It’s not cool, it’s not something to be envied. Depression isn’t what it’s made out to be in the media.
The media uses depression to explain away sadness, even simple sadness, but they don’t dive into the many different forms of depression. Speaking for myself, it doesn’t come with the Hot Topic wardrobe, or the cigarette that’s always lit. Hell, it doesn’t even come every day. But it’s always there.
Depression is when you have the best day, one of the best days of your life even, but you still have that nagging voice in your head that makes you feel like you want to die. Depression is drowning yourself with work so you can’t think about anything. It’s when you just can’t find the will to get out of bed, so you call into work, or even give up something you love to do.
There are many forms of it; the easiest to describe are low-functioning and high-functioning. The Huffington Post recently wrote an article about high-functioning depression and the many masks it carries.
Low-functioning is exactly as it sounds. It’s not being able to get out of bed, not being about do follow through with friends or loved ones, or even doing something (a hobby) you love doing. It’s laying in bed for hours with the black curtains drawn and staring at the ceiling and suddenly your entire day is gone.
High-functioning is common, too. Many people, including myself, keep themselves busy with work, school, friends, family, hobbies, in order to suppress or deal with whatever they may be feeling. As the article linked above explains, high-functioning depressive people can appear to have their lives together, but inside they’re falling apart.
Depression isn’t something that should be twisted into something it’s not.
If this issue were ever to be truly tackled by the media, we need an accurate depiction of what this disease looks like for everyone. One version is not the same as someone else’s, and glorifying a “cool” version, one that doesn’t exist, in the media creates a stereotype about who suffers and falls victim to the disease.
The stereotype of depression, both the disease and those who suffer from it, needs to end both in the media and the public eye.