Depressed People Get off on Depression

Research says that.

I was just minding my business yesterday when these articles hopped in my path.

“Depressed People May Hold on to The Blues” is the title of this article.

“Choosing Sadness: The Irony of Depression” is this one.

I am dead serious.

And if you do a quick internet search of this you will get quite a few articles on this new research that came out.

I am only going to work with two.

Brace yourself.

(These first quotes come from the first article listed.)

“New research suggests that even when depressed people have the opportunity to decrease their sadness, they don’t necessarily try to do so.


That is ALL we do.  Maybe we don’t actually “have the opportunity” because we have a brain disorder that doesn’t just GIVE us the OPPORTUNITY to “decrease” our sadness the same way that a person WITHOUT a BRAIN DISORDER would!  Have the opportunity? HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY!

We don’t have the precious OPPORTUNITY because our brains are disordered.  That is what Depression IS.

And what is this shit about depression being the same as sadness?  Depression is not sadness.  There might be sadness in depression but that is like saying that there are clouds in the sky. CLOUDS ARE NOT THE WHOLE SKY.

“Our findings show that, contrary to what we might expect, depressed people sometimes choose to behave in a manner that increases rather than decreases their sadness,”


They said  “choose”!

They actually used the word “choose”

No seriously seriously….it says “choose”

As in choose to have a brain disorder. As in choose to have a debilitating, potentially deadly illness. As in choose to have people write stigmafying, insulting articles about us.

“it suggests that depressed individuals may sometimes be unsuccessful in decreasing their sadness in daily life because, in some sense, they hold on to it.”

There you go guys.  Just let go of your sadness already.  Didn’t you know that is all it takes to be free of the bloody torment of a brain disorder.  Just release into the now…..

Okay did say you already tried that? Well try harder.

What is that? You say it actually makes you feel worse? Well that is weird.  You must not really be trying.  You must be doing something wrong.

Ha you’re cute.  You think you are really trying but you’re not or you would be better by now.

You must like being depressed. That is so sick.

(These next quotes come from the second article listed.)

“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.”

“Simple” steps. SIMPLE steps people.

“My depressed friend wanted relief from his misery, sometimes desperately. He struggled, yet ironically, he often acted in ways that maintained — rather than alleviated — his misery. Apparently he’s not alone in this sad choice.”

Um if he is in fact choosing to be depressed than he most certainly IS alone in his “sad” little choice.

And how are they making this judgement call?  How do they get off saying that it is the choices that people are making that are maintaining the depression?  Why do they think it is a given that the person could stop the depression if they tried?

This implies that the depression can be controlled and if that were true why are there so many drugs, doctors, and hospitals dealing with these crazy people who for some bizarre reason are just choosing to be sad.

Probably choosing to be suicidal too.  The articles don’t get into that but that line of thought leads right there……

“It may instead be that depressed people are choosing the wrong emotion regulation goal to begin with. That is, depressed people may be effective enough in regulating their emotions, but they may be choosing to regulate in a direction that reinforces their negative mood. This raises the possibility that depressed people are actually more motivated to experience unpleasant emotions like sadness, as strange as this sounds.”

Oh look! See guys we actually are really great at regulating our emotions.  Go us!  We just for some reason choose to use that power to grind ourselves into hell.

What the hell is wrong with us…..?

Oh yeah that BRAIN DISORDER thing.

We are more “motivated” to experience unpleasant emotions?  Motivated is an awesome word choice for referring to anything about depression, isn’t it.  Especially when claiming that depressed people are motivated to do something.

Apparently we are.  We are “motivated to experience unpleasant emotions.”

I am actually laughing while I type this.

It is very hard to take seriously. Oh my gosh I can’t stop.  Alright pulling it together..deep breath.

Could it be instead that because we have this brain disorder that completely messes with our thoughts, feelings, cognition, motivation, energy level, ability to focus, (and much more as we know) that we aren’t motivated to experience unpleasant feelings but we are incapable of experiencing anything else.  That is after all what depression is. Duh.

“So why, if they prefer happiness, why would they deliberately choose regulatory goals that undermine that happiness? One possibility, the scientists say, is that depressed people use emotion regulation to verify their emotional selves. In other words, sadness is more familiar to depressed people, so they are motivated to experience sadness as a way of reaffirming who they are.”

Oh my God this choose thing is getting really old.

“Depression is also closely tied to low self-esteem, and it may be that depressed people believe that they deserve to feel bad.”

Well that is just a low blow.  Lump us all into a group and slap some pop psychology onto us.

So apparently we just  all LIKE to FEEL BAD because we all think we ARE BAD.

That is rich.

Actually, that is fucking stupid.

So how did they figure out this awesomeness? How did they come to these world changing, life saving conclusions?  Did I say world changing and life saving?  I meant stigmafying, dangerous, damaging, idiotic conclusions.

Study 1. They had people look at pictures. “Happy” or “sad” pictures. Depressed people chose as many happy pictures as the “healthy” individuals.  But they chose more sad pictures than the healthy people.

Study 2.  Music. They had people choose “happy” or “sad” music and basically the same thing happened.  I’m not getting too into the details.  You can read the articles if you like to make yourself feel bad….oh yeah apparently WE DO.

Study 3. They taught everybody cognitive reappraisal strategies. Basically a “change the way you think change the way you feel” strategy.  And wouldn’t you know it, those crazy depressed people just wouldn’t do it right? They just “chose” to use reappraisal in a way that increased their sadness. So even when these ungrateful losers were “explicitly taught” how to be happy they just chose to make themselves even more sad.  Which makes sense when you consider how MOTIVATED they are to feel bad.

Those depressed people will stop at nothing to make themselves feel like shit.  You can’t even just tell them how to be happy.

That is it my friends.  Some pictures, some music and some unsuccessful cognitive behavioral therapy and all of a sudden they can tell us that we are choosing to be depressed.  That we are motivated to experience unpleasant emotions.  That we won’t try to save ourselves.

I have lots of ideas about why depressed people may choose more sad pictures or music than the healthy individuals that go along with having a disordered brain.  I also have ideas and real life insight into why CBT is not always successful against a full blown brain disorder.  But this is too long already.

I am sure you all understand WHY these articles are SO problematic.  I mean it is so absurd that I want to file it under the heading of “a waste of my time” except that it is basically a stigma attack on our community.

These kinds of articles with these kinds of titles allow people to JUDGE US.  It relieves people of the guilt they feel for wondering why the hell we can’t just get over it already.  It allows them to think we are really a bunch of lazy ass attention seeking fuck ups.

I mean wouldn’t you think like that if you had never experienced the torturous horror of depression?  An experience so horrible that you wouldn’t even wish it on your worst enemy.  Wouldn’t you not understand and feel like …well see those people could be better they just choose not to, so I don’t have to feel bad for not helping them and judging them.  They are just doing it to themselves. Like how people like to be homeless or ask to sexually assaulted. People hate to feel guilty or uncomfortable with their unsavory feelings about something.  So they will jump at the chance not too.

This is the battle that we are fighting.  This is stigma.  This is THE PROBLEM with everything.

It is people who THINK they understand us writing damaging articles that make other people THINK they understand us.  And what they think they understand is dangerously inaccurate.

Oh my God guys.  Look at everything we deal with just in our own illnesses and then there is this stuff out there.  I’m sad now.

This is why I am writing right now.  This is why I have written every piece I have written so far.  This is why I started this blog.  Because of crap like this. it hurts us all.

The articles don’t actually mention anything about Bipolar though.  Just depression.

Hey Unipolars!  Do you guys get off on experiencing “unpleasant emotions, like sadness”?  Because we Bipolars sure as shit DO NOT.

(Seriously though Unipolars, you know we got your back.)

Let’s go back to that choose word again.  Since this whole study and the articles that want to have its babies are just all about choice.  All about how we choose to suffer in ways that could end up killing us…

Hey you out there!

We did not choose this.

In the great throes of our illness we do not get to “choose” anything.

All we do is fight for our lives.

In hiding, in the the face of severe stigma perpetuated by articles such as yours.

What did we ever do to you?

We would do anything


if it would take the depression away…

lf it would make it stop.

Actually, there is one thing we do choose every day…


Think about that the next time you throw grenades at a marginalized, discriminated against, and might I add ILL  population.

And maybe you should take the old advice….

“If you can’t research/write something that actually helps not hurts people….



Add Yours
  1. justalady9

    Thank you for this. Your voice is amazing. My grandmother was diagnosed in her late 40s with manic depression (what it was called then – now labeled bipolar 1). She never had a choice in her episodes and I’m certain that she didn’t want to “be” depressed or “be” manic. I’ve been battling depression since January and I can assure you it wasn’t by choice. Thanks for your amazing voice.


    • bipolarfirst

      Wow. Thank you for the amazing compliment. And thank you for sharing your experience too. I am so sorry that you are dealing with that. And bless your grandmother. I am grateful that we live in a time with more awareness and treatment than in the past.


  2. Megan B

    This article is ridiculous! Yeah because I just LOVE being so incredibly depressed that sometimes being dead seems better. WTF is wrong with these people? There have been times when I have gotten better but it was hard for me to move forward because I was SCARED. For me personally, having suffered from depression most my life, being happy is scary because I’m afraid it won’t last. *end rant*


    • bipolarfirst

      Ranting is welcome here 🙂

      Yes. More proof that they do not really have any idea what they are talking about. Depression is not sadness. And yes I think that we live our lives and approach life and just everything differently because we suffer in this way.

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It is so scary.


  3. Ava Savage

    It is so much easier to blame us rather than understand us, why are ignorant people always judging us. It is articles like this that cause family and friends not to give us the emotional support we crave. And they wonder why we can’t crawl our way out of depression.


  4. darie73

    BRAVO! Glad you wrote this because I don’t think I could’ve done it justice myself. On another note, when my sister said that she “regularly” read articles from Psychiatric & Bipolar publications my first thought was “Shit! She’s reading all this crap about my “recovery” and how a change in “diet” could make a huge difference.” When she should be reading the writings of REAL PEOPLE WITH THE ILLNESS! People like you, like me, like many of the kind and intelligent people telling their stories on here. Thanks.


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