There’s a very clear stereotype about depression – it’s a girl who is so sad, so sad that she stays in bed all day, or stays up all night, drinking tea and thinking deep, deep thoughts. She writes poems about the violets under her eyes and the cigarettes she smokes burning like her mind.
Then someone comes along. Someone who will be drawn in by their sadness, their depth, their ability to smile despite all of their problems, and they will fix them. It will usually involve approaching slowly and carefully and telling them how they think they’re beautiful, despite everything. Within a few days of being with this person, they’re miraculously cured, because depression doesn’t need therapy and medication to cure it, it doesn’t take a long, hard crawl to beat it – of course not. It takes meeting a boy.
Can you see where the problem is? Not only does it romanticize depression – tell you that depression is the only way you find a boy who loves you – it paints anyone with it as a damsel in distress, just sitting there, waiting to be saved.
And I’ll be damned if anyone treats me like a damsel in distress.
Depression is an illness. Just like any illness, it is important to have supportive people around you, but ultimately, it comes down to the person fighting it to do just that; fight it.
It is not anyone else who will save you from it. And depression is not a cushy illness; it is also not a way to attract people to you. It is not something to hanker after, it is not a fashion accessory. It is a long, hard struggle to beat and it is exhausting.
And I am sick to death of it being painted as anything but.
Media and entertainment are to blame here. Magazines, TV shows, books, movies – they all paint depression as this glorious thing. A sad and tragic ending, but beautiful and bittersweet at the same time. It’s your Manic Pixie Dream Girl problem all over again.
The other problem is there are few places to be educated on it. Unless you know of someone with depression and have seen the damage it can do, it’s easy to believe that what’s being shoved in your face is the correct interpretation. Sites like Tumblr sometimes have fantastic education on issues like this, but can be equally as damaging. One honest mistake will not be forgiven; it will be held against you, long after you may have educated yourself on the topic.
Depression is not a Disney story, so stop treating it like it is.
(This post was written before changes to my blog, when all posts where categorized by “sparks”. Any and all references to Katy/Everyday/Travelling/Life Sparks or Sparkszine are as a result of this)