How Pop Culture Gets Depression A Little Mixed Up

Depression has been mislabeled and misrepresented by pop culture for years. There are many high-profile movies and TV shows that have come out recently that try to tackle the issue, and ultimately drop the ball.

Pop culture has glamorized and glorified what it means to have a mental illness. Most movies, as well as TV shows, depict that it has a simple cause that can be fixed or forgotten. Most depictions of depression in pop culture make depression look beautiful and that you should be staring out of windows or crying gracefully. They show depression as being sad or upset, and those confused emotions bring the character to a large blowup or breakdown. This is not the case for the majority of those who suffer from depression.

Depression is something that millions of people suffer from every year. The depiction of depression in pop culture is almost always associated with the thoughts of suicide. Some of those who suffer from severe depression do also suffer from suicidal thoughts, but you do not have to have suicidal thoughts to be depressed. Another way pop culture misses the mark is by portraying depressed characters as low-functioning and struggling in life. This, in reality, is not always the case. There are plenty of successful and high-functioning people suffering from depression.

Many of those who suffer from depression are responsible for their career, bills, other commitments, and other people. These commitments can play a role in how depression is brought on, but those who suffer from it try to function well enough to take care of their responsibilities.

The unfortunate truth is that there is no simple fix for depression. The people struggling with depression are all unique and so, of course, what they need to feel better might look very different from one person to the next. Some may need companionship, some may need medications to help with the agonizing symptoms, and some may need to get out and push themselves. There is not a magic recipe and what works great for one person may not be as effective for another. However, therapy can be a helpful tool in figuring out the best path forward to living a bigger life.

Depression in pop culture is portrayed as some beautiful thing that can be rectified quickly just by meeting some basic human need that one is lacking. This is simply not the case. Depression is scary, dirty, tragic, sad, and all around you. Depression should not be glamorized or romanticized. The real effects of depression should be talked about and discussed.

It’s great to see mental illness more accepted and discussed in movies and pop culture overall, but it is essential to make sure we know the facts behind the disease and not just what Hollywood shows.

If you or someone you know has signs of depression (like thousands of others), there can be a path forward. If you find yourself struggling to find your footing on this path, please contact me, Billie Tyler a therapist in Spokane, WA. I would love to see how I could help you on your journey.