So, I just witnessed another example of someone reinforcing negative stereotypes of mental illness while trying to appear understanding…and it really pissed me off.
I saw someone online who was clearly dealing with severe depression post something where they said that they were ready to give up. They said that they had been abandoned by their support, both professional and personal, and that they were constantly crying and couldn’t even get out of bed to take care of themselves. While I haven’t personally dealt with all the issues they have to I know what those kinds of feelings are like as I too suffer from serious depression.
Then someone posted a comment: “Get up and FIGHT!”
My response to that was to say that they couldn’t be serious because if the depressed person could have done that then they would have.
The troll’s response? I was being negative and should go away.
I tried to be reasonable and explain that saying that sort of thing to a depressed person made as much sense as saying it to a person who couldn’t physically move such as a quadriplegic. Apparently, the troll had not even the most basic concept of what depression was because their response was simply that the depressed person doesn’t have a physical problem and that they are simply depressed and needed encouragement to “live.”
Yeah, I wasn’t ok with that. I’ve personally had to deal with idiots like that and most people I know who are mentally ill have as well and none of us like to deal with it. So, I pretty much lost it. Here’s [mostly] what I said. Some has been edited to because of confidentiality and stuff.
“You apparently don’t understand what it’s like to “suffer with” depression or you’d realize how ridiculous [your] statement is. The reality of depression is that sometimes people don’t care but also sometimes they do [and can’t do anything about it] and that is why saying that is as ridiculous as saying it to someone who physically can’t because people with depression physically can’t and no amount of wishful thinking or pseudo-encouragement will change that. Depression is physical, it is physical in the brain and thinking positively is not even an option for someone with severe, chronic depression because the part of the brain that allows someone to do so is not functioning correctly. Telling someone which chronic depression who can’t get up to [get up and live] is really insensitive and reinforces negative stereotypes and misinformation about the reality of mental illness and is the opposite of encouragement. It’s also very selfish because the person doing such things is not really doing it to help those who suffer but to make themselves feel better.”
I seriously doubt that the troll will understand but I couldn’t just sit by and watch more stupid crap go on when it comes to mental illness stereotypes, especially since it was in an environment that was supposed to be supportive for those of us with mental illness.