Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Lesson in Depression

     When I was in graduate school I learned a lesson about depression from a very dubious source.  One evening I was looking for something to do and I strolled over to a dorm to see a girl I knew.  I arrived too late and she had already gone out for the evening, but her roommate Marilyn was getting ready to go out.  
     It’s important to know that this was 1974 and at the height of the women’s movement.  It was also a college that was 70% women.  The women on that campus, felt very empowered.  I knew that Marilyn was going out to find a man to bring back to her room.  Being a friendly fellow, I decided to inquire as to how she went about this. 
     “Marilyn, when you go into a bar, how do you pick out a guy to bring back?” 
     “That’s easy William, when I go in, I look around for the most depressed guy in the bar.  He’s the guy I go after.” 
     “Really!”  I didn’t understand her thinking.  
     “William, you should understand this.  It’s Psychology 101.  A depressed guy wants to be happy.  He believes if he makes me happy, I’ll make him happy and take away his depression.  He makes a great lover, because he will stand on his head in order to please me.”
     Immediately I recognized the wisdom in her thinking.   She taught me an important lesson about depression and people pleasing.  People pleasing, is a curse for most people.  People pleasers have little confidence.  However, there are some advantages to people pleasing.  One of them would have been running into Marilyn, when you are depressed and sitting in the corner of a bar.