There's a webcomic I frequent, and which I like a lot. Up until today, I respected the artits and writers very much. Occasionally said writers or artists blog about whatever is on their mind. Occasionally, I bother to read it. Today I did, and I don't think I should have.
The artist was blogging about how these major catastrophic events in the world -- like the current crisis in Haiti -- can lead us to feeling overwhelmed and depressed. His comment on depression is what ruffles my feathers:
"Depression is a very selfish place where you dig yourself a hole and crawl in face first.
I sincerely doubt this person has ever been depressed in the true meaning of the word, or known someone that has. I can't imagine someone that is personally familiar with the disorder would say something so staggeringly ignorant. This statement implies that being depressed is a conscious choice. If you are diagnosed with depression (clinical depression or any variety thereof), you do not have a choice to just... not be depressed.
Not that this is news to anyone, but I am depressed. I've been diagnosed. I'm constantly told to "cheer up" or "look at the bright side", and I'm advised not to let things "get to me". In my opinion that's like telling someone with a pneumonia not to fucking cough and just try to breathe normally. Or telling someone with a broken leg they should try limping less. If you're depressed, there's only so much you can do about it without therapy, constant support or perhaps drugs. The whole point that we seek someone out for help, and then get diagnosed, is because we can't climb out of that self-pitying hole on our own. Most people do not enjoy being depressed.
That's another thing that pisses me off, and something I suspect this person is doing, and that is mistaking depression for feelings of sadness and glumness. Everyone feels sad and glum and tired sometimes. That's human, that's not depression. It provokes me when I hear friends say "I feel so depressed" when I know they mean they're having a bad day and feeling down. Now I'm not arguing negative emotions cannot be experienced by persons who are not depressed - of course they can. But it triggers something in me when it's deliberately called something it's not. The same goes for someone complaining of a migraine when it's just a headache. Or saying they have the flu when it's a cold.
Call me anal. Go ahead.