Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (4):751-759 (2013)

Kevin Aho
Florida Gulf Coast University
This paper integrates personal narratives with the methods of phenomenology in order to draw some general conclusions about ‘what it means’ and ‘what it feels like’ to be depressed. The analysis has three parts. First, it explores the ways in which depression disrupts everyday experiences of spatial orientation and motility. This disruption makes it difficult for the person to move and perform basic functional tasks, resulting in a collapse or contraction of the life-world. Second, it illustrates how depression creates a situational atmosphere of emotional indifference that reduces the person’s ability to qualitatively distinguish what matters in his or her life because nothing stands out as significant or important anymore. In this regard, depression is distinct from other feelings because it is not directed towards particular objects or situations but to the world as a whole. Finally, the paper examines how depression diminishes the possibility for ‘self-creation’ or ‘self-making’. Restricted by the illness, depression becomes something of a destiny, preventing the person from being open and free to access a range of alternative self-interpretations, identities, and possible ways of being-in-the-world
Keywords Depression  Embodiment  Phenomenology  Existentialism  Psychiatry  Martin Heidegger  Maurice Merleau-Ponty
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-013-9470-8
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References found in this work BETA

Do Antidepressants Affect the Self? A Phenomenological Approach.Fredrik Svenaeus - 2007 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (2):153-166.
The Nature of Prozac.Mariam Fraser - 2001 - History of the Human Sciences 14 (3):56-84.

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Citations of this work BETA

Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychiatric Classification.Anthony Vincent Fernandez - 2019 - In Giovanni Stanghellini, Matthew Broome, Anthony Vincent Fernandez, Paolo Fusar-Poli, Andrea Raballo & René Rosfort (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Phenomenological Psychopathology. Oxford, UK: pp. 1016-1030.
Heidegger, Ontological Death, and the Healing Professions.Kevin A. Aho - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (1):55-63.
Getting Stuck: Temporal Desituatedness in Depression.Michelle Maiese - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (4):701-718.

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