And it can be a chronic illness.
I read an awful, awful thread on Twitter this evening by an awful, awful arrogant person, a kickboxer from Great Britain. I have no idea what prompted him to write his hateful screed, other than perhaps projection, as someone suggested.
Scanning over his Twitter right now, I see that he repeatedly mocked overweight people, agreed that depressed people are just weak, repeatedly played the “you aren’t living in a war/famine zone” card, said that you can talk yourself out of depression by only talking about happy things in your life, self-control cures depression, asserted that depressed people cling to being miserable together and “celebrate” being depressed, and claims in his bio to be an “expert on depression.” An expert on worsening depression or being bass-ackwards wrong about depression, maybe.
I would have never known this person existed if I didn’t follow J.K Rowling. She retweeted it, with some choice comments.
I’m troubled by this raging little boy in a young man’s body running off at the mouth for several reasons.
- What prompted him to unleash this furious condemnation of people with depression?
- Why does he imagine that he knows better than The World Health Organization?
- Why does he think that verbally beating up people with depression will help anyone?
- Why does he think people would take pills every day just to function if talking about, oh, “I enjoyed my morning coffee, and I saw that the leaves are starting to change” cured depression?
- Why does he think that people want to suffer from this life-threatening illness?
- Why does he think people being depressed together is fun?
- Why can’t he see that we’re not fighting to stay depressed, but fighting to be taken seriously?
- Doesn’t he have a life?
Here’s a kid who appears to be 25, maybe. His kick-boxing career has earned him over 25,000 Twitter followers. Why is he using his platform to attack people with depression, including his own fans?
1 in 4 people in the UK (these are pre-Brexit statistics) suffer from depression. That’s 4 million people. This person has around 25,000 Twitter followers. So about 6,250 of those followers suffer from depression. A real illness that really exists. Now, many of those followers are not real fans or even real people. They’re bots, porn accounts, advertising accounts, accounts that pick up on keywords in his tweets. But let’s pretend they’re all real people, and he just mocked and berated over 6000 of his own fans.
We all know that there are a lot of people in his fan base who do suffer from depression and who also take his words very seriously. We’ve all been in the position of following some celebrity we admire on social media and seeing them post some godawful thing. Most of the time it’s a little thing that gets blown out of proportion, and those of us of a certain age will remember Winona Ryder shoplifting a lipstick and how it ended her career, but now celebrities (and politicians) can say pretty much anything and it will blow over after a week.
When you have depression and someone you admire/respect/care about mocks your illness and tells you it’s not real and that you’re weak for not overcoming depression on your own, that hurts. It hurts so much that it can send you spiraling further down into depression as you wonder what’s wrong with me, so-and-so said this isn’t real and I don’t need pills, why do I still feel so bad?
The best outcome for that scenario is the person with depression going to the doctor or hospital for help.
When I was about 20, I had a friend who was so depressed after his girlfriend broke up with him that he convinced himself that no one would ever love him again, and he walked out in front of a train.
The most troublesome thing that I found in this whole mess of arrogance and testosterone was this:
“Expert on depression” does not equal medical credentials. And then there is the attacking overweight people again.
This entire thread, account, even, is a powder keg. Twitter would do well to shut it down. As we know that they will not, please, if you have depression or a similar illness like OCD, anxiety, bipolar, or panic attacks, and you’re feeling upset by this clusterfuck or some other, seek medical help. Reach out to family and friends. Don’t let the opinion of any celebrity damage your life. Don’t let it destroy your life.
You’re better than they are.