Desensitizating of depression in the modern world


Xochitl Vega, Photographer:Valerie Torres

Valerie Torres, Reporter

Depression, a word to most but life to others, have we as people become desensitized to it? Over the past couple of years there has been an increase in depression all over the country,in the US major depression is up to 4.4% and it does not seem to be going down. Even though depression is serious, people use the word lightly. It’s not uncommon for people to say something along the lines of “I hate my life!” or even “I failed that test, I’m so depressed”, but is exaggerating and using the word inappropriately making it seem less serious?

Firstly, what is depression? “Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder” says The National Institute of Mental Health. Science Daily states that “About 2.6 million American children and adolescents had diagnosed anxiety and/or depression in 2011-12”.

I interviewed two students who have been diagnosed with depression and decided to speak their mind. When asked what they thought about the overuse and misuse of the word depressed,and if they felt offended by it, Don Lugo student, Xochitl Vega, stated that she does find it offensive and believes it undermines people who have depression. “I do find it offensive because there are legitimate people who have serious problems and issues with depression that most people can’t even begin to comprehend”.

Another student,who wishes to remain anonymous, states their opinion. “When people claim to have depression for little matters like failing a test, it belittles those who are actually suffering from depression”. Both students hold strong opinions on the matter and clearly dislike when the word depression is misused.

Though it seems that they aren’t the only people who aren’t okay with the overuse of the word. Rebecca Chamaa in her article states,”The word depression has become so overused by people that I can no longer tell when someone is referring to the mental illness, or is having a bad day”. In an article by Alannah Vazquez on the Odyssey she explains that depression,unlike sadness,does not just go away but is a constant thing.”When one is depressed the feeling isn’t ending. It can take weeks to a year for one to get better”.

It’s not just misused in social interactions, in social media as well. On social media, a quick scroll or two through your twitter feed, you can see posts and comments about people saying how they are going to kill themselves because they couldn’t get tickets to their favorite singer’s concert. Though we never know what the person behind the screen is going through, there could be people who have depression and post these things, not knowing how to find a proper way to express how they’re feeling.

We as a society should be able to understand and see the affect of our words and how when we exaggerate, not only are we offending those with actual depression, we are also making depression seem as though it isn’t so serious. We don’t only see depression being misused and overused, other things like bipolar, psychopath, anxiety, etc. Modern society seems to be more aware of the severity of mental illnesses but if these comments  like this keep becoming so regular to us, then it is clear that we still have a long way to go as a society about mental illness.