My Depressive State of Mind ☂
noun: depression; plural noun: depressions
"Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.
More than just about the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both." - Mayoclinic
Now that we have the definition out of the way let's talk about how it affects our relationships and how social media has a role in it all. One of the hardest parts about depression is that it pulls you away from the people who care most about you. It’s hard to accept help in the first place, but even harder to accept the idea that your friends want to help. They want to be in your presence, to be there for you. It’s okay if you aren't happy all the time you are with them as long as you are present and making an effort. Let them be your support system when the world gets grey. Yes, only you can find your way to a better place but it is much easier to do so with a friend by your side. Humans are made to be social, to love, to fight and to simply feel that we're not alone. We are not solitary creatures so don’t let your brain convince you that you should be one or even worse; that you deserve to be one.
While it doesn’t cause depression in the first place, social media can make the effects of the mental illness become worse. And there is almost nothing worse for your depression or anxiety than comparing yourself to other people's highlight reels. Yes, you see your friends out to dinner but what you don’t see is the rest of their day. You don’t know if they cried on the way home or spent the day in bed because social media only rewards positive posts. Everyone has their struggles and almost nobody's social media truly reflects them.
Why? Because society has stigmatized mental illness as something weak or not okay. We don’t want others to judge us so we laugh about it and put on a false face in public and in photos.
What's interesting is what I have often - not always - found, is that many of those people with the most vibrant social media pages are the least happy. They project who they want to be while battling with their own minds and insecurities. Inspirational quotes, lifestyle photos, and snaps of themselves eating at trendy places fill their feed along with big smiles; and while some of it and in specific cases all of it may be genuine, it isn’t always.
We as an industry need to work to be more authentic to share our struggles and be open about what we are doing to fix them instead of hiding behind facades. The more honest our social media can be, the more it can actually help people by making them feel less alone in their struggle.
The question I want to pose with the editorial you are looking at is which one of these girls has depression? Or doesn't either of them? Or maybe both?