Why are people romanticising depression/anxiety?

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#1 Posted by Sombre (476 posts) -

Hey gang,

I'll be up front about this. I've suffered from severe depression and social anxiety disorder for the last...ten years or so? I went to a Doctor when I was 18 and asked them why I was so sensitive all the time to going out, and why I never had good days. After seeing a few different people, they diagnosed me with depression, and the reason why I couldn't go out, was because I had acute social anxiety disorder.

Like most people with depression/anxiety problems, I've really struggled over the years. At the moment though, I feel pretty great. I have good medication (Mirtazapine) and I have a great job that I love. Most days I feel fine. But there's a huge part of me that always feels down. For the last 5 years, I haven't left the village I live in. I just can't. I live near Manchester in the NW of England, and I just can't go there. The feeling of being around so many unknown people on the tram, the surge of people in the city, the unknown. I haven't been to Manchester because I'm worried I'm going to get mugged or stabbed. That's the anxiety for you.

Like most people. I feel controlled by my anxiety, but I don't let it RULE my life. I still talk to people at work every day, and I work in a school, so I have plenty of kids to talk to to meet my social quota every day.

I read Dan's "Anxiety as an Ally" and like most of you, felt like he was retelling my life. Amazing book. If you have ANY form of Anxiety problems, read that book, it's terrific.

So, why is it when I go online, I see people touting that they're depressed like it's a personality quirk?

There's nothing fun about having anxiety and depression. It isn't some cool badge of honour. It kinda ruins your life. You can't really do a lot of things, because you're so worried about the consequences. I'm not gonna go on Instagram and post some of the asinine pictures off there, but if you've used Instagram's "Trending" button or whatever it is (The second button), you'll likely see people talking about anxiety and depression, it's HILARIOUS.

Has anyone else noticed this trend online? Anyone else suffering similarly want to post their opinion? I'd love to hear from you guys!

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#2 Edited by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

I haven't really seen people touting their mental illnesses in a positive way. But people who do it might just do it as some sort of coping mechanism. Sometimes making light of something can make it easier to deal with. But I wouldn't say that is necessarily romanticizing it.

I have social anxiety but it's not as bad as it used to be.

EDIT: In general I just don't think you should assume too much based on how a person chooses to deal with their problems.

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#3 Posted by pickassoreborn (764 posts) -

Makes me wonder if those peeps don't actually know depression? Maybe they have a day where they're slightly sad and consider that full-blown depression? These days people make light of a lot of things, so maybe I'm wrong. I get some pretty gruesome lows these days and it's the absolute worst. I took a leaf out of Dan Harmon's book regarding that and been posting Twitter updates and generally talking about it to other people - so that helps, although social anxiety disorder might make that hard in person. The internet is a wonderful place for discussion without the anxiety of actually meeting folk.

I also mark out of 10 how I feel on the Twittersphere as an indicator for myself and others. I can look back on that on better days and realise that when I'm in that place, there *are* better days.

Good luck and have better days, Sombre.

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#4 Posted by deactivated-5b6c667dde711 (961 posts) -

Depends where you draw the line for romanticising. Some people do make a hasty jump to claim depression during a slump without having seen a doctor first, yes.

But for an invisible illness I think it should be talked about more, and people should be free to vent about it as a coping mechanism if they feel the need. I'm not going to police whether or not your symptoms are clinical because at the end of the day if you're feeling shit, you're feeling shit and there's no need to play the comparison game like some sort of mental health gatekeeper. I think it does more harm to police people on when they can and can't say they're depressed though - for someone who hasn't been diagnosed it may cause them to avoid seeing a doctor if they feel guilty about their symptoms not being "as bad" as someone else. So I just let it go.

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#5 Posted by Yesiamaduck (2562 posts) -

Here's the thing. I think you've grown up in two eras.

One where people didn't want to talk about their mental illnesses and one where people are openly talking about them. It's no longer taboo and social media means people are more open about it than ever. A lot of people with anxiety/depression cannot and will not talk about it with someone directly in person but will find it easier to throw it out there in a public forum because it feels like it's putting less stress on an individual and you don't think you're being a burden on one person. I know this because I, myself, have had servere depression and anxiety since about 2010 and this is how I felt all the time, thankfully I've found a course of treatment and lifestyle which has subdued the depression significantly and I hope you find something one day :)

I really dont think most people are romanticizing it, they're just being more open.

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#6 Edited by OurSin_360 (6200 posts) -

Sorry but people have different forms and levels of anxiety and depression and cope in different ways. I think saying they are romanticizing by talking about their experience is kinda disrespectful. You dont know what other people go through or how they deal, and maybe "romanticising" it helps them get through the day?

Personally i think its good more people are opening up about it and using platforms to engage with other people who may have similar issues.

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#7 Posted by someoneproud (624 posts) -

People deal with shit in their own ways and I don't think it's fair to write them off as "romanticising" or ingenuine, if talking about it helps (as you yourself chose to do on here and with doctors) then good for them. I largely keep my shit to myself and those close to me but that's what I find more comfortable and helpful (and I'm not one for social media anyway).

Folk are becoming more and more open about these issues in general, it's natural you'd be noticing more people talking about it.

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#8 Edited by htr10 (1065 posts) -

In some cases, I bet people really have depression and/or anxiety. In other cases, I don’t wonder if it’s because “happy” people are sometimes viewed as sheep and in the forever quest for some people to express individuality, portraying yourself as depressed/anxious draws attention. Some people go through phases where they get fulfillment from other people’s supposed “pity”. There is a lot of music, TV, movies, and books that romanticize depression and to a lesser extent, anxiety.

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#10 Posted by AlisterCat (8093 posts) -

I don't see people romanticizing it, but I avoid most social media so maybe that's why. The only issues I have with the discourse are when people don't think it's a big deal and tell others to just walk it off. Which most reasonable people would also take issue with.

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#11 Posted by cikame (2912 posts) -

People like showing off their scars.

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#12 Edited by Dray2k (884 posts) -
Gonna need to call you out a little bit @kowbrainz. Not because you're wrong but rather to examplify why the situation as a whole is fundamentally flawed.
Personally I do agree with you, in parts. However, saying others to "stop approaching the way they do" is a similar negative approach. Don't assume how non depressed people act, rather you have to look at the situation as a whole and you will quickly realize how far from truth your argument regarding "gatekeeping" really is.
@kowbrainz said:

Depends where you draw the line for romanticising. Some people do make a hasty jump to claim depression during a slump without having seen a doctor first, yes.

What if I tell you that quite a whole lot of people, which a significant amount of percentage of people with actual diagnosed depression, actually are on the nose with self-diagnosing it first and foremost, even with slight inaccuracies?

So much in fact that they had to change the ICD throught the years in slight manners, because it lead to a curious development where the diagnosed had a better grasp on the potential results than the one performing the diagnosis. To examplify what the ICD can mean now, even a "slump" can be considered a whole subset of symptoms, going way ahead of what F32.0 dictates and concludes. Calling temporary phases of "feeling sad" a slump does in no way indicate the fundamental nature of the cause.

@kowbrainz said:

But for an invisible illness I think it should be talked about more, and people should be free to vent about it as a coping mechanism if they feel the need.

Thats another fundamental problem when people talk about it. Depression is far from invisible. In fact, its easier to recognise someone who feels slightly "down" and behaving that way rather than looking at someone who has a flu.

However, what you said is true when someone has depressive psychosis. Which can manifest even without "looking" sad. A lot of seelingly happy people can have such an disorder and its also one of the major reasons to call for proper diagnosis (or in laymens terms, telling someone to "go to the doctor" so to speak). However, there is not "true" way to tell a person to seek professional help. Rather the most important thing a mentally healthy person can do towards someone who has a slight depressive phase is not to lie or act. Being yourself can help a (minor) depressed person to reflect upon themselves and their environment.

@kowbrainz said:

I'm not going to police whether or not your symptoms are clinical because at the end of the day if you're feeling shit, you're feeling shit and there's no need to play the comparison game like some sort of mental health gatekeeper.

But here is the thing, a very important thing in fact, most if not almost everyone of these people don't have this sort of "mental health gatekeeping" in mind. Rather they're just curious and want to adapt to the new situation. With communication, you have to keep the other side in mind as well.

That is the side who doesn't know anything about depression, but still wants to do good, of course. This has nothing to do with telling others that their own feelings, or even their wellbeing and mental health is "wrong". This is nothing but a minior discrepancy of understanding each others positions. What you're doing is basically the same of what you think others are doing, telling people to "stop doing something they (you) don't feel is right", but that sort of thing is far from true. In fact, a lot of "mental health gatekeeping" simply looks that way because people are worried, in context, a lot of people don't jump the gun and don't say "go to a doctor if you're having problems" because they're nice and want to help the suffering person rather than implying dismissal by acting strict or cold-hearted.

Its a deeper problem than we're both saying. Its a fundamental failure of not educating our youth in matters of general empathy.

To understand where I am coming from I suggest that you read this simple wiki article, its one of the fundamental pillars in human communication that not many people seem to know about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-sides_model

In a way, the FSM shifts when we're dealing with depression, which is what causes this discrepancy in understanding the affector with the affected. There has been some good steps into dealing with this sort of thing, fighting depression from an scientifically sociological standpoint did made some great steps in the last 5 years.

@kowbrainz said:

I think it does more harm to police people on when they can and can't say they're depressed though - for someone who hasn't been diagnosed it may cause them to avoid seeing a doctor if they feel guilty about their symptoms not being "as bad" as someone else. So I just let it go.

Even considering that "policing" is the worst application of the term. What you've said is true, but only if the person who does harm is intentionally knowing that they're doing harm. A lot of people are acting out of compassion and don't want to tell others to see a doctor because it may look as emotionally numbing and cold. Especially if they're knowing the person who is suffering for a while (either privately or through work), but cannot quite grasp the ways in which the depressed have to suffer through.

Seldom a person will tell a depressed person to "stop acting", in fact this is only the case if the person had intentional harm in mind, which has no basis for empathetic action. These people will keep acting as "gatekeepers of what should be considered as normal" regardless. However, I can argue you can educate at least some people who hold this mindset.

In fact, this sometimes leads to a more subtle realization that a person may suffer from depression themselves as their surrounding is behaving differently than what past memory dictates. Usually the next steps will decide if a person is willing to go to a professional or not. This mostly depends on individual perception. Depressive people have a different way on how to percept what others think of them. Sometimes even a slight social gesture can break this self-constructed barrier of which a person believes they're stigmatised. Both the affector and the affected have to reach out to each other in the ways they're capable of. Rejecting each other is considered the worst potential outcome.

Again, this is a both sides issue. Everybody whom I had the privielege to meet who has suffered from all kinds of depressive phases didn't grasp that specific point of understanding the situation of those close to them beforehand and they had to learn it by going to a psychologist in one way or the other (which that said, it can sometimes takes years to meet a professional, too). On the other hand, mentally healthy people who never knew what it means to have depression have to learn/practice a basic understanding of what depression can be seen and how it can affect the depressed but also the people around them.

With this said, telling others to "just let it go" is almost exactly the same as "turn a blind eye" to the one who is suffering through a depressive phase and tell them to go meet a doctor, which even in goodwill can totally backfire and make things worse. Sometimes it needs and even in some parts requires a misunderstanding beforehand in order to realize what is really happening. From experiences that other people have told me, depressive people don't even know they're having (major) depression until they notice the change in their environment.

@boonsong said:

But people who do it might just do it as some sort of coping mechanism.

This is 100% true, however keep it in mind that everybody has some sort of coping mechanism, even people who have never suffered through any form of depression sans the assholes who're just acting like bad people.

In a way, social media exist because people have the desire to reach out in some way or the other and to make themselves heard. Or as you said, as a sort of coping mechanism of what they think is wrong (with them, or others). And again, this even includes people who never have suffered through depression as well.

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#13 Posted by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

Its a good life experience. It makes you grow.

I was very anxious before my gender transition and before everyone supported me going through with the operation and the hormones. But now I am the human being I was always supposed to be and thinking back I dont feel the pain, just a sense of achievement.

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#14 Edited by htr10 (1065 posts) -

@slightlytrans:

You mean depression and anxiety is a good life experience? I think that I get what you are saying, but for many people, depression and anxiety are lifelong medical conditions.

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#15 Edited by MachoFantastico (6688 posts) -

People who've gone through or are dealing with depression tend not to want to talk about it all to often. Please keep in mind that while I understand what you're talking about, a lot of people deal with anxiety and many people have to deal with depression, more than you might expect. Plus everyone's experience with depression tends to be very different and personalized.

I've spoken with counselors who've mentioned how their workload as massively increased over the past ten years, which as to be a good thing because it means people are going out and getting help.

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#17 Edited by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

@htr10:

Sorry, I meant that you grow IF you overcome it. Some people sadly never do, either because they don't want to or because they cannot.

In my personal experience it is always possible to overcome any problem if you try hard enough.... In my case, this particular one... some pretty radical changes were necessary.

The medical condition thing I personally do not believe, sine I have yet to meet a single person that is depressed without a cause that could be circumvented if one was willing to do whatever it takes. - That is of course only my experience, but I do feel that many people blame a physical condition when really they are simply unwilling to admint the real cause or to do whatever it takes to solve their problems.... I know that because I did it for a long time before my transition.

On top of that psychology is a bit of a pseudo science as they are no reproducible objective tests for anything. You can test if my estrogen shots are working by taking a blood sample... in psychology you are simply guessing based on phenotype.

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#18 Posted by diz (1394 posts) -

@slightlytrans: I do agree with you about the somewhat arbitrary nature of and "cod-science" status of psychology. However I disagree most venomously with your assertion that depression can be overcome if you try hard enough. To me (as a 51 year old, who can trace the start of my depression to my early teens and having tried and failed at every conceivable avenue of treatment) your assertion is like saying that an asthmatic can just breathe easier if they try harder.

It is good to hear that some people can overcome their depression, but that is not the only truth, even for people having undergone radical physical change.

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#19 Edited by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

@diz:

Sad to hear that this actually exists. So no medication, no changes to your life and nothing else helped?

But in my personal opinion that only means you may not have tried every avenue of treatment. For a lot of people that I know with what they would call 'untreatable' depression, I see them really not having any goals in life or no clear world view, where do I come from, what is my purpose ect. They don't admit that that could be the underlying problem, but I cannot imagine anyone being content with a life that has no purpose, has no foundation, has no direction, nothing to build towards, nothing to look forward to ect.

Human beings are extremely dependent on goals and foundations. I would check there and never stop checking until you find whats wrong. Many of my friends have simply decided that they know and it cannot be treated and are on copious amounts of drugs.

But again, that is my experience having had many, many, many depressed people in my life.

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#20 Posted by OurSin_360 (6200 posts) -

@diz:

Sad to hear that this actually exists. So no medication, no changes to your life and nothing else helped?

But in my personal opinion that only means you may not have tried every avenue of treatment. For a lot of people that I know with what they would call 'untreatable' depression, I seem them really not having any goals in life, no clear world view, where do I come from, what is my purpose ect. They don't admit that that could be the underlying problem, but I cannot imagine anyone being content with a life that has no purpose, has no foundation, has no direction, nothing to build towards, nothing to look forward to ect.

But again, that is my experience having had many, many, many depressed people in my life.

Those are symptoms of clinical depression not the cause. Everyone gets anxious and down about things( and this can lead to a disorder sometimes), but when it's a disorder it is constant and can be about any and everything with no direct cause. They can also inherited, or at least the susceptibility of them can i believe.

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#21 Edited by diz (1394 posts) -

@slightlytrans: My life has changed considerably since my early teenage years ( - obviously). Expressing your personal opinion that people with clear differences in ways of thinking, being, behaving and coping just need to try new things to be like "normal people" only re-enforces the insult your assertion projects. Depression provides the perfect antidote to goal seeking, self-importance and direction. I only responded because I felt so incensed that someone who seemed to convey the life experience that you do would have such a limited and dismissive view of a mental impairment.

@sombre: Sorry I butted into your thread. I do feel for you - I'm in the same boat and can't provide any rosy answers. Best advice would be to get to know your depression, analyse it for yourself, try to understand it and learn to live with it. With me, much of the time I am fairly morose, but sometimes (very rarely) I can operate on an entirely different level altogether.

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#22 Edited by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

@diz:

So what you are saying that you actually DO feel like you have no purpose, no direction and no goals. But you maintain that your condition caused these things and will never go away. If you wish to give up, do so. But what do you have to lose by not giving up?

I'm sorry if you feel insulted. But if noone had ever insulted me by telling me that I was fat 10 years ago, I would still be extremely obese and probably soon dead.

Sometimes the helpful thing is not to lie.

And the truth is: People cannot be content without a purpose. - Thats why money wont make you happy, because it wont give you a purpose.

So if you are depressed. Ask yourself: Who am I? What is my Purpose?
And if you don't have an answer, get one. Get it from religion, comics, anime, games, get it from your fantasy if you have to. Because I can guarantee you that without any purpose you will never be content, much less 'happy'.

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#23 Edited by diz (1394 posts) -

@slightlytrans: This is getting rather metaphysical, no? I don't maintain my condition caused anything, aside from me feeling depressed. Throughout my life I've always had goals. But as I lived it, I achieved most of them (while being depressed). Goals offer a desire to be elsewhere from where you are now - hardly contentment! And what am I giving up? I think you're transferring conditions on me that I don't consider part of my depression.

Your faux apology (if?) isn't appropriate and your following intimation about me lying only enhances it's absurdity: Food consumption rate is directly proportional to body mass. Suddenly having a "world view" is not directly proportional to being free of depression, much as you like to think it is for you.

Please do NOT attempt your own cod psychology on me. You can offer no guarantees to anyone. Purpose from games? Religion? From fantasy? All you are doing is making me more depressed!

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#24 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1405 posts) -

@sombre: First of all, great job on doing the work to get your anxiety and depression to a mostly manageable level. That can be harder than it sounds.

I'd like to provide a possible answer to the question of why it seems romanticized. First, I think a lot of it has to do with teenagers having an outlet online. Teenagers love to blog about how sad they are. Honestly, I think that's a pretty normal part of finding one's identity in those years. I mean, we've all written sad poetry in our younger days, right? Right?!

I think another part of this comes from the movement in recent years to share one's depression and anxiety, because being open about it is the first step to destigmatizing it. Not everyone CAN be open about it, of course. But some people can be, and I truly believe that this is a net positive for everyone else.

I've seen the occasional Twitter post that pokes fun at what it's like to live with anxiety. The form it takes is usually someone saying they want to do something and their brain saying, "Nope, fuck you, not today." Or it might be a comic strip about how someone has so much to do today that they get overwhelmed and get nothing done.

I want to speak very carefully here. I believe you when you talk about your symptoms. I'm not trying to lessen that in any way. My point here is that maybe instead of seeing it as people romanticising depression and anxiety, we can look at it from another perspective. Social media posts like this are about people owning their depression/anxiety and poking fun at it on their terms. For some people, that simple act can be personally therapeutic while also showing others that it's okay to share their pain.

I didn't mean to write so much here. I hope this helps or at least sheds some new light on this. Keep up the great work, and know that if the real world and real people become too much to handle, you're always welcome here.

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#25 Edited by MiniPato (3019 posts) -

Maybe you should post some examples? Maybe the pictures you're seeing on instagram are from people who don't actually have it. Is it like "lol couldn't decide what I wanted at starbucks!" #socialanxiety! Or is it actual people who suffer from depression and anxiety?

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#26 Posted by Cure_Optimism (85 posts) -

As someone diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, I find it easier to deal with it if I self deprecate and joke about my problems rather than let it sit inside my head. It's therapeutic because you can let someone know you're in a bad spot, but without turning your problem into a big pity party and get everything awkward. People joke about this kinda shit on social media because depression and anxiety is off the charts right now. I think GAD is the most diagnosed disorder and pretty much everyone's got it. I can understand your frustration, though. Just remember that we're all miserable on the inside.

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#27 Posted by FrostyRyan (2924 posts) -

@minipato said:

Maybe you should post some examples? Maybe the pictures you're seeing on instagram are from people who don't actually have it. Is it like "lol couldn't decide what I wanted at starbucks!" #socialanxiety! Or is it actual people who suffer from depression and anxiety?

this is what I was about to say.

The OP doesn't list examples so I don't really know what to make of what they're saying. there are many kinds of "making light" of depression and anxiety. I often make fun of my own social anxiety on social media myself, but you're not really indicating the kind of things they're saying.

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#28 Edited by diz (1394 posts) -

I can post an example:

I played "Depression Quest" because it was free, there was a lot of buzz about it, and I wanted to see if I could relate to it. There was all this talk of it bringing the stigma of mental illness out in the open (again).

Aside from the mechanical shortcomings (it not really being a game, as much as a "Hypercard" or branching "PowerPoint" presentation without any significant graphical effort) I played the game through and gave honest answers. I ended up at the "well, you're fucked then" result.

I remember feeling really angry for playing it and somehow felt duped by aligning myself with sympathy for depression games and for that (realistic enough) ending being there to destroy any shred of hope I might have had of overcoming my battle. I didn't find the game helpful or informative (or really much of a "game") and it's press exposure seemed cynical to my suspicious mind - but that's how I work.

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#29 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1405 posts) -

@slightlytrans: Telling people that they can just get over depression if they try hard enough is absolute bullshit. That isn't how it works for millions of people.

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#30 Posted by Hadoken101 (2083 posts) -

So if you are depressed. Ask yourself: Who am I? What is my Purpose?

And if you don't have an answer, get one. Get it from religion, comics, anime, games, get it from your fantasy if you have to. Because I can guarantee you that without any purpose you will never be content, much less 'happy'.

I feel like narrowing down clinical depression purely to environmental factors is incredibly ignorant to the condition. In the last year, I've found plenty of avenues of personal fulfillment: started taking medication (which as of today is changing because the previous drug stopped helping), made new friends - one of which is probably now the best friend I've ever had, got my first full time job, started going out regularly instead of just staying in my room forever, and started working on my band project.

Despite all of this, I've had multiple periods (not minutes or hours, we're talking consecutive days) in the last few months where I've felt like it was all for naught and felt even more low. Laying in bed crying because despite my life being objectively better than it was in 2016, still feeling absolutely hollow. Depression is an ugly disease, there's no magic wand solution to fixing it. It's not that these people don't want to find purpose in life, it's that they feel like they can't. I'm glad you were able to find peace in your transistion, but to say things are as simple as finding a passion is just as ignorant as saying "Gender Dysphoria is nothing, just find things about your body you feel comfortable about!"

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#31 Posted by MiniPato (3019 posts) -

@diz: Sounds like it's going for the opposite of romanticizing.

I guess what I'm curious about is if you and the OP consider Alex's forthcoming attitude about depression to be romanticizing it and wearing it as a badge of honor? He often brings it up as a defining character trait for himself and sometimes makes it a point of self deprecating humor. Because that's mainly how I see people generally talk about depression and anxiety on social media and I'm wondering if that's what the OP is talking about.

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#32 Posted by ripelivejam (13227 posts) -

I definitely have some unresolved issues that the farthest I've ever tried to take care of them is by seeing my college psychologist a few times many years ago and taking prozac for about two weeks irregularly. I would hardly want to romanticize it and would hope no one else seriously would. In fact, I feel pathetic feeling the ways I do most of the time, because rationally I know I could have it a lot, lot worse in my life and why the hell am I even complaining? (but I understand real depression doesn't work that way)

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#33 Edited by diz (1394 posts) -

@minipato: The majority of outcomes did seem to imply there was some pre-existing network that would support the quester.

It's an ugly disease, so I do feel uncomfortable about it being used as a badge of honour. It is quite ill-defined too, and there are many types and phases of depression. As uncomfortable as I feel about it, I suppose I do respect that Alex does reference his own depression. It's good if times are changing for others, but I haven't really ever been prepared to discuss my own condition publically before - I have enough problems with my own sense of self worth without giving people more reasons to avoid me. It's not a big issue though, since it is so common to trivialise most mental aberrations, i.e. : "I'm so OCD about arranging my fucking Amiibos", "You've got to meet Gladys - she's a complete nutter", or "I'm really depressed I can't get tickets for the poxy front row". And I think I'm partially exempted because my own depression has unique facets to it (as I'm sure most other "depressees" (Is there a collective term?) also think).

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#34 Edited by BladedEdge (1320 posts) -

Maybe its cause I don't use Instagram, Facebook, twitter and all the other social media platforms, but..I don't see this. Like, I totally believe that because depression/anxiety has finally begun to become something that more people feel open in talking about, there might well be some people who are using the condition as a badge of distinction when they don't actually have the disease, or in a way that is clear to anyone who has suffered with the condition for a long time that they are missing some key part of it.

That said..I've not seen it, not in any of the legitimate places I've seen the issue get tackled seriously. Not by people on here, not my GB staff. When the GB staff talks about depression they don't flaunt it. At worst they wear it on their sleeve in a "This is an incredibly hard struggle that I've been dealing with all my life, and yeah its been tough" which, as someone whose gone through the same struggle since I was a small child, is in no way empty pride.

I could, and will say that I survived multiple suicidal episodes in the past, and I am happy to admit it. But I don't do it to be hip or trendy. I do it because talking about it helps me cope with the trauma of the memory. I do it because I am keenly aware that our words have more impact then we know. And maybe, just maybe, someone who has suffered like I have might read that the disease they are struggling with can lead to success stories might help.

Not that I'd call myself a success story..I don't think anyone with long-lasting depression/anxiety feels that way about themselves, at least not all the time. But I will say I have been talking about the issue I suffer more in the recent past because I feel like its become ok to do so. Like there is a part of my personal story and history that I had to once keep private, but can now talk about.

And, honestly, that is wonderful. A decade ago the idea of trying to explain my depression to someone was an impossible feat. Doctors, friends, members of my own family. Depression/anxiety might be getting romanticized by some people abusing the disease for their own ends, but I'll take that side-effect any day over going back to a time when I didn't feel comfortable talking about this issue..cause no one cared/had any ability to empathize.

I am sorry you feel your seeing this OP. Might i suggest looking elsewhere for influences?

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#35 Posted by SloppyDetective (1618 posts) -

@slightlytrans: Andy Richter (a wildly successful comedian with a family he says he loves) has talked about how he will still suffer from depression that comes out of no where. It really sounds like you are just basing your entire idea of depression from your own experience and cannot even fathom that others suffer in a different way.

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#36 Edited by pompouspizza (1563 posts) -

@ripelivejam: While it definitely is good to have perspective in life and know that yes indeed things could be worse, I’ve always hated that argument. Telling somebody that “it could be a lot worse” is meaningless and it’s very dismissive. Don’t beat yourself up about the way you feel.

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#37 Posted by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

@pompouspizza: Yeah it's not very helpful unless you've actually experienced "worse" yourself and can put it in context. But just realizing that there are people whose lives are filled with much more pain than yours is not very meaningful on its own.

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#38 Edited by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

@bladeofcreation:

But then most people don't think any further than the doctor, TV or society will tell them to. It is a very surprisingly small percentage of people that 'think outside the box'. Luckily through my lodge, I am privileged to be around a lot of them, but most people are not. I would put the percentage somewhere around 2 and 5% of people.

If it sounds like a cop out, you can be sure people are going to use it. There may be some genuinely incurable cases granted, if your endocrine system is extremely messed up, but such cases would be chemically measurable, since it would literally be a chronic imbalance of hormones and neurotransmitters. If the cause however is not chemical, but of the mind itself, in my opinion it is curable in 100% of cases, since you can always reconstruct any aspect of your mind by changing your perspective, world view, priorities ect. Takes work, but can be done.

In the end any individual is master of their own destiny. If you want to face a problem by saying it is not solvable, without any proof of such a fact, then you will not likely solve it. I say you have nothing to lose by assuming it to be solvable and to get your life a Why? a Where to, a Purpose, a Reason to get up, something to build, nurture, grow ect. Then you also need the fundation for the Puropose, a solid 'Who am I', 'Why am I' ect, aka Identity. They both work together and one does not work well without the other.

Get a cat, a dog for starters. It wont solve your crisis of identity, but it may give you a soft purpose. Something to grow, nurture and wake up for.

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#39 Edited by htr10 (1065 posts) -

@slightlytrans:

To say the things you are saying are true with such broad implications, your experience has to be greater than just anecdotal experience in your own life and with the people around you. Have you been exposed to large numbers of other people with depression and anxiety? What is your experience with mental illness beyond your own personal life that let’s you speak with such confidence about other people’s lives?

You reference the “chemical imbalance” concept of mental illness. That is a view of mental illness that is outdated by 40 or 50 years of mental health research.

You are walking the line where the things you are saying imply blame of mental illness on the individual. Honestly, you sound kind of like a Scientologist.

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#40 Edited by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

@htr10:

In the end you chose what you want to believe. And as there is no actual reproducible science behind depression, your belief is all you have.

If you chose to believe the worst case. Go for it. It is your destiny after all.

The less people think like me, the less competition I will have. I am alright with that. Selfishly speaking.

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#41 Edited by htr10 (1065 posts) -

@slightlytrans:

You response is silly. You use words like destiny like we are having some conversation in an anime. Your comment on reproducible science is wrong and lazy on your part. Your comment on competition is bizarre at best. You are not well enough educated on this topic and you speak out of turn. Good luck to you.

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#42 Edited by Vamino (286 posts) -

@slightlytrans said:

@bladeofcreation:

Get a cat, a dog for starters. It wont solve your crisis of identity, but it may give you a soft purpose. Something to grow, nurture and wake up for.

And if your depression is such that you don't think you'd be able to appropriately look after an animal? I've been thinking about getting a cat lately, but when my anxiety keeps me awake at night, and my depression can lead to extremely long sleeps, it doesn't seem fair to the animal at that point. I can and do sleep for over a day at a time in some cases, the animal needs feeding and my housemate isn't always here.

I think you have an extremely single minded view of depression. It's fantastic that your particular case was treatable. I've been on every anti-depressant under the sun, and consistently engaged in therapy for years with only minor improvement. I've tried to kill myself multiple times because it feels like the only way to be done with these conditions.

@diz said:

Depression provides the perfect antidote to goal seeking, self-importance and direction.

This guy knows depression. Hope you're doing well at the moment, man.

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#43 Posted by htr10 (1065 posts) -

@vamino:

Don’t kill yourself. Do the best that you can do each day. Some days your best won’t be enough to get you out of bed. That’s okay. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Keep pursuing the help of medical professionals. If the one you’re seeing isn’t helping, don’t give up, try to find another one. Don’t listen to people who want you to believe that it is your fault and you can just “choose” to fix things.

Some cats like to sleep all day too. If you get a big bowl, you don’t need to worry about constantly refilling it.

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#44 Edited by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

@htr10:

Again, there is nothing to educate on. There is no science. No reproducible studies. Psychology is a guessing game.

If you could measure it, you could treat and heal it, you could do reproducible science, give the subject the chemicals it lacks or inhibitors to block the effects of chemicals. But that is not what depression is.

That a human being needs purpose is just common sense.
Take purpose and identity away from any person and he/she will be depressed. Its not rocket science.

Anyways, this discussion is taking away from a day on which I feel especially good, so I wish you all the best.

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#45 Posted by htr10 (1065 posts) -

@slightlytrans:

Again, the chemical imbalance view of mental illness is an outdated and ignorant view of mental illness that went out of fashion in the 1960s or 70s. You don’t know what you are talking about and the ignorant things you are saying can be harmful to others. You have no training in mental illness.

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#46 Posted by htr10 (1065 posts) -
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#47 Posted by clagnaught (2140 posts) -

I don't think it is necessarily people touting depression or anxiety. I think a large part of it is just people being open about it.

I have dealt with depression in the past. It's not so severe and when life is good, it more or less goes away or doesn't bother me nearly as much. But it's been a thing that has hanged around on and off for the past 12 or so years. With me, I don't like talking about it. Like at all. I have a lot of insecurities about it, and I feel like I can't talk about it in general, let alone in person, in front of someone I know. In my case, that isn't healthy (or to phrase it in a different way, there are more beneficial things a person can do). Everybody's different, but generally speaking not talking about stuff like this isn't helpful or the best approach. Even if people don't go to therapy, letting people know what's going on is better than keeping quiet or detached about something.

With that in mind, when people talk about stuff like this on social media or whatever, they are being open about it. It takes a lot of strength, courage, and willpower to do so. I follow people on Twitter who post stuff like that to varying degrees, and it doesn't feel like they are saying "this is who I am". It also doesn't feel like they are being disrespectful or making light of what depression and anxiety is. They are talking about it publicly. People can also get support, whether it's from strangers saying an equivalent to "sorry, hang in there" or friends sending that person moral support. I imagine most of the activity you are referring to falls in line with this context.

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#48 Posted by SlightlyTrans (22 posts) -

@htr10:
We do agree on that point. Have a good day my friend.

I hope you all find a way to be more happy and content. Because life is too short.

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#49 Edited by diz (1394 posts) -

@slightlytrans said:

@htr10:

Again, there is nothing to educate on. There is no science. No reproducible studies. Psychology is a guessing game.

If you could measure it, you could treat and heal it, you could do reproducible science, give the subject the chemicals it lacks or inhibitors to block the effects of chemicals. But that is not what depression is.

That a human being needs purpose is just common sense.

Take purpose and identity away from any person and he/she will be depressed. Its not rocket science.

Anyways, this discussion is taking away from a day on which I feel especially good, so I wish you all the best.

Again? There is plenty of science and much of it is reproducible. There is no definitive consensus yet though. Your rather vacuous mantra reminds me of the Mitchell and Webb sketch - Brain surgery? It's hardly rocket science! You don't need to take things away from people to give them depression. People with purpose and passion may already have it. Your thorough lack of understanding, lack of reasoned response to the unanimous counter-arguments here and seeming ability to judge people only by your exclusive standards makes me think that you're just fulfilling your own destiny by trolling for negative attention:

@hadoken101 nailed this cognitive dissonance in post #30 by saying -

"I'm glad you were able to find peace in your transistion (sic), but to say things are as simple as finding a passion is just as ignorant as saying "Gender Dysphoria is nothing, just find things about your body you feel comfortable about!"

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#50 Edited by deactivated-5a923fc7099e3 (534 posts) -

Teenagers especially are prone to romanticize depression. It can be a clumsy way to garner attention or to fill out the gaps in their burgeoning adulthood. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between posturing and genuine mental problems. As a teenager I went trough this myself. Being a part of the alternative crowd I found myself doing this exact thing. Looking back at it it was really selfish and embarrassing but I guess it was me awkwardly finding my personality. Later on in life I unfortunately found out what depression really is like. I am weaning of efexor at the moment and my days currently vary between OK and slightly terrible. But both the medication and therapy has helped me to be able to deal with my tendency to get caught up in negative and self destructive thoughts.

I think it's impossible to make broad claims around depression. It can be caused by so many things and it can creep up to anyone. I hate it when people come up with their catch all solutions. If you were helped by religion or just by getting a pet then fine but don't expect that this will work for all people. I was approached by so many woo peddling good meaning friends during my depression for example. They swore of medication and suggested all kinds of alternatives. Unfortunately I found myself defending my chosen treatment all too often. The best thing you can do for someone who is depressed is to offer a listening ear. Be supportive and offer distractions. I can't tell you how great it felt to have a friend call me about trivial stuff sometimes.