Charting the Depths

Reflections on the science of depression.

Do We Have the Will to Stop the Depression Epidemic?

Sean Moylan’s death is a straw in the wind in the depression epidemic. His death is our problem. And it’s a very big one. Read More

The barrier is a joke -- just

The barrier is a joke -- just more society sticking its nose into personal business.

I have suffered from depression my whole life. I've tried counseling (the most useless thing I've ever done) and meds (the side effects were worse than the depression).

I have no intention of living a full miserable life. If and when I chose to end it, its nobody's business.

You have no right to force anyone to continue living like this.

Magical Thinking Curtesy Of The Media.

It is the media and advertising that projects lies at
us, and leads us to believe that life should be so easy,
via "The Secret," and other forms of magical thinking.
When people find out what reality is like, they can't
handle it, and tragety occurs.

If the suicide rate has

If the suicide rate has increased 25% since 1999, while presumably treatment and much easier access to information have greatly improved, it would be logical to look at other major changes in U.S. life since 1999 for causative factors. It appears that in 1999 Sean was 12 years old. What in those 15 years contributed to his suicide?

I am now elderly and have had some degree of depression since adolescence. I have tried (briefly) counseling and meds, but could not function on the meds. Despite no real treatment, I have gritted my teeth and accomplished many difficult things in my life. I am not happy, but (so far) I continue to live and do my best to be a plus in my children's lives. At some point I may decide to end it, but not today. I will say that the state that America is currently in is a huge contribution to my personal depression. I feel as though the bottom has fallen out, not only for me, but more importantly for my children and grandchildren.

The Inside Determines The Outside

It is not the outer landscape or material cirumstances
that determines contentment. It is the inner attitude.
The slum doesn't make the person. The inner person makes
the slum.
Don't be happy for a reason, just be happy.


Did you read that on a fortune cookie?

Depression is a serious illness and "just be happy" and other Pollyanna, "pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootsraps" BS advice just doesn't cut it.

Keep your simple country corn to yourself.

Agree. "Don't worry, be

Agree. "Don't worry, be happy" might work up until about the age of 5. After that, not so much. Anyone who chooses to continue to function at the level of a 5-year-old forfeits his/her right to complain about anything from that point on.

Nice attitude POS.

Nice attitude POS.

Depression has nothing to do with being "happy" it is a debilitating illness.

Do you know what its like everyday wishing you were dead, but trying to find some reason to live?

When I meet scum-bag people like you, I find even less reason to live.

If you are replying to

If you are replying to "agree," "agree" was replying and agreeing with "cute." We both agree that a mindless "don't worry, be happy" attitude cannot and does not work in the real world. When I said "if you choose to stay at a 5-year-old level" (in terms of living the fantasy that you can just "be happy" and ignore reality), that is what I meant. I do know what depression is, and I do know that it is a deadly serious reality. Sorry if I was unclear.

Just disgurd misery

Unless there is an organic cause for misery, you
need not be miserible.
Do you have food, clothing, and shelter? That's all you
need. But don't eat junk. That will affect the body, which
will affect the mind.

Were you born an idiot, or

Were you born an idiot, or did you perfect your craft over many years?

Self Pity

RET. You want a mommy to tend to your EVERY NEED.
There ain't no Santa Claus! Listen to the song
"Only The Strong Survive" by Jerry Butler!
Unless you are close to PHYSICAL DEATH, attitude is
See that you are sad. Understand that sadness and negativity
SERVES no pratical purpose. See that any form of positivity
is better then any form of negativity and the negativity
will vanish on it's own.
UNLESS it has an ORGANIC cause. Organic causes must always
be eliminated first.

Yes, we get it... You don't

Yes, we get it...

You don't understand depression, you're a very stupid person, we get it.

You've already proven your stupidity.


If we have the will, what's the way?

Dr. Rottenberg,

There are so many social issues like mental health in general and depression specifically that need action: poverty, child abuse, animal abuse, elderly abuse, domestic violence, factory farming, drug/alcohol abuse, economic fraud, income inequality, famine, plague, overpopulation, sex trafficking, child labor, and violent criminal behavior, to name a few. The list is long. As with all of these social ills, I don't think it's apathy among the general non-offending population that perpetuates them. Rather, I think it's a pervasive ignorance (meant as a non-pejorative lack of information and understanding) of what to do or how to fix these problems. I care DEEPLY about all of these issues, but I just feel so hopelessly ineffectual in my singular ability to make a difference. You may respond, "Band together. Advocate with others." But there are advocacy groups, some of them large and well-funded, as well as research groups, pouring time, energy, and money into these causes with very little effect on their overall diminution. How many trillions of dollars have been poured into cancer research, for example, to little avail? Cancer is a billion-dollar moneymaking industry. As is mental health. Big pharma and all of the medical and mental health practitioners are making a comfortable living off of those unfortunate souls (of which I am one) who have a debilitating mental illness. How many billions are we pouring into war-torn countries whose populations are experiencing unimaginable human rights violations? We collectively rally to rebuild communities ravaged by natural disaster, but the emotional devastation lingers for years/decades. What else can we do? You seek a call to arms, but your post offers no means by which we can singularly or collectively save those who suffer from depression. As a research scientist and mental health professional, what do you suggest we do? Many of us have the will. But we need to know the way.

As an aside, even if apathy were a pervasive contributing factor to the "depression epidemic," might we collectively see it as social Darwinism in action? We humans are very quickly overpopulating this planet. From an evolutionary standpoint, a certain percentage will fail to thrive, and thus "thin the herd." Perhaps we collectively shrug our shoulders at "epidemics" (e.g. AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, SARS, MERSA, suicide, etc.) and inhumane actions against humans and animals because we believe them to be a form of "natural selection," and thus necessary for the evolution of our species. I realize this is an emotionally cold attitude to have, but could it not, at least partially, explain what seems to be the collective apathy you suggest exists?

Human Nature Is The Culprit

How can problems be solved on the very level that
created them to begin with?
The only hope is to claim our authentic selves through
introspective self study. Humans are BOTH the culprit
AND the solution.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Jonathan Rottenberg is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida, where he directs the Mood and Emotion Laboratory.


Subscribe to Charting the Depths

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.