Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Offended

So this just happened. As I was perusing Facebook I came across a post from a former coworker of mine. It was a picture of Jim Carrey with this quote, "I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don't exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren't giving yourself a fighting chance." I can agree with that.

My former coworker, who happens to be a very active Christian, added the following thoughts to the post prior to sharing it, "Amen. 100%! Let's use what we now know to be beneficial to the fullest!" I'm not exactly sure what she means by that statement, but I took offense.

I took offense because I felt the post--the combination of Jim Carrey's quote and her attached thoughts--was implying that I (and you) could control or even avoid depression if I (and you) only did all of the things of which Jim Carrey spoke. Who knew?? If only I was a better person and lived a healthier lifestyle I wouldn't have depression! So simple! (I hope you read that with the intended dripping sarcasm.)

I don't usually engage in controversy or say negative things on Facebook. In fact, I hardly comment at all. It's just not worth my energy. But I was so offended I had to comment on this post. I wrote, "And if you exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, and surround yourself with support, you can still have depression. Just as you can still have diabetes or cancer. It's an illness not a character or lifestyle defect."

I was especially offended and angered by her post because this woman worked with me! She knows me! She knows someone who has been hospitalized for depression despite living a healthy lifestyle and surrounding myself with support. I'm healthier than most people half my age! Depression doesn't give a shit! She wouldn't have considered posting that comment, or her 2 cents, if the topic had been cancer! Never! Why did she feel it was okay to post this about depression?

What does that mean? "Amen. 100%! Let's use what we now know to be beneficial to the fullest!" What does that even mean? It sure sounds like she's implying that somehow I am the reason for my illness. Or is her comment a swipe against using medication for my illness? Because if I just lived better I wouldn't need medication because I wouldn't have depression? I don't know her reasons for posting this. Who is this post aimed at? Who is it helping? Clearly she believes what she shared, but I don't think she would have posted similar thoughts or statements about cancer.

I'm going to stop now because I'm actually shaking a bit. I just don't know how we are ever going to get across to the world that depression is an illness of the brain. It needs to be treated as we treat any other illness of any other organ. And as an illness it should carry no moral judgment. If a person with whom I worked side by side, who has seen me train, and eat, and act silly, and be fun, and have meaningful relationships can't grasp that fact, who can? Who will?

5 comments:

Eva said...

There will always be very stupid people in the world. No amount of exercise, eating nutritious food, getting sunlight, getting enough sleep, consuming positive material, surrounding yourself with support can help against that.
Amen. 100%

etta said...

@ Eva: Thanks for that. You made me smile.

HBF said...

What more can I say? Eva said it all! :o)

Katy said...

I just want to say f*** that person on Facebook. I know that is not appropriate, but they obviously do not have depression and anxiety. Good for them. They are so lucky they do NOT have that problem. You can't really take anything that that person says seriously. He/she does NOT understand. That is sad for her/him. Too bad they are not really understanding or trying to understand something that would certainly help people in their life. Depression and anxiety are a problem for someone they love because it IS so common. I hope they do learn eventually, but that is NOT your problem.

etta said...

Thanks HBF and Katy! Great responses, both of you. You guys also made me smile!



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