Reaction: Is Depression Actually Good For You?

NEW FEATURE! So, our dear friend Alan Smithee has brought a little gem of Internet journalism to my attention, and it gave me an idea for a new kind of (faster) post for our discussions. I’m calling them “Reactions.” So, if you find some quick piece of reading out there on the Information Superhighway that you’d like to offer up for the forum’s reaction, please email and I will post. These will be super fast posts (i.e.,  I’ll get them up as soon as I get back to my desk and won’t hold up the whole process by finding/making an image or considering my own thoughts). First up:

Last week The Independent put out this piece entitled “Is depression actually good for you?” Please follow the link and give it a quick read. Come back and let us know what you think. I’m guessing most regular forum members can guess where this article put me (mind-space-wise), but I will wait and throw my reaction into the comments.

  1. Jess said:

    Whoa! I think the correlation is a little whacked. I’d actually like to read the studies they reference; I mean there’s no way an experimental research study could figure this out. Correlational studies, by nature, are open to potential confounds in data. For example, could these people be more resilent this others? Could their motivation to get better be something COMPLETELY unrelated to depression? I think this article is very dangerous. While they do throw in caveats about how depression is debilitating and how it can cause suicide, it’s main focus is flawed. I think there’s a much more reasonable and parsimonious explaination to this. People develop coping skills that help them throughout life. You can develop these coping skills independent of having depression. Yes, I’ve been depressed, and yes, I’ve developed valuable coping skills a result, but I’m sure I could have developed those even if I was just stressed in general and didn’t have a clinical depression episode.

    The confounds in this article is of great concern; these people need to revaluate how they publish material. Depression cannot CAUSE gaining coping skills and therefore, cannot be “good” for you. There’s not way to independently test whether or not it’s good for you…I could go on and on about statistical analysis, but that may go over people’s heads. If you’re interested, I can elaborate later.

    • said:

      Fear not, Jess. I sorta went on a statistical rant a month or so ago and ended up explaining the basics of confounding in a comment.

  2. Jess said:

    I ended up writing my own post about this, since I didn’t want to type a million things into this comment section :)

  3. Alan Smithee said:

    The biggest thing that got me about this article, which is really saying something, is the part about how depressed women live longer. The ridiculousness of the thesis totally flew out of my mind for a second, and I thought, “Isn’t that a bitch.” I have to live LONGER???

  4. LUH-HUUUUUVE iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit: “Depression can end in suicide… but many people say it helps them evaluate what is important.”


    HEY! I know! Let’s ALL get clinically depressed- just for kicks- oh, and for “personal growth.” It’ll be just like reading “The Secret,” but BETTER. We can all reevaluate what’s important as we’re contemplating swallowing pills, razoring more than our legs/chest hair while in the tub, blowing our brains out, and hanging ourselves. Good times!

    This article is HILAAAAARIOUS. Aaaaaand it’s very… surreptitious… with how it creeps up to the “normal sorrow has been turned into depression” thang, which, in my research for my new diagnosis, has been getting some traction in the last couple of years.

    Look, here’s my straight skinny: My life was UBER-fine until this crippling, freaking depression that wouldn’t even allow me to stand up to take a leak. I’ve had “normal” sorrow. (LOVE that btw.) Major Depression is as close to normal sorrow, as a trip to the moon is as a trip to Mars, maybe freakin’ Pluto. (Even though it’s been downgraded to a dwarf planet.) Wait. My LIFE has been downgraded to a dwarf planet.

    I was Jupiter. At least, one of it’s cool moons. Io maybe.

    My God, I had no idea that this article would:


    That said, the flip side cuz I’m a Libra. (Homer voice: “Damn Libras…!”):

    While in my major depression, I began to recover screened memories of childhood sexual abuse, memories that were unconsciously hot-wired to being the target of the sexual harassment that caused me to go into the major depression. Situational, we thought at first, right? I won’t bore you with the details of how I’ve managed to function (most times) and be undiagnosed, since probably middle school, when patterns began presenting themselves. (And please no one give me the line that, “all of a sudden,” I’m seeing EVERYTHING as BP. If anything, I’m seeing less. My therapist is like, “Uhhh… yeah.”)

    Freakin’ Twitter. ;-)

    So, my point, sorry: I plan to come out of this MDD, BP, anxiety-whatever, and PTSD– DRUGS OR NO DRUGS– a better, integrated, healthier person. “Daaaaammmmnnnnnnn iiiiiiiiit!”

    But this article? It’s on crack,

    ps- being a “ho-MUH-sexual,” will I live longer too? i better, or “I’s gonnas be’s pissed, mmmm-kaaaayyyyyy?”

    • Jess said:


      You are wonderful! I love reading your responses; they’re so unique and uninhibited. :) Wellyou and I will both live longer as depressed people and homosexuals….whoo hoo! Let’s have a gay party! :)

      Take care,

  5. Margaret Cho (impersonating her mother): Youuuuuuu are gayyyyyy… Becaaaauuuuse only the gay… screen their call.

    Thanks for the writing props! I let it all hang out. I didn’t mean it THAT way; get your mind out of that gutter. ;-) (TINAAAAA!!! Bring me the AX!”)


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