A shocking number of people still believe depression is something one can cure by thinking about rainbows twice a day or eating more salad. It’s a terrible misconception that causes people to do things like this woman did on Twitter, which is blame depressed people for making a bad “choice.” Yikes.
Luckily, the extremely hilarious and chronically depressed Andy Richter, who has been making this poor “choice” his entire life, came in to set the record straight.
To piggyback off Andy:
Telling depressed people to “suck it up” is not only a downright cruel thing to say, but it also demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about what depression is.
While the effects of depression may occur “in your head,” it is very much a physical disease. People who suffer from it are cursed with brains that physically cannot produce enough dopamine. Telling people to “just be happy” when they’re depressed is like telling someone with heart disease to “just make your heart pump blood faster” — it isn’t an issue you can will away with positive thinking. Diet, exercise, and medication can sometimes help alleviate the symptoms, but it’s going to be a lifelong battle, just as it would be if any organ in the body failed to function properly.
I also feel like a lot of the misconception comes from people thinking they’ve been clinically depressed when they haven’t. They’ll get dumped or fired and become extremely sad. Those feelings are valid and serious and can still drive you to harming yourself, so seek help if you have dark thoughts, but the type of depression Richter is referring to, the clinical kind, doesn’t ebb and flow with life’s circumstances. Clinically depressed people can have the perfect wife and family and all the money in the world, yet still be utterly miserable. Because no matter how great their life is, they still have a brain that doesn’t do its job. They still have a brain that can’t produce enough of the chemical that makes you happy.
So be understanding, be kind, and stop telling depressed people to “just think positive.” That’s a shitty excuse for advice and not only does it make you look like an idiot, but it drives depressed people closer to killing themselves.
h/t Bored Panda
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