Do Abled Folk Think We Have Magical Powers?

04Jan10

So I did something kind of foolish. I asked for advice on how to deal with my depression on twitter. I was a bit desperate really, I’ve been reeling and I don’t have a whole lot of help here. So I asked. I got a good chunk of good advice from other folks with depression. And then I got this gem:

“Stop [self] hating”

Really, asshole? It’s that easy? I can just magically stop my depression? Well gosh, I wish I knew that before. If only I realized that PWD who have mental, emotional or personality based disorders and/or mental illness had magical powers. That we were all sparkly pixie dust dispensers and could douse ourselves in that dust and magically stop feeling depressed or stop having trouble focusing or stop whatever is going on in our heads.

What is it that makes abled people think that we can just magically stop hurting? What is it that makes abled people so damned ignorant about how various mental disabilities and disorders work, to the point that they would think the words, “stop being depressed”, “stop being unfocused” would actually be a fucking help? I don’t know if abled folk do this with psychosis and hallucinations but I can solidly bet they do. Oh wait, I know what makes them think that. Privilege.

This bs from abled people is a big reason why asking for advice on depression on twitter is such a ridiculously bad idea. But the part that really upsets me, that really pushes me past the bounds of civility, is how these people will defend saying this bullshit to me after I’ve told them how unhelpful it is. And the fact that when I need help, comfort or I’m hurting, I’m stuck educating a bunch of ignorant wire chewers when the powers of google lie at their finger tips.

Here’s the thing, abled folk. We can’t just stop this shit. We can’t magically make our disabilities disappear. I can’t just stop being depressed. There are ways to cope, to deal with it, ways to treat the pain and the depression. But no amount of willpower and new age hipster fuckjob positive thinking is going to change what I’m dealing with.

And that’s really what it comes down to isn’t it? It’s that new age hipster fuckjob positive thinking thing. Thinking positivity has its uses. For one, thinking negatively can be very draining and harmful, so thinking positively is a way to avoid the risk of that. And thinking positively is a good way in some cases to gain the confidence needed to go after what you want. But thinking positively does not cure depression. It won’t make disabilities of any kind go away, not chronic pain, not depression, not ADD, not any of them. It really doesn’t even improve them. This whole, “thinking positive will magically solve your problems” bullshit has been all over the United States for a while now. And it’s feeding right into ableism and able privileged bullshit.

Could I just have one day where no stupid assholes tell me to just stop being depressed? Or that it’ll all be okay? Or that other people have it worse and I should feel lucky? That one especially does not fucking help me. Because then I feel guilty for feelings I can’t control, which in turn feeds into the depression. Thanks a lot, fucking asshole. I feel real lucky now, you douchenozzle.

Real advice. That’s all I’m asking for right now. Real, actual advice. If you don’t have a goddamn clue about how depression works… don’t talk. It really is that easy. Just don’t open your fucking mouth and let ableist bullshit flow forth like a river of useless fail. It is so fucking unbelievably easy for you not to give this useless, terrible, ableist advice. It is so much easier for you to keep your trap shut and do a little googling research, then it is for me to take one more abled person’s ignorant bullshit on my back when I’m already pretty fucked mentally.

So no, I’m not a damn pixie. I don’t have magical powers. I can’t just snap my fingers and make my depression disappear. Learn this, for fuck’s sake.



52 Responses to “Do Abled Folk Think We Have Magical Powers?”

  1. I don’t know if abled folk do this with psychosis and hallucinations but I can solidly bet they do.

    They do.

  2. Ugh. Figured so.

  3. Yep, big time. I’ve gotten the whole “don’t focus/pay attention to them and they’ll go away” nonsense before. Mostly from people that don’t believe mental illness exists, but still.

  4. “But surely you can tell they’re not real?”

    Uh, not the point, neurotypical git.

  5. 5 Nentuaby

    Oh, but the best is with chronic pain syndromes! You see, if there’s no other symptom but pain, then the agony is clearly psychosomatic. So it’ll clearly go away if you simply stop feeding it with your bad vibes!

    (I don’t suffer from one of these, but dear sweet Athe, not just the ablism but the astounding ignorance of biology of that line of thought has always amazed me.)

  6. I’ve gotten that from people. Like the ones who think my IBS will disappear if I think positively. Um, yeah, fuckers, I still get attacks even when I’m not anxious. It’s called food triggers.

  7. 7 Unidentified

    Positive thinking doesn’t just not help–it actually makes things worse for people with low self esteem. There was a study on this not too long ago, in case you have not encountered that yet. Info on that: http://www.yourpersonaldevelopmenttips.com/self-help/on-self-help-books-why-dont-i-feel-better-the-truth-about-positive-affirmations-and-self-help-books-3.html (I only found this looking for a good article on the study on google, so I don’t know/can’t guarantee anything about the site itself.)

    … And as someone who is only recently beginning to come out of a lifelong depression, I might conjecture that the most meaningful, long term effect on depression tends to come from a positive change in circumstance.* Little things do help, but I suspect they are highly personalized; certainly, access (whether due to physical, social, or mental barriers) depends heavily on the person.

    If you have access to any landscape that you enjoy and can do some walking there, I’d recommend doing that on your free time. This isn’t something that I have been able to explore, personally (due to accessibility issues), but I know that both walking in an uncrowded environment (a crowded, urban environment can have the opposite effect) and being in nature both tend to have positive effects on the psyche.

    Escapism (the Internet and all that entails) has been a double-edged sword, but if I use it for things I believe are not simply neutral (mindless entertainment, certain… not so helpful subcultures) but helpful for me long term (learning! meeting people! blogs written by people who deal/dealt with my kind of shit and are making it… etc.), it tends to have a net positive effect.

    I resisted medication (for depression) after chronically shitty experience with the psychiatric institution, though, so that is a large gap in the experience I have to draw on.

    *This is my personal experience, I’m not trying to disrespect people whose depression does not depend on circumstance.

  8. Yeah, positive thinking does have its place, when it’s not just the bullshit “think happy thoughts” crap. It doesn’t do any good to think “I’m a good person. I’m competent” etc if you don’t believe it yourself. If anything, that makes it worse. I try to focus on my actual accomplishments, things I’ve done, fears I’ve overcome, and so forth, which helps a little when I’m depressed, but just a little.

  9. 9 GallingGalla

    “But no amount of willpower and new age hipster fuckjob positive thinking is going to change what I’m dealing with.”

    I have been depressed all my life, and I’ll just say: WORD and QFT.

    I live with a roommate who throws out hipster fuckjob positive thinking crap almost daily. (I can’t really leave; this housing is all I can afford. So now I just keep my mouth shut about my disabilities.) My favorite: upon my ruminating on the many losses I’ve had in the last several years – “Ya gotta stop living in the past!” This from the same woman who is still crying a month later about the GF who dumped her. Sometimes I’m tempted to throw her words back into her face, but that’s my own ableism at work.

    “Or that other people have it worse and I should feel lucky?” I pull this one on myself. Internalized ableism, I suppose.

    @Nentuaby – I can confirm this. I have neuropathic pain (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome) as well as busted-up rotator cuffs and run into this shit all the time. Including from doctors who seem to think that I am “engaging in drug-seeking behavior”. I’m getting sick of the “have you tried this or that?” (acupuncture, herbals, such-and-so-doctor’s miracle cure, and on and on…) crap from people who have NO CLUE what it is like to live with chronic pain.

    Also QFT the comments re “positive thinking”.

  10. As a note, you are not stuck educating them.

    All you have to say is “gee, that was pretty fucking stupid of you.” Then stop communicating with them.

    There are consequences to things, and those you must face. But education is not a consequence — it’s something you do because you feel a need to do so in order to justify something.

    The only thing you ever gotta do is face the consequences. Everything else is pretty much just silly.

    The consequences of not dying, the consequences of not taking the time to correct their behavior, the consequences of telling them to screw off, whatever — if you are willing to face the consequences, you will be willing to do what you need to do for you on your terms.

    I don’t ever think happy thoughts. I think positive ones. That is, anytime I think I’m not able to do something, or something won’t work, or whatever the negative thing is, I immediately say the reverse. Often out loud.

    That’s hard to do in the bottom of a pit. And it does not make the pit go away. Depression is as much biochemical as anything, so the only way to make it go away is to change the biochemistry.

    What it does is make it easier to get through. Since I become more obsessive the deeper (or higher) I go, its not always possible to ease things — but eventually it passes, and doing so makes it much easier to deal with the triggers, which are the real problem.

    Of course, it helps to know your triggers, lol, which is a whole nother problem.

  11. It’s never really worked for me. You’re right on education though. I can just kick them to the curb. Probably should do that more often.

  12. 12 Samantha

    Oh… You should probably stop eating!

  13. *snerk*

    Yes, clearly.

  14. What? You mean you don’t have magical powers? BUT THEN WHERE DOES ALL THE SEXY AND AWESOME COME FROM?!?
    *disillusioned!*

    I think it’s just weird how abeled … abled… able-ed? (oh spelling…) people just can’t really “get” the concept of some disabilities. I mean the (soon to be ex) BF had an argument with me about how my depression (granted he just thought it was PMS, before I told him I really have depression) could go away if he just tickled me and made me laugh, after all how could a laughing person want to commit suicide?

    HA HA HA
    easily.

    I’m negativly optimistic, which is oddly working out quite well for me. I simply always assume that everything will go wrong and that secretly everyone hates me and then decide to stop caring about anyone but myself and if things don’t go to hell in a handbasket simply be happy I’m wrong.

    I mean if you assume that everyone at your birthday party is going to beat you like a pinata and leave your broken body with the bill when they treat you and give you a present your day gets a shit tonne perkier then it originally was set out to be.

    I figure “If you always think you’re going to lose, winnings just that much more awesome”

    fuck positive thinking.

  15. 15 Me

    YES. Great rant. I’m bipolar, and I was depressed for most of my life, and I used to get this shit all the time. Including when I was in treatment, where the asshole staff should have known better. They would also lecture me about how it was “selfish” to be suicidal, because I supposedly had people who loved me and would miss me, even though they treated me like shit. Even if that were true, it’s not like I chose to be suicidal. And people who supposedly love me should understand that life was fucking unbearable at that time, and forcing me to live just for them IS selfish, ironically.

    Also, for something specific to Bipolar Disorder, way too many people think it just means I get a lot of “mood swings”. If that were true, almost everyone would be bipolar. Mania isn’t just happiness; it’s recklessness, impulsiveness, overblown egotism, and far too much creativity than you know what to do with. Depression isn’t just sadness; it’s overwhelming emotional pain and desperation, dragging through each bland day unwillingly.

    I just think it’s fucking amazing that people can still be so ignorant about depression, suicide, and mental illness, especially since it’s pretty common and less taboo than in earlier points in history, and especially people who are working at a fucking treatment center with teenagers who are depressed, suicidal, addicted to drugs/alcohol, and/or getting into trouble with the law. Oh, wait, they don’t actually give a shit. One of the treatment centers I went to was Christian, and they made us go to “spiritual life” groups (AKA Christian spirituality only, and you’re fucked if you’re an atheist). It really pisses me off how they take advantage of vulnerable kids who are having a rough time and try to brainwash them into thinking that Jesus will solve all their problems. That’s ableist in itself. Their name is Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and Freedom From Religion filed a lawsuit against them, but the case was dismissed, probably due to North Dakota’s excess of biased conservative Christians in the courts.

    Anyway, for me, a change of circumstances also helped. As well as a change of atmosphere—getting out of the shitty town I used to live in and getting out of my dad’s house. But as someone else said, this wouldn’t work for everyone, and even for those it would help, it isn’t always possible. Medication didn’t work, and I don’t recommend it. My depression is not entirely circumstantial, because I still get depressed sometimes. But my moods are generally more stable than before.

  16. A conversation I’ve had with my mother a thousand times:
    Mom: What is wrong with you today?!
    Me: I don’t know.
    Mom: What do you mean you don’t know?
    Me: I… just don’t know.
    Mom: You can’t not know.
    Me: But I don’t!
    Mom: I don’t know isn’t an answer allowed in this house! You’re only allowed to be depressed if you have a good reason. So tell me what’s wrong or snap out of it! Don’t start crying! Tears don’t work with me! Now what’s wrong?!
    Me:… You’re yelling at me…

    It seemed relevant. OK, so I’ve got Anxiety more than Depression in my adulthood. I’m still not “allowed” to be depressed or upset for “no reason” because if I am, then OBVIOUSLY I didn’t take my pill this morning.

    Given that I deal with Anxiety more than Depression, I can’t offer much you probably don’t already know. I have three words: Family Guy marathon. It’s a distraction, not long-term help, but all I know is what works for me moment-to-moment.

  17. 17 sharav

    Barbara Ehrenreich has recently published a book on some of this ‘positive thinking’ crap…

    “Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America” (http://www.barbaraehrenreich.com/brightsided.htm)

    So, it isn’t just (us) depressed folks who get shafted by this type of attitude.

    It would be nice if it were that easy. Reality sucks, however, and there is something called “depressive realism” i.e. folks who tend to depression also tend to see the world/nature realistically, not filled with hope, rose-coloured glasses, just “see it as it is” which, really, is not always very nice.

    For my long-range thinking, I keep in mind that, in a million years, we’ll all be dust in some geological layer somewhere.

  18. 18 Lee

    Hello! First comment here. I’m a little high on my sleeping meds at the moment so forgive me if anything doesn’t make sense, or is offensive. That’s certainly not my intent.

    First, I feel I should tell you that I’ve been lurking on your blog for a few weeks and I think it’s fantastic. As a cis person trying to educate myself about trans issues, I’ve read a lot of blogs, and for what it’s worth, I think this is the best around. You’re your writing not only about your own life experiences, but also biological/psychological/sociological aspects (and your logic!) has been very enlightening. So thank you for that. (This is not meant as an insult to any of the other great blogs out there. I guess everyone learns differently, and your style resonates with me, that’s all.)

    Anyway, your post on depression is something that I can relate to in terms of personal experience. I’ve been living with anxiety and depression for most of my 42 years, so I can absolutely understand your anger. In my experience, most people’s reactions to my illnesses fall into to two groups of advice (and I use the term loosely): 1.) some variation of “just get over it”, or 2.) instructions on how such-and-such diet, exercise, medication, or, like you said, positive thinking will “cure me”. (I love when people tell me to “fake it till I make it” when getting out of bed and taking a shower uses up so much energy I need a nap.) And, to top it off, most of this comes from people who aren’t doctors or people working the mental health field and know nothing about mental illness in general or my personal medical history. The arrogance is mind-boggling.

    Regarding the bullshit about positive thinking, I came across this article in the NYT the other day:

    “Seeking a Cure for Optimism”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/fashion/31positive.html

    While not all of the psychologists interviewed agree, it’s comforting to know that that there are at least *some* mental health professionals out there that get how seriously damaging that level of repression can be. I’m seriously considering printing out copies to carry around and give to people who think that positive thinking some kind of fucking panacea.

    Re: the title of your post, I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, you’re right, they do. People (in their willful ignorance) need to believe that mental illness is, at the heart of it, a choice or caused by weakness of character, and if we REALLY wanted to get over it, we could. That way they can tell themselves that that it can’t happen to them because they are “stronger” than that. As if.

    As far as advice on constrictive ways to deal with depression, even after all these years, I really don’t have much to offer. All I can say is that what helps me get through the day is not worrying about getting over it in the long term, but focusing on the moment what asking myself what I can do right now that would make me happy(er). Sometimes it’s a hobby, or walking, or venting, or, if I my energy level is really low, just taking a nap can make feel better. Yeah, I do realize how privileged that sounds, as not everyone has these options. I’m not saying this is answer for everyone. I’m just talking about what has been working for me, and thought I’d through it out there.

    Anyway, I wish you best with everything in your life, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Lee

  19. 19 Lee

    Excuse me, I meant “throw it out there, not “thought it…”

    I should try to comment when I’m on drugs. :|

  20. 20 Lee

    Argh, once again, I meant “shouldn’t try to comment…”

    I’m going to sleep now.

  21. Walking helps somewhat. But during winter time it aggravates my pain issues and my cough (the cough I’ve had for a year. x_X).

    Online has helped a bit, but as I’m very tactile and depend on body language a lot I often don’t get as much out of online friendships.

  22. My sexy and awesome comes from a specific type of magic, called “snark.” Sadly, it can’t do much more than make me awesome.

  23. That is so unbelievably fucked up, those people taking advantage of folks with mental illness. Of all the exploitative, nasty bullshit Christianity has done, this one really grinds over me.

  24. Wow. Your mom is an abusive ableist jerk.

  25. Massive applause for this post. Completely and utterly true and sums up how fucked up the whole “positive thinking” thing is. I have a close friend who is somewhat into this whole way of thinking about stuff, and have had some very, very nasty and very, very emotional arguments with hir based on it. Still love hir deeply, and have managed to get hir to understand why it’s not helpful to some extent, but it’s still there. (I should add that ze isn’t the typical privileged-hipster-type – tho i have known plenty of them – so much as someone for whom “positive thinking” is a coping method that seems to actually work, but who tends to react to me trying to tell hir it doesn’t work for me as i’m attacking hir coping methods and saying ze shouldn’t use them.)

    The absolute worst thing for me is when people say “well, if you have *that* attitude, [situation xyz] will *definitely* never get better”, in response to my depressive realism. That, IMO, is about the cruellest and most victim-blaming thing it’s ever possible to say to someone, and the only place a response like that is ever going to send me is *straight* down into full-blown suicidality.

    As for depression being biochemical vs. depression being reactive to shitty/unfair/oppressive social conditions (whether individual or broader-societal), well… my position is that it’s sometimes one, sometimes the other, and sometimes a bit of both, and i think absolutist positions on either side are very harmful (which is one reason i don’t associate myself with the antipsychiatry movement as closely as i used to, since a lot of them are absolutist “always social, never biochemical” types). BUT… regardless of which is more the cause in any individual case, “thinking positively” isn’t going to do jack shit about either the chemicals in your brain or the oppressive systems you’re living in!

  26. Fucking hell, that’s evil. If i was in your place, i’d move out as soon as humanly possible.

  27. “Sometimes I’m tempted to throw her words back into her face, but that’s my own ableism at work.”

    I don’t think it would be remotely ableist to throw it back at her and show her just how much of a hypocrite she’s being. Just make sure you do it in a way that is clearly pointing out her hypocrisy rather than looking like you share the same hypocritical values.

  28. I do this to myself, sigh. Everyone else has legitimate reasons, but I should be able to just get over it. And then when I can’t, I get to beat myself up about it! Yaaay.

  29. Damn. If someone ever said, “well, if you have *that* attitude, [situation xyz] will *definitely* never get better”, I would shred them in the most insulting, most vicious, most sarcastic, most verbally nasty way I could possibly muster. Victim blaming disgusting shit like that is just utterly disgusting.

  30. I have the same problem at times. The issue with self shaming is that it still harms other people, because you, in the end, are attacking yourself on the basis of traits others have. That is, in and of itself, attacking that trait, which in turn attacks others.

  31. 31 Sas

    Fuckin’ hell yes to all of it.

    I heard that sort of “Just have a better attitude” crap from my mom my entire life … until she was prescribed sertraline for her chronic depression after my dad died. THEN, all of a sudden, depression was legitimate to her, and we found out that apparently my whole family responds really well to it, and I finally had a medication to help alleviate my lifelong depression.

    So now if I’m having a problem that’s upset me, her response is “GET YOUR DOCTOR TO INCREASE THE DOSAGE!!” >:P Things may change, but the coping mechanisms remain the same …

  32. I get it most frequently in the context of not having any realistic hope of finding a job and/or partner. Apparently, the fact that i don’t feel any realistic hope at present of finding either of those things is the reason i don’t already have them. :rolleyes:

  33. I think it’s very possible to shame oneself for things without shaming others for the same things. As a friend once said to me (several years ago, although it’s sometimes still true), “If you judged other people by the same standards that you judge yourself by, you’d probably be a fascist”…

  34. It’s possible but very unlikely. Say you were attacking yourself with ableist language. Calling yourself useless or broken. Folks who had the same disabilities would feel the hit from those words. The difference being that it’s tougher to call someone out for those hits when they’re spiraling down because you’re afraid they’ll get worse from the call out.

  35. Thank you for posting this! It’s something that happens all too often, and I love how frank and clear you are. Thank you!

  36. I hate that. So much. Especially when people can’t see the pain you’re dealing with, so clearly it must be in your head. Otherwise there’d be some sort of evidence other than your complaints and grimaces and days of not being able to get out of your chair and entire days in bed because you can’t get up and…

    List goes on and on and on.

    The worst is the self-help books about chronic pain conditions that tell you the exact same thing and the only way to make it better is to THINK POSITIVELY! or FIND GOD!

    Using religious beliefs to help you get through difficult times is all well and good but FINDING GOD! won’t make your chronic pain go away. It can help you cope, but it won’t make it disappear.

  37. She’s just got her head in the sand, or maybe up her butt.

  38. I did, a few months ago. Life is SO MUCH EASIER! I didn’t realize how many of my triggers were, well, her. I feel guilty saying it, though.

  39. Don’t be.

    I had to move to a different CONTINENT to get far enough away from my family to finally stand back and deal with a lot of the bullshit in my life. I went from having a panic attack and suicidal thoughts once a month to having them MAYBE once a year.

    I still go back and see them, and I usually get depressed if I’m there for longer then 3 weeks. They… My mom is vaugly aware that the family is an emotionally stressful trigger for me, but she’s one of those “The secret/God/positive energy” kind of people who figures if she ignores a problem long enough and just works hard and thinks happy thoughts things will all work out okay. My Dad IS my trigger, My Brother and Sister are the ones who set him off into the mode that triggers my anxieties/depression.

    There’s nothing for you to be ashamed of, it’s them who have to be ashamed of themselves.

  40. Reality sucks, however, and there is something called “depressive realism” i.e. folks who tend to depression also tend to see the world/nature realistically, not filled with hope, rose-coloured glasses, just “see it as it is” which, really, is not always very nice.

    That doesn’t fit with my experience with depression. When I’m depressed, I don’t see the world realistically, I see only the bad things in the world, and exaggerate them, and I think nothing will ever improve. No one will ever love me, I’ll be miserable forever, I’m a complete failure who can’t do anything right, etc.

  41. Yeah, that doesn’t really fit my experiences either. My depression has always been very deeply accentuated reality and functions as a vicious spiral downwards as I sink deeper.

  42. 42 Kian

    I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my life, so, yeah, ditto for what you said already. I don’t even talk about my issues with people unless they have been clinically depressed because of the bullshit that usually comes out when they try to help. It never helps.

    The only thing that has truly helped is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I started about a year ago and slowly things are getting better. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend it highly.

  43. I don’t even want to think about the time I wasted trying to convince myself to just be happy. I was so convinced that I was just a weakling or stupid since I couldn’t think myself happy. If I just knew how…

    Well, it wasn’t that simple, and it upsets me greatly when people suggest that I should just quit my medication and start saying positive affirmations in front of the mirror each morning. I want to be like, “Do you know how often I tried with every ounce of energy I had to think myself happy? And how I felt like even more of a failure when it didn’t work?”

    Stop self hating, gah. As if it’s something people decide to do, like, “I’m totally happy ‘n all, so I think I’ll just mix things up by adding a little self-hatred to the mix.” (And depression isn’t necessarily the same as self-hatred anyway, though they certainly often coincide, so that’s a rude assumption.)

  44. I just had to chime in and say that where one is uplifted by walking is personal. Walking in nature bores and saddens me — walking in the heart of a city makes me feel better most of the time.

  45. 45 Argo

    Trigger warning: I discuss symptoms of my depression.

    My mom’s having me read this book, “Full Catastrophe Living.” It only addresses that first level. Where you have a problem and you overreact, or you don’t have a problem and you’re just depressed (because it’s illogical). It discusses problem-focused coping, and emotion-focused coping. The most recent time I had an episode of depression (which got me sent back to the states from studying abroad in Costa Rica), I was feeling very guilty for something I forgot to do. Even as I was thinking about how I could kill myself and cutting, I thought, “I can solve this problem by modifying my behavior and doing better next time” and “This is a silly thing to feel guilty about. I didn’t know.” But this just made me feel worse. I suppose it would be internalized ableism? And I suppose it’s just another symptom of depression, I don’t know. But this seems to be something you’ve experienced. It’s like, meta depression, that just results in a spiral downward. So I just feel worse when I think about how I don’t need to feel guilty about what happened, or I think about how other people certainly have it worse. And those were both coping mechanisms that this book suggested.

  46. yeah those kind of coping methods just tend to make things worse

  47. Excellent article. In my experience it’s not just people with no knowledge of depression who think you can ‘think yourself happy'; I’ve had this kind of nonsense recommended to me by all kinds of health professionals. My doctor recently said, when I was particularly miserable: “Well, you have free will. You can change the way you are.” To which I felt like saying: “Oh yeah I hadn’t thought of it like that! Of course I can completely change everything around, now I know that I have free will it will all be so easy, thanks pal!”

  48. My depression works that way. My husband and I call it the “Doom Spiral.” I will begin to fret about something, then my brain helpfully adds things, that, while real, aren’t relevant to what I started worrying about in the first place. The whole thing becomes a tentacle monster. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    The only way I can break out of that is to turn it around on myself:

    “Think about the awful things you’re saying to yourself. Would you say ANY of those things to another person?”

    “No, of course not! They’re terrible things to say!”

    “Then why are you saying them to yourself?”

    “Ohhhh…”

    Abled people don’t get it: even though I’m medicated, I’m still sick. I will never be well, and it’s a constant battle…against myself.

  49. 49 Taylor L

    Thank you so much for shooting down this ‘think positive’ crap! I was diagnosed with depression when I was 12 (16 now), but I still feel ashamed admitting I have a mental illness. If I ever feel like confiding in people I will keep this page bookmarked :)

  50. 50 EJACTJo

    Absolutely true what you said, but idiots do this to anybody with anything similar. Even if it’s a temporary problem, like winter depression, they’ll say the same things

  51. After having lived with depression since I was a kid, I’ll say one thing: People are only sympathetic to you having depression if you’re not currently suffering from depression.

    If you say “Oh yea, I had depression for 10 years,” they’re pleased and probably have a relate-able story.

    You say “I’m feeling really depressed and stressed out,” they’ll tell you to stop being sad and stressed and that you have no reason to be and if you bring it up again they’ll just be exasperated that you didn’t take their advice.


  1. 1 The Thang Blog » Sharing some link love

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