Melancholia is a term that derives from Latin and that, in turn, has its origin in a Greek word that means “Black bile”. It’s about the vague, permanent and deep sadness, which may have been born due to physical or moral and that makes the subject who suffers from it not feel comfortable or enjoy life.
Melancholy is often treated today as a disease that can be relieved by combination of therapy and certain drugs. The basis of the treatments is in the psychological analysis, to reach the internal causes of melancholy, while the drugs aim to control the physical symptoms that the disorder can generate (such as an upset stomach, headache and others).
Specialists consider that melancholy, like sadness and other emotions, becomes pathological when it alters the normal thinking of the individual and hinders their social performance. For example: it is considered normal for a person feel melancholy one afternoon and stay home looking at old photographs; On the other hand, if said behavior is repeated over several days and the subject abandons his social life and his obligations, melancholy becomes a type of depression, and requires treatment.
In the ’90s, the grunge movement made a kind of cult of melancholy and disenchantment. In fact, the North American band Smashing pumpinks released a disc titled “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” (a play on words that may well be understood as “Melancholy and infinite sadness”).
Many genres musicals they are based on melancholy, as is the case with a significant portion of the operatic repertoire (especially of Italian origin) and pop music, however diverse they may seem at first glance. It is not difficult to understand the reasons, since art is in direct contact with our emotions and many people rely on music to overcome difficult moments in life, such as the loss of a loved one. In this sense, however, a song with a melancholic tone cannot be very beneficial for anyone, since the incessant regret at an irreparable fact it is the potential beginning of a depression.
Some Freudian Notes on Grief and Melancholy
The celebrated and controversial father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, published in 1915 a writing entitled «Grief and melancholy«, Through which he develops a comparison of mourning that was considered normal and melancholy taken as pathology; To do this, it analyzes certain points in common, such as the feeling of pain, the loss of will to connect with the outside world, the detachment of the own feelings and the diminution of the productivity.
It should be noted that both states are triggered after having lost a loved object or after the collapse of an ideal. Let’s see below some distinctive points of each case:
* grief is defined as reaction to loss (which may or may not be from a person) and it is a conscious situation, characterized by the constant reflection about the absence of said loved object;
* melancholy takes place by the lack of acceptance of the lost, by resignation before the lack of the loved object;
* Grief consists of overcoming the loss in a variable period of time, after which the discomfort is rid of and there is the possibility of moving on;
* melancholy distorts the situation and turns the absence of the loved one into a personal matter, which threatens, among other things, against one’s own esteem.