Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Faust

Depression

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I do confess to struggling with chronic depression most of my life, and I am on medication for it. It leads to a crippling lack of motivation, and I often self-sabotage. I was wondering if Objectivism has any specific take or advice on this kind of thing as a philosophy based on an individual's drive to achievement; truth be told im not particularly sure why im making this post, but I find philosophy can be therapeutic sometimes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to take this opportunity to link to previous related topics: here, here, here, here, and here. There are probably more, in this sub-forum.

Since you're on medication, you already have a doctor giving you advice, and if your depression is caused by something physiological, then psychological approaches may not work. 

Objectivism, as such, does not address psychological depression, but it does speak to happiness -- so perhaps it does, in the negative. However, as a philosophy, the answers are very broad. It boils down to: pursue a productive purpose that makes you happy, because it lets you apply your abilities and creates something you value. 

The nitty-gritty is important too: good sleep, exercise, social contact/visibility and so on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing with depression is that physiological causes are rarely ever the whole story. There is also some amount of one's position in the social world, or some deeper things besides strictly how your brain is working. It's difficult at times to keep up a motivated outlook. Sometimes, physiology makes it more difficult than for other people. Personally for me, there is a mix of all this that leads me to show symptoms of depression.

Objectivism has had an important role for me so that while at times depression is there, it helps me to prevent things like self-hate, or beating myself up as a bad person. I don't feel that, and I attribute it to a few principles of Objectivism. Some Nietzsche, too, but my opinion on him is complex.

1) Benevolent Universe Premise
No, this doesn't mean the universe "wants" you to be happy. Rather, it's a belief that evil doesn't win out over the good, that is, if one acts justly and acts virtuously, evil cannot last. This isn't to say tragedies don't happen - after all, Rand wrote "We The Living", which is really good at making the point that on a wider scale, the triumph of good is affected by things like respect for individual rights.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolent_universe_premise.html

2) Art fuels one's passions
Rand wrote this, I recommend reading all of The Romantic Manifesto:

"Since a rational man’s ambition is unlimited, since his pursuit and achievement of values is a lifelong process—and the higher the values, the harder the struggle—he needs a moment, an hour or some period of time in which he can experience the sense of his completed task, the sense of living in a universe where his values have been successfully achieved. It is like a moment of rest, a moment to gain fuel to move farther. Art gives him that fuel; the pleasure of contemplating the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life is the pleasure of feeling what it would be like to live in one’s ideal world."

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/art.html

3) Celebrate the good
Perhaps this is obvious, but it is important to see the good in the world and celebrate it. Some people are truly jealous of success, seeing happiness as zero-sum, and think a successful billionaire is inherently bad. This is what Rand pointed to as hating the good for its good qualities. At times, a depressed person may want to wallow and blame others. If you go out of your way to admire the good, you'll have an easier time recognizing that it is possible to achieve your goals by your own efforts. It's a sense of self-responsibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, depression can be caused by various reasons. Due to emotional baggage, carrier failure, stress and many more and It's quite difficult to get out of depression. Always do invest some time for doing activities that you like, socializing can also be helpful. Always stay positive and live life happily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first step, though perhaps not the last step, in overcoming depression is listing what you need. Right on a sheet of paper. That's the cause of depression, an unmet need, and oftentimes they've been unmet for such a long time we come to accept them as such. 

Then take your list of needs and talk about them with at least one other person as though you're taking responsibility for them. 

Simply getting the unmet needs off your chest in a mature way in the context of another human face gives us the emotional fluidity to figure out what to do next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2018 at 5:35 PM, Enlightenment Now said:

listing what you need...the emotional fluidity to figure out what to do next.

This is interesting, I often worry that my needs should not be a burden to anyone around me.  I know the value of writing in a journal, but hadn't thought of it from the angle of unmet needs.  I have avoided seeking a psychologist because of how friends had talked of their experiences, and the Zen/socialistic/egoless perspectives they took.  I have some pride about figuring out my own problems for myself, its lonely.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smart people tend to turn in on themselves when facing psychological issues. This is how they solve calculus or o-chem problems, but it doesn't work so well with emotions. 

One problem is, in our culture, talking about emotions is conflated with indulging emotions. It's rare to meet someone who can discuss their emotions without feeling gross, but it's not only possible it's necessary for self-awareness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2018 at 8:27 PM, Tenderlysharp said:

I have avoided seeking a psychologist because of how friends had talked of their experiences, and the Zen/socialistic/egoless perspectives they took. 

A good psychologist wouldn't take on the role of some spiritual advisor. Meditation is very important to do for dealing with depression symptoms, but some people then take that step to do a full dive into Buddhism and discover egoless-ness. A good psychologist will give you strategies on how to deal with emotions. It's like hiring a personal trainer for working out. Sometimes you'll get good advice, but other times you might not learn anything new.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Enlightenment Now said:

talking about emotions is conflated with indulging emotions.

I am very physiologically affected by emotion, my own and the emotion of others.  I don't want to change that about myself because I think it teaches me something.  My mind returns to difficult emotions because I want to understand human nature.  Objectivism helps me bring emotion into conscious terms.  

Ayn Rand once said "I very rarely had an emotion that took me more than a couple days to get to the bottom of."  

I am seeing more objectively the way emotions can be manipulated by or blamed on others.  

I was listening to an audiobook last year that was interesting.  There is a space between what you experience, and how you react.  In that space is the story you tell yourself.  I can't remember the title.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Eiuol said:

A good psychologist will give you strategies on how to deal with emotions. It's like hiring a personal trainer for working out.

True. Psychologists hate to admit this but we're personal trainers. Instead of getting the patients body to handle heavier weight, we get them to handle heavier emotion. Biologically, the process is similar. A barbell and emotion are both neurological strain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×