A few days ago, on the Red flags for sociopathy post, Gethin asked a question that hadn't occurred to me before:
Do you think it's possible for sociopaths to experience depression? I know it's possible for them to have anger issues, and for them to be sad about things, but I've never seen evidence that they can experience the same sort of disabling clinical depression that normal people can. In Hervey Cleckley's 1940s book, he says that suicide threats from sociopaths are rarely carried out. Many years ago I suffered from depression so bad I had psychomotor retardation, where I could sit in a stupor for hours. I somehow can't picture sociopaths having that disease.
It is hard to imagine a sociopath having the sort of disabling, clinical depression of the sort Gethin describes. I've seen sociopaths get discouraged, and be frustrated, but I can't recall ever seeing one in the throes of a disabling depression.
This may have something to do with their narcissistic natures, and their resulting ability to lie to themselves and convince themselves that they will triumph in the end because of their innate superiority.
The basic thought going through the mind of a depressive is, "I suck and there's no hope for me." But a sociopath's mind simply doesn't work that way.
I've heard it said -- and this expression was undoubtedly coined by a depressive -- that depressed people are simply people who see the world the way it is. Sociopaths tend to see the world it suits them to see, and they tend to see idealized version of themselves. When they look in the mirror they see an invincible -- and incredibly cool -- warrior who will triumph in the end.
Does that optimism render them immune to depression? To some extent, it probably does.
The other factor involved here is that sociopaths, when they do get down for whatever situational or neurobiological reason, react to that feeling differently. Instead of becoming essentially paralyzed, and sitting alone in a room feeling helpless and hopeless, they are far more likely to distract themselves with substance abuse, or criminal activity, or by using whatever means they can to make others feel bad (in a "misery loves company" sort of way).
I guess, if you want to escape your depression, you should think more like a sociopath.