Memes are a valid form of expression and they can help us articulate the difficult, and often stigmatized, effects of depression.
By Han Angus
Memes in 2017 are a form of communication. We laugh with memes, we cry with memes and we express our annoyance with memes. I have over 500 of them saved on my phone for a variety of reasons and occasions.
One day I may need a Tiffany Pollard meme to tell everyone that I am in fact THAT BITCH and the next I may want to use one of an animated character with seemingly randomized emoji hearts placed all over the place to indicate my love for someone. Memes are incredibly versatile not only in what they mean, but how they are used. People can use memes to express emotions or facial expressions that are limited by the languages we are using. That’s why they’ve become a coping mechanism for many online suffering from depression.
I’ve suffered from depression from the age of 12, I’m not quite sure what brought it on as there was both a family history of mental health issues and I experienced bullying throughout my teens, but it got worse with age. I have been a Twitter user since 2013, and witnessed the change of the platform as well as how our collective content started to lean more towards openness and the de-stigmatization of poor mental health.
Jokes about being depressed have always existed but when I tried to make one in 2015, I was told I was making a mockery of those who actually suffer from the illness as if my experiences were not valid because I wanted to take a lighthearted approach to dealing with what was so deeply troubling me. In order to not upset people I refrained from doing it again. Looking back it is clear that it was one of few outlets I had to speak about my mental health.
My twitter persona had somewhat shifted during after that, I was always been a stan account (an online account for fans of celebrities, shows or movies), however, I outgrew it when I became 16. I had tried to be friends with more liberal or leftist people, however, they had no regard for my mental health and bullied me off my account to the point I had started experience episodes of deeper depression which affected my sleeping and eating habits. I was barely going out, I gained weight and I stopped socializing with my friends unless I was forced to go out. As a psychology student I knew I was depressed but I was under the impression that I couldn’t name it for what it was without a doctor, which I eventually resolved to do this year.
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