Monday, July 1, 2013

Depressed People Tend to be (Overly) Realistic

Here's a concept that may strike you as quite interesting and even refreshing: as it turns out, maybe depressed people are actually more realistic and unbiased than so-called normal people. In fact, it could just be that patients struggling with depression are just too realistic for their own good... contrasting with mentally balanced folks who have a knack for flourishing reality in order to better cope with it, as well as their own short comings.

The happy delusions of a positive self-esteem

In was roughly 25 years ago that two renowned psychologists (Taylor and Brown) published an article whose implications were too disturbing to be readily accepted by the scientific community. However, in recent years this theory has been increasingly accepted as plausible and even quite likely. The gist of it is that average and apparently balanced people actually hold a cognitive bias that helps them through the day. This manifests in three key aspects:

1) "normal" people usually believe they're better (more competent, better-looking, more intelligent) than they really are

2) "normal" people hold a slightly deluded belief of the extend to which they control their environment and reality

3) "normal" people tend to be considerably more optimistic towards their future outlooks than what is suggested by evidence.

In short,the so-called "normal" and "adjusted" people actually enact a set of fantasies and delusions which actually helps upkeep their self-esteem and normal lifestyle. When for some reason or another people start questioning those surreal assumptions  it could lead to the development of depression. Which means that in a totally bizarre and slightly confusing manner, depressed people actually tend to me more realistic than average people, which unfortunately works much to their disadvantage... mostly because they are not taught how to effectively turn those insights into a driving force for positive change.

Depressive realism, and how it can be good for you.

In light of the reasoning brought forth by Tailor's and Brown's groundbreaking study, some researchers currently suggest that depressive patients may actually have a superior insight of their own skills and limitations, which could become the driving force behind their depression.

This reasoning of a "depressive realism" could lead to a radical new paradigm in the treatment of depression, where patients would be encouraged to learn from their depressive insights and channel them towards self-improvement -- rather than just learning to dismiss their negative impressions and put on the same rosy goggles as everyone else apparently does. How is that for a radical new way of thinking? Maybe depression is not your worst enemy... it could actually become your greatest master, if only you learn to deal with it appropriately.

No comments:

Post a Comment