I hate myself (JK)

Depression shouldn’t be a joke, but it’s become one. There hasn’t been one day in months when I haven’t heard someone say they hate themselves or they want to die, and it poses a serious question to teenagers about the stigma surrounding mental health.

Look, I understand no one means harm by it, but the normalization of self-loathing that this generation of teenagers has placed on themselves can be both harmful and surprisingly beneficial. Although I’ve never seen depression jokes and memes cause any physically visible issues, there is some downside to it.

Depression jokes trivialize mental illnesses. After repeating the same phrase over and over again, people become numb to hearing it. I’ll admit I laugh every time someone says a self-deprecating joke. It’s funny because it’s relatable, but isn’t that bad? Does no one else realize that teenagers are literally saying they hate themselves and want to die? It’s hard to imagine anyone taking an actually depressed teenager seriously in these circumstances.

Now, even though these jokes might be harmful, they’re helping more than they’re hurting. So many teenagers are depressed and hate themselves. Granted, it’s still a bit strange that teenagers think it’s funny, but sympathizing with each other is something that people find difficult these days. Teenagers are opinionated people with an array of diversity and different lifestyles among them. If they have one way to find common ground on a subject that’s touchy and encourages conversations about it, then I’d say that’s a step in the right direction. It’s nice to see people talk about depression in a peaceful way. It brings teenagers together.

The point where self-deprecating jokes gets too far is when people stop treating mental illnesses like a serious problem. As long as you can tell the difference between an angsty teen who laughs when they say hate themselves versus a teen that shows real symptoms of depression and comes to you asking for help, there is no need to make a fuss about such humor.