Recent Study Reveals “You Just Need to Learn How to Love Yourself!” to Be More Effective for Treating Depression Than Antidepressants and Therapy Combined

Mairead Kelly
Mar 16, 2017 · 4 min read
Illustration by Daniel Mitchell

Researchers at Ashworth University Medical Center have found evidence indicating unnecessary and meaningless remarks to be a highly successful approach when treating various forms of depression.

The findings are part of growing research into effective ways to remedy mental illness. Work on “stop being so sad” and “you just need to learn how to love yourself!”, two particular remedies known for their mood-boosting effects, is especially encouraging.

“Mankind’s struggle with depression reaches as far back as Ancient Greece,” says Dr. Sharon Toppleberg, Professor of Psychology at Ashworth University and champion of the Recognize, Undermine & Disregard Empathy (RUDE) technique that is becoming increasingly popular at treatment centers throughout the U.S. “But with the vast majority of antidepressants becoming ineffective over time, and many forms of psychotherapy resulting in little more than a handful of snot-filled Kleenex and the realization that everyone’s childhood is at least a little screwy, we need to be thinking about new forms of treatment. We’ve found that casual ignorant remarks are actually what depressed people really need to hear.”

On the study itself, Frank Patterson, PhD., of North Dakota Institute of Technology, analyzed responses from both male and female residents of Fargo’s Mapleview Hospital psychiatric ward. The three month-long clinical study included 20 residents between the ages of 18 and 65-years-old who suffered from mild cognitive mood disorder to clinical depression. During the study, Dr. Patterson sat with individual residents in their rooms three days a week, alternating between one and two-hour sessions during which he asked patients to describe their struggles with mental health before defaulting to talk of his obsession with Abby Lee Miller, poncho-clad villain of the Lifetime original reality TV series, Dance Moms. When working with patients, Dr. Patterson is known to reference the quote of Miller’s he keeps perched on the desk in his office beside photos of his family. At the center of a decorative brass frame lies the mantra, “You save those tears for your pillow, in your room, alone!”

“Some patients compared their illness to falling into a well or deep hole and having no ladder to climb out of it. Others described depression as feeling sadness to the point of physical debilitation,” he says. “And I think that’s hoohah. These folks just don’t know how good they have it — grumbling about trivial misfortune from the comfort of a state-sanctioned psych ward? One of our patients left a cushy job as a meteorologist to check into our facilities. That’s a job where you can be wrong 100% of the time and no can be legitimately mad at you. Another patient even came here in an Uber.”

After just one week spent acting completely indifferent towards the vast range of emotions their patients were truly dealing with, Dr. Patterson and his team saw significant improvements in sleeping habits, interpersonal relationships, and overall outlook. All but one resident reported improvement in their depression after hearing constant remarks like, “You never think of anyone by yourself, “have you tried exercise?” and in cases of severe depression, “I’ll pray for you.”

“The central problem with depression is that it distorts reality,” says Dr. Patterson. “You lose sight of the sheer strength of the human spirit.” When pressed further on the capabilities of positive thinking in the attempt to counteract perpetual feelings of despondency, Dr. Patterson is resolute in what he calls, “a realistic approach” to healing. “All I’m saying, he says, “is that people can totally beat depression by will power alone. They just have to tell their bodies not to be sick and do you know what? Their bodies are like, ‘hell yeah!’ It’s practically science!”

As the Ashworth University Medical Center and North Dakota Institute of Technology partnership continues its work searching for a potential cure for depression, it’s clear Patterson is devoted to the cause, quite possibly on a personal level. “I’m gonna go off the record and tell you this,” he says one afternoon after a debrief with his staff, “it just kills me that the folks upstairs are sitting around whining about some passing negative thought. Anyway, do you want to break for lunch? There’s an Au Bon Pain in the lobby with a pretty decent pastry selection. But whatever you do, don’t touch the cheese Danish. One bite and you’ll hate yourself.”