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Dark winter depression

  1. Oct 31, 2004 #1
    I'll have these strange stages during the dark winter season. One day i'll feel great, seeing beauty in everything, feeling ambitious, setting goals, etc...
    The next day i'll feel absolute pointlessness. Nothing will seem worth living for. I'll feel alone. My motivation will be rock bottom and it will actually be many times harder than usual keeping my job. I'm not coming on here for medical help dont worry.. i posted in this forum for a reason. I'm curious as to our rapidly changing body chemistry and how it fits into evolution. It's really not in our best interest to be depressed. Its not productive at all, and some people even lose the ambition to procreate. Is this a contradiction of our basic need to survive? I don't see any benefits..
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  3. Oct 31, 2004 #2


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    One thing to check would be your blood sugar. Another would be your mineral balance - phosphorus and magnesium for example. Abnormal variations of these can cause the symptoms you name, and should be ruled out before you seek more drastic help. Does your diet vary day to day? Do you go several days between fruits and vegetables?
  4. Nov 1, 2004 #3
    You should also fancy the notion that perhaps our race has yet to experience any analogues of the pressures we witness today that lead to depression. Our race is evolving as we speak, and maybe in a few hundred generations, depression will be a term used to describe primative human emotions.
  5. Nov 1, 2004 #4
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  6. Nov 1, 2004 #5


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    It only happens during the winter months you say? It sounds like it could be the ironically named S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Decreased amounts of sunlight recieved by the eyes let the brain know winter is on its way, and brain chemistry changes in some way. symptoms often include depression, paranoia, and craving for starchy food along with other things that I again can't remember. Its basically whats left of an old response that would help prepare us for some kind of hibernation or change to our living habits in the winter months. It's a good few years since I was told about this, so forgive me if I got the details all wrong or missed anything out.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2004
  7. Nov 1, 2004 #6


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    SAD sucks. I also get it when its been rainy/dreary for several days at a time - not just in the winter, although it is more prominent in those months. It used to be much worse when I was a teenager... I could barely function if it was raining.

    My uneducated hypothesis is that it is a lack of natural selection which led to the various brain disorders. Intelligence and our vastly larger brains are such a recent thing on the geological time scale that there hasn't been (and likely won't be) an ability for natural selection to filter out any side-effects of our imperfectly 'wired' brains. We became intelligent over such a short period of time, and we almost instantly started dominating every environment we moved to. That didn't leave much time for the leopards to kill off differentially more schizophrenics and depressed folks.

    Still, I'd imagine in our early days our ancestors started reproducing almost as soon as they were able (so... early teens probably). Depression doesn't usually manifest itself until the teenage years. Scizophrenia usually shows up in the early 20s. That gives enough time for one or two children if breeding starts early before any symptoms set in.
  8. Nov 1, 2004 #7


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    Tell me about it... I've been getting incredibly down and/or paranoid over little things lately. I think it's beginning to kick in again.

    Just to address your point about why they are so common in humans:
    How do we know whether any of the mental disorders that affect humans aren't occuring in other animals? If a squirrel were to be hearing voices , how would you tell? same question again but with a bipolar snail. Its a tricky one, as it would be a very valid point to say that such disorders are only so noticed in humans because there is more of an incentive for them to be studied, and they are easier to identify.
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