Monday, August 1, 2011

You're Into Depression Because It Matches Your Eyes

Depression is not a subject that I take lightly so, rest assured, that this is not something directed to those among us who actually carry this black cloud draped over their being on a daily basis; those people for whom our every day existence is just an all-consuming tunnel of blackened sorrow. This, my friends, is for the attention-whores who use depression (or their self-absorbed idea of depression) as an excuse. A bitch, whiny, poorly-acted excuse to slump through life while never actually doing anything to change the circumstances surrounding them.

When I was in my late teens, I went through what I genuinely thought was a long bout of depression (see 1996-1999). I wanted things that I didn't have, I felt like I was being beaten down by the harsh realities of life, and I debated over whether life was worth living at all. What I later realized was that I was just being a selfish young asshole. My depression was born out my teenage narcissism and a belief that I was entitled to what ever I wanted. When I didn't get the things I wanted out of life (usually following some half-hearted effort that I told myself was the best I could do) I would fall into a "depression" state or what normal people would refer to as pouting like a little bitch. Once I realized that there were people with bigger problems than not having a car at 17 or feeling sorry for myself for being poor, I quickly got my act together and moved on with my life.

Nowadays whenever someone blurts out how depressed they are in the middle of a conversation I know that very moment is when I should cease to pay attention to them. People who are really depressed don't go around talking about how depressed they are all the time. What that person is really saying is "Life is much more exciting when it's all about me". They are looking for your sympathy, so you can tell them how person X is an asshole or how they deserve something solely because they really want it. The actually depressed don't do this at all. They don't want to talk about their depression; they hide it as best they can and feel sentenced to suffer in silence because they believe no one cares about them enough to hear their cries. It takes a Herculean effort for an actually depressed person to come to grips with their situation and actively seek out help. Essentially, the attention-whores set themselves apart by being attention-whores.

The faux depressed have been shoved in our face more and more since the grunge era where the music of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and (not grunge at all, but fit the bill) The Smashing Pumpkins was latched onto by needy suburban teens looking for a reason to feel special. That era begat the Nü-Metal era where bands like Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Korn, and the like passed off their whine-fest as aggression toward some undefined source so that they can feel special (and about as metal as daisies). Our television shows are filled with the image of people who can't get out of bed or sulk away in seclusion over their latest break up or being passed over for a job. All essentially media-approved, inaccurate depictions of depression that have done nothing, but make light of a serious condition that literally kills people every day and make it seem cool to be depressed because it somehow authenticates your existence.

Depression isn't a cold that lasts two weeks. Depression is a black cloud that hangs over the heads of thousands of people every day who struggle to find a reason to live. You don't get to use depression to explain away your reasons for being a jackass, or not getting off the couch, or eating two cartons of Häägen-Dazs in one sitting. Let's all get over ourselves and keep the pity parties to a minimum.

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