Depression seems to be the subject of the hour, & I remembered something about the idea of it having evolved and retained by humanity in our march to world domination (and general up-fuckery) because it might originally have had a purpose.
Went looking; found this [“scientists suggest that depression is not a malfunction, but a mental adaptation that brings certain cognitive advantages”], frankly I think it’s bollocks.
Why? Because I think the nature of depression is linked into a very different survival process: the survival of the tribe. There is a horrid characteristic of nearly every social cluster of animals – at a certain point, an individual is driven out due to various dynamics within the whole group. The subsequent social isolation is a killer. The individual needs to get back in fast, or he or she is going to get eaten, or starve. Even more crippling would be the loss of social connection, surely? The loss of the daily soothings, the touch, contact, grooming, conversation, and having a sense of belonging.
Beginning to sound familiar? Social isolation; a shriveling soul, a broken heart, constant soul-searching (“what did I do wrong” .. “Why am I not loved?” .. “I suck” … “I want to die.”) … and finally, exactly that: the poor rejected monkey dies.
I’ve seen this in those nature programs. Really happens.
So evolution installs depression. Whether it is for the individual’s sake, or the tribes … but somehow it enhances survival. I’d put my money on the latter: survival of the larger group, at the expense of the individual.
(But the individual, driven by his or her pain and grief, might also be motivated to get back into the middle. A win either way.)
Now think of modern society. I think of my own life: almost no physical contact beyond a certain age. No hugs. No just sitting around together – especially for boys and especially as the years clocked on. If I had any contact it was usually between boys, and violent in nature (the jeering sort, and/or fighting).
[My personal irony was my big brother – he was incredibly violent towards me – but he was still my rock, the only one I could ‘hang with’ and feel safe and nurtured by.]
Sports: you either chose contact sports (violent) or non-contact ( = *still no contact!*).
Pretty much the message was (for me) the same as if I’d experienced total tribal rejection. At a body/emotional/needs level
So CUE depression. It locks in. The emotional set is the same. If severe enough, and untreated (in the monkey/ape world, that would = getting re-embraced by the tribe; in our world – loads of therapy, or drugs) then it leads to the same result … effectively a death by broken heart, isolation & feelings of worthlessness.
That’s my theory, anyway. To me, it’s glaringly obvious.