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Life of the Mind: A happy journey to sad

"There is a vast difference between feeling persecuted by loss or trauma and incorporating it into your life as processed and bearable"

By Anna Blundy   December 2016

healthy_smiling_teeth_web“I’m depressed,” my patient said, settling into her chair with a big sigh and schlomping her bag down on the floor. Strange, because she smiled and said this in a social way, as though her favourite contestant had been voted off Strictly, rather than in any way that suggested chronic anxiety or immobile despair. “No, not depressed,” she corrected herself. “Sad.”

Ah, sad. Sad is great. Sad is a huge achievement. In Mourning and Melancholia, Freud talks about turning depression (melancholia) into ordinary sadness, and he outlines the differences (at some length). It…

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