I just read an article, Spending Your Entire Life Wanting to Die (link: https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/spending-your-entire-life-wanting-to-die) based off the memoir This Close to Happy by Daphne Merkin. I saw the book in catalogs and have been dying to read it.
Overall, this article communicates ideas to audiences that correspond to the possible factors contributing to depression, ranging from how it appears to outsiders, modern society’s perception on it, family issues, one’s household environment and many more. I would just like to elaborate on this. Having experienced a phase of depression, I’ve always wanted to look into it to understand why victims feel the way they do.
The symptoms associated with depression are either so simple and overemphasized that people see it as something that has lost meaning, or depression is communicated often as just a serious health condition that outsiders see it as that: something to sympathize for. For one who has experienced depression, and please feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts on it, the symptoms are much more complex than that. The stories behind the symptoms and how they impact us rise beyond those listed in healthcare pages online. They kill us—there are stories behind every person who experienced depression—and society tries to sympathize without full understanding.
Household environments are different for everyone. I like how educators encourage parents to support kids, but how many parents out there actually do that? How many parents are busy and working hard? How many kids grew up in unfortunate environments or experienced unfortunate events that have changed them? Unrealistic expectations are traps for failure. Parents are all humans with disparate personalities and we cannot expect every kid to be a happy, jolly soul all day. Educators once judged me for being sad in school and on trips where everyone was having fun but me. And you know the education system is absurd when educators are part of the reason for your depression in addition to unsupportive parents. No parent is expected to be perfect, but having ideal students or judging others without knowing them as complex humans is just unacceptable.
Anecdotally, ever since we were young kids desperate for support and affection, regardless of whether our parents openly displayed love or not, there is this gut feeling inside us convincing our mind that maybe they do love us. Even if they are abusive or in conflict, we have hope that deep inside, beneath all the anger, they do love us anyways. And that wishful thinking is why we cling to them even when there is tension. But as we grow older, we become more skeptical of others and uncomfortable with intimacy because we aren’t sure what it will bring to our lives or we may question its authenticity.
Furthermore, household environments are complex for everyone. We strive everyday to understand why our surroundings are the way they are. Everyone has been through different experiences in their lives. As a result, some people make a big deal out of petty problems. If you come from a relatively affluent neighborhood and household, you are not immune to depression. If you come from a household in a neighborhood with poverty, you are not immediately prone to depression. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that someone cannot be depressed due to external values like wealth or even education. When I was depressed, I went to school and put on a happy mask so no one noticed. When I consulted my guidance counselor, she sent out an email to those teachers. Soon enough, they all accused me of lying about depression just to make teachers more lenient on grading because my drop in grades stressed me out in addition to the depression. I barely slept at night. It was bad. One night, I broke out with bloodshot eyes and a pit in my stomach. It was difficult to force myself to pull through school while being miserable. You can be one person at home and one at school. It’s what depression can do to you.
Concluding all of this, I just want to note that in this society, there are a lot of misunderstandings regarding depression. The symptoms appear simple but are much more complex than they appear on the surface. Depressed individuals may have masks and it is important to look beyond that in order to help them, and to not be impetuous to judge them. Household environments are factors in the overall development of children, and external things like wealth, power etc. do NOT determine one’s chances of encountering depression. We all have different stories and backgrounds behind us, and as educated humans, we should always refrain from developing ideas about individuals we barely know or jumping to stereotypes. Yes, depression is serious, but we need to stop overlooking it just because there aren’t many vicarious accounts of it. Friends, if you want to talk or have any questions or concerns, feel free to comment on this post and I will reply. I’m always open to talk if you ever need somebody and I’m completely open to discussion and feedback. I hope we can grow as community members and continue fighting for what it is that we want.