Depression Is Cliché, But Still a Legitimate Illness
My experience with depression feels cliché, which means overused, lacking originality, or stereotypical. I've been increasingly frustrated by the dull redundancy of my depression and how irritatingly cliché depression generally seems, with the same old symptoms, assumptions, misunderstandings, and stigma struggles. I feel like I need to have new symptoms and fresh issues in order to maintain my depression's validity. But the frustrating reality is that depression doesn't just seem cliché, depression is cliché. There's nothing original about it.
Depression Clichés Exist in Symptoms and Stigma
Symptoms of depression are old hat. Withdrawal, anger, sorrow, exhaustion and the like have been known symptoms of depression for years. So every time I experience a repeat depression issue, I feel like a living, breathing cliché. Yep, I'm sad and sleepy again, same as last week. Yep, once again my mood is nearly impossible to regulate, same as the millions of other people with depression.
The villainous depression cliché for me is the stigma surrounding it. I handle the same misunderstandings, ignorance, and prodding questions over and over again. People are constantly assuming that depression simply means that a person is sad and tired, or that the best way to fight it is to just drink more water, do yoga, and eat better. The persistent ignorance surrounding depression is recycled from one assumption to the other, establishing an unbreakable stigma cliché.
Depression is Cliché, But It Doesn't Invalidate Our Experience
I spent time a few weeks ago mourning my depression's clichés. I told my partner how unfair it was that my experience, while unique to the generalized understanding of depression, consisted of the same old symptoms affecting me the same old way they affect others. He looked at me with amusement and said, "Yes, it's cliché. Why does that mean it's not important?"
The fact of the matter is that the mental health community is constantly fighting to have our experiences seen as socially valid . And to be a part of the mental health community, we have to prove that we belong, like anyone does in a group of people. We work to establish membership based on how intense and real our issues are. So having similar issues to everyone else can feel like we're not good enough to belong to the group. We're not special enough to play a part in the discussion. But we are enough because we experience mental health issues just as other members of the mental health community do.
Yes, depression is cliché. For everyone, depression feels like falling from a plane that's 20,000 feet up in the air while locked in a cage. That's certainly a unique circumstance, but uniqueness doesn't unlock the cage and help us stick the landing. Just like having a less cliché experience of depression doesn't make it go away. We're all still in that bloody cage.
Learn About Finding Validity in Depression
Verbeke, T. (2017, May 4). Depression Is Cliché, But Still a Legitimate Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2017/05/depression-is-cliche-but-not-invalid
Author: Tiffanie Verbeke
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