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  Depression is commonly used as a definition of an emotion like despondency, dejection or gloom. As a diagnosis, depression is part of a cycle or syndrome (also called a depressive illness) which used to be called melancholia because of its association with low spirits. In depression, thoughts about life are towards the pessimistic. Depressives see events always as having little meaning for them. It is also a condition where people blame themselves mercilessly for everything that happens whether it is really connected to them or not. Psychiatrists distinguish between endogenous depression (which is the result of there being something unspecified in the constitution of the person which is the cause) and exogenous depression (which is the result of response to a disturbing event).

Psychoanalysis sees depression as the result of ambivalent feeling towards the mother, who may herself be depressed or not able to give good enough interaction with and care to the baby. The child is both dependent and angry with the ‘absent’ mother. The ambivalent feeling leaves the child with the idea that it has destroyed the internal mother, as it is easier to deal with one catastrophic view than with an ambivalent one. Having destroyed the internal mother, there then follows mourning because of the dependence. This mourning is what characterizes the depression. Depressive anxiety is a belief that one\'s innate aggression would destroy other internal objects. MJ



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