December 20

Of Course You’re Depressed

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments


Art Credit Alexi Berry

Depression, even as a mental healthdiagnosis, is considered one of the most common mental health disorders. If you include people that have bouts of depressive symptoms and generally just don’t consider themselves happy or satisfied in life, the frequency soars. Depression is so common that anti-depressants are the fastest growing class of drugs and the second most common medication prescribed in the United States. Many who are prescribed anti-depressants do not have a psychiatric diagnosis, but report symptoms of depression to their primary care physician (Stone, 2016).

Despite being a wealthy country, Americans report less life satisfaction than other cultures, even ones that are much less affluent (Helliwell, J; Layard, R; Sachs, J; 2016). Our culture contributes to the prevalence of depression. Many fall victim to the hedonic treadmill that we are sold (one example is the idea that a new purchase will make us happy, which it does for a short time, only to be followed by a new desire for something else). In addition, as Shawn Achor points out, we often believe happiness lies beyond our next goal, but once we attain that goal, we move happiness beyond the next goal (2011). Viktor Frankl described American Culture in Man’s Search for Meaning: “To the European, it is a characteristic of the American Culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy’. But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.” (p. 138). Rollo May, another existential psychotherapist wrote, “We are the independent men who, often taking our power too seriously, continuously act and react, unaware that much of value in life comes only if we don’t press, comes in quietly when it is not pushed or required, comes not from a drive from behind or an attraction from in front, but emerges silently from simply being together.” (p.317 & 318, 1969)

My latest post for Psychology Today. Read the full post here.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 at 12:31 PM and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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