Self-Help and Seasonal Affective Disorder - Katie Cashin Therapy

Self-Help and Seasonal Affective Disorder

Here in Maryland it seems like we’re finally getting our serving of real, thick winter. And this is unfortunate as many of us have already met our cold weather tolerance for the year with days of sustained single digit temperatures and hands blistered from too many early morning de-icings. So for anyone who experiences even a slight touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder, this mid-winter deep can feel or even be unbearable. The resounding question is often, “Why am I feeling this way?”

In an effort to add to the growing conversation around this question I’d like to share this article from Salon, posted last February. You’re making your depression worse: Self-Help is bringing us down. Intriguing, right? Here’s a little more…

These experiments help us understand why predominant cultural imperatives about mood might be worsening the depression epidemic. Our current cultural ethos is that achieving happiness is like achieving other goals. If we simply work hard at it, we can master happiness, just as we can figure out how to use new computer software, play the piano, or learn Spanish. However, if the goal of becoming happier is different from these other goals, efforts devoted to augmenting happiness may backfire, disappointing—and potentially depressing—us because we can’t achieve our expected goal. Mauss and colleagues concluded that setting a goal to become happier is like putting yourself on a treadmill that goes faster the harder you run.