Taking a closer look at two social concepts

I have found a new blog that has at least two really good articles, and most likely more. The blog is by a guy who goes by the name “The Ferret”. The articles are “How to be a good depressive citizen” and “The Myth Of Nobody Can Make You Feel Bad Without Your Permission”.

In the former, he talks about a post by Author Libby Bray, where she talks about having depression, but does so in a careful way, as he explains, to avoid being labelled a “Bad Depressive Citizen”.

He explains:

Now, the gold standard for a writer suffering from depression is to Not Say Anything. Spend all that sadness with your mouth firmly shut. Then, after months of hard-pent silence, as you are emerging from the depression and find yourself in a place that you can properly control yourself, you write a Very Articulate Post detailing your pain…

…but do it from a distance. Write about it in a sad, somber tone. Do not evince an ounce of self-pity. Hold this odious disease at a distance. End it with a triumphant note that yes, you too can fight back!

Because God help you if you write your depressive post when you’re actually depressed, and uncertain if you’re going to make it. That worries people. You don’t want to write about yourself in a way that gets your audience concerned about you, because then you’ll just have told a bunch of people that maybe you’re not okay. And what will they do then? How will they rest until you’re in a stable place?

That’s rude. Button that s*** up, depressive person.

He goes on to talk about how there is basically a stigma around depression and that it is really only acceptable to talk about in a certain light, which would make it a lot harder for the person with depression to cope and deal with it. It’s very interesting, and enlightening, since I have not suffered from depression but I know a few who have.

I think we definitely need to work towards breaking stigma so that people with depression can come forward and get the help they need without being made to feel worse that they can’t just “be happier”.

The other post is about the idea that you can magically choose to not let anything bother you, if you don’t want it to. In a perfect world, sure. But this isn’t a perfect world.

He writes:

Now, first off, “shrugging off other people’s insults and accusations” is a learned skill. If you’ve ever raised a kid, you know most of them don’t come pre-baked with the “Eh, whatever” switch – if you yell at them, they cry. If other kids make fun of them, they get upset. Actually placing the “Okay, they’re mocking you, but do you respect their opinion?” switch in place is a process that takes years, requires a healthy ego on the kid’s part, and isn’t 100% successful.

So expecting everyone to have that skill is kinda jerky. Admittedly, it’s a vital skill that everyone should actively cultivate – without it, abusers can emotionally manipulate you into the most awful of situations by pressing your “guilt” button whenever you complain about valid stuff.

But not everyone had nice parents. Not everyone’s discovered how to interrupt their emotions with logic. And as such, sneering, “Well, you chose to feel bad” isn’t actually true. They have yet to develop a barrier between the onrush of primal feelings and the rationality to say, “Wait, no, that’s actually something I shouldn’t feel.”

It’s funny (but not actually ‘funny’), because just a few weeks ago, I made the comment on a public forum that getting teased/bullied isn’t 100% terrible because it forces you to grow as a person and there are some pretty prolific examples of people who did just that – they took the worst that people could throw at them, and turned it into motivation to do more with their lives than those people ever will. Here’s one example. But I realized shortly after, how ludicrous it was for me to suggest that. I mean, I was bullied relentlessly growing up. I honestly only had 3 friends in grade school, and one of them turned on me later when he managed to tap into a bit of coolness himself. It took me a long time to build up my character from that. My parents didn’t help a lot. But just because I got lucky enough to grow into being at peace with myself, doesn’t mean everyone does. And we shouldn’t expect them to by default.

One more bit:

But when you say, “Well, nobody can make you feel bad without your permission!”, that sets up a world where you have no responsibility for your speech. Were you digging for weak spots, mocking to make a point? Oh, hey, well, you were trying your damndest to make them feel bad, but if it worked it’s their fault for not having sufficient defenses. It’s not 100% correlation, but when I see “Nobody can make you feel bad!” I usually find a taunting dillweed nearby, taking potshots from the brush and then claiming no responsibility.

I was just thinking the other day, that phrase “life isn’t fair, get over it”, is pretty much only true in certain instances. It shouldn’t be used as an excuse to be an inconsiderate jerk. Life can be more fair. That part is up to each of us.

I’ve realized I post a lot about social stuff on here, life lessons and wisdom, because I am trying to be a better person, and I want to share what I find that I think helps with that. I hope you get some benefit from it as well.

But The Ferret is very right in both cases, so please go read the full posts.

Related:
“When Clever Quotes Don’t Hold Up”
“Don’t be afraid to be wrong, be afraid to not know better”

Care to share your thoughts?