Chapter 5: The Gift of Mood.
The thing that struck out most while reading Armstrong’s chapter 5 was the section on the downside of happiness. “As a culture we’re fixated on happiness: the happy face, the happy meal, the how-to-be happy self help books.” (pp.106).
Armstrong points out that different cultures have different ways of viewing symptoms of depressions (pp.100), it is possible that the same is true for viewing happiness. I believe that it the dichotomy between happiness and depression is subject to cultural variation and it is the contrast between perceptions and reality of how far apart a person is from culturally defined exceptions and implications of what is happiness and depression that is at least a factor underlying individual variations in mood disorders. It is very dangerous to classify people solely based on behavior manifestations without taking into consideration the person’s experiences, history, cultural and ecological context .
One question to the author:
Productive versus unproductive depression. Does it make more sense to look at mood disorders with the aim and in the context of being productive individuals in a larger society?