Via Scientific American, a behavioral ecologist and a psychiatrist suggest that a major depressive incident may make people better able to solve complex problems and social dilemmas :
Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time.
This analytical style of thought, of course, can be very productive. Each component is not as difficult, so the problem becomes more tractable. Indeed, when you are faced with a difficult problem, such as a math problem, feeling depressed is often a useful response that may help you analyze and solve it. For instance, in some of our research, we have found evidence that people who get more depressed while they are working on complex problems in an intelligence test tend to score higher on the test.
During my scholastic career, I frequently got depressed when attempting to work math problems (took basic high school algebra three times and still don’t understand it). I’d stare at the paper until the numbers started dancing, ruminating on the problem until I reached the correct solution: “That’s it; I am sooo fvcked.”
Then I’d throw up.
Which totally makes sense now, because of course serotonin function affects the gastrointestional tract as well as that lump at the top of the spinal column.