In What is the Opposite of Depression? (Part 1) I suggested that the true opposite of depression is play.
Play, like depression, is essentially a mood or mental state rather than a set of behaviours. Scholars have called it a lusory attitude. That simply means the psychological attitude a players has when they entre into a game. “To adopt a lusory attitude is to accept the arbitrary rules of a game in order to facilitate the resulting experience of play.”
The development of a lusory attitude strongly suggests that depression can be cured. Many treatments today aim merely at management of depression rather than its cure. Depression is kept under control by drugs or wrestled unto temproary submission by therapy. Neither of them end it forever.
Play provides a way to achieve this positive mental state, namely, in the activity of play itself. Play as an activity takes many forms, such as games, humour and joyfulness. Each of these has a variety of forms. Depressed people can with help experiment to find those play forms that suit them best and that prove most effective against depression.
Although achieving a play mindset is the goal, engaging in different types and levels of play activity is the means of cure. This is healthier, cheaper and more fun than medication or talking cures.
Developing a lusory attitude in depressive people provides a positive, alternative mindset to their current state. Its aim is not to take away the depression and leave them with blank state to which the illness can easily return. Play provides a positive alternative with which to replace depression.
How this play mindset might be achieved is still open to discussion. There are many different types of play to suit different personality types and situations. The goal is not escape from the harsh realities of life but the construction of an attitude that allows for a healthy engagement with them. Play gives people the opportunity design their experience and dispense their energy in positive ways. Depressive people could be encouraged to experience play, to apply play and to live a playful life.