Choosing Sadness: The Irony of Depression

April 8, 2015 12:56 PM

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I knew a man some years ago who suffered from serious and chronic depression. He also lived what seemed to me a melancholy life, listening to sad, sentimental music, reading dreary existential novels, and rarely venturing out of his dark and gloomy house. I cared for this man, and I was perplexed by this. I knew that he suffered from a debilitating disease, but he also didn't seem to be taking simple steps that might lift his mood. It was almost like he was choosing sadness.

This seems like an ungenerous thought, I know, but it turns out there may be some truth to it. Hebrew University psychological scientist Maya Tamir and her colleagues have been studying how people with depression regulate their emotions, and they may have an explanation for my acquaintance's paradox...

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