Not a laughing matter

Depression is real and should not be joked about


“You cried last night, depressed much?” I heard this in my classroom while I did some homework. A girl I didn’t know continued to loudly tease her friend over his “depression.” He laughed and they continued to joke. It was what most people considered harmless fun, but depression is a serious thing. 

Depression shouldn’t be joked about or taken lightly. It is a mental illness that takes so much from the people affected. 

After hearing the girl’s words, I stopped writing and began staring at my paper as I replayed how my weekend was. I thought of how my depression had been limiting me in recent years. I thought of the day before.

I woke up and was instantly paralyzed.

 I couldn’t move, I was so tired. It wasn’t because of lack of sleep, instead, absolute emotional exhaustion.

 Light from the windows stung my eyes. My lungs felt like they were dropped into my stomach.

  My mind was slow with a numb sense of anxiety-ridden thoughts. I was freezing and my leg was at an awkward angle on my bed. I felt like my body was fused into the mattress. 

The worst part was that I couldn’t bring myself to care.

I was numbed to the world. 

I remained motionless, my heart pounding in my ears and every breath I took was heavy. I struggled to breathe and blinked slowly. 

The rational side of my brain begged me to think about anything else other than the consuming void inside me.

But depression doesn’t listen to rationality. It doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t skip a person with good grades or a great household. 

My mind was spiraling with pain by the time class ended. 

The bell rang and took me away from these raw memories. My face went slack and I shook like a leaf. I got to my feet, biting the inside of my cheek to stop myself from crying in class. Usually the depression jokes wouldn’t bother me as much, but the day before I had been a mess so the jokes hit home more than they used to.

The pair from earlier continued to joke about mental health, claiming that people who were depressed cried every night and that some people deserve depression. I felt like I was slowly breaking while listening to them.

The next class was better, and I lost the tightness of my chest within the next hour. The alarm bells in my head had been brought to silence as I poured myself into my school work. 

That night was different. 

I huddled into bed and let the pressure of my weighted blanket try to calm me down. I wasn’t shaking or battling the demons of mental health and insomnia that I did the night before. Instead, my mind raced with thoughts too fast to truly process. My teeth were clenched as I thought about that morning and I realized that I was angry.

In a moment of rage and self-pity, I thought of how unfair it was for people like me. The ones who always felt like their depression was consuming their very being and got to be reminded of their depression through sick jokes made in class. 

 I wanted to scream at the people for carelessly accusing others of being depressed with a smirk on their face and the ones who laughed the hardest when their friends are truly struggling with their depression. 

If people truly understood what depression felt like and didn’t think of it as endless crying, I feel the jokes would stop.

The stigma and jokes have made depression into something small when in reality, it feels infinite. 

I hope that with time, and enough real-to-life representation, there will be a change in this. I wish that in the future, instead of depression being joked about in day-to-day life, it is discussed in a serious tone.

I hate depression, but I hate that depression is constantly joked about more.