Monday, November 4, 2013

Social Media Is Redefining 'Depression'

Online communities like those on Tumblr are perpetuating ideas of "beautiful suffering," confusing what it means to be clinically depressed.  

A few months ago, Laura U., a typical 16-year-old at an international school in Paris, sat at her computer wishing she looked just like the emaciated women on her Tumblr dashboard. She pined to be mysterious, haunted, fascinating, like the other people her age that she saw in black and white photos with scars along their wrists, from taking razor blades to their skin. She convinced herself that the melancholic quotes she was reading—“Can I just disappear?” or “People who die by suicide don’t want to end their lives, they want to end their pain”—applied to her.
 "The pendulum has swung from 'let’s never talk about it and let’s never educate ourselves about it' to 'let’s everyone blab about it,'" Kutcher says. "It’s a very interesting phenomenon."
“Even those people who are ‘wannabe depressed’ still feel the same emotions. It’s dangerous to talk about ‘wannabe depressives’ because we don’t know for a fact that they are in fact wannabes,” Laura says. “There are a lot of people that suffer.”

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