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This is not how depression works.
To be clear: Depression is not a choice. Which is why a man who strongly believes people are choosing to be depressed is getting a proper Twitter smackdown.
Twitter user AsawaeOfAsh is a 21-year-old man who posts philosophical musings like “don’t accept guidance from people who aren’t where you’d want to be” and “I resent the general population of fat people.” So it comes as no surprise that Asawae, not a medical professional, has plenty of opinions on depression. For one, he thinks “99 percent” of people with depression “choose to” be depressed. He also thinks people with depression actively decide to avoid the sun, eat junk food, kill time, and “don’t work towards goals.”
“Notice a pattern?” Asawae ends his cosmic-brain hot take. “Depression is stagnation. Stagnation is death.”
Depression is a choice.
Now, before you pissed, I’ll explain.
99% of “depressed” people CHOOSE to:
• Avoid the sun
• Eat junk
• Not exercise
• Don’t work towards goals
• Be depressed
• Kill time
Notice a pattern?
Depression is stagnation.
Stagnation is death.
— Asawae (@AsawaeOfAsh) November 9, 2018
Explain why you believe poor choices don’t lead to a poor mental state.
Explain why avoiding accountability and forfeiting control is beneficial.
Please, do tell.
— Asawae (@AsawaeOfAsh) November 10, 2018
Asawae claims he has depression, and while that may be the case, he certainly doesn’t speak for everyone who has it. Sometimes depression is simply a chemical imbalance that needs to be corrected. Other times, it stems from life stress, traumatic experiences, or mourning a serious life change. Eating right or exercising regularly might be good ways to cope with depression, but if you’re in the depths of its darkness, you often can’t even get to that point. In fact, making depressed people feel bad about being depressed is probably the worst way to treat someone suffering from depression.
It didn’t take long for people to come out and correct Asawae.
you clearly know nothing about mental illness
— niz (@tolkienhoe) November 10, 2018
Ignorance is a choice.
Now before you get pissed, I'll explain.
99% of "ignorant" people CHOOSE to:
– Avoid facts
– Consume pop psychology
– Don't research before posting
– Sound off on things they don't understand
– Waste other people's time
Notice a pattern?
— Author of Confusion (@AuthorConfusion) November 11, 2018
Depression is very often induced by continuous exposure to highly stressful conditions and fear (child abuse, toxic work environment, etc). For example, it can be induced in animals by confining a subject in a small space with a predator species for a long period of time.
— GalaxxxC (@GalaxxxC) November 11, 2018
Get fucked. Do you understand how genetics work? How trauma works? How BRAIN CHEMISTRY works? I've struggled with depression since I was 13. Explain to me how I've chosen that, since you're the expert. Actually, no, don't. I'll let my DOCTORS do that.
— Kwertzy Fulla Turkey (@kwertzy) November 11, 2018
have you ever considered chemical imbalance or ptsd/trauma? yes all these things you listed may cure sadness. but there are antidepressants for a reason. im healthy and i have struggled with depression all my life. sadness does NOT equal depression which is a chemical imbalance.
— koneko (@vixenlynx) November 12, 2018
So we're just gonna delegitimize the struggles that disabled people and sufferers of chronic illnesses have? When you physically cant do those things? 99% of people dont choose to "be depressed".
— Yori // Alicia (@AnAmazingFeat) November 11, 2018
people who bought this tweet also bought:
– "You're only sick because you take all those medications"
– "If you start using a wheelchair you will lose your ability to walk"
– "If you went out more you wouldn't have so much anxiety"
– "Insomnia? Just go to bed earlier" https://t.co/sJv7cupQmb
— skye (@disabilisaur) November 12, 2018
Others shared their own stories about depression and pointed out how reality contradicts Asawae’s claims. Asawae is only feeding the stigma the depression isn’t real or can be “cured,” which doesn’t help sufferers.
I exercise every single day, eat healthful meals, am extremely ambitious and work three full-time jobs, have very little time to kill, and actively choose some days not to drive full speed into the lake by my house despite the temptation. Nothing about my depression is a choice. https://t.co/4DtWfT1wpW
— Natalie Eilbert (@natalie_eilbert) November 11, 2018
I work out 6x week. I'm always outside. I run a thriving law practice. I have a ton of friends. My caloric intake is 1700-1800/day. I get 2 hours of downtime a day between work, clients, exercise, & friends
I still suffer depression. Your tweet is toxic & dangerous & utter BS
— LawyerMermaid (@mamanic24) November 11, 2018
I played cricket every summer for 20 years. I rode my boke to and from every game & training session, I ate well, I was fit, active. I was fmgood at the sport & enjoyed it. I took all my vitamins & minerals, read books, had lovers, played music. & I was suicidal throughout.
— Tomek Holland (@alapahi) November 11, 2018
But what about those people who have big money propelling their careers? People who are in profession they love, always working, have money&can afford most? Is stagnation then all in how they Think?@ntsikimazwai
— Black Diamond (@BlackDi36964418) November 10, 2018
My husband has depression. He doesn't avoid the sun, he exercises, he eats really well, he gets up every day when he needs to go to work and does his job, and lo and behold there are days he's still depressed. With respect, you don't know what you're talking about
— Mason Thomas (@MasonThomas999) November 10, 2018
Some stressed that what Asawae is pointing to are the symptoms of depression, like overeating and holing up in your house.
All those bullet points are symptoms of depression. You can't easily do any of those if you're demotivated and crippled with hopelessness, the same way that some phones won't allow you to use some of your apps when you're running low on battery.
— John (@redplant0) November 10, 2018
Depression suppresses decision making ability, if you're depressed youre not going to be motivated to do every single bullet item you listed, thats why its called depression and not demotivation
— 🇬️rind⚁🇼️in🇺🇸 🇯🇲♣️♦️♥️♠️ (@Grind2WinPoker) November 10, 2018
But why don't you just……………………………………………………………………………………….. stop having depression????!!!!!!!!"
— AnnieGal (@Iyamtebist) November 11, 2018
Others just think Asawae should shut up.
— Da’Meatis Long (@Sae_Young_0) November 10, 2018
— mduduzi mdlalose (@edmundmdlalose4) November 10, 2018
Those are SYMPTOMS of mood disorders. Those behaviors are literally what denotes depression.
Nobody ever says "The Flu is a choice. 99% of people with the flu choose to sneeze, cough, sweat, ache all over, get a fever."
This is one of the worst tweets of all time 👇 https://t.co/Dyy3IxDxDp
— Evan Diem (Golden Globe Nominee Nominee) (@EvanOutOfTen) November 12, 2018
this is actually the worst tweet ever posted onto this website
guys you actually get to decide if you have depression just go outside lul and its gone https://t.co/gErJvUOehT
— hip-hop swordsman (@BiggieSmollVevo) November 12, 2018
We have a new worst tweet I've ever seen https://t.co/tfrRzcKN1F
— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) November 11, 2018
- What exactly is seasonal affective disorder?
- The best way to make friends as an adult, according to an expert
- How to be less socially awkward, according to mental health professionals
In the meantime, if you deal with depression and want to learn how to cope with it, experts recommend seeking out help from a mental health professional. Alongside support from friends and family, it’s possible to ride it out—but you just can’t snap out of depression because you want to.
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.