Sunday, 1 April 2012

Fake happiness, not orgasms

What is the most valuable thing you can do socially as a member of the ever-growing family of depressives out there? My response is: fakery. Fake when you have to, when you want to and even when it's not necessary, for practice. No one likes a depressed person, except other depressed people, so when you talk like you're carrying the world on your shoulders, which you probably are given the nature of depression (most people either don't know or don't care, however), people start to think you're being melodramatic. "My friend in Mexico City was depressed and she never said anything like that! You're giving depressed people a bad name!" But those are all justifications - calling the depressed melodramatic, saying they are just whining and could withstand more pain, and finding the whole depressed mood thing annoying. That's not the real reason people exclude depressives socially. The real reason is simply that people tend to be empathetic, and if you're empathetic, you're going to feel the emotions of whoever is around you. Bunk with happy-acting people, and you're set for a fun-filled life. Hang around the depressives, and you might just become one yourself! (The theory goes)

Why is the most valuable thing to do in such an instance to go against your instincts and talk as if you aren't depressed? Well, for one, so so many depressed people do it already. Including me, for instance. Though I am not REALLY faking as such when I talk in a happy(ish) manner (since it's become so ingrained into me these days that it most probably IS me, though I am barely definable anyway (see other posts in the social category)), at one point I got the idea in my head to stop being so depressed and angry outwardly and instead just put my drama class skills to good use and start copying television characters. And from the depressed people I know, and those I read about on the internet, I'm pretty sure that this fakery is not just a great way of gaining a little bit of comfort (in maintaining social expertise), but is also something that works and continues to work in practice for many, many people.

This situation, I think, looks incredibly horrific. And it probably is, but unlike how one might think initially, it's no one's fault. Yes, society is technically forcing the depressed to act happy or be excluded, just as it forced me to get social skills or lose the right to friendship. But it's not one little ruling elite doing this. It's biology. People naturally don't like hanging around the depressed, or those with piss-poor social skills. It's no one's fault, and there's no one we can fight to stop this. Stopping short of indoctrinating the crap out of the next generation of kids (even more than we usually do), if you are depressed and want friends, and can't find friends who are depressed like you, you are going to have to fake to fit the fuck in.

(I don't know if women do this too, but some men fake being fine even when their loved ones have died. Or try their best, at least. This is incredibly messed up. In any case, the 'fake it till you make it' mantra is not just localised to the depressed segment of the population.)

4 comments:

  1. Even if we fake happiness, a good income is hard to fake. =(

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  2. I'm not sure I agree. This frankly sounds too much like telling gay people "homosexuality makes straights uncomfortable, and no one likes fags anyway, so the best thing you can do for society is to nail that closet shut and just fake being straight as best you can."

    Excessive, blind, irrational cheeriness is one of the chief causes (or at least indirect enablers) of human misery. Cheery people are the ones capable of doing horrible shit like having kids and banning suicide. Why perpetuate that just for the sake of not coming off as melodramatic? I'd say there's a healthy middle ground between pretending everything's just peachy and being an insufferable drama queen. I certainly try to aim for that in my own life.

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  3. Black humor gets me friends, but not jobs.

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  4. I'm not so much telling people to do it, as saying it's probably best that they do it if they want more friends. But yeah, that criticism is a pretty good one - I guess I shouldn't have made it seem like it was the ONLY thing you could do.

    "I'd say there's a healthy middle ground between pretending everything's just peachy and being an insufferable drama queen"
    But it's still fakery not being an insufferable drama queen for some people. I for example, would be a boring monotone radio, broadcasting only my own pain. Some depression is so severe that faking is something you must do if you want to fit in even a little bit - maybe like how homosexuals sometimes avoid speaking about their sex lives in front of heterosexuals? I'm not saying it's a good thing. It really isn't. But there are some people out there that cannot function socially whatsoever without faking to some degree - whether autistic, or depressive or socopathic.

    Yeah Ann, sometimes I can channel my depression into jokes like that (brain usually too fried). I guess that's sort of an exception, then.

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