I took a deep breath. I said that if anything deserves a negative connotation this does, but she didn’t budge.
It’s a common refrain – a gentle way to dismiss the pain depression causes, and it hurts to hear. So what’s going on here? Why are people so defensive of depression? I’ve thought of a couple options.
- They confuse the person with the condition. Not wanting the person to feel stigmatized, they feel a need to celebrate the disease.
- They are hesitant to accept that you’re hurting – or that your pain is profound – because they love you.
- They worry about their own mood health and want to believe that mood disorders are common and even positive in the long run.
I was relieved to notice that all of the explanations I could come up with were rooted in love and concern for self and others.
I shuffled through possible reactions and settled on “meh.” It hurts my feelings when someone disagrees with me about the nature of my condition – but only momentarily.
With this stigmatized, little understood condition, it often falls on us to be patients and educators at the same time. But what if that weren’t true? I love the idea of letting go of the need to educate, of the need to manage other people’s responses. I love the idea of just being a patient for a while.
My friend is not responsible for my recovery. I am. Does it really matter if I think she’s wrong headed on this particular issue?
I can respectfully disagree (maybe send her an article or two) and then let it go. I can stop worrying about the fact that “someone is wrong on the internet,” and focus on getting better.