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  • mistermuse 12:03 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , creativity, depression, fate, , , , mental health, original sin, , ,   


    Countless studies have shown that people who suffer from depression have more accurate world views than nondepressed people. Depressed people do not nurture the cheering illusion that they can control the course of their lives. And they understand, all too acutely, the basic conditions of existence: that their lifespan is just a brief blip in the cold sweep of history, that suffering is real and ongoing, that they and all the people they love are going to die. That outlook is known as depressive realism. Depressed people might be unhappy, but–when it comes to these big-picture, existential matters–they are generally more right than the rest of us. –Kathryn Schulz, author of BEING WRONG

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The National Institute of Mental Health lists six forms of depressive disorder/depression: major depression, persistent depressive disorder, psychotic depression, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorder (aka manic-depressive illness). NOT listed is Depressive realism.

    I have never given much thought to depression (in the listed sense), probably because no one I’ve known (that I’m aware of) suffered from depression. However, the Schulz quotation strikes a chord because I’ve “suffered” from realism for years (since I’ve been free of inherited Catholicism), but without becoming depressed as a result….though heaven knows I have good reason to be (and perhaps should be), given that I “understand, all too acutely,” the reality Schulz cites. Why am I not (by N.I.M.H. standards) depressed? Why isn’t everyone depressed?

    There are palliatives available before depression might come into play — for some, there is no shortage of such catholicons as drugs, alcoholism, power addiction, and yes, religion, to hold the wolf of reality at bay or serve as “the cheering illusion” that all’s well that ends well. Who knows, maybe all does end well, after all….but, given the mean time in the meantime, you could’ve fooled me. Life seems to imitate a product designed and built (sooner or later) to fail, but am I depressed? No….and, I take it, neither are you. Why not?

    Well, it’s not as if life were an unmitigated disaster, that’s why — at least, not for most of us. The half-full part of the glass, I wouldn’t miss for the world. Even if our futures get short shrift, if our talents go under-appreciated, if we see ignorance, arrogance and greed thrive — even if love goes south — was it not “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?” No matter what is terribly wrong with the world (thanks to both the Creator, if any, and the created), we see in small children not original sin, but original innocence (perhaps our original innocence), the sheer joy of being alive, the promise of hope….and we hope to God or Fate that their promise doesn’t go up in smoke.

    After due consideration, my take-away from all of this is that if we really want to get it right, do not go gentle into that good night*; there is a more challenging way: depressive realism. Think about it. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.*

    *from the poem by Dylan Thomas



    • Mél@nie 5:22 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Depression is a real illness(disease), unfortunately… completely different from sad(down) “seasons” like blues or spleen that we all experience now and then… what we call in French “le mal de vivre” = the difficulty of living…

      • * *

      I love Dylan Thomas poems… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:33 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the translation of that four-word expression – somehow it sounds much better in French than in English. 🙂 Sometimes I wish I hadn’t let my high school French fall by the wayside – such a beautiful language!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Mél@nie 4:25 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink

          avec plaisir! 🙂 btw, we’re proud of our American son-in-law who is fluent in French after almost 18 months over here… he’s considered kinda “an intellectual”(LOL!) by his American folks… 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 5:50 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Dr. Don says Kathryn Schulz suffered from Depression. Most Depression goes untreated as most people who suffer from it have no awareness of it. The only time people seek treatment is when they can’t function. If you’re able to get up, do your ADLs and got to work well most people figure they’re okay. But they’re not. Dr. Don is convinced that all Alcoholism and Drug use is caused by people self medicating their mental illness. Just remember that Dr. Don is unlicensed in all 50 States and anywhere else for that matter. And, he only takes cash so most people don’t listen to him. What can we say other than quel dommage.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:08 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        After having read Kathryn Schulz’s book, I have to say that I’m on the same page in almost every respect….so much so that if she suffered from depression, I highly recommend it (or at least what grew out of it) for the rest of us. As for the rest of what Dr. Don says, I defer to his greater knowledge of the subject (of actual depression); his analysis seems on the money (cash only).

        Quel dommage, indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Midwestern Plant Girl 6:00 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not only a member of the depressive reality group, I’m the president! 😉
      Great post! I am trying to cancel my membership to this club, I’ve deleted my TV, stopped listening to radio, but reality keeps creeping in. On the outside, no one knows about my secret club status. I guess I popped the cork on that now. 😃

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joseph Nebus 10:23 pm on November 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I suppose they just keep losing your cancellation notice at the depressive reality club. Figures that would keep going wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:11 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll drink to that! But your secret is safe with me – I won’t tell a soul. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jane 5:36 am on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I can certainly relate to the quote and your own thoughts on this. I am prone to depressive realism. I also tend to be someone who soaks up the feelings of those around me. It is difficult for me not to see the pain of others and want to relieve it. My therapy for depressive realism is spending time in nature and also being proactive when I can. So if I can see a way I can help to improve something or give relief to someone, I give it my best shot. Nature is a soothing drug for me though. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:12 pm on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        And I, in turn, can relate to your comment, Jane (in fact, I’m starting to think we might be related). Seriously, though, spending time in nature has done wonders for me as well, and giving relief to someone can be encapsulated in one word: empathy (politicians, take note!).

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:36 am on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Whenever I feel the drab side of life pressing in, I take comfort in the thought that anything that ever happened to anyone else could happen to me, but most of it won’t. Then I have a beer.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:26 pm on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        An admirable philosophy, indeed. Some people might say it would be better to pray, but beer does just as much good and contributes more to the economy. Besides, you can’t drink prayer while watching football.


    • Don Frankel 10:51 am on November 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Depression can definitely give people great insights. I’m thinking Hemingway here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arkenaten 3:33 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Except that he shot himself … one ‘insight’ he may have gotten wrong?


      • Mél@nie 4:28 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Don, I love Hemingway’s works and he loved… France! 🙂 btw, Ernest’s medical record was publicly released in 1991 and it did confirm his diagnosis: hemochromatosis – an incurable genetic disease that causes physical damage, severe psychiatric and neurological disorders, which might explain suicides in the Hemingway family: his father, his brother, his sister…


        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:23 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink

          I can highly recommend taking time to click on & read Mel@nie’s post (above) to anyone with even a moderate interest in Hemingway. I read it when first posted, and found it fascinating!


    • mistermuse 7:15 pm on November 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, your mention of Hemingway led me to check for other notables who are “presumed to have had depression” (according to Wikipedia). Among those on the list are Woody Allen, Hans Christian Andersen, Julian Assange (of WikiLeaks fame), Barbara Bush, Truman Capote, Ray Charles, Winston Churchill, Joseph Conrad, Rodney Dangerfield, Larry David, Charles Dickens, Bob Dylan, Wm. Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Audrey Hepburn, Franz Kafka, Stephen King, David Letterman, Meriwether Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, Herman Melville, Michelangelo, Marilyn Monroe, Bill Murray….and that’s just the first half of the alphabet, which for some reason doesn’t include Don Frankel and mistermuse. Maybe if we tell Wikipedia how depressed we are that we’re not on the list, they’ll include us.

      Liked by 1 person

    • literaryeyes 1:03 pm on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Depressive realism isn’t a mental illness. It may be a sign of health, and so is Positive realism, which you write about. They’ve got to be balanced. Depression is a serious, sometimes fatal disease, and very painful to experience. As someone who’s been through Major Depression, I say, count me out of the fan club!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:42 pm on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      In hindsight, the last sentence of the first paragraph (after the opening quote) of my post probably should have included the words (“, and properly so,”) after “NOT listed” to make it clear that Depressive realism not only isn’t on the list, but doesn’t belong on the list. However, since you agree that Depressive realism is a sign of health, I don’t quite get why you (or Midwestern Plant Girl, for that matter) would want out of the club! 🙂 In any case, as someone who’s been through Major Depression, perhaps if would be helpful to others to relate here (or on your own blog) HOW you got through it, unless it’s too painful to re-visit. Be that as it may, may I extend sincere congratulations (if that’s the right word) for having done so.


    • linnetmoss 6:30 am on November 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m reminded of the Oxford don who when asked whether his atheism wasn’t terribly depressing, observed that he was looking forward to a good lunch 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:29 am on November 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      ….not unlike arekhill1 (eleven comments ago) having a beer.


    • RMW 12:10 pm on November 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t wish to make light of anybody else’s debilitating illness but I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression (whatever that is) on at least three occasions… I refuse to take medication as artificial happiness doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve learned that dragging myself out the door and walking as far as my legs will take me is a great antidote. But other times I sit with it and let it do its thing… you can learn a lot about yourself. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either, but over-indulging can definitely make it worse. For me it’s a matter of balancing the good with the bad… I know that wheel will be turning and the sun will come out at some point… and you can’t have the day without the night!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:52 pm on November 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your comment. I feel as if I have a better understanding of depression since writing this post, thanks to yours and previous responses. I sometimes wonder why I don’t fall into depression (knock wood), given that I have a pretty fatalistic attitude toward life, but maybe that itself is the reason. When you don’t look at the world through rose-colored glasses, what you see is the reality you’re not surprised to see, as opposed to being overwhelmed by it. I suppose that makes me a cynic, but at least I’m a cynic with a sense of humor. 😦 🙂


  • mistermuse 2:13 pm on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christmas giving, , fate, , , ,   


    Let misanthrope Ebenezer Scrooge fend off Christmas giving for all he’s worth — for my money, the humbug that refuses to be set aside and saved for another time is old age. This is not to shortchange fate’s other humbugs (such as incurable diseases and pompous politicians) — old age is like a bad penny: once one aproaches one’s November-December years, it won’t stay away, no matter how august one feels.

    Having resigned myself to that venerable state of longevity,
    I now find myself amenable to stating my stages with levity:

    First, you forget names.
    Then, you forget faces (& toil to let out feces).
    Next, you forget to pull up your zipper.
    Last, you forget to pull it down.

    At age 4, success is….not peeing in your pants.
    At age 12, success is…having friends.
    At age 16, success is…having a driver’s license.
    At age 19, success is…having sex.
    At age 40, success is…making a lot of money.
    At age 50, success is…making a lot of money.
    At age 65. success is…having sex.
    At age 78, success is…having a driver’s license.
    At age 80, success is…having friends.
    At age 84, success is…not peeing in your pants.

    The trouble with old age is there’s not much future in it.

    An old person is someone who is ten years older than you are.

    You know you’re getting old if…
    …5 a.m. is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
    …you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
    …you give up all your bad habits and you still don’t feel good.
    …you sink your teeth into a steak, and they stay there.
    … you wake up looking like your driver’s license picture (unless you’ve always woken up looking like your driver’s license picture).
    …you can’t remember how you were going to end this post, so you end it like this.



    • scifihammy 3:12 pm on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Very funny post 🙂


    • mistermuse 5:02 pm on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. May you still think it’s funny when you reach my age!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:14 pm on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Humorous post. Loved the poem. I think I may never get that old, mistermuse. No one can guess my age. I stiil have a full head of hair and my face has no wrinkles, Unless I am laughing or frowning. People say I look ten years younger than I actually am.

      This condition helped me win a lot of prizes for my baby girl at local fairs. Recall the “guess your weight or age” guy? After two trips there, he glared at me. probably thinking “I hope she doesn’t come around here again.” I didn’t want him to give me all his silly stuffed animals. Anyway, my girl liked the fake snake the best.


    • mistermuse 5:43 pm on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It certainly is alright, Michaeline — have a good night as well!


    • ladysighs 8:35 am on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am reading this on Dec 22 and it is still funny. Love it!


      • mistermuse 1:30 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, ladysighs. Ham that I am, I like to go back and re-read my posts myself. Unfortunately, I don’t always like ’em as much the second time around, but in this case, I think the “good until” date may even last through tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:36 am on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      When it comes to old age who else to quote but Casey Stengel. “They examined all my organs. Some of them are quite remarkable and some not so good. A lot of museums are bidding for them.”


    • mistermuse 1:41 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Another “old age authority,” George Burns, said when he was 98, “It’s good to be here. At my age, it’s good to be anywhere.”


    • arekhill1 1:51 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      To which I would add my own observation, which is that being the oldest person in any state, nation or the world is that location’s most celebrated temp job.


    • mistermuse 4:19 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      They always ask the oldest person anywhere, “To what do you attribute your living so long?” Fortunately(?), I don’t expect to live so long that I need to start worrying how I’d answer that question.


      • Michaeline Montezinos 5:36 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Mistermuse, I will excuse that comment about “not living so long.” Could it be that Humbug Day influenced you to get the blues (and I don’t mean the musical kind.) You better shape up or I will not be happy this Christmas or New Year. Not having to worry about your defeatist attitude would make my day. Cheer up or have a glass of cheer and please put a smile on your wonderful face. Do it for me, okay?


    • mistermuse 8:16 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Far be it from me to cause you to be unhappy for Christmas, Michaeline. I still don’t expect to ever be the oldest person in town, but how about second oldest – that should still put me over 100, and make your day.


    • barkinginthedark 5:05 pm on January 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      ‘o gawd…so true. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

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