Misery is like climbing mount Everest

I figure I would share one of my essays from my classes in college. We had an assignment to pick a topic to write about. ( I chose depression. )


Sadness is a feeling that every person feels at some point. It is felt when a loved one is passing, when a failing grade appears, a break up happens, or even when a friend betrays someone.The  feelings from these events will pass, as new happy events occur in a person’s life. However, Depression is like the feeling that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder to no end. The feeling lingers, no matter the happy events, and tends to drag the weight of the world with it. A stigma with misery is that it is mainly felt by adolescents or young adults. However, children, elderly, and adults tend to have recurrent depressive flights. The mass shooting in Connecticut where a man went into an elementary school, and killed innocent children stresses the effect that a sad person has on society. Misery is that feeling that you are forever climbing Mount Everest with no hope in sight. Biological depression is considered a level above this, where the feeling of hopelessness was passed down genetically through birth. Imagine having no hope from the very start of your birth?This is not actually the case with Biological depression because the gene itself is nonexistent, the actual triggers for depression are mainly external, and antidepressants are often used to aide against it.

Biological depression is a myth much like how we use to believe in Santa Claus as children.  Misery is the corresponding feeling that makes depression carry such a myth.”Depression is a syndrome that involves  sadness and pessimism, plus a loss of motivation and the ability to experience enjoyment.” ( Carver, 2002) For example, a person that has lost everything, or any motivation to succeed in life like a homeless person tends to carry this characteristic. There have been studies of depression that have found “attributing mental disorders with prognostic pessimism which is a belief that mental health problems are relatively permanent and difficult to cure or treat effectively.” (Lebowitz, 2013) In this respect, It is a philosophical view that there is a gene for depression. “Pessimism is a trait generalized  of negative outcomes in certain situations; hopelessness conveys a similar sense of anticipating bad outcomes”( Carver, 2002)   An Example of a caricature of depression  is Charlie Brown, from the cartoon, he constantly is depressed, and society  around him continue to enable bad treatment. His pessimistic outlook on life creates a caricature on depression, and how most people perceive a person with depression. A real person with depression feels mental a lot like Charlie Brown because they can only focus on all the negatives in their lives often drowning their sorrows with illegal substances to try and create a euphoric, happy feeling. In order to justify this form of what feels like eternal sadness, a creation of an association where “mental disorders have immutable ( e.g, genes and neurobiology ) assumptions known as genetic essentialism or neuro essentialism.” (Lebowitz,  2013 ) Basically, it is making up a gene that causes this disorder, and forms an even more hopeless belief about the disorder that it is impossible to fix. Charlie Brown is living this constant misconception of depression because even the town gave up on cheering the boy up. It’s almost like everyone accepts that Charlie Brown can not change. A fact that most teenagers feel in their life when facing depression i.e, no one understands them, nothing can make the future better, and that by ending their life it ends the sadness.On top of that, “Neuroplasticity in the human brain persists throughout adulthood and is important for recovery from mental disorder, including depression.” ( Lebowitz, 2013) In fact it is thought to be defined  as neural pathways and synapses based on changes in behavior, thinking, and emotions. However, “despite significant heritability, there is no ” gene” for any psychiatric illness. ” (Lebowitz, 2013) So, inevitably there is no actual biological disorder for depression. It comes from external issues that a person can potentially fix at some point. Thus, depression or any other psychiatric illness that a person has is made up because of society. Those who claim to have biological depression want society to accept that they can not change their outlook on life due to some internal issue. Charlie Brown is the biggest depiction of a society that believes he has biological depression, and that he is continuously climbing Mount Everest to be a decent  person, but society continues to press the assumption that there is no hope for that boy. His caricature is representative of a person who can’t figure out what the real reason for their depression is. The miserableness that is occurring feels like it won’t go away no matter what they do, and that society is not trying to help. This means that the actual triggers for depression are mainly external.

Next, there are plenty of external stressors that create the psychological disorder of depression. The first is to understand that ” depression is a disorder of thought” ( Rotenberg, 2001 ) External stresses happen because of the way a person thinks and goes about using this thought process in life. A person will say the glass is half full if they are a positive thinker while a negative thinker will often say the glass is half empty. Pessimism often leads to giving up and this can be seen in excessive alcohol use, and other drugs as an escape goat from external stresses. ( Craver, 2002)  This is  why there is so much abuse of alcohol consumption in people who can’t face the world with optimism. People who are miserable “typically think negatively about themselves, believing that they are useless, deficient, and unattractive as a person.” ( Rotenberg, ) This thought process is created by external stresses from society,  family, and environment a person is raised from. Depression is not a single disorder, but rather a disorder formulated over time due to other issues.A person will start to feel miserable over circumstances in life, and this misery will create a prolonged sense of depression.  Society can be a grave stress on a person because people tend to judge each other about every little thing in life.  If a man feels insecure over another man, or if another person does a better job than somebody else, there is a potential for sadness to occur. This potential  becomes greater if family places stress of expectations on the  person. Then, if the environment is not essentially a happy one for the person it can enforce the feeling of sadness.”Sometimes people just give up not just on specific goals, but on all the goals that define their life, and commit suicide.” ( Craver, 2002) Society sees this happen in Athletes, who feel they are failing their team, or in teenagers who feel locked inside themselves, or when a mass shooting occurs, and the shooter feels that the only way out is by offing himself.  A player in understanding external stressors  and their effect on a person is the cognitive theory of depression. The theory is formulate by Aaron Beck. His theory hypothesizes that “individuals who experience loss, or adversity in childhood develop a set of negative expectancy, or schema concerning loss, failure, or abonnement. ” ( Rotenberg,2001 ) A good example of a way for this theory to be enforced would be a child who is beaten by a drunk dad almost daily. By being raised this way it creates a “schema that serves as a filter through which events in their environment are perceived, evaluated, attended to, and remembered as negative. ( Rotenberg,2001 ) The child will find anything happy, and form a negative thought about it. In fact,” Beck believes that these negative schemas characterize not only currently depressed people, but also not depressed people who are at a high risk for developing depression in the future. “( Rotenberg,2001 ) For example, a child that was bullied for the majority of his life may incur a massive amount of depression, and could become aggravated at society for this depression, if not treated because his schema is to look at everything, and feel depressed about it. This is why society is so against bullying. Society has also taken to producing drugs that can eliminate the feeling of major depression disorder called antidepressants.

Antidepressants are said to be made as a cure for depression, so to speak. Treatments for depression by using drugs had a goal that is to return the patient back to the premorbid state of social, and occupational functioning. (Hillhouse, 2015 ) In other words, the drugs try to facilitate a depressed person into being a happier person.Of course, psychotherapy is needed to help adjust a person into taking the drug.  “The downside to treatment for this depression is that patients that do respond to currently available antidepressant drugs have a delayed onset of 4-12 weeks before adequate symptom remission is achieved.” (Hillhouse, 2015  ) So, the likelihood of suicide is higher during these few weeks compared to other relapses. There are several different chemical bases for Antidepressants to be formed. There are only a few that are important here. First, there is monoamine hypothesis of depression. “The monoamine hypothesis proposes that patients with depression have depleted concentrations of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.” (Hillhouse, 2015  ) These are the reasons people can be happy, or sad due to the change of environment, or drugs a person takes in. So, how do antidepressants work? The drug is “primarily targeting the monoamine neurotransmitters in an attempt to increase the presence of these monoamine neurotransmitters in the synaptic space to activate postsynaptic receptors.” ( Hillhouse,2015  ) What this does is to try to fight the neurotransmitters that creating a feeling of sadness, and eliminate. “Monoamine depletion in healthy subjects does not produce depressive symptoms.” (Hillhouse, 2015  )  This means not everyone who has a depletion of monoamine neurotransmitters ends up with depression.  However, there are plenty of other treatments for depression with antidepressants “because of their pharmacological similarity, it is not surprising that only subtle differences in the clinical profiles of these drugs exist, and that antidepressants are consequently chosen by physicians according to their safety and tolerability profiles, provided their choice is not deterred by the higher costs in countries where reimbursement is limited.” ( Holsboer, 2002) Thus, people can get plenty of treatments for their depression, but often the person would opt first for suicide because their pessimism tends to be so bad that they can not understand the world with hope. Charlie Brown who is a holiday figure, tend to prove that society sometimes helps deliver this feeling of hopelessness in children, or even when there are treatments, parents can’t see it right away. In the end, antidepressants only work if treatment in psychotherapy is being used.

In conclusion, depression will always have the risk of suicide with it. No one can rule out that depression is a leading cause to ending one’s life. The feeling that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders is not a biologically inherent feeling. It is a feeling developed based on external stressors that never go away. Charlie Brown will always be depressed because of the society the characters lives in. Due to the depiction that the story has of charlie brown people just assume he has biological depression, not just depression. In the Halloween episode, adults just hand him rocks in his bag, only furthering his sense of hopelessness. Biological depression has no specific gene, and thus it can’t be the trigger for a person’s depression. It might be the lack of monoamines that make a person happy which cause depression. This can form the false illusion that depression can be biological…in a world where everyone blames anything, and everything, but the actual issue. Depression is formed by external stressors. No one is born depressed. A one year old can fathom sadness, but it is not sad because it was born that genetically. Misery is made based on society, and the mental stress placed on an individual. Society can make a person feel like they are climbing a hopeless battle to get to the top of Mount Everest as an avalanche comes crushing down a person’s progress. There are treatments out there like psychotherapy, and antidepressants. However, most the time people don’t get the help to cure depression, nor does the person believe being cured is possible.  Thus, the feeling of climbing a mountain never fades. Depression is a common feeling  and is often developing in people who see no hope in the situations they are in. The most susceptible people are those that are homeless. In fact, the loss of a friend can trigger another friend into depression.


Works Cited :

Carver, C. (2002). Depression, clinical psychology. Retrieved October 22, 2015.

Lebowitz, M. S., Ahn, W., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2013). Fixable or fate? Perceptions of the biology of depression. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 81(3), 518-527. doi:10.1037/a0031730

Hillhouse, T. M., & Porter, J. H. (2015). A brief history of the development of antidepressant drugs: From monoamines to glutamate. Experimental And Clinical Psychopharmacology, 23(1), 1-21. doi:10.1037/a0038550

Holsboer, F. (2002). Depression. Retrieved October 22, 2015.

Rottenberg, G. (2001). Depression, clinical psychology. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/science/article/pii/B0080430767046817


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