Facebook Pixel

Is depression good for you?

By February 29, 2008 - 8:48am
Rate This

Here's a thought coming to us courtesy of English researchers and the BBC -- depression may be good for you. In an article published this week -- a leading psychiatrist says "that depression is not a human defect at all, but a defence mechanism that in its mild and moderate forms can force a healthy reassessment of personal circumstances."

Once I started thinking about it, those words rang true for me. Not sure if I've experienced anything that would qualify as depression under a medical definition, but I can safely say I've certainly settled into a funk or two. These times (as miserable as they were) forced me to contemplate life in a new way and maybe take leaps I wouldn't have normally taken had I been feeling more upbeat. (Hey, sometimes you'll do just about anything to stop feeling down, right?)

Have you had a similar experience? Have you come out of a dark state feeling more enlightened? Or do you doubt that the after effects of depression are that profound? Finally, do you think depression is a survival mechanism?

Add a Comment2 Comments


I think that in some cases depression can bring out a different sort of creativity. At least in high school, I dealt in part with my depression by writing poetry.

However, it can also bring about worse changes, depending on the person. Depression can muddle logical decisions, and a person with depression could try anything to alleviate that depression - these can be healthy things but I think generally they tend to be harmful (sex with people you don't like, excessive use of drugs and alcohol, overeating of comfort foods, etc.). People with depression tend to not have that much energy and there is a lack of motivation. If you're lucky, your mind will snap out of it sometimes and you'll be motivated to go work out or do something healthy, but other times it's impossible.

I think depression does allow you to see your inner self in a way that people without depression probably can't understand as well. Perhaps looking too deep into yourself and focusing on the negative aspects can even drive a person into a deeper depression. The key is to somehow get out of the depression and use those self-criticisms to work on improving yourself.

I don't think the clinical type of depression is at all a defense mechanism - it's an abnormality in brain functioning and causes people to not be able to live their lives in the way they should. Perhaps situational depression or a fleeting depression that only lasts a week or so could be beneficial in the ways you talked about. But anything more than that is a burden - it's a different type of pain.

November 23, 2010 - 11:38am

I think depression is absolutely natural. And not necessarily a bad thing. Depression forces us to internalize and retreat which is a good thing if we are in a situation where reflection is necessary.

Depression only becomes bad when we cannot naturally remove ourselves from it.

I believe everyone has suffered some form of depression at some point in their lives. It may have remained undiagnosed and sorted itself out but it's depression nonetheless.

I have had days or weeks where I have been down, saddened by things that would not normally sadden me and unmotivated to change. I don't know what has brought me back to 'normal' again - better weather, a night out with friends or a week of having well-behaved children and good sleep but something just seems to sort itself out and bring back to my usual self.

These darker periods in our lives cause us to slow down and reevaluate which, though hard to get through, is not necessarily a bad thing.

February 29, 2008 - 2:31pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.


Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Depression Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!