“But you don’t look depressed…”
“If I were you, I would…”
“Why are you so depressed, though?”
“A lot of people have it way worse than you do…”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it…”
Any of these sound familiar? These are just a few of the (kinder) things I’ve been told by those who’ve never experienced depression for themselves. It took me a long time to come to terms with my diagnosis of manic depression, and even longer to feel comfortable opening up about it, in no small part due to the stigma surrounding mental illness in general.
Though we’ve come a long way since Hippocrates’s theory of depression being caused by an imbalance of the four humors (yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood), there is still a staggering lack of information and (more dangerously) an influx of misinformationsurrounding the very real disease.
Take, for example, this dickbag…
Firstly, bear in mind this guy makes his living by getting kicked in the head… Secondly, I think it’s suffice to say that Tate has absolutely no idea what real strength is. I had no idea who this guy was, and I could give a shit less about kickboxing as a whole, but a whole three minutes of Google searching* afforded the list of rules for the sport. One of the illegal moves? “Striking opponent when he/she has slipped or fallen to 1 knee or more. An opponent is down when any part of his/her body touches the floor of the ring.”
Also known as kicking them while they’re down. Comments like this which promote the stigma, this bullshit fucking shame/blame game, that’s kicking us when we’re down. And unlike Tate, we don’t have a Ref to come to our rescue. If an opponent tries biting him, the Ref would call it. But what about when depression clamps its steely jaws on our Achilles, paralyzing us? If he gets taken down, the whistle blows. How about when a depressive episode absolutely floors us, knocking the air from our lungs? Holding your opponent’s head and hitting isn’t allowed either, but I couldn’t count the number of times depression has put me through the ringer.
And no fucking middle aged man in a black and white jersey** came to my rescue.
I’ve been in a lot of shitty circumstances which very likely predisposed me to a slew of mental health problems, but that doesn’t mean I don’t realize that I’M the only person who’s responsible for my own life and well-being. I’ve been hospitalized, self harmed, survived a suicide attempt. I’ve had more therapists, taken more tests, tried more medications than I care to recount. I push forward each and every day. Even when my progress is slow, I put one foot in front of the other. That’s still progress. That’s still pushing on. I have put everything I have into fighting this. But that doesn’t mean it’s gone. I’m a month away from being eligible to graduate DBT, but I still struggle with my depression at times.
There are, on average, 121 suicides in the United States, per day. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the country. And for every suicide, there are 25 others who attempt it. When I tried to take my life, it was because I felt weak. Because I was made to feel weak. I was told, time and time again, that my depression wasn’t real. My anxiety? All in my head. My bipolar disorder? Just teenage moodiness. My Borderline? Just a ploy for attention. I was told to my face by the one person that’s bound by unspoken law to love you unconditionally, that I was lying. Making it up. But why? Of all the personas I could put on, why choose that of the girl who struggles to make eye contact with her own reflection most days? Andrew Tate uses deflection and a dons a macho personality because (…???…) Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve wasted more energy on this guy than he deserves already.
Last night, for Mindfulness Bootcamp, I watched The Martian with David. While looking up the closing line, I came across one from an apparently deleted scene, and it really sums up how I ultimately feel about this whole Tate situation beautifully.
“Every human being has a basic instinct: to help each other out. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do”
I don’t know about you guys, but I’d rather be depressed than a douchebag any day…
— — —
*Whereas you can find 3,470,000 scholarly articles on depression in 0.04 seconds. Not that hard, Tate…
**Is that what kickboxing refs wear? Are they even called refs? #ExpertOnKickboxing