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Someone doesn’t understand depression

[row][span size=’3′][slab_h5][slabtext]“There are wounds that never show[/slabtext] [slabtext]on the body that are deeper and more hurtful[/slabtext][slabtext] than anything that bleeds.”[/slabtext][slabtext]-Laurell K. Hamilton,Mistral’s Kiss[/slabtext][/slab_h5][/span][span size=’5′]I was browsing several blogs today when I came upon this post talking about this post about depression. The second post is written by a woman who has been fighting her depression for several years now, and she is being quite public about it.

I was reading the second post when I went back to the first one and read the comments. I shouldn’t have done that.[/span][/row]
One comment has stuck out and has been replied to very heavily since the person wrote it. Here it is:

“I am sad that I don’t have anything to be sad about. = WHITE PEOPLE PROBLEM. How do we not see this as some sort of out of control narcissism? The whole thing is so consistently self-referential, so far up its own ass. Funny how the realization that everything is empty never leads to asceticism, no one is ever like “maybe I should just go to a soup kitchen and feed some people with actual problems.” Never does the thought that some sort of perspective on ones (sic) problems might help as opposed to wallowing in the existential profundity of dried out corn.”

This comment was very ironic since the title of the first post was “Struggling to understand depression? Read this.” The commenter, who goes by the pseudonym of “ZYX,” has received several replies to his comment. Some of those replies are angry, others are not. I was going to reply to him, but I’m trying to stay away from “flame wars” as of late.

However, if I had an opportunity to reply to him, I would ask him if he really thinks that depression is a mental condition of Whites and/or privileged people. There is no evidence of that, by the way. Depression can hit anyone. Not only that, but, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “blacks, Hispanics, non-Hispanic persons of other races or multiple races” are more likely to be depressed than other groups.

Next, I would ask him why he thinks that a depressed person is just wallowing in their own despair and nothing else, a “sort of out of control narcissism.” See, I’ve met plenty of people with depression, some in my own family, and they are not being selfish or self-centered in their depression. Based on my own experience and what I’ve learned about depression, people with depression are not out to make mountains out of molehills. They’re not feeling all those feelings of “blah” because they think that others’ problems are minimal.

All in all, it’s a nonproductive thing to just accuse people with depression (or any other mental health condition) of being narcissists or privileged people who don’t really know what suffering is. It’s not productive to want to address the problem of mental health by blaming it on the patient. I’m yet to meet or hear of a case of mental disease who asked for it… Or likes it. But, sadly, there are plenty of people like the commenter up there.

Featured image credit: madamepsychosis / / CC BY-NC-ND

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René F. Najera, DrPH

I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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2 replies

  1. I know of many elders who suffer from depression. They’re the farthest from being narcissistic that is possible to be.
    I know veterans of these wars who suffer from depression, some adding to their burden of PTSD, others part of their spectrum of PTSD. The vast majority are the farthest thing from narcissistic as one can be.

    To be honest, were such a statement were to be made in my physical presence, that individual would be promptly and vehemently suggested to that they retract their insulting and beyond objectionable statement, based on those grounds.
    With the suggestion that I’m also in part of that group, a veteran and retired SF veteran of these wars and am perfectly capable of seeing to it that the speaker will race his or her teeth to the ground, even money, beating the same to the ground, due to Newton’s laws.

    (I’d also be pouring on many facts and figures about our abysmal excuse for mental heath care in this nation, clinical depression, the costs in human and financial burden to society at great length and detail.)
    But then, I’m a strange creature. A product of the “new math” era, who also possesses a significant IQ in all measures. One who incessantly learns and also was cross trained in many fields of medicine during my SF medic portion of my career.
    And am not afraid of being the ogre, when required, to put a special part of the rectum in its place in no uncertain terms, loaded with facts, figures and some scathing reviews of the abysmal failure of our educational system in the speaker of idiotic notions that meets no measure of the real world in their grandiose statements.


    1. Thanks for your comments, and thanks for your service. I fear that the misconceptions about mental health are wide and varied. I see that reflected in how public health policy with regards to mental health is carried out. (Of course, politicians are known to do some weird stuff on their own.) I don’t see a broad program to help those in need. If I were to have some sort of a breakdown right now, my insurance wouldn’t cover neither hospitalization nor psychotherapy. Oh, but they would cover my family doc prescribing a pill. He’s a good doctor, but he’s no psychiatrist.

      Furthermore, if I were to have a problem, I would more than likely have to hide it in the culture I live in. The “crazy” people don’t get promotions and such because, you know, too much risk.

      So something needs to be done and I’m waist-deep in public health through my job and my future schooling not to do something about it. What that something is hasn’t come to me yet, but it will.


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