January 15, 2013

"The way I think she’d put it is that, when bad things happen, women brood — they’re cerebral, which can feed into the depression."

"Men are more inclined to act, to do something, plan, beat someone up, play basketball."

A colleague summarizes the work of Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, who died this month, at the age of 53. Many more women than men are diagnosed as depressed, and depression was associated with "rumination, the natural instinct to dwell on the sources of problems rather than their possible solutions."

She wrote that many women "are flooded with worries, thoughts and emotions that swirl out of control, sucking our emotions and energy down, down, down. We are suffering from an epidemic of overthinking.”

You might guess that someone who studied depression and died at age 53 succumbed to suicide, but that was not the case. She had a congenital heart problem and died after surgery.

27 comments:

Pogo said...

When good things happen, women brood.

Shouting Thomas said...

The theme today is depression and suicide?

It's a sunny day in Woodstock!

Bob Ellison said...

Well, we needn't go all suicidal here, but I would like to point out something most people do not know: .""Older Americans are disproportionately likely to die by suicide."

Shouting Thomas said...

Exercise is the key to avoiding depression. Do your yoga or bicycling first thing in the morning, release those dopamines, and you'll probably be good for the day.

The problem is often getting started.

I don't have any advice on how to overcome that. It was a lot more difficult for me when I was younger. Now that I know how my body and mind work, I accept it as a choice.

Get down on the floor and work out, or be miserable.

traditionalguy said...

Bad things always happen. The loss of something hurts. That is called being alive on planet earth.It is the eternal 2 year old's reaction to life's frustrations syndrome.

Depression is an internalized anger at the loss. I suppose men can attack golf balls. But who said women have to sit at home and mentally try to find someone else to blame, and failing to find a viable scapegoat, turn the blame and anger onto themselves?

It is good to realize that some people are just like that and will not change. They seem to need to let out their anger on the weak and helpless or stranger. It is usually not what you did to them. It is what they need to do to feel better.

Seeing Red said...

Women are more depressed than men? Women vote according to their vaginas?

Pogo said...

Actually, I think women have more highs and more lows than men.

Their smiles brighten an entire house, their sadness draws you close.

Men's emotions run the gamut from A to B.

Ann Althouse said...

@Pogo Does that mean Katharine Hepburn was a man?

betamax3000 said...

When LeBron is NOT playing basketball he is very depressed.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "Does that mean Katharine Hepburn was a man?"

I think the quote was "Katherine Hepburn's penis runs the gamut from A to B."

gerry said...

Women are more cerebral? That's sounds so positive, why would anyone want to change that? Let's be less cerebral, let's encourage women to be more like men. But, men are stupid, according to the media, the sitcoms, the commercials, the feminazis. Men are bad, bad, bad, evil, chauvinistic, unless they are quasi-castrata metrosexuals and more like women!

We are less depressed, though. We have that going for us.

And, I'm informed by internet rumor, that very soon overclocked sexbots will eliminate any need for vaginas.

That'll show 'em.

Mitchell the Bat said...

I'm skeptical of the claim that rumination causes depression but I have to concede that I cannot think of the female equivalent in our popular culture of the desperate, surely suicidal infantry charge.

Thelma & Louise doesn't count.

HA HA HA said...
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Mitchell the Bat said...
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Pogo said...

"Does that mean Katharine Hepburn was a man?"

Hah. I had hoped, smally, that reference might pass unrecognized.

Moose said...

"Cerebral" Yah - right.

Marshal said...

The way I think she’d put it is that, when bad things happen, women brood — they’re cerebral, which can feed into the depression.

Men are more inclined to act, to do something, plan, beat someone up, play basketball.


Rule 1: Men and women are equal and anyone claiming otherwise is sexist. Unless it's to the advantage of women, in which case anyone denying the difference is sexist. Therefore all differences between men and women must be interpreted positively to women and negatively to men.

Portia said...

I noticed with my wife and her mother both seem fixated on the 'cause' of the problem. To them, things do not just happen, there is a cause. And yes they worry about things all.the.time.

SGT Ted said...

They used the wrong word. Women are more EMOTIONAL, which is the opposite of "cerebral".

The female obssession with and, quite frankly, addiction to their "feelings' being serviced over and above reasoned thinking is one of their main problems.

They think that simply because they "FEEL" some sort of emotion that it is automatically valid and must be acted upon by other people they don't know to ameliorate said feelings.

It is how women do relationships, but blown up to engulf all of society. Sexual harrassment law relfects this well, If a women "feels" something is a harrassment, it is, regardless of whether or not its the truth, or they just have thin skin.

The only acceptable default is "women are always right" and men need to STFU and cater to their sensibilities.

edutcher said...

A lot of women supposedly have Cushing's, one of whose party favors is depression (it was with my mother, God knows).

Be interesting to see if treatment for that would help.

Bob said...

Women may or may not be more cerebral but they sure need to articulate more than men! Their feelings, their friends feelings, your feelings. Men, fix it and grunt.

EMOTIONAL is the better fit. Cerbral is Einstein. Engineers are cerebral: logic, structure, reasoning. Women are emotional

deborah said...

"Get down on the floor and work out, or be miserable."


Thanks, ST, that hit the nail on the head for me. You don't need to bike or go to the gym to 'get started.' The floor is right there...push-ups, sit-ups, and thrust-squats, and you've worked all major groups. It really is a question of releasing the dopamines.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Get down on the floor and work out, or be miserable."


Thanks, ST, that hit the nail on the head for me. You don't need to bike or go to the gym to 'get started.' The floor is right there...push-ups, sit-ups, and thrust-squats, and you've worked all major groups. It really is a question of releasing the dopamines.

OR.... bake some bread. It is really satisfactory to beat and knead the hell out of some bread dough. Uses your arm, back and shoulder muscles,releases a lot of tension. Plus, later you have fresh baked bread. Yard work, gardening, physical labor anything to get your mind out of its circling of the drain mode.

I think the issue about depression is that you get stuck in a negative feedback loop and most women don't know how to get out of it. Suppressing your feelings and overly examining the causes or being vapor locked over how to get out of the loop causes more anguish than it is worth. Being physical, doing something constructive....or if all else fails.....take out the Tupperware, throw it up against the walls and kick it around the floor using your very best curse words. That'll relieve the stress. Trust me :-)

shirley elizabeth said...

I have always been a very active and very happy person. Nearly every day was either running, hiking, climbing, kayaking, or other physical activity. That changed when I started a family, but after my second baby (born Sept) I started experiencing the baby blues - not at first, three months out.
My mind couldn't control my emotions, however many times I reminded myself I had no reason to be sad, crying, stressing, and angry. It was hard to admit depression, but since then the goal has been to keep my mornings active and purposeful. Bringing any kind of exercise or activity back into my schedule has really made a difference.

deborah said...

Thanks, DBQ :)

Kirk Parker said...

"It's a sunny day in Woodstock! "

Here too, in the usually raining Puget Sound area! Nice...

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(OBTW, you Californians: I'm just kidding, it's really drizzling as usual. Don't come!)

Deb said...

Gardening is a good remedy for depression.

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a woman I knew who took her own life. I did not know her intimately, so I had no idea she suffered from bipolar disease. But the comment about women & feelings caused me to remember something I read that she had written about herself years ago: that every important decision she had ever made was based on her feelings. Not logic, not facts, but her feelings . She was a lovely, accomplished woman and her family and friends are devastated. But the remarks about women being emotional and operating on feelings made me remember her comment and wonder about the connection.

I feel deeply sad about her death. I know she must have been terribly sick, because I also know how intensely she loved her family. And that makes it even more difficult to process - because it can't be understood.