If it’s not ~tragically beautiful~, is it really depression?

First of all, depression always looks beautiful — beautiful characters crying, staring out windows, taking a listless shower, etc. etc. etc., beautifully.

First of all, depression always looks beautiful — beautiful characters crying, staring out windows, taking a listless shower, etc. etc. etc., beautifully.

If it doesn't look like it could be a black-and-white GIF on Tumblr, is it really depression?

evap4b3d419c7

E4 / Via tragici4n.tumblr.com

Characters with depression are pretty much always reduced to being ~sad~.

Characters with depression are pretty much always reduced to being ~sad~.

Maybe anger, numbness, physical pain, loss of interest in things you love, inability to concentrate, changes in sleep pattern, and any of the other symptoms associated with depression IRL aren't cinematic enough for fictional characters? Or something???

ashtonw277

BritneySpearsVEVO / Via giphy.com

Most of the time, depression is triggered by Dramatic Plot Elements.

Most of the time, depression is triggered by Dramatic Plot Elements.

Something big and traumatic happens in a character's life, and BOOM, they have depression. Depression can totally be triggered by life events, but pleeenty of people don't have a "reason" to be depressed, they just are. Because brains. AND WE NEVER SEE THAT PORTRAYED.

fuxxlecat

Netflix / Via pinterest.com

And because of that, depression always culminates as a big blowup or breakdown.

And because of that, depression always culminates as a big blowup or breakdown.

You know, like a big revelation with lots of crying or smashing mirrors or yelling, "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!" When actually, for a lot of people, depression can slowly creep into your life, and by the time you notice it, it's already set up camp.

jillianb16

FOX / Via giphy.com

Or if a character valiantly pretends they're fine and doesn't succumb to their depression, the audience is obviously supposed to think they're strong and brave.

Or if a character valiantly pretends they're fine and doesn't succumb to their depression, the audience is obviously supposed to think they're strong and brave.

Waaaay too often shouldering depression on your own and refusing to accept help is portrayed as...an admirable thing? Like, wtf?

katyperryprismtour.wordpress.com / Via rebloggy.com

In fact, most of the boring parts of dealing with depression are erased.

In fact, most of the boring parts of dealing with depression are erased.

Like okay, some of the realities of depression, like not being able to get out of bed, or mustering the energy to brush your hair, or trudging through your day feeling nothing at all, wouldn't make for super-compelling TV or whatever, but there must be SOME way to show it.

svandal

Fox Searchlight Pictures / Via giphy.com

Depression is treated as an alluring or mysterious trait that draws the attention of a love interest.

Depression is treated as an alluring or mysterious trait that draws the attention of a love interest.

Because being depressed = being a ~tragically beautiful person~, obviously.

khlaw1993

The CW / Via agusheredia.tumblr.com

AND THEN THAT LOVE INTEREST ALWAYS ~FIXES~ THE PERSON WITH DEPRESSION.

AND THEN THAT LOVE INTEREST ALWAYS ~FIXES~ THE PERSON WITH DEPRESSION.

Like, screw therapy and medication, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE TO PULL YOU OUT OF THAT FUNK!!!! Ugh.

sarahc449ee4c73

E4 / Via giphy.com

If treatment IS explored, it's always super easy and straightforward.

If treatment IS explored, it's always super easy and straightforward.

Character wants therapy? Easy! No grappling with how they're going to afford it or browsing Psychology Today to find someone who's actually accepting new patients or going to several first appointments in attempt to find The One. IF ONLY.

svandal

Vadimguzhva / Getty Images

Speaking of therapists, they're usually portrayed as pretty useless.

Speaking of therapists, they're usually portrayed as pretty useless.

Yes, finding a therapist you like IS a struggle, and that'd be great to see onscreen, but more often than not, therapists are shown to be unprofessional and incompetent.

—Noor Ansari, Facebook

Walt Disney Pictures / Via tenor.com

When treatment is shown in a positive light, it's always super linear and FAST.

When treatment is shown in a positive light, it's always super linear and FAST.

Wouldn't it be nice if all you needed to treat your depression was to accept you had a problem, reach out for help, and take care of it in a few weeks?

svandal

E4 / Via giphy.com

There aren't many examples of high-functioning people with depression, rather than people whose depression completely derails their life.

There aren't many examples of high-functioning people with depression, rather than people whose depression completely derails their life.

Depression can definitely be completely debilitating, but at the same time, plenty of people deal with mental illness while navigating day-to-day life, a lot of times without anyone knowing.

thaisisacatindisguise

Channel 4 / Via imgur.com

Pretty much every depressed character is also suicidal at some point.

Pretty much every depressed character is also suicidal at some point.

Maybe because it's more ~dramatic~? But while depression is a risk factor for suicide, NOT all people with depression are suicidal.

madisonmls

ABC Family / Via rebloggy.com

More often than not, a character with depression fits a specific stereotype.

More often than not, a character with depression fits a specific stereotype.

You know, like a dark and twisty character or an ~emo~ teenager. LIKE, HELLO. DEPRESSION CAN AFFECT ANYONE.

kelbell63

The Geffen Film Company / Via underworldwonderland.tumblr.com

And let's be real, even with positive representations of depression, more often than not, the characters are white.

And let's be real, even with positive representations of depression, more often than not, the characters are white.

More diversity in mental health representation 2k17, please.

kerriej3

Alcon Productions / Via tenor.com

Medication is treated like this evil, personality-zapping stuff you should avoid at all costs.

Medication is treated like this evil, personality-zapping stuff you should avoid at all costs.

It seems like a depression plotline isn't complete without a character dramatically flushing their antidepressants down the toilet.

4377

E4

And depressed characters are always super creative and artistic.

And depressed characters are always super creative and artistic.

And they usually resist treatment because they do their best work when they're depressed.

vall4ecb46f0e

youtube.com / Via spidermoneyart.tumblr.com

For some reason, going through depression always ends in some sort of cheesy life lesson.

For some reason, going through depression always ends in some sort of cheesy life lesson.

And that lesson usually minimizes the struggles of depression.

jessicac444e4503b

sunshine-stubble.tumblr.com

And finally, most of this is covered in the span of a Very Special Episode — or, if we're lucky, a small arc — then forgotten about forever.

And finally, most of this is covered in the span of a Very Special Episode — or, if we're lucky, a small arc — then forgotten about forever.

Because hey, showing depression as an ongoing struggle that requires management would be...too much work? Or something?

natasham12

youtube.com

Note: This post was inspired by Community suggestions, but does not include direct quotes from users.

And if you need to talk to someone immediately, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Suicide helplines outside the US can be found here.

SHARE
Previous articleThese Americans Were Tricked Into Working For Russia. They Say They Had No Idea.
Next articleNo, An Undocumented Immigrant Did Not Start The Deadly Northern California Wildfires