We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community about the things that annoy them the most about how depression is depicted in movies, TV shows, and books. Here are the worst offenders.
1. First of all, depression always looks beautiful — beautiful characters crying, staring out windows, taking a listless shower, etc. etc. etc., beautifully.
2. Characters with depression are pretty much always reduced to being ~sad~.
3. Most of the time, depression is triggered by Dramatic Plot Elements.
4. And because of that, depression always culminates as a big blowup or breakdown.
5. Or if a character valiantly pretends they're fine and doesn't succumb to their depression, the audience is obviously supposed to think they're strong and brave.
6. In fact, most of the boring parts of dealing with depression are erased.
7. Depression is treated as an alluring or mysterious trait that draws the attention of a love interest.
8. AND THEN THAT LOVE INTEREST ALWAYS ~FIXES~ THE PERSON WITH DEPRESSION.
9. If treatment IS explored, it's always super easy and straightforward.
10. Speaking of therapists, they're usually portrayed as pretty useless.
11. When treatment is shown in a positive light, it's always super linear and FAST.
12. There aren't many examples of high-functioning people with depression, rather than people whose depression completely derails their life.
13. Pretty much every depressed character is also suicidal at some point.
14. More often than not, a character with depression fits a specific stereotype.
15. And let's be real, even with positive representations of depression, more often than not, the characters are white.
16. Medication is treated like this evil, personality-zapping stuff you should avoid at all costs.
17. And depressed characters are always super creative and artistic.
18. For some reason, going through depression always ends in some sort of cheesy life lesson.
19. And finally, most of this is covered in the span of a Very Special Episode — or, if we're lucky, a small arc — then forgotten about forever.
Note: This post was inspired by Community suggestions, but does not include direct quotes from users.
To learn about depression, check out the resources at the National Institute of Mental Health here.
And if you need to talk to someone immediately, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Suicide helplines outside the US can be found here.