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“Your life is too good for you to be depressed.”

Often I see people argue that individuals that are financially stable, in great physical condition, or from a good family or environment shouldn’t be depressed. They don’t have “anything to be sad about” and it is ridiculous for them to be self-harming. Not only are these ideas blatantly false but they can also be detrimental for the individuals in these good conditions.

I am not saying that environment has absolutely no affect on mood or self-harm. It most certainly can and often does. Social tension, monetary issues, bad living conditions, and physical ailments can influence anxiety, depression, or self-harm.  But one thing to keep in mind is that bad environments can also be temporary and still have lasting effects.  Just because the individual is in a good environment at the moment does not mean there were no serious events that occurred prior.  Individuals from any economic situation may have suffered from the death of a relative or friend, physical or sexual abuse, or other traumatic events.

Furthermore, not everyone’s depression is a result of the environment.  Major depression can oftentimes result from a chemical imbalance.  Having a comfortable income (although it may help you with the purchase of antidepressants) doesn’t influence the chemicals your brain does or does not produce.  Having a loving family does not change your brain chemistry.   For this reason, it is absurd to think that privilege will make individuals immune to depression.

Saying that these individuals privileged by any of these aspects have no logical basis to be depressed only creates a negative stigma against them.  They may internalize this view and convince themselves that they don’t need or aren’t worthy of help. Or if an individual tries to seek help, those giving counsel may try to reinforce these positive aspects of his/her life and graze past the matters that are influencing ill thoughts.

And most importantly, no one SHOULD be depressed or self-harming. Although sadness can be a natural reaction to events in our lives, temporary sadness and major depression are very different. Major depression is composed of prolonged and generally intensified feelings of sadness, worthlessness, loneliness, etc.  Furthermore, it is called a mood disorder for a reason. Although not completely rare, major depression is not a natural reaction to events. No one should be depressed and every depressed individual should be able to seek help.