at the risk of sounding offensive,
why is everyone depressed these days? When I was younger no one ever talked about being depressed, and not many people seemed that depressed, It has always been a thing for sure but it was not nearly as ubiquitous as it is these days. now it seems to be more common among young people than not-being-depressed is.
has it always been that way, but people didn’t understand it/talk about it? Have people always been depressed but didn’t have a forum like the internet to discuss it? Are some people diagnosing themselves with “depression” when it may be something else? Did something change in society that is causing more people to be depressed? Is there something in the food? Or is it one of those things where I am conflating what it’s like on the internet to what it’s like IRL?
I think there are a lot of things going on — on one side, people say “I’m so depressed” when they’re upset about a situation, which can often be more aptly described as “sad.” “I’m so sad that my favorite restaurant closed” or “I’m so sad that my mom won’t let me go to XX.” I don’t doubt that the feelings are truly painful and full of disappointment, but I don’t think they are “proper depression.”
There is still a huge stigma on mental illness, especially when talking about it in person. If you’ve never had to deal with it, then it’d hard to understand the pain and frustration when people say to you “what’s wrong with you? why don’t you just choose to be happy?” or “so many people have it worse than you, what do you have to complain about?” And when you’re being told that you have absolutely no reason to feel this overwhelming, suffocating depression because your life isn’t “as bad” as someone else’s then you stop talking about it and feel even worse and it spirals down.
Then you see someone talking about their own struggles online. And you realize that you’re not alone and that if you say, “hey, me too” in a conversation about depression, people aren’t going to jump down your throat and tell you that you have no right to complain or feel the way that you do. So you go from “hey, me too” into a slightly more detailed explanation of how you’re feeling and maybe someone else says “me too” and you feel even more understood and less-alone.
It’s much easier to do it online because it’s far less intimidating — you don’t risk your family and friends telling you that you are making things up for attention, nor do you have to deal with their personal biases when it comes to your feelings. It’s a relatively safe space to put your story out there — especially when it can be anonymous like on tumblr — to test the waters and hopefully find the resources to get help.