You Might Cure Depression, But You Can't Cure Stupidity

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 4.824% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I know people mean to be helpful with their advice. They do.  But if humanity has one sin nestled at its heart, it’s this:
People can’t truly imagine that someone else is different than they are.
So what you see, over and over again, is this strange process where someone who has a horrifically fucked-up life finally finds a way out.  It doesn’t matter how their life was fucked up – maybe they’re a depressive who found a therapy that worked.  Maybe they’re a drug-abuser who found a good way to get clean.  Maybe they had food allergies, and found a better way to cook meals.  Maybe they felt lost, and they found religion.  Maybe they felt tense all the time, and they found BDSM.
Doesn’t matter.  What matters is that for them, we have sadness + cure = happiness.
And that’s good!  As annoying as the people with these micro-savior complexes are, let us take this moment to celebrate the fact that they found something that worked for them – even if it’s a transient cure!  Happiness is mighty thin on the ground, my friends, and if you find a flickering source of pure-D joy, then you curl up beside that thrill for as long as you can.
Yet what then so often happens next is wretched: they see other people with problems like theirs.  Or, at least, from their perspective, sort of like theirs, because as mentioned most people don’t actually see other people.  They look out across this great country and they see not a million unique specimens of humanity, but a million vague clones of them.
Oh, they recognize that “people are different,” but that’s a sort of muddy background wash that fades away when they start making decisions.  They know, in their heart of hearts, that everyone feels the same emotions that they do.  That’s why anyone of the opposite political stripe is so often portrayed as evil – hey, those other guys know deep down just all of the harm they’re doing, and they’re choosing to do it anyway, so they must be actively wanting to fuck people over.  What monsters!  They can’t possibly be acting in good faith!
Likewise, anyone of an alternative sexuality is doing something that’s purposely creepy, because they can’t possibly have genuine feelings for something that repels you as much as it does.  Unless, of course, you’re comfortable with alternative sexualities, in which case anyone who feels the slightest bit uncomfortable must be a raging bigot because God, look how easy it is for me to be okay with all of these concepts I’ve dealt with for years, the fact that you can’t instantly come to acceptance means you’re a monster.
Nobody’s an individual, sadly.  They’re all just warped reflections of you.  And if they have any differences, it must be because they know better and yet have chosen to do the wrong thing, not that they actually have entirely different experiences and conclusions.  (Perhaps wrong and harmful conclusions, true, but it’s possible to come to a wrong conclusion through the best of intentions.)
Which means that when one person finds something that brings them happiness, they are convinced they’ve found the cure for everyone.  And when they see someone who has problems superficially similar to the issues they had, they automatically go “Well, that looks like my problem, so it is my problem,” and set about barraging people with This Cure They Found!  It works!
And here’s the thing: the cure does work, for some people.   Because the world is large; cast your net wide enough, and you will find a few people similar to you.  So they get just enough evidence to see that this is a fine cure, a beautiful cure.
Then they become accidental dicks.
Because this isn’t a possible cure – it’s the cure, and if you’re not happy after trying it, well, you didn’t do the cure properly.  Hey, you were depressed and medications didn’t work for you?  You just didn’t find the right medications.  You were sad and religion didn’t cheer you up?  You just didn’t have enough faith.  You felt sick all the time and this new diet didn’t work for you?  You must have cheated on this diet.
And slowly, the cure becomes a weapon.
And slowly, people start to feel even worse because they have so-called friends who are hammering on them with cures, and these cures aren’t working, and that means there’s something wrong with them.
And no.
There’s nothing wrong with you if a cure doesn’t work.  The world is big, and problems are complicated, and even problems that seem similar can have wildly different root causes.  The whole point of life is to try as many damn things as you can, because solutions come from odd areas, and the more you can explore the better a chance you’ll have of finding the fix that gets you the serenity you deserve.
But there is no one cure.  There’s a million specific cures, each targeted at the millions of people who are legitimately different, and while there are people who genuinely don’t view other folks as extensions of themselves, most do.  Which means that they’ll be very firm about fixing you in the same way they’d fix themselves, and they’ll be aghast and skeptical when the cure that brought them to happiness doesn’t work on you.  They’ll think you didn’t clap hard enough to save Tinkerbelle.  They’ll think you did something wrong.
And maybe you did do something wrong.  That’s a possibility.  But it’s also a possibility that you are not them, and your cure for depression or sickness or panic is something different entirely.
I hope you find it.
And I hope when you find it, you remember that not everyone’s like you.

3 Comments

  1. Chelsea
    Mar 10, 2015

    Yes, very much so. I got like this after I discovered Fat Acceptance, but I thankfully got over it. These days I only tell people about my personal cures if they’re actually asking. Bodies are incredibly complex organisms that we still barely understand, and there’s no such thing as a cure-all.

  2. Mishell Baker
    Mar 10, 2015

    Actually I have a treatment for depression that you should totally try. It really does work! If it doesn’t work for you, my fifty buck says you aren’t really doing it.
    Ready to hear it?? Okay here it is:
    Try something. Try anything. If that doesn’t work, try another thing. Keep trying things, everything you ever heard of that worked for someone, then try some things you made up yourself, and keep trying things until something seems to help. Then keep doing that thing. But also keep trying other things in case you need more than one thing.
    Never stop trying things. Take a break from trying things when you’re too sick or too tired, but then when you’re ready, try things again.
    That’s it. That was what I did. It works great.

  3. Ellixis
    Mar 10, 2015

    Is medication always The Cure? No, of course not. But the tricky thing about “try more medications” as a cure for depression is that sometimes it actually is good advice, since different brain chemistries respond to different medications. I guess the question becomes, how many times do you go back to that well before giving up and trying something else?

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