Arguments from a privileged perspective are, unfortunately, an easy trap to fall into, and both sides of the political spectrum are afflicted with them. Your far right will often make ludicrous arguments from a white, cis hetero male perspective, we have all heard them and torn them apart many times. However it is not fair to deny that we have our own privileged kooks on the left as well. Anti-vaxxers, for instance, are often far to the left, and I have previously posted about how GMO-hate can also fall into this category. Now, I’ve come across another argument-from-privilege meme that is making my blood boil.
Go fuck yourself, spiritual man.
This meme is a perfect example of neurotypical privilege. People who think that depression is just being a bit sad once in a while. When I feel sad, I just take a relaxing walk through nature, or watch a fun movie, or drink a cup of hot chocolate under the covers, or maybe treat myself to a few sessions with a therapist. Why can’t you people stop taking pills for all your problems and just solve them the natural way, by looking at a pretty picture of trees?
This argument is so tone deaf, so ignorant and so condescending that I’m having trouble not typing out a string of curse words that would make a truck driver go pale.
Depression is not just being a bit sad. Chemical imbalances in your brain do not magically solve themselves by looking at a pretty picture. In a single meme, this asshat has managed to shit all over an entire branch of science and medicine and make people with real depression feel less than for actually needing medicine for their condition. What’s more, it has also managed to reinforce the notion that scientists like myself have been battling against for decades: that things like depression and anxiety are not real diseases or disorders. They’re just whining, or complaining, or someone who can’t suck it up and handle difficulties in their lives. It’s not like having a physical illness, like an ulcer or IBS. It’s just a mental/emotional/psychological problem, with no actual underlying physical cause. Just be brave like me, just find comfort in a seascape like me, just do what I do and enough with thinking that a pill can solve all your problems.
That is not to say that antidepressants are not sometimes over-prescribed, and different countries have this problem to differing degrees based on how incentivized doctors are to prescribe these medications whether or not their patients actually need them. That is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, but it is definitely not solved by talking down to all of those people who actually need that medicine, or trying to convince them that they don’t really need it. It is hard enough for people who need these kinds of medications to stay on them, as finding the right dosage is very tricky, varies enormously on a case-by-case basis and can bring with it some unpleasant side effects. If you pile on top of all that the idea that none of the pills will actually work and that they do not need them, people die because of such ignorance.
If you don’t have clinical depression, go ahead and pat yourself on the back and be grateful that you don’t have to live through that kind of hell. If you are able to overcome your sadness, or even your depression, without medication, that’s great. But don’t equate your own occasional sad or stressful times with people with clinical depression or anxiety, and don’t think you’re better than them because you had the good fortune of being born without a disorder.