The opposite of depression is..
When the question of what the opposite of depression is arises, the immediate thought is.. happiness or euthymia. However, depression is not just sadness, it is also isolation, it is also a lack of interest in activities. Depression is hopelessness, and lack of self-esteem, and guilt. SO, when we look at depression comprehensively, the opposite of depression no longer seems to be just happiness. Instead, it seems to be hope- which is both the antonym as well as the antidote to depression. Instead, it seems to be vitality- which is the energy to be able to live again, when depression takes all of it away. Instead, the opposite of depression is security that your needs would be met- because with depression comes the insecurity of worthlessness, and that your needs don’t matter enough to in fact be met.
This blogpost will cover the three possible antonyms of depression. We will start by looking at what depression looks like. Then, we will move on to discuss each of the three possible opposites of depression in some detail- vitality, hope and security.
What it means to be depressed
Depression is a persistent and pervasive mood related disorder, that affects the behavioural as well as affective mechanisms within an individual and causes disturbances in their personal, social or occupational life. It is characterised by feelings of sadness or dark mood, with sleep, appetite and weight related changes, along with pervasive feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, low self-esteem and excessive guilt.
Depression is often seen along with anhedonia, which is a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and social isolation which follows from feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.these symptoms are persistent for over a 2 week period, and cause hindrance in the functioning of the individual’s life.
Signs of depression:
- Sadness, or irritability
- Dark mood
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight changes
- Appetite disturbances
- Lack of interest in activities
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Suicidal thoughts of ideation
- Lack of energy to go through with normal day to day activities
Vitality as the opposite of depression
“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, ” -Andrew Solomon( Ph.D., author, writer and lecturer on politics, culture, and psychology)
In a powerful, and inspiring talk about the darkness of his depression. Dr. Soloman had to say that the opposite of depression was not in fact happiness, but vitality. Vitality refers to our energy to go on in life, and partake in activities.
Talking about his struggle with depression. He talked about the mundaneness of the experience in terms of not having the energy to answer calls, or heat and eat food that was already there, or to do anything that we consider very unmonumental.
He suggests that depression is a parasite that takes away your energy to take art in the smallest of activities, not just the ones that give you joy, but also the ones that keep you alive, like eating, sleeping, taking care of yourself.
Thus, the opposite of depression is having the vitality and energy to be able to live life again, to be able to enjoy the small things in life, and be able to do things that are considered to be activities of daily living.
Hope as the antonym as well as antidote:
According to Antonieta Contreras, who is a mental health practitioner, the antonym of depression is in fact hope. She suggests that the power of hope lies not only in being a word that is opposite to depression. But also a remedy to it. One of the most pervasive signs of depression is the feeling of hopelessness and lack of self-esteem. Depression drives a person to feel and well as learn hopelessness.
When the person feels hopeless, the brain gets the message that their chances of survival are in fact less, and the parasympathetic system of the body (which is the opposite of the fight or flight system) gets activated, thus conserving the energy which was erstwhile used to make decisions, and other such demanding physical and cognitive tasks. This is when the downward spiral begins.
Thus, when hopeless is the cause, hope becomes the answer. With hope, what sympathetic nervous system gets the message to get up and fight, bringing back the energy required to be able to take part in the physical as well as psychological requirements of life.
She suggests that hopelessness is the instruction to do as little as possible to stay alive, and hope on the other hand instructs our nervous system to do whatever it takes to survive- giving us the energy we had lost to engage again.
Is security the answer to this question?
Another perspective talked about by Tim Daws, who is a professional in the field of persuasion, negotiation and communications suggests that the opposite of depression is in fact confidence or security that our needs would be fulfilled.
With depression comes the feeling that we are worthless, and so are our needs. Our lack of self esteem pushes us to believe that our needs do not matter enough to be fulfilled. That insecurity leads to a fear, which attacks our feelings of safety.
These fears are so deep seated that they get internalised and work on a subconscious level making it a vicious cycle of fear, insecurity, worthlessness and low self-esteem, pushing us deeper into depression.
We fear we would never find security, intimacy and acceptance, and so we do not seek it. This gives rise to the feelings of isolation and social withdrawal, which in fact, make the situation worse.
Thus, the opposite of depression is the security that we matter, that our needs matter, and that if we make efforts, they would in fact be fulfilled. This security could drive us towards fulfillment by motivating us to go after our needs.
While the answer to what is the answer to the question that this blog addresses is still variable, one thing is clear- happiness if not the opposite of depression. Margaret Wehrenber, a mental health practitioner, in fact claims that it is the enemy of depression.She suggests that when looking at happiness as the solution, we are in fact setting ourselves to a trap that takes us deeper into depression. Feelings of sadness, and dejection are a part of human life and suffering, and to some extent even normal. Creating the expectation of never having to face these feelings sets us up to become more vulnerable to depression.
In this blog, we looked at what the opposite of depression is. We talked about what depression looks like. Then, we discussed the three possible antonyms of depression, and how they are the opposite of depression. The opposite of depression can vary from person to person, depending on what their symptoms of depression look like. While someone has low energy, vitality can be the answer, if their feelings of hopelessness are more pervasive, hope can be the answer, and if their feelings of worthlessness are the bigger trouble, security can be the answer.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs): The opposite of depression is…
What is another word for depressed?
Clinically speaking, another word for depressed is major depressive disorder, while in terms of literature, depressed has synonyms like melancholic, despondent, gloomy, dejected etc.
What is the antonym of depression?
The antonym of depression seems to be euthymia. But in terms of what truly is the opposite of depression the answer ranges from vitality, to hope, to security.
What is the opposite of anxiety?
The opposite of anxiety (which is an excessive or unwarranted fear), is comfort.
What do you mean by melancholy?
Melancholy refers to a sad, mournful or dejected affective state.
What do you mean by depressed?
Depression is a clinical disorder described as a persistent and all pervasive feeling of sadness, that lasts for over 2 weeks and causes clinically significant distress.
Is depression a synonym for sad?
Depression is more than just sadness, it is also anhedonia, isolation, behavioural changes. Thus, depression is not a synonym for sadness.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.