Yesterday I came across an article regarding habits of miserable people. while I know some people like this who are chronically mildly depressed I’m afraid this person would extend it to the severely depressed. Here are a few quotes that summarize the authors thinking.
• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you. Not only that, they often feel obscurely guilty, as if your misery might somehow be their fault. This is good! There’s power in making other people feel guilty. The people who love you and those who depend on you will walk on eggshells to make sure that they don’t say or do anything that will increase your misery.
• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.
• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general. You can project an aura of someone burdened by a form of profound, tragic, existential knowledge that happy, shallow people can’t possibly appreciate.
There are a couple of problems with this article if one extends her thinking to all types of depression. First of all Madanes could be accused of ” mind reading” by CBT therapists. She thinks she knows how all depressed people think. Ironically she has the same overly negative perception of depressed people that she is accusing them of. There are some depressed people who gain from being “depressed” however this isn’t necessarily true of most of them.(over generalizing) I personally have been treated quite negatively when depressed. Additionally she lumps all “depressed” people together when their depression could differ with regard to degree and source, some more biological and some more environmental.
There are many great people who are depressed, Churchill, Dostevsky and Lincoln. Lincoln was one outstanding example of a person who contributed much to society despite being quite miserable. I wonder how his life would have been different if he hadn’t been depressed.