Romanticizing Depression

September 13, 2013
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Dear Editor,

Many teenagers have mental and emotional disorders, including various forms of depression. There are many resources for people struggling with depression, but teenagers often refuse these services, opting instead to romanticize their depression. They believe that depression is deep and beautiful, and/or that finding someone to share their problems with will magically heal them— that they just need someone to love in order to be happy again. This is a dangerous pattern of thinking; romanticizing depression can often lead to roundabout ways of justifying self-harm (which is an incredibly addicting and deadly habit to acquire) or not seeking help from counselors. Romanticizing depression can also cause misidentification of the warning signs in teens, because we are only shown media depictions of teenagers with similar disorders who self-medicate, self-harm, or acquire significant others, and somehow miraculously solve all of their issues.

Having a significant other is not the solution to depression— fellow teenagers simply do not have the resources or training to help people with mental and emotional disorders. There are hundreds of people (including our school counselors) who are willing and able to help people with such conditions. Recognizing that you have a mental or emotional disorder comes with the responsibility of helping yourself get outside help. While having a fifteen-year-old girlfriend may help you conquer depression, it is no replacement for counseling with trained professionals. We need to stop pretending that depression is a beautiful, deep sadness that can be banished by acquiring a boyfriend, and realize just how serious this disorder is.



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