Depression, Depression Paradoxes

Snowballing of Sadness

A snowball of minor size can, and will, if it is rolled overtop a layer of snow, grow larger.

With this in mind, we can think of how one of the mechanisms associated with depression might do the same thing in our brain.

In depressed folk, there seems to be a net, if you will, collecting all of the negative information from the environment and glossing over the positive things as if they were meaningless elements foreign to the human mind.

When we begin to process this information into cognitions, connecting to memories and meanings to conceptualize the experience; what seems to be available to do so is only the negative parts in our life.

As a result, and you can imagine what one might say if they were unable to see the good things in the day, we might hear something like, “Today was horrible”.

Before this person leaves the, “Today is horrible” moment, another load of light comes into the eye from a slightly different experience, makes it way through the retina and back to the visual parts of our brain, and offers yet another netting full of negative elements for them to draw yet another idea barren of anything good.

(Also, keep in mind, the depressed mind becomes magnet for negative stimuli, and the more pronounced these mechanisms are, the less malleable, and, the much more prominent in our cognitive organization, they are.)

Now, if things continue, or, we want to see this snowballing in action, we can continue with the latter cognition and the landing in another experience.

Now, the, “Today was horrible.” produces a lot of emotion in addition to the realization in itself. Therefore, if it evolves into something a bit more malevolent, or the snow ball starts rolling, we can expect an even more distressing emotional state for the person with, say, “Everyday is horrible.”

Which, does not seem like a major concern, however, the person now has shifted into the future; even though he has no idea what tomorrow will bring outside of the giant star radiating energy towards our planet or the people that, seemingly lose their knowledge of how to drive a motor vehicle as soon as they get on the road.

The simple negative thought turned into a bit larger one. Growing larger in size in addition, or, as a result, affecting the persons mind, their behavior, and possibly their future, since they of course can arbitrarily project their current shitty-life to the future.

Hence, the snowball effect.

Moreover, in many ways, and this probably applies to mild to severe cases, most folk that are depressed, even more so for those that are trying to get better, are just trying to get their head clear. However, as you can imagine, it can be extremely difficult with our eyeballs only seeing what sucks.

And from there, the cognitions can continue to grow the same as a small snowball in a yard full of snow. Although, not in the backyard but in our heads is the rolling, and it is a thinking-thing so, these cognitive snowballs are getting rolled up and pushed about as regularly as we think.

Which means a succession of negative loads of information pouring into our brain.

One simple negative thought is not just one, negative thought. No, in the depressed mind, these are ever growing balls of feelings of death and a phenomena that most depressed folk will have trouble being released from.

Aaron T. Beck, a godfather of psychotherapy and the study of this illness, calls it a paradox in depression. (Amongst others; low self-esteem, pessimism, etc.)