#2. Depressed People Just Need to Snap Out of It
People who argue that antidepressants don’t work are also eager to tell you that mental illness is a hot new trend, like twerking, but somehow actually less sad. It’s cool to be depressed because you can act miserable all the time but get mad when people call you out on it. It’s free rein to be an insufferable jerk. Wow, depression is awesome!
But if all that pretend illness is stressing you out, don’t worry — there’s a solution. According to one of the scions of journalism at the Daily Mail, “It’s called self-empowerment and costs absolutely nothing.” Ignoring the fact that “self-empowerment” is often as meaningless as telling someone to synergize their paradigms, the author’s what we’ll generously call an argument is that people who are depressed just need to get over themselves and move on. Shit, so if I don’t want to be depressed, I just need to stop being depressed? Why didn’t I think of that?
Admittedly, the Daily Mail is such low-hanging fruit that it’s practically a potato. But it’s an attitude that’s depressingly easy to find (see what I did there?). Here’s an article from the Daily Caller that argues that depressed people should fight their woes with a stoic attitude and good old-fashioned prayer, instead of wasting valuable tax dollars on stupid things like “treatment.” And here’s the Daily Mail again, with an article that’s basically the written equivalent of a “Deal with it” gif.
It’s nice that these editorials are limited to sites read by people who think the president is a homosexual communist, but it’s easy to find them on forums, or in comment sections, or coming out of the mouth of some mouth breather at a coffee shop. And not only are they wrong, but they’re also dangerously wrong.
The message is “Depression is fake, so if you have it, it’s your own fault.” Because that’s just what the mentally ill need to hear — that the problem lowering their quality of life is imaginary and self-inflicted. That will make them feel better! Or it will damage their personal lives or careers, or contribute to suicide rates. You know, either/or.
Then you have people blaming America’s mental health system for mass shootings. Well, there’s a mixed message — if you have depression, you’re probably faking it, but if it’s real, then you’re a mass murderer waiting to happen. I’m not saying that the mental health system doesn’t need improvement, but maybe not treating the mentally ill as either liar or ticking time bombs would help, too.
Most people, like the intelligent and no doubt incredibly attractive folks reading this, know better. But mental illnesses are heavily stigmatized, and it doesn’t take much to put someone who’s already feeling irrationally ashamed of himself in a bad place.
So if you ever feel the urge to tell someone to just get over their depression, stop and imagine what would happen if you told that to a person with, say, a broken leg or a cartoonishly large, life-disrupting penis.
#1. Only Women and Old People Get Depressed
This is another one of the most common, and annoying myths about depression out there.
Our friend from the Daily Mail mentions a fellow who argues that men face a stigma when it comes to admitting to mental health problems. But don’t worry guys — we’re only sad because many women are now making more money than us. And that’s just karma for all the years we were keeping women down, so don’t expect any pity! It takes a special kind of stupid to argue that stigma doesn’t exist by perpetuating it, but as Mark Twain once said, “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the intelligence of the Internet.”