Depression and its Glum Outlook

By Riley Gonzalez 

Depression is one of the most widespread and prominent mental disorders, with 18.4% of the population in the United States suffering from it. Major Depressive Disorder is characterized by feelings of helplessness, loss of interest in hobbies, a lack of motivation, and an overall saddened mood. When it comes to depression, individuals generally have a very pessimistic view of their lives and future. Recent studies have demonstrated how those suffering from depression in addition to chronic pain typically underestimate how long they will live. However, while it may seem like a simple misconception, many of their predictions do, in fact, come true, as individuals with depression end up dying younger due to their chronic emotional or physical pain. Chronic pain can include long-lasting injuries or low mental health.

Pain is associated with a higher risk of death, while depression facilitates a more gloomy outlook on life. Individuals may be demotivated to continue living, especially if it’s coupled with chronic pain or illness. This is one of the reasons why those with chronic pain are not quite adept at predicting when they’ll actually die. Those with depression have been found to provide fewer details when imagining positive future events but don’t have any trouble specifying negative or typical future events; additionally, when a person is experiencing long-lasting pain, their desire to live longer ends up decreasing. After following the same people for 18 years, numerous studies concluded that individuals with pain and depression don’t believe they will live as long, and are actually dying sooner (making them correct). 

While those suffering from chronic pain and depression are able to accurately predict their future in terms of their health, it is done in a negative and pessimistic way, illuminated by their desire to have that pain taken away as soon as possible. It’s important that we, as a community, as friends, or as family, recognize the signs of demotivation and desires for death in order to protect them. Chronic pain is extremely difficult to live with, which is why we should strive to communicate with and offer nothing but support and compassion to those who are suffering to prevent that glum outlook from ultimately shortening their lifespan.