There have been recent trends of glorifying sadness on social media that may have started as a way for people to relate with others on a deeper level aside from the usual superficial validation of selfies by friends and/or strangers. Unfortunately, the memes, hashtags, and posts that seem to romanticize the idea of someone being depressed for simply experiencing typical alterations of feelings and emotions have gotten out of hand. Inconsequential and short-term situations eliciting temporary negative feelings are being used to seek attention from others despite not being the cause of actual, long-term, or valid clinical depression as is claimed.
However, this is the ‘FML’ generation, so we tend to have a flair for the dramatic. We can’t simply have a bad experience, brush it off, and move on. We have to tell all of our friends, wallow in some level of self-pity, and of course, share it on all of our social network accounts so people can validate just how ‘bad’ we have it — even for things that are not that bad.
…This is the ‘FML’ generation
Most recently, the hashtag #igetdepressedwhen went viral for all the wrong reasons. If you browsed the associated posts, you would’ve noticed that the majority of them ended up trivializing the clinical disorder, reducing it to a temporary feeling or mood. This turned into a mockery of something that is actually a global mental health concern by citing melodramatic scenarios about ice cream melting and leaving a puddle of condensation in one’s lap or not having time to stop for coffee before work in the morning, for example. Obviously, these situations alone do not actually cause a person to become depressed as the clinical definition explicitly describes.
Those who struggle through the effects of the disease day-in and day-out were left to watch this conversation make a mockery of their conditions. This could have been used as an opportunity to break the stigma, allow the facts about the illness to come out through this platform, and raise awareness to the masses. Thankfully, though, depression is not a disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to stand up and defend him or herself. People came out in droves to shut down the insensitive and inappropriate use of the hashtag. To see the hashtag stopped in its tracks was heartening because it flipped the conversation on its head and forced people to realize there is a big difference between having depression and just being sad about an incident. It also called people out on the fact that their use of the hashtag perpetuates the belief that people with depression are just being over-dramatic and not choosing to overcome their plight.
…There is a big difference between having depression and just being sad about an incident.
To sum up a few key things about depression that need to be understood in order to maintain the authenticity and validity of the term for those it actually applies to, here are some facts and clarifications:
Even if you weren’t involved in the hashtag situation when it was at its height, this was a life lesson for all of us. Situational sadness is not depression. You don’t just get depressed over one trivial matter like not being able to find the remote in time to watch your favorite show. And to glorify or romanticize a genuine mental illness that impacts 6% of the adult population in America for comedic purposes or to appear relatable and authentic to your social circles does a disservice to society as a whole. It diminishes the efforts and credibility of those working to shatter stigmas on mental health around the world. My hope is that people will rethink their casual and even callous everyday use of the words ‘depressed’ and ‘depression’ and be more thoughtful and considerate of the negative impact it can have on others before jumping on another ill-thought out social media bandwagon like this in the future (#liveandlearn).
Originally published at missmuslim.nyc