Psychological Self-Help

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55
depressed people (maybe 100 years of research--let's get going!).
Consider these complexities which need to be clarified: married people
have more support, thus, less depression. Okay, but if women have
more support than men, why are they more depressed? (See
discussion of gender differences above and in chapter 9.) Moreover,
we ordinarily think support is gotten by talking to someone, but Ross &
Mirowsky (1989) reported that talking increased depression. How
could this be? Perhaps talking (without problem-solving) drives others
away and/or involves self-handicapping more than garnering support.
For instance, research has shown that depressed people more than
nondepressed people will actually fail a task (then talk about how
awful they feel) in order to avoid doing more of a simple task (Weary
and Williams, 1990). Like the motivated underachiever in chapter 4,
some depressed people seem motivated to do poorly, have little self-
control, and be depressed; depression may sometimes provide
convenient excuses to ourselves and to others. 
This last explanation of depression emphasizes how uninformed
the depressed person is about self-control and how much more science
needs to learn about what helps and what harms depression. 
Summary of the Causes of Depression and How to Use Them 
These 14 theories give you ideas about how depression develops.
Each theorist tends to assume that his/her explanation is the major
cause. But, as you know, I don't think life is simple. I suspect that any
one person's depression may have many causes. For instance, you
might have a genetic propensity for depression. Then, you grew up in
a shaming family who had a critical, pessimistic attitude. Feeling
rejected anyway, you sensed and resented the hostility within the
family, which lead to your gaining a lot of weight at puberty. All these
factors together resulted in your having serious social problems and
low self-esteem; you not only disliked yourself, you felt your family
had caused a lot of your emotional problems--and told them so. The
family had never been emotionally supportive anyway and honestly
thought "if you are fat, stop eating" and "if you are unhappy, get
happy--and drop all this psychology crap about parents being
responsible." Being unable to deal with these personal problems, when
your lover of two years, who you depended on greatly, decided to
dump you, the depression was more than you could handle. You
become lonely and sad all day, nothing seems fun any more, you gain
more weight, feel tired and listless, become more self-critical and
guilt-ridden, are unable to see anything good in your life now or in the
future, and even have some thoughts of ending it all if your lover
doesn't come back. The history is complex. You have serious
depression and need professional help; it is too late to depend on will
power alone. Yet, you must also learn about and help yourself. That's
real life. 
You need to understand and consider how true each theory is of
you--perhaps you need to read more or talk it through with a relative,
friend, or counselor. Clearly, understanding the possible causes (in
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