#2. Depressed People Just Need to Snap Out of It
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People who argue that antidepressants don't work are also eager to tell you that mental illness is a hot new trend, like twerking, but somehow actually less sad. It's cool to be depressed, because you can act miserable all the time but get mad when people call you out on it. It's free rein to be an insufferable jerk. Wow, depression is awesome!
But if all that pretend illness is stressing you out, don't worry -- there's a solution. According to one of the scions of journalism at the Daily Mail, "It's called self-empowerment and costs absolutely nothing." Ignoring the fact that "self-empowerment" is often as meaningless as telling someone to synergize their paradigms, the author's what we'll generously call an argument is that people who are depressed just need to get over themselves and move on. Shit, so if I don't want to be depressed, I just need to stop being depressed? Why didn't I think of that?
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"And did you know that you can get richer by having more money? You're welcome, poor people."
Admittedly, the Daily Mail is such low-hanging fruit that it's practically a potato. But it's an attitude that's depressingly easy to find (see what I did there?). Here's an article from the Daily Caller that argues that depressed people should fight their woes with a stoic attitude and good old-fashioned prayer, instead of wasting valuable tax dollars on stupid things like "treatment." And here's the Daily Mail again, with an article that's basically the written equivalent of a "Deal with it" gif.
It's nice that these editorials are limited to sites read by people who think the president is a homosexual communist, but it's easy to find them on forums, or in comment sections, or coming out of the mouth of some mouth breather at a coffee shop. And not only are they wrong, they're dangerously wrong.
The message is "Depression is fake, so if you have it, it's your own fault." Because that's just what the mentally ill need to hear -- that the problem lowering their quality of life is imaginary and self-inflicted. That will make them feel better! Or it will damage their personal lives or careers, or contribute to suicide rates. You know, either/or.
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"Great, now you're crynically depressed, too?"
Then you have people blaming America's mental health system for mass shootings. Well, there's a mixed message -- if you have depression, you're probably faking it, but if it's real, then you're a mass murderer waiting to happen. I'm not saying that the mental health system doesn't need improvement, but maybe not treating the mentally ill as either liars or ticking time bombs would help, too.
Most people, like the intelligent and no doubt incredibly attractive folks reading this, know better. But mental illnesses are heavily stigmatized, and it doesn't take much to put someone who's already feeling irrationally ashamed of himself in a bad place. So if you ever feel the urge to tell someone to just get over their depression, stop and imagine what would happen if you told that to a person with, say, a broken leg or a cartoonishly large, life-disrupting penis.
#1. Only Women and Old People Get Depressed
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Our friend from the Daily Mail mentions a fellow who argues that men face a stigma when it comes to admitting to mental health problems. But don't worry, guys -- we're only sad because many women are now making more money than us. And that's just karma for all the years we were keeping women down, so don't expect any pity! It takes a special kind of stupid to argue that a stigma doesn't exist by perpetuating it, but as Mark Twain once said, "Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the intelligence of the Internet."
It's true that women are about twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression, but that's not because hack comedians were right all along about their brains working differently. The most common theory is that social factors discourage men from seeking help. Manly-man men aren't supposed to suffer from wimpy emotional problems like a stupid girl -- if they're feeling down, they should hike into the wilderness and shoot something. Men who talk about their feelings are basically giant pussies.
"The test results have come back. I'm afraid you have a vagina. I'm so sorry."
So while most women are getting treatment and support, men are prone to dealing with their problems through substance abuse, bouts of violence (remember how that's one of the symptoms?), and the medically unsound practice of suicide. It's quite possible that women are still more susceptible to depression -- the very nature of the problem makes it difficult to get accurate statistics, much like how the world has yet to produce an accurate study on the average penis size. But thinking that half of the population is immune to depression based on their genitalia is a little different from thinking that half the population is immune to prostate cancer.
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"The test results have come back. I'm afraid you have a prostate. I'm so sorry. And confused."
Teenagers face their own problems when it comes to mental health, because when most people hear a teenager say they're depressed, they assume it's because that slut Steve from math class dumped them. While it's true that Steve is, like, the biggest whore, there can be more to the story than that. So while some teenage depression will sort itself out with a daily dose of two to three bad poems and five servings of Linkin Park, other cases are every bit as severe as what adults face.
But teens are hesitant to seek treatment, because they falsely assume there will be too many obstacles. Maybe they're worried they won't be taken seriously or that the Internet will call them emo, or maybe they don't want to tell their parents about it. Or maybe their brains are simply convincing them that it's not worth the effort. Remember, many of them are experiencing this for the first time in their lives. To them, this feeling is just another part of living, like dealing with their dad's insatiable desire to see the return of grunge.
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"You're worthless, you suck at everything, and you're going to die alone. Now stuff yourself full of potato chips."
The days when you're able to put your own brain in a headlock and punch the world itself into submission are awesome, but there will also be days where nothing can stop you from feeling like a pre-montage Rocky. Don't make it harder on yourself or your loved ones by believing any of this crap.
You can read more from Mark at his website.