Feeling "Depressed" Is Different From Being Depressed

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I recently came across one of Prince Ea’s videos titled “YOU ARE NOT DEPRESSED, STOP IT!” that featured some flawed logic that I felt important to address. The main point is basically that depression doesn’t define you, and that it comes and goes like clouds in the sky and if you accept that and stop identifying with it, it won’t affect you.

The main problem is that he lumps depression in with frustration and sadness and discusses it like it’s an emotion. Depression is not a feeling, it is a mental illness. It is more than feeling bummed out for awhile and it’s not so easy as “just accept and let it pass.”

You wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg that they don’t have a broken leg. “Just stand up, you don’t have to let it affect you.” That sounds ridiculous. Mental illnesses, such as depression, must be treated with the same empathy and consideration.

While his discussion of accepting its presence is a strategy in acceptance and commitment therapy that can help cope with depression, it’s conveyed in a harmful (even if unintentional) way. It is so important to acknowledge the struggles people with mental illnesses face because invalidating their experiences does nothing but make things worse. It can isolate and encourage others to internalize what they are going through.

And although I don’t think you must be defined by a mental illness, it is a part of you and not something you can stop identifying with. It is vital for us to acknowledge the struggles and experiences of those around us. Everyone has different experiences and we should be respecting that and supporting those around us by validating what they’re going through.

 

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/sun-clouds-sky-cloudy-rays-203792/

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About The Author

Emeralde is an undergrad at Simon Fraser University majoring in Resource and Environmental Management and English.

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