Glamourizing Misery?

I’ve written a lot about the false stigma that surrounds depression.  But it occurs to me that we can gild it too. Here’s a a couple of myths;

1. ‘Depression is glamorous’.  For some reason we seem to consider happiness as the preserve of simpletons or at the very least, those who haven’t quite thought it through. Nonsense. Just as losing your parking space  does not equate to a dark night of the soul, genuine depression is miserable and somehow boring at the same time. Yet it’s often portrayed in the media as cool, ironic and exciting.

2. ‘Depression is sexy’.  As Tom Farrington writes in ‘A Hell of Mercy’, ‘depression saps relationships; untreated depression eventually destroys them’. Young Heathcliff might look damned hot across a windswept moor, but after a couple of days eyeballing his sulky jaw you’ll be tossing your Weetabix at him.

3. ‘Depressed = tortured genius’.  There may be some truth in this – if you’ve got a big brain, then you’re probably going to overthink your world.  At the same time, depression is not necessarily a catalyst for creativity.  Often, the reverse.  When you’re lying at the bottom of a deep, dark pit, picking up a pen is tricky, let alone writing your magnum opus.

Depression is none of these things.  It’s just depressing.

2 thoughts on “Glamourizing Misery?

  1. Depression is just depressing, as you say. And boring.

    Boring to the sufferer. Boring to everyone else.

    Since it’s steadily growing, and might eventually reach epidemic proportions, I suppose the challenge is to see if anything good or positive can come out of episodes of depression. I suppose depression is a statement of dissatisfaction with your life as it is, and so could be a catalyst for change once the cloud lifts.

  2. That’s a good way of looking at it and also true. But in practice it can be very difficult – which is perhaps where we need others to pray for and (gently) encourage us. Not with ‘pull yourself together’ or even well-intentioned verses, but a long-term commitment to supporting us, pointing us to Christ and drawing us out into their world, rather than being pulled into ours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *