Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

It so happens that i'm not, though i have no idea why.  Here's today's video:

And the (looks up spelling...) doobly doo (thank you, Urban Dictionary):

If you are depressed right now, please remember that you can guarantee that your life will never get better if you end things now.  There are people out there who love you and will do anything to help.  Please, just get in touch with the Samaritans or another supportive group.  Their address is here:


If you want to talk to someone, their numbers in the UK and Ireland are on the website here:


21st January is said to be the most depressing day of the year, because Christmas and New Year are over and there's a long, hard slog to the next big event.  Also, the credit card bills have started to come in, it's cold, grey, dark and damp, and basically not at all fun.  Unsurprisingly, therefore, people get depressed.

This video is mainly about depressive realism, which is the idea that depressed people are realistic compared to emotionally well-adjusted people, i.e. the so-called "happy" people of which we hear so much.  Research suggests that depression sometimes involves an accurate assessment of reality.  For instance, in one study showed that depressed people were more aware of their lack of control over a light switch which they were told controlled a lamp unreliably than people who were not depressed.  However, the mere fact that we deceive ourselves less than others doesn't mean it's OK.  If you were "in touch with reality" because you had no skin, you would swiftly be dead.  Therefore, we may need to have positive illusions, such as religion (though I am of course religious) in order to function well.  Moreover, for some reason i don't understand, people tend to reflect negative feelings back on you, so when you're depressed, you're more likely to have depressing experiences from others such as bullying or being ignored.

However, the way in which people focus on ideas in depression is remarkable.  They sometimes get depressed about the "wrong" things when there are plenty of other reasons which seem to be better reasons to be depressed.  For instance, if a number of worrying medical findings arise from tests, a depressed patient may focus on a result which seems to be less threatening than the others and blow it out of all proportion while ignoring other findings which most people would find more worrying.  This means that depression can make you ignore important negative facts which it's important to address.

There are other aspects to depression, even cognitively, such as the cognitive triad, learned helplessness and the amine theory of depression and anxiety, but depression is a big subject.

Right now, for some reason i don't understand, i'm not depressed.

 It was probably a bit over-ambitious to try to cover depressive realism in one five-minute video, and in fact it seems that to me, depression is a big subject, so it's more of a series thing than five minutes.  I'd like to have added something about the value of stoicism in the context of depression.

Here's the thumbnail:

It's desaturated and some method acting was involved - i had a letter from the Inland Revenue on my lap when i took the photo.  Also, the lettering is close to indigo, as in "mood".  Not that close though, because "indigo" as in the web colour, is quite a bit closer to "violet" (actually purple) than what i think of as indigo.  You can see the difference here:

Indigo is on the left, the colour of the text on the right.

Tomorrow will be the second "Webcam Wednesday".  I've got a couple of ideas but they're not particularly firm.