Is enthusiasm the opposite of depression…

I haven’t felt like sharing my thoughts or logging in for months, but today there is something I want to share.

I have been struggling, wading or fumbling into the pages of Love in the Western World by Denis de Rougement. His thoughts are dense and intense and it’s easy to give up the effort to think these sentences through. But twice now he’s thrilled me and most recently it was with his elucidation, via Plato, of the original meaning of the word, ‘enthusiasm‘. It seems that to be enthusiastic is to be possessed by the Gods, I love that thought and get it because at the same time it fires another unthought thought in my head, and my sensory memory confirms it. When I am enthused about something I’m inhabiting my environment, I’m being fed by the universe and the mortal world is enough. I sparkle and my enthusiasm might even be contagious. The other thought is that when one stops being enthusiastic, one is, if not sad, depressed and I have been trying to figure out for a long time what might be the opposite of depression, which I often elucidate to my clients as losing desire for the world, and that explains to me why enthusiasm is so irrepressible and when something is irrepressible, whether it’s my dogs enthusiasm for her walk, or my irrational devotion to my dog’s feelings, it means that repression is absent. And, repression, whether it is anger, or denial, or love, yes we so often repress our love in the fear that it will not be returned is a broad walk to depression.

My enthusiastic dog, Lucy the Viszla in Regents Park, 2009. Copyright John Haynes

2 thoughts on “Is enthusiasm the opposite of depression…

  1. What a wonderful concept, thank you!

    I cyber-pottered straight off to find a definition of enthusiasm, because your words resonate. One definition was an ” absorbing or controlling possession of the mind”

    I’ve watched Stephen Fry talk about creativity and how, for those who are creative, extremes are a way of life. Our social understanding of the word ‘enthusiasm’ seems to have become sadly blunted.

    For we who are creative, the original meaning expresses that wild, tunnel-joy that comes when we are in the zone. Everything is working and one does not need motivation, indeed one is somewhere beyond motivation: in another place where one has done all the acceleration one needs to, and now one is cruising.

    And maybe that place has a name, and maybe that name is enthusiasm.

    And if that’s the case, then the opposite is definitely depression. But that’s another story for another day.

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