Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Viktor Frankl wrote an heroic book “Man’s Search for Meaning” after his experiences in concentration camps during world war II and it is transformative. We are all free in our attitudes, in how we decide to respond to what happens to us and that is where the power is – with. We are all dealt a poker hand, but how we play it depends less on the actual cards (genetic predispositions / life traumae etc.) than our poker skill. Creating meaning is a uniquely human deed. You can do it! Happy 2020!

Experiences of Depression Connected to Declining Sense of Purpose

In-depth interviews find that those who screened positive for depression did not explain their experience in terms of diagnostic symptoms. Zenobia Morrill December 31, 2019

Research has suggested that there is a divergence between scientific understandings of depression and the way that depression is experienced by those diagnosed. A new study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Miraj Desai at the Yale University School of Medicine, explored these discrepancies further. In-depth interviews with individuals who had screened positive for depression indicated that their experiences were connected intimately to a declining sense of purpose.

People who screened positive for depression were “dealing with profound ruptures to what they were living for—their dreams for work, relationships, and a meaningful life,” Desai and his co-researchers write. Rather than describing their experience in terms of a “depressive illness,” participants in this study traced their declining sense of purpose to the ways their goals and values in life had been threatened. In turn, they experienced accompanying constrictions in their energy, action, and body.

“The present study found that the experiences underlying a positive depression screen were best characterized as a context-dependent, life-historical phenomenon,” Desai and team write, adding:

“The problem for participants was a world in which they now faced a declining sense of purpose and incapacity to reach goals. During moments when various individuals did reflect on their situation, the experiences in question were viewed more in terms of their biographical import (e.g., a “noble struggle” for social justice), rather than as a biomedical illness or disorder.”

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