According To The Internet, I’m Depressed
Yesterday, my colleague Frances Locke wrote an article about what not to say to a depressed mom. I’ve never identified myself as someone who is depressed. I’m starting to rethink that.
As evidenced by the amount of comments coming in – a lot of people were relating to the article. So I started to read them. One in particular struck me. I followed the link that was provided – and ended up down a rabbit hole which led me to the blog, Hyperbole and a Half, which led me to these paragraphs:
The beginning of my depression had been nothingÂ butÂ feelings, so the emotional deadening that followed was a welcome relief.Â Â IÂ had always wanted to not give a fuck about anything. I viewed feelings as a weakness â€” annoying obstacles on my quest for total power over myself.Â And I finally didn’t have to feel them anymore.
But my experiences slowly flattened and blended together until it became obvious that there’s a huge difference between not giving a fuck and not beingÂ ableÂ to give a fuck. Cognitively, you might know that different things are happening to you, but they don’t feel very different.
I thought about these paragraphs for a long time. Then – I thought about how many times I’ve said the words “I don’t care” either out loud or in my head over the last few months. The answer is – a lot.
“I don’t care” can be helpful. It can save your sanity when people attack you on the Internet – which, when you make your living putting words there happens a lot. It can rescue you from the torment of perfection when your house isn’t as clean as it should be. “I don’t care” can be empowering – until it isn’t anymore. Until you realize it’s become an auto-response, like “really” or “what?” Until you have to really take a minute to think about when you stopped caring – and you’re not sure what the answer is.
So I went even deeper down the rabbit hole and Googled “Am I depressed quiz.” I took about 10 of them – but each said the same thing. Yes. Yes, dumbass – you’re depressed. And not just mildly or mild to severely – every result was basically saying, Get help right now, lady.Â
According to the Internet I’m depressed. This is why you should never use the Internet to diagnose anything.