Depression Memes Are The Therapist We Never Knew We Had

Depression Memes Are The Therapist We Never Knew We Had

When you're having your 3rd mental breakdown, share a meme expressing it.

2255
views
This was originally an 8 page essay I wrote for my English Comp 1 class and received a C on it I believe. Originally written back in early/mid 2017 when depression memes were thriving but Wholesome Memes seem to have taken over now in 2018, which is better than being sad people laughing at our sadness.
My favorite line in this is, "This show caused a new meme wave". Memes are so life changing, sister shook.


Whether you are scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you will see pictures or videos that went viral and have everyone laughing; this is known as a meme. Memes are a shareable image, gif, or video clip, often including text. They are an easy global inside joke, often referencing popular culture, or things that have ironic status. It's a big joke that everyone knows about, and anyone can change it to fit their idea. Memes are sort of like the funnies in the Sunday paper; only they're just one frame long. Memes commonly are silly jokes or related to current issues, but recently a new form of memes have been emerging: depression memes. This type of meme ranges from clever puns, Kermit the frog, or being plain out ironic, but still able to tie itself to depression and mental illnesses. People view this meme as a negative and possible to worsen or cause others to develop depression, but others contradict and say that they are a way to been an outlet for them to help cope with their current depression and been therapeutic.

Throughout history, we have been introduced to many things that made waves in our lives such as fire, electricity, books, and—the mightiest—the internet. But the most significant thing we have been introduced to is meme culture. Memes have become something we can casually talk about and share in a chain email with everyone in the office and not worry that we'd be fired. Memes have risen to such fame that the word "memeing" and "memed" has been added to the Dictionary (memeing/memed=to create and spread memes). Back in May 2017, there was even a crisis with there not being enough new memes being made and people started to use old ones, which people began to refer this time as The Great Meme Depression. Memes have been able to affect us drastically as the meme Pepe The Frog got classified as a hate symbol back in July 2016 by the Anti-Defamation League due to the erratic way people would use his image. Memes have risen to such fame that they're now being used to advertise to people. Gucci recently released an art campaign back in early 2017 featuring their clothing in the style of a popular meme. While memes are being used to advertise now, they're starting to be used to talk about mental health.

In recent years, memes have changed from being just a random image to now a message to spread. Still sticking to the main set up of repeated images, audio or video, each with a usually visible theme, their format has become looser. Now being able to fall into a specific category or theme expressing certain feelings or situations. Each Meme has a particular theme attached to it. For example, "Bad Luck Brian" was a popular meme made from an unfortunate yearbook photo and was used to explain the awkward or unfortunate situation. Now there's a meme that can be classified as the "depression" meme. Depression memes have been around for years, first starting on Reddit with the KILL ME Dog meme featuring a dog in an argyle sweater looking sad about it and wanting to die. But the emergence of depression memes truly started when Youtuber IDubbbzTV2 uploaded a video called "Disabled Pokemon Go-Eevee + Zubat" which featured him jumping into a wheelchair saying, "I have crippling depression" (IDubzz). During this time, IDubzz had a fairly large subscriber base, and so his followers began using this newly coined term in memes to depict how they felt humorously. A majority of his followers are teens to young adults who could have found this to be relatable in a light, humorous way which is why they began sharing it. How and why certain memes become popular is not always clear and easy to explain. In theory, meme trends should be a reflection of a widespread cultural feeling. American memes from 2016 tended to reflect a general disinterest in politics and culture at the time. Nihilist memes were very viral, and they showed a growing detachment to the disturbing events and catastrophe of 2016. Memes, vines, and GIFs could be seen as a "mirror" to what the people feel, and since we're now realizing this, we can now point out concerning emotions such as depression.

Now that memes are becoming more popularized on social media, they have begun surfacing on Facebook with pages like 'Crippling Depression', 'Depression Memes', 'My Memes Are Ironic My Depression Is Chronic', and 'Don't End My Life Because I Relate To Memes'. These pages post almost daily with memes focusing on topics like loneliness, depression, and even suicide. The Facebook meme page, Crippling Depression (a recently deleted meme page), was able to give an insightful view when asked what was the purpose of this account and if it was a way to help cope with their own depression: "I made this meme page to feel better about myself by expressing myself in intricate memes that paint my suffering with a picture people can relate or feel alike in, never my intention to make fun of souls experiencing life with such discontent". When asked what he enjoys most about this type of meme he responded with, "I really can't cope with what it means to exist, and the emptiness leaves me when I laugh when I feel connected to others to be ultimately honest". Many people on these pages do start to form a connection with one another within the comment section, where they start comforting each other and ways to cope with whatever issues they're facing. Amanda Purington, a research support specialist from Cornell University, says that these types of pages can help give voices to these feelings and she believes that this type of meme can help break the idea that talking about suicide is taboo. But some of the approaches to these memes has caused criticism.

The talk about laughing at depression been around on Reddit and 4chan for years with memes likes "Kill Me" or "I want to die", but some believe that depression and suicide became more glamorized because of the show 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. 13 Reasons Why came out back in 2016 where the main character, Hannah Baker, commits suicide and left individual tapes to 13 people explaining why they're connected to her. 13 Reasons Why was a breakout success with viewers and critics; it became one of Netflix's highest rated shows and the most-tweeted series shortly after its release. Although some critics were split on the treatment of Hannah's character, her death particularly sparked something new on the internet. This show caused a new meme wave to emerge with people making light jokes on the topic of suicide. Everyone seemed to understand the message of the show but decided to show it in a humorous way: rather than talking about the actual topic of suicide, why not talk about it through memes? With memes being the newest way to spread certain topics, they made it more approachable to talk about mental health with younger people such as high schoolers or college students. 13 Reasons Why was able to connect with young adults, as Hannah is currently a sophomore in high school. She gave a slightly better understanding from someone else's perspective who isn't fully taught about mental health but are experiencing the signs of mental illness. The article "How Memes Taught Millennial's to Talk About Mental Health" written by Wendy Syfret, currently Head Of Verticals at VICE Media, talks about the significant affect memes have on young adults: "Two things make it easier to speak about difficult subjects: humor and distance — qualities that memes naturally provide.". In her article, she interviews teens and meme pages questioning the new depression meme phase. Syfret interviewed Instagram account @sagittariusmemeadmin, who's currently a senior in high school, asking why she uses memes as an outlet. "I'll make a meme about something when I'm sure I can't talk about it with anyone else because I've already talked about it too much or it's just too personal or it's a secret," she explained, "feels like someone else is saying it...It softens the blow of regular conversation.". Depression memes have become an outlet for many, especially young adults who are still figuring out their emotions and mental state. While the 13 Reasons Why meme wasn't the best way to help spread awareness on mental illness, it did get the importance of the topic out there. But there's another meme that was able to do just the same in a more prominent way, and also help people confront it with others as well.

One meme that helped spread the depression meme has been the Evil Kermit meme. Many have been using this meme to express emotions toward school, significant others, and diets, but others have been broadening the use of this meme. It has been able to give life to mental illnesses and help people actually visualize it. Being able to "see" their mental illnesses helps them and others fully understand what they're struggling with and how hard it truly is to get better, "By turning these disorders into actual beings, it's a little easier to confront them. They aren't these nebulous, abstract things to fear. Anxiety becomes that jerk causing you to overthink, depression the asshole keeping you in bed all day, or the inner Dark Kermit whispering in your ear" (Roffman). Evil Kermit was able to help shine a light on and became a comforting way to understand mental illness. While the most popular Evil Kermit meme did help spread the depression meme to the normies (slang for a conventional and mainstream person, an average joe), other Kermit memes like Kermitting Suicide, Sad Kermit, and Bathtub Kermit have also been successful in doing so. They all succeeded to help others see what people with depression might go through, but some do not agree that we should be able to see such a thing.

Although depression memes might be a way for one to express how they feel, some see it as a trigger for those who might be suffering through mental illness and might cause one to relapse back into depression. But the problem is that the people who are mentioning this don't fully understand depression. They seem to understand the issue with depression but not the deeper meaning behind it. Reddit account user 2meirl4meirl gives a brief explanation of the depression meme and his encounter with them, "[T]here's nothing wrong with not getting them, in fact, if you don't get them, that's probably a good thing, it means that your life has been pretty great," (Connelly). He also states that this type of meme does mean more than just the dark humor on the surface, "If you were to ask me why I enjoy that kind of humor it's because they weren't always completely jokes". These memes bring humor to mental illness and show that it's capable of lessening the heavy weight of depression. Juliette Virzi who is an Associate Mental Health Editor for The Mighty wrote an article over the depression meme called "21 Memes That Might Make You Laugh If You Have Depression Or Anxiety" where she discussed the benefit of such dark humor, "Sometimes humor can be used to broach a serious topic you otherwise wouldn't know how to talk about. Sometimes, sending a relatable mental health meme to a friend can bring a smile to their face on days when it's hard to get out of bed. Other times, seeing a funny meme can let you know you aren't the only one feeling this way."

With Depression memes rising, it opens a whole new door for people to express and talk about how they genuinely feel rather than it being off limits. Instead of just showing their feelings by saying things like "Today was hard" or "Not My Day", people can express their true pain by saying, "Today was hard because of I couldn't get out of bed." Depression memes may be concerning to some people, but it's finally getting people to talk about it and the possible outcomes it contains. So many people are scared to talk about such topics as it can make things awkward or be seen as "taboo", but that is what's holding us back and making this illness even worse. Kevin Breel who is a mental health activist appeared on a Ted Talk titled "Confessions of a Depressed Comic" where he openly spoke about his experience with depression and how important it is that we talk about this now. "It seems to be hard for everyone to talk about, so much so that no one's talking about it. And no one's talking about depression, but we need to be because right now it's a massive problem" (Breel). It's important that we talk about depression, as, according to WHO (World Health Organization), every 40 seconds someone commits suicide. We shouldn't need to take a certain type of meme to incite humanity to talk about mental health; all of the struggles of people who suffer from depression should be enough to spark the conversation. People who suffer from depression must learn to handle their emotions on their own or pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to support their mental health because no-one wants to talk about it. "We live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you're depressed, everyone runs the other way" (Liberti). Depression memes may be seen as harmful, but it helps people feel less isolated.

It may be said that depression memes are causing people to get triggered, but it also can be therapeutic for others. Something we always seem to dodge is conversation focusing on our mental health due to the idea of it being something abnormal. When in fact, talking about mental health is extremely important for everyone. Being able to speak of such a serious topic will help people feel more comfortable approaching these certain feelings rather than ignoring it and putting a mask on. With memes, we've been able to start the conversation and have it passed on to others facing similar issues. Hopefully the next time you see a meme that might be considered "edgy" or "spicy", you'll probably think twice about how that person is currently feeling.

Chen, Tanya. "We Found The Creator Of The Sad Kermit Meme And She's Got A Vault Of Kermit Memes." BuzzFeed, 14 Dec. 2016, www.buzzfeed.com/tanyachen/we-found-the-creator-of-the-sad-kermit-meme?utm_term=.roAb005xd#.cnQ8OO5Dp.

Connelly, Gabriel. "Self-loathing memes may be a form of therapy." Vice News, 2 Aug 2017, https://news.vice.com/story/suicide-memes-may-be-a-form-of-therapy.

Moreau, Elise. "What Are Internet Memes and Where Did They Come From?", LifeWire, 25 October 2017, https://www.lifewire.com/what-are-internet-memes-3486448

Nordqvist, Christian. "One Million People Commit Suicide Each Year - World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th, 2011." Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 10 Sept. 2011, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/234219.php.

Roffman, Otis. "The Sad Truth About Depressing Memes." Study Break, 21 June 2017, https://studybreaks.com/2017/06/21/memes-4/.

Syfret, Wendy. "How Memes Taught Millennials to Talk about Mental Health." I-d, 13 Feb. 2017, i-d.vice.com/en_au/article/43wenm/how-memes-taught-millennials-to-talk-about-mental-health.

Virzi, Juliette. "21 Memes That Might Make You Laugh If You Have Depression or Anxiety." TheMighty, 11 Oct 2017, https://themighty.com/2017/10/funny-memes-anxiety-depression/.

"Casually Suicidal | Sarah Liberti | TEDxAdelphiUniversity." YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 5 May 2017, youtu.be/S8bJ3YlgL1Q.

"Disabled Pokemon Go-Eevee + Zubat." YouTube, uploaded by IDubbbzTV2, 17 July 2016, https://youtu.be/mIxxL-yhnsY

"Hannah Baker." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Apr. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Baker.

"Pepe The Frog- Hate Symbols Database" ADL, 2016, https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symb...

"The Great Meme Depression" Urban Dictionary, 27 June 2017, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=The%20Great%20Meme%20Depression)

"Why We Need to Talk about Depression | Kevin Breel." YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 27 Sept. 2013, youtu.be/-Qe8cR4Jl10.

Popular Right Now

18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney
23767
views

The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Ways You Can Stop Producing so Much Trash

We produce a lot more trash than you think, until you start paying attention to your actions.

329
views

One of my major goals this year is to do more to save the planet as well as animals. I have already been vegetarian for three years. and I'm plan to stay vegetarian, but I want to have a more plant based diet. As well, I want to start reducing the amount of trash I produce. Not only because I realize just how drastically our trash is affecting wildlife, but also because I think having to take out your trash twice a week is way too much trash!

1. Bring recyclables to a recycling center or reuse them around the home!

Giphy

This is something I want to start doing! I always get take out food and throw away the containers, when I could be using those containers to carry my lunch everyday! Also, I want to start collecting my plastic water bottles and taking them to the recycling center on campus instead of just throwing them away

2. Invest in a reuseable water bottle

Giphy

This would actually fix my water bottle problem. I need to invest in a nice, reuseable water bottle that I can refill, rather than throwing away 3-4 water bottles a day. Amazon has a lot of varieties of these bottles ranging from inexpensive to expensive, cool designs, and even one that holds snacks.

3. Reuseable Straws

Giphy

This is a great addition to your new reuseable water bottle! Like trash, you don't realize how much you use (and throw away) straw, until you actually start to keep count. I thought i didn't use straws at all because I never bought them in my life, but then you go out to eat (straw), you go to Starbucks (straw). Having a glass straw is actually really useful to reduce your trash, in cases when you wish you had a straw but don't, and sanitary purposes. Those straw sitting out at Starbucks, are they really that clean?

4. Donate old/unwanted clothes

Giphy

This is something I already do. I go through my drawers and closet once a year, and just put all the clothes I haven't worn all year, or just don't want into a garbage bag. I'm usually able to fill at least one (gallon) garbage bag with clothes to take to Goodwill!

5. Use actual plates instead of paper plates

Giphy

This is another huge mistake of mine! I hate doing dishes, so I try to buy paper plates to make less dishes, but in the end I'm producing more and more trash! I'm convinced the reason I have to take out my trash so often is because I eat so much! It's time to be a big girl now and start washing my dishes...or start using my dish washer

Related Content

Facebook Comments