The Road to Unhappiness Part Two

>> Friday, April 16, 2010

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I see many of you think I'm oversimplifying and, of course, I am. I'm looking for the aspects that can readily lead to depression, not because I think they're all inclusive, but because, after the fact, I recognize them as key elements to my own late depression and the aspects I have to work on so it doesn't happen again.

But I was also looking to see if these were part of my daughter's issues with angst and unhappiness. I think they are and I only hope I can help her overcome them. The second characteristic that really did a number on me was the feeling of helplessness.

As a fairly self-sufficient person, someone who generally scoffed at those who preferred to complain rather than just fix the situation, it was considerably lowering (but probably a salutary lesson) to find myself in a situation where I was (or felt I was) powerless to extricate myself or my daughter. For a considerable time after the fact, I was unable to function, even on something I could handle just because of the sense of helplessness, the sense that I had no control over any element of my life.

I've regained that, but it was touch and go for a while there and it's a hard thing to recover from. I was unused to asking for help and that, also, was a salutary lesson. Painful but at least a learning experience.

Not something, however, I would relish going through again. Unfortunately, much like the focus on what one doesn't have, the sense of helplessness tends to feed on itself. As soon as one feels powerless, it becomes far too easy to see even the simplest task as overwhelming. And the habits one can get into, particularly focusing on blame, can contribute as well. The blame game (even if oneself is one's favorite subject) can readily become and excuse to do nothing. And stagnation is never the road to happiness.

Naturally, it's simple for teenagers, who are striving always for more control, to fall into this trap. Part of this is that teenagers, in my experience, have a highly inflated view of their maturity, judgment and sense of responsibility, and that feeds their sense that they "deserve" more autonomy, more control over their actions, and more freedom. Thwarting them, even in small ways, can readily convince them that they are powerless. All one has to do is get the blame game started and it's self-perpetuating.

Couple that with an obsession with everything they don't have (including those priveleges and freedoms we fortunate adults so enjoy) and it makes for a very powerful depressive force.


  • The Mother

    You may be putting the cart before the horse.

    Obviously, feelings of inadequacy and helplessness could lead to depression, but...

    They are also clear and common symptoms of depression.

    They're the questions we ask to diagnose depression, along with questions about sleeping and eating habits.

    Yes, teenagers often feel powerless. They're teenagers. But the non-depressed teenager generally feels like they have the world at their feet (which they do).

    Sorry, but I think these are more likely secondary than primary causes--which bounces us back to biochemistry.

  • Jeff King

    I have not experienced any form of depression, so i can't relate to it in any way, nor can I dissect something I have been through.

    To me everything boils down to self projection and attitude. Never allow any negative thoughts to overwhelm you and see only the good in yourself. Show love and feel loved, life is all about friendship and love.

    What else really matters?

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