Depression has been on the rise in the United States, with as many as 10% of people suffering at any given time. One in ten people will suffer a depressive episode at least once in their lifetime. It is becoming increasingly common in adolescents, and physicians are more eager than ever to prescribe antidepressants to anyone who shows even mild signs of depression. Prozac Nation chronicles a decade’s worth of suffering of Elizabeth Wurtzel, a young woman in the throes of an atypical depression.
Between the top two most common mental illnesses in the US are anxiety and mood disorders, which includes depression. Often a depressed person will suffer from anxiety, but more often still an anxious person suffers from depression. However, anxiety and depression, while intricately entwined, are not one and the same. This paper aims to explore each and the relationship between the two mental disorders.
Psychologists have debated for many years over whether nature or nurture plays a more important role in determining or causing individual differences in personality and behavior. Historically, most have supported the idea that nature is the larger factor in determining personality. Some psychologists even supported the idea of tabula rasa, or the blank slate, which states that humans acquire all or almost all of their behavioral traits from nurture (1).
This semester I read the book Love’s Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom a writer who is also a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. This book is the non-fiction account of ten patients who have been in therapy with Dr. Yalom over the years. All of the patients have very different problems but they all experience some kind of personal breakthrough during their therapeutic sessions.
What is normal? Everyone has a gut
feeling about what "normal" is, but actually defining it is a little more
difficult. No words seem to encapsulate what normal is, and it seems to change
depending on where and who you are. Dictionary.com defines normal in several
ways. In a psychological sense, normal is: "a) approximately average in any
psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment; b)
free from any mental disorder; sane" . Biologically, it means "a) free from
any infection or other form of disease or malformation, or from experimental
therapy or manipulation; b) of natural occurrence" . Statistically, normal
is defined as "the average or mean" . In everyday usage, normal is
At times Lowell Handler has been a pot
head and a learner, a disruptive student and a teacher, a husband, a son, and a
brother. He has traveled around the country, camping where ever he landed for
the night, and he has worked closely with Dr. Oliver Sacks, publishing several
pieces as both an author and a photographer. He also happens to have Tourette's,
although it was not until he was much older that his wild movements and sudden
outbursts were diagnosed.
When Dante and Virgil pass through the threshold of Hell, they see a number of souls frantically running behind an empty flag. Bumblebees and wasps fly all around them, biting them. They are bleeding. Repellent worms devour their blood mixed with tears on the ground.
These are the souls of Sloth, those who lived to be lazy, to be indolent for lack of will, to be cowardly, to be indifferent. They refused to decide, they did not make any commitment to others, they saw their life as tedious and devoid of purpose, so they did not experience the power of human freedom while they were alive.
Since they did not experience the world in their lifetime, now they are constantly and shamefully stimulated and forced to move.
In Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness William Styron writes lyrically and hauntingly about his descent into depression. He writes the book having emerged from depression, recounting his experiences, piecing together the fragments of his puzzle that may have served as warnings that something in his mind was amiss. In stepping into the void that is depression, Stryon then writes of his relation to the world, the muddled, muddied lens through which he now perceived, only to realize in an instant, that something had to change.