this got to do with Objectivism?

I studied Rand's fictional works when I was 15-17 years of age. During that time, I also studied major philosophical works, getting deeply engrossed in philosophy. A thorough study of Rand's non-fictional works followed. Then, I had what I then called a "clarity explosion" after reading ITOE.

After reading ITOE in 1992 while living in a remote country, I could not relate to any of my social contacts - relatives or friends. I was completely alienated. Coupled with relationship issues, I suffered my first clinical depression which lasted for almost 2 years. I suffered intellectual alienation of the worst kind.

In 1995, I travelled abroad and experienced the Internet. I discovered the MDOP lists and found that there were other objectivists out there. This helped me come out of my depression. The doctors never realized what had actually cured me. But I was also becoming an alcoholic.

I then returned to my home country and tried to live a normal life. But relationship problems have plagued me since then. Intellectual isolation and alienation have been my enemies that I have struggled with. Nathaniel Branden's divergent essays on Objectivism sparkled interest but only to some extent. I persisted in my Objectivist beliefs. Living in a remote country, where socialist and religious beliefs dominate day to day life, can be very daunting.

My first marriage lasted for 4 years but ended in a divorce. My wife was an intellectual in many ways, but was an environmentalist. After the divorce, I had virtually given up on life.

Now, I am married again, to a new wife. She is a very promising girl with an open mind and loves me very much. I have also found a new shrink who himself is an admirer of Objectivism - and that is what gives me hope.

But I am still on medication - not anti-depressants, but what they call 'mood-stabilizers'. My shrink believes he can get me off of them as well. Meanwhile, I am leading a successful professional life.

Apologies for the long post. I thought if I reply, I must do so honestly, and in full.

Thanks for reading!

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What has [depression] got to do with Objectivism?

I think you answered your own question with an illustration.

After reading ITOE ... I could not relate to any of my social contacts - relatives or friends. I was completely alienated.

As I understand it, depression is born out of a sense of futility: an evaluation that to act is futile.... "what's the point".

I do not suggest that Objectivism, qua Objectivism, is a cause of depression.

The key is what evaluations you draw from it regarding the possibility for action and for happiness.

I have seen this happen with other philosophies too. At a tea-stall in Delhi, a frequent visitor was this sad self-described poet who seemed pretty depressed. The shop-owner and many frequent clients would joke about this fellow's melancholy. My friends and I got chatting with him one day (we were in high-school and he probably thought we might be open to "radical" ideas). Turns out that he had been part of the communist party back in the 1940's and 50's, and was sad that India did not go communist when the British left. He had pined away for the next two decades!

On the other hand, there are serious communists who take other routes. Some, get involved in politics and try to change the world in whatever little way they can. Others do stuff that is illegal or borderline illegal. Perhaps these people feel sad about the state of the world from time to time. However, as long as they act (or even retain the possibility of action), they will not be really depressed.

My point is this: people have wishy-washy philosophies that are not strongly held, are unlikely to be depressed about "the state of the world". On the other hand, people who take any philosophy seriously, and see that there aren't many other who agree with them, and who then conclude that action is futile, are prime candidates for depression.

It's great to know that you're acting to solve your problem. I hope your new "shrink" helps you work out rational "core evaluations".

Good luck. :thumbsup:

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I am bipolar, and get severe depression. I also have extreme social anxiety that was turning into agoraphobia. Interestingly, litterly on the day I decided I was just going to cut the world out, as it didn't seem like anyone gave a shit about me, I met the most amazing female. She is the first person besides my family who cares about me, and she has really helped me find a reason to change.

I deal as best as I can, and Objectivism has helped very much. Sometimes, however, no matter how rational I try to be something will just click in my head and I will get severely depressed, and borderline psychotic. These attacks used to last for weeks at a time, and occasionally I would be very happy. Nowadays I can usually get back into a normal state of mind through rational thought by the end of the day the attack occurs in.

When I first started studying Objectivism I was actually getting more depressed because I couldn't control my feelings with my rationality. Its getting better now...

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My theory was as follows: People, who felt isolated due to their moral beliefs, that used internet forums as a means of communicating with others in similiar positions would have (I should have said report) a higher instance of depression then the general public.

Pd

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My point is this: people have wishy-washy philosophies that are not strongly held, are unlikely to be depressed about "the state of the world". On the other hand, people who take any philosophy seriously, and see that there aren't many other who agree with them, and who then conclude that action is futile, are prime candidates for depression.

I think it's a double edged sword. Intelligent people with no clear philosophy might tend to be *lost* which leads to feelings of depression. They might seek the wrong means to fill this void worsening the depression. They might then find Objectivism, and even become initially more depressed, because they see the error of their ways and the hard work to get back on track. Then they might see that finally they are on the right track, and pull themselves up to succeed.

A little personal reflection here? Yeah, you might say so. :P

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My theory was as follows:  People, who felt isolated due to their moral beliefs, that used internet forums as a means of communicating with others in similiar positions would have (I should have said report) a higher instance of depression then the general public.

Pd

Consider your theory confirmed in my case.

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Intelligent people with no clear philosophy might tend to be *lost* which leads to feelings of depression. They might seek the wrong means to fill this void worsening the depression. They might then find Objectivism, and even become initially more depressed, because they see the error of their ways and the hard work to get back on track. Then they might see that finally they are on the right track, and pull themselves up to succeed.

"Me too" :P

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