Enough with Twitter’s Culture of Depression
I have been an active Twitter user for over six years, I have been officially diagnosed with depression for two, and it is only recently that something connecting the two began to seriously bother me.
I cannot go on Twitter without seeing jokey tweets about wanting to die or more serious ones about how someone’s anxiety or depression has been triggered - both types of tweets often have thousands of retweets. There is a worrying trend of tweets which compete over how serious someone’s depression is, as if there’s some sick badge of honour available to whoever can prove they’re more mentally ill than the next person. For me, I prefer to keep my mental health as personal and private as I can, and I completely respect people who are more open about theirs. However, what I don’t respect is the way that people use social media to make it seem so glamourous.
When I go on twitter I want to be flooded with cat pictures or jokes about ABBA, not memes with the punchline ‘I want to die’ or ‘I want to kill myself’. All these tweets do is make extremely serious situations into this weird kind of sarky humour that is apparently ‘cool’. There was a time when I actually found that kind of thing amusing, but now that I have personally experienced the kind of fear and loss these situations can cause, all these jokes are is a reminder of a darker time.
Having this kind of content on your feed constantly forces you to engage with the bleak parts of life, and as someone who is currently doing everything I can to stop depression being one of my main focuses, I find it to be damaging, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Instead of the focus of these tweets encouraging recovery, they are almost always wallowing in the sinister side of mental health. Though they may also stop people from feeling alone, it simultaneously normalises thought processes that are not to be strived for. Almost everyone I know has had some kind of mental health struggle, and no one I know has found a way out of it by tweeting about how bad it feels. Too much emphasis is placed on the negative and I have personally had enough. I know the logical action is to just delete the app if this bothers me so much but I like hearing funny things about my friends lives or keeping tabs on animal accounts. So as a temporary solution from now on I am muting the words ‘kill’ ‘suicide’ and ‘depression’ on my twitter, and if you are also currently attempting some kind of recovery I would suggest you should too.
Mental health cannot be cured by constantly thinking about it, in my case it only ever made things worse, so I would like my twitter to go back to being a distraction - used primarily for looking at ABBA memes.