You’re Going To Make Me Rant About Privilege Again


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.

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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.

 

Comments

  1. kestrel says

    Oh boy, that makes my blood boil too. This whole idea that pills are somehow bad or shameful… WTF??! I hear this a lot. The Partner has to deal with it at the hospital, because there is such a stigma about taking pills that people are always in there for not taking their medication. They have a very easy and extremely handy way of treating their condition, but they won’t take it. Then they end up in the hospital.

    To my way of thinking we should be *thrilled* that there are medications we can take to treat various illnesses and conditions. Sometimes people say, “I should have been born 400 years ago” or something similar because they really admire some period of history; oh boy, not me! The dental care sucked. They did not have effective anesthetics. No ibuprofen? No thank you! I am REALLY happy to be alive in a time when the medical care is so good, that more and more people are living longer, healthier lives. If you are prescribed pills, take them and be glad you can be treated!

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      People deny that vaccines are effective for many different reasons, which is why you will find them on either side of the political spectrum. The ones who oppose vaccines for religious reasons will most likely be on the right. However, there are many that are anti-vaccine for naturalistic, alternative medicine-type reasons, and they tend to be on the left. You want a citation for… the existence of left-wing anti-vaxxers? OK. The article that anat provided does cover how there are anti-vaxxers on either side. All of the anti-vaxxers I’ve ever met are left wingers, mostly because I know far more left wingers than I do right wingers. Either way, I’m pretty confident that they do exist, and in sufficient numbers. Admittedly not many studies seem to be published on it, as most people tend to make the assumption that the anti-vaxxers in the vegan and alternative medicine/homeopathy camps = left and anti-vaxxers in the religious/orthodox communities = right, but I guess it would be interesting to survey those people and see how many vegan anti-vaxxers are right wingers, and how many Christian scientists are liberals.

      • Pierce R. Butler says

        … it would be interesting to survey those people …

        Quite so. Sorting out clear definitions of “Right” and “Left” in twenty-teen US politics by itself can provide hours of entertainment for the whole family!

  2. Raucous Indignation says

    Don’t ever feel the need to backpedal by saying that anti-depressants are “over-prescribed.” That’s bullshit. Many, many people with psychiatric illnesses get NO therapy whatsoever because of purulent piss holes spreading dehumanizing propaganda.

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      Oh it’s not a backpedal. I am perfectly aware that there are many people that don’t get treatment, but there are also some people who are prescribed antidepressants for whom they are not the right way to go. In the States, whether or not you get treatment will be far more dependant on your socioeconomic status rather than your need for treatment, and that’s the sad thing.
      I’ve known teenagers in the States who were prescribed a one month “trial period” of antidepressants, then cut off abruptly. It did not end well.

  3. whirlwitch says

    Those pills prevent me from hurting or attempting to kill myself. The trees help too. But in order to get out and let the trees help, I need the pills to help me get washed, dressed and out the door. Today is a grey, rainy, dim October day. Sitting out under wet trees losing their leaves doesn’t have quite the effect of that pretty picture in the meme. But my pills are effective in all weather conditions. This is the reality of my life, and anyone dismissing what the pills do either doesn’t give a damn about whether or not I hurt myself, or is awesomely underinformed about the world in general and needs to practice listening skills.

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