OMG, I sooo feel your pain! I asked this very question, (well, not quite in those words) of a Psychiatrist last year regarding Celtling’s Dad. Her answer was this: (paraphrased but as accurate as I can make it)
“Mental Illness does occur within the context of a person’s own personality, values, and priorities. A manic who finds world travel impressive will jump on a plane in a grandiose moment . . . Depression symptoms can be anything from complete apathy to extreme irritability. A person who takes responsibility for their effect on others may attempt to withdraw during these periods to avoid permanent damage to the relationship. A lazy person may use the illness as way to gain sympathy and convince others to do his work for him.”
Yes, depression can make you a dick. It can also simply exacerbate your existing dickosity.
I wouldn’t say “exacerbate” - I’d say it may “make” you a dick in the sense that you don’t make a conscious effort to mask, hide, moderate or temper your inner dickness anymore. Thus leading you to a behavior significantly dickier than your observed baseline.
At least, that’s my experience. IANADoctor.
I’m living proof. For some years I’ve had a diagnosis of dysthymia (long term mild to moderate depression), which I began exhibiting symptoms of over 15 years ago, as well as periodic episodes of clinical major depression. It’s treatment-resistant and it really, really, really sucks.
There have been some extensive periods in my life in which I was a Class A dick. Since adolescent depression tends to manifest itself in irritability and sulkiness, my teenage self was…well, not someone I’d enjoy hanging out with today.
It’s hard for me to tell when if I’m being a dick these days (due to the broken brain I always think I’m a dick; being unable to trust either your cognition or your emotions is pretty dreadful), but if I am it’s mostly in the form of being asocial and reclusive, and not keeping in touch with my friends, and so on. In other words, passive rather than active dickery.
To a certain degree you have to hold people with depression or other mood disorders accountable for their behavior; in my opinion there’s no excuse for being a grade-A aggressive asshole. However keep in mind that in terms of coming off as a grumpy, aloof, morose dick, a lot of us cannot fully control it, or more often, are not fully aware that we are acting in such a way.
I’ve been mildly depressed for the last five years, ever since I was about 32. That is close enough to still remember how I was before. Occasionally I ask a friend who has known me all her life, if I really was different before, because I almost dont’ remember anymore.
I have less energy, and am more negative. I shoot down initiatives and ideas, including my own, because I feel that I don’t have the energy for it and that it won’t work out anyway and even if it does, I won’t enjoy it and that me being a huge party pooper will only be more painfully apparent if I am supposed to do something fun. I’m bitter, cynical, lazy and apt to make all sorts of mistakes and not correct them. I’m more sociallly withdrawn. PMS can make matters very much worse, so hormones can make me an A-grade dick(ster).
Yes, depression may make you a dick. In fact, when I’m depressed, it is a conscious effort to *not *be a dick. When I’m depressed, I just don’t give a shit about anything. Everything is an effort, even and sometimes especially being pleasant. Everyone else seem like they are intruding. It is only because, intellectually, I know that when I’m better I will regret my actions that I try to remain pleasant.
One of the main symptoms of depression is anger/irritabilty. Combine that with a lack of willpower, and the above mentioned withdrawal becomes even more unlikely. So it definitely could. The only way to know for sure is to compare the person’s attitude when the depression is controlled.
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website (and this is something I’ve heard from several other sources too) evidence shows that men are more likely to express anger as a result of depression:
“The observable symptoms of male depression are not as well understood as those in women. Men are less likely to show “typical” signs of depression, such as crying, sadness, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, or verbally expressing thoughts of suicide. Instead, men are more likely to keep their feelings hidden, but may become more irritable and aggressive.”
In other words… men are more likely to act “like dicks” when depressed than are women.