My employer has a stupid online "wellness" program that contains self-assessments tutorials on a variety of topics from nutrition, to addiction problems, to work-life balance. I never bother with this BS because it's generally a waste of time and an insult to my intelligence. However, in a recent monthly spam email they sent out, there was a link to a "depression self-assessment".
[Clue #1 that you are depressed - you click on stupid self-assessment quizzes.]
So in this assessment they list a bunch of propositions and you are supposed to rate how frequently you experienced them (from "almost never" to "every day"):
- I had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing
- I felt hopeless about the future
- I felt fearful
- I talked less than usual
- I had crying spells
- I could not get "going"
- I felt that I was not as good as other people
What's incredible is that I tend to sugar coat things and pretend like things don't bother me, so the fact that I immediately admitted to all of these is further evidence of a problem.
Clue #3 you are depressed - your response to failing a depression self-assessment is not staunch denial, but only further sadness and feelings of inadequacy.
So what does all of this have to do with Tom Cruise? Well, we all remember his "depression is not a disease" scandal, and how he criticized anyone who relied on medication to treat it. I don't agree with his conclusion that chemical imbalances don't exist, but I do wonder whether the feelings I am having are truly something that requires drug intervention.
My own personal preference has always been to leave drugs as a last resort, and fortunately I have rarely had to resort to them. At the same time, the prevalence of chemical therapy for depression has created an environment where people have little patience for those who are taking their time dealing with sadness the old fashioned (i.e. slow) way.
I am tired of pushing sadness down for the sake of other people. This has been a problem lately as I have chosen not to attend some social functions. I don't feel like putting on a happy face, especially on my day off when I should be doing things I want to do rather than things I have to do. The response is always "oh, come on, you'll have a good time once you get there" or "don't be such a boring no-fun loser". It's like being sad is no longer an acceptable state for anyone to be in for any period of time. Ok, fine, you can't be down in the dumps forever, but why can't you take your time to properly let out the sadness?
I realize that I'm stepping into controversial territory by saying all of this, but that's just how I feel, so eat me.