Is Depression an Emotional Mush?

The Huffington Post:

I have a vivid memory of dropping my oldest son off at college, the first day of his freshman year, many years ago. He stood outside his dorm, waving as I drove away, and I was overcome by a complex mix of emotions. I was unquestionably sad — the tears testified to that — but I wasn’t morose or agitated, and I kind of knew that this sadness would pass. In fact, I was in the same moment keenly aware of a range of powerful and positive emotions — pride that my son had earned his way into a fine university, relief that he seemed well-adjusted and untroubled and had solid friends. He seemed to be landing OK, and the moment was bittersweet.

And that’s exactly what they found. As reported on-line in the journal Psychological Science, the volunteers suffering from serious depression tended — much more than healthy controls — to lump all their bad feelings together; shame and frustration and sadness were all parts of a vague sense of feeling bad. They did not do this with positive feelings. Importantly, this inability to parse negative emotion works independently of emotional intensity or instability. In other words, it’s a fundamental characteristic of the depressed mind.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology.

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