The Impression of Depression

Most of us can agree that our teenage years were a constant struggle of exploring various phases and subcultures, all in the hopes of finding the one that evoked the right sense of belonging. This makes our teenage years one of the most troubling periods of our lives.

The discomfort with the growing changes in our bodies along with the pressures of wanting to fit in at social settings can lead individuals to feel misplaced in society and unsure of how to deal with their myriad of emotions. Furthermore, authoritative figures no longer seem to understand their everyday worries, leading teenagers to fill this void by seeking cliques with like-minded peers.

Understanding the (P)interest in Depression

In today’s internet-driven world, popular social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr make it easy for individuals to upload and share content with fellow users. This has allowed for the rise of various online social communities who share online content tailored specifically to evoke gloomy emotions through art.

In trying to encapsulate the idea of ‘beautiful suffering’, this art often glorifies self-injury, self-hatred, suicidal thoughts and depression. This art form resonates with teenagers facing problems, and the affirmation from fellow online users offers them a sense of comfort and belonging, sometimes even admiration.

Danger and Hope

The danger in embracing and glorying these negative emotions is that the line between actual depression and ordinary daily struggles begins to blur. ‘Depression’ becomes the first word they think of when they begin to feel upset or disconcerted. By loosely using the word to describe any negative emotion, depression begins to lose its meaning.

Individuals need to learn the difference between depression and commonplace struggles. If this is achieved, there is hope that they will no longer trap themselves in cultivating their despair.

Written by Dr. Joel Yang