I am a part of many Facebook groups relating to Depression, Anxiety and Mental Illness overall. I read a plethora of articles a day ranging from a new finding in Depression cures to how to calm yourself during a major panic attack. Some articles are very intriguing and others are rather boring. My personal favorites are when others stand up and tell their stories.
One of sites I read many articles on in PsychCentral.com. They have an array of articles on every Mental Illness you could think of. I can relate to most of their content. One article title yesterday grabbed my attention… and NOT in a good way:
“Depressed People May Choose To Be Sad”
I clicked the link and read the article making sure not to skim it but actually read it and my initial reaction was:
Say what?! Aren’t we trying to DE-stigmatize Depression?!
This article which I encourage all my readers to read follows a study done on women who ranged from no Depression, to mild Depression, to Major Depression. It claims some of these women when faced with a “happy” opportunity chose to be sad instead. Those words… chose, choose, choice… really are not part of a Depressed person’s vocabulary.
When I was recently deeply Depressed back in January of this year, I can tell you I had no choice in my emotions. My brain, corrupt with crude thoughts, directed what I did and didn’t do on any given day. My brain was sick. I couldn’t choose to be happy or to be sad. I couldn’t feel. That’s the biggest thing with Depression… you don’t feel, you lack emotion, you don’t care. Do Depressed people cry? Isn’t that an emotion? Yes, but, I cried because I couldn’t feel. Because of that I was inhuman, undeserving, uncaring, worthless, helpless… hopeless.
To the doctors who performed this research, I ask: Have you ever suffered from Depression? If so, could you choose to be happy or sad? Don’t you think if we could choose our emotions, we would choose happiness? Do you realize that by saying we can choose our emotions you are erasing so much work that has been done to de-stigmatize Depression? Do you realize your article feeds the myth that Depression is not a real illness?
To PsychCentral.com: I realize you post all views about Mental Illness on your website and I respect that. I do not blame your site for publishing this article, you were just making us aware that this study existed.
To my fellow Depression sufferers: Please do not believe a word in the article. We know Depression is real and that we have no choice in our thoughts or feelings. If we did, we wouldn’t have been labeled with Clinical Depression (and for me, I wouldn’t have been label 6 times with it).