Monday, 1 April 2019

Happiness, depression and certainty

In amongst the propaganda from the BBC about Brexit and LBGTQC(onfused) rights there has been a 'good news' piece regarding a woman who doesn't feel pain. It seems she has a particular genetic arrangement that helps her to not be aware of pain (comments about smelling burning flesh when touching hot metal, enjoying childbirth have been bounced around) and there has been some analysis done before all this hit the headlines.

This also coincided with the headline that twice as many people are using anti-depressants now compared with 10 years ago. I also seem to know far more people now who suffer serious depression than I ever did 30 years ago, depsite having somewhat suffered it myself.

On the radio (4) last week they had 'an expert' talking about why this particular person didn't feel pain as others do, and a part of it was raised canabinoids produced by her brain and a general disposition to happiness. Now the interesting part of this conversation started when the expert began to talk about happiness and the things that make people disposed towards being happy or unhappy/depressed.

A couple of key things that came out were extrovert personalities and certainty made depression less likely, while introvertion and uncertainty made a person more likely to suffer it.

This is interesting in the light of how society has been changing for quite some time. Certainty has been unfashionable for a long time now, with the post-modern backlash, and 'generation snowflake' seem opposed to anything that doesn't align with a nebulous set of all-permissive ideals. Speaking personally, I know that when I had assurance and felt certain about stuff I was far more positive and life looked much better, while over the years I have become far less likely to want to interact with others.

I'm sure my view is skewed by my own preferences.

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