Compared to five or six years ago, I’ve been witnessing more people talking up about depression among other mental conditions. The fact that I know at least five people studying psychology in college right now, can also be seen as an indicator that awareness is raising up. In conclusion: people are talking about depression. We’re actually starting to care about this. But has it therefore become a hype?
The “THERAPY TALES” series in this blog has attracted most of you readers. That led me to conclude that “depression” had become quite a clickbait. Especially if it’s someone you personally know who’s sharing its very own experience with mental health issues. After giving it a bit of thoughts, it actually makes sense: depression is not only still quite a taboo in our society, but we also do not know a lot about it either. Whether it’s out of curiosity or for educational purposes, subjects such as depression and suicide tickle our attention.
Among the contributors to this dialogue about depression, you’ll stumble on some young teens that love turning this subject into a meme on social media. “Dialogue” is a big word considering what I’ve been seeing and reading following some quite interesting teenagers who address this matter almost daily.
“Depressed teenagers is not a thing, they just want attention”
Attention-seeking behaviors and depression can in some cases go hand in hand. Especially as a teenager growing-up among adults that get constantly in our way. Once we get out of high school, we disconnect from the teenage era. We tend to forget how messy and confused we used to feel. Teenagers are easy targets. We blame them for the music their promoting, we mock their fashion tendencies and so on. Basically, we shift to the other side. We fail to remember we were once the ones listening to shitty music and dress like clowns.
In other words: Useless to say that depressed teenagers is obviously more of a thing than you might realize.
But how are they expressing this matter? Are they the ones spreading fake-deep stuff on social media, turning depression fashionable and sometimes even into a lifestyle?
For quite some months now, I’ve been following this matter more closely by paying particular attention to the way teens express their feelings on social media in Luxembourg. I stumbled on some bis-accounts where teens apply an uncensored language with raw emotions compared to what one is used to see on their “main” accounts. Some follow-requests are still pending there. Which I totally understand, I wouldn’t accept a 24 year old fuck to my safe zone either. Luckily, I got accepted by some and my old-ass got the privilege to find out more about this trend. Privilege or trauma, I still can’t properly describe what I saw there. But one thing is sure: these people take suicide way too easily and too frequently in their statements.
Facebook is full of “adults” and their content is not meant for old people anyway. Which to me sounds more like “If any adult would see this, I’ll get closed-up in a mental institution in no time”. Matter of fact, I flipped out myself while following this teen who was constantly menacing to commit suicide on her insta-stories. Turned out that every morning she was back on her feet, repeating the whole scenario at nighttime again. Naturally, I started to get used to this and took her less serious. Yes, I got to think this teen wanted nothing else but a good shot of attention. Only, attention-seeking shouldn’t be necessarily seen as something superficial and therefore not worth our consideration. Tale old as time: seeking attention often is the symptom of a terrible lack of it.
In my personal opinion, this concept is truly smart. It is important to create a safe space in order to feel comfortable enough when it’s about expressing sensitive subjects like emotional misbalances and mental health issues. Being able to select the people one allows to see as we truly are and feel, is a plus point. This enables a greater distance from trolls and curiosity-thirsty users. This is a true game changer in contemporary teenage era.
Unfortunately, I saw little of what I just mentioned. On the opposite, I got the impression that these bis-accounts are harming and threatening conscious debates around depression and suicide. I was probably not the only one coming to the conclusion that the girl I talked about earlier, was not going to commit suicide as she stated the night before. Imagining it could actually happen became an abstract idea. This kind of repetition and hollow statements make it hard for their environment to intervene when it’s urgently needed.
I am not the one to judge whether this so-called trend is only a petty way to seek attention or if on the opposite, something truly worrying lies under it. Or maybe even both at the same time. Also, let’s not forget these accounts are private, so it’s not like they’re imposing this to everyone. Let’s stay nice about this: freedom of speech is not an urban legend.
The nerve-wracking teen
One thing is going all out on your insta-stories letting only people you chose, witness your personal flip-outs. Another thing is how some trolls take depression and suicide as an entertainment tool. This Emo-Renaissance through mainly cloudrap and soundcloud rappers might play a big role here. Rappers like “XXXTentacion” clumsily turned “being fucked up” into the new aesthetic. This seems to work very effectually among teens, especially boys. This new rap wave and its protagonist are not to blame though. It comes down to the fans…. quite often.
As an answer to this new emo-phenomenon, I’ve seen people posting polls on their stories and letting their followers decide whether they should “kill themselves” or not. Some will state this is nothing but dark humor and should not been seen as a threat. Also like I said earlier, freedom of speech is a real thing and this just is how some choose to apply it.
If conscious and safe debate about mental health would have its own safe space in our society, these trolls would not make a difference. The general impression I get by following these users more closely, is that depression seems to be “worn” as if it was a trendy pair of sneakers. It became part of some people’s life style: “I’m this depressed piece of shit that can’t get anything right and is constantly living on the edge.” Especially the part about “living on the edge” which can take some pathetic if not endangering proportions.
Same as with the bis-accounts, I’m not the one to judge the legitimacy of this case either. Only this time, I cannot congratulate this concept or see anything positive towards the matter of mental health itself. It might look good to some as a trend, but that’s pretty much it. Because depression is the last thing anyone would like to experience. Believe me, your swagger would suffer under it.
Like I mentioned earlier, we fail to remember how messy and confused we felt in our teenagers years too. Maybe’s there is something I’m missing out on or I’m just too old for this now. Nevertheless, mind your mental health and take responsibility for what you post on social media.
I can’t deny it, I do sound like an old fuck.