Memes can be spread so easily, and pack so much emotion and relatability into a concise visual package, which has led their popularity to skyrocket. As meme popularity increased, so did different types of memes. Now you can find a meme to coincidence with any life experience you can think of. For many young adults, memes serve as a way to express emotions and relate to one another. They also put a funny and relatable spin on difficult issues, and help people to not feel as alone with the issues they are going through. 

Once such issue is depression. Although depressive symptoms can sometimes be viewed as a trendy, philosophical, existential view of the world, depression is actually serious mental health diagnosis that involves persistent sadness, lack of motivation, hopelessness, and inability to find joy in life. If you believe you may be depressed, please contact a healthcare professional and get the help you deserve. 

If you have depression, you know that one of the challenges in feeling that you are alone, that no one has ever experienced the despair you have experienced, and you have little to hope that things will get better. The fact countless results come up when you google, “Depression Memes” demonstrates that there are people out there that DO understand, and are trying to use humor as a way to cope. Here you will find this therapist’s 5 favorite “Depression Memes” explained from a therapeutic standpoint:

Sadness triggered by an event or situation is natural. Those who haven’t experienced depression often equate it with feeling sad. This results in many people offering advice on how to deal with depression by comparing it to how they overcame sadness in their lives. However, depression is more than sadness, and has can oftentimes have no “cut and dry” cause. Oftentimes, when you are depressed, family and friends will remind you of everything you have in your life in an effort to make you feel better. This may in fact make you feel worse, because you tell yourself, “You have no right to feel this way. Other people have it worse.” However, depression is real, and you have every right to feel the way you feel. 


“Cheer up!” “Do something that you love to do!” “Try to make yourself feel better!” These are common, misguided attempts from others help people with depression. Again, this may help someone is experiencing sadness, but depression is often accompanied a loss of interest in activities that you once found pleasurable. So, when you are depressed, engaging in activities that you used to enjoy seems pointless and monotonous. If anything, doing things you once loved may deepen feelings of hopelessness when you realize, as the character above has, that nothing makes you happy anymore. 


“Binge watching” has become the norm with the advent of streaming platforms, and is easy to fall into the trap of doing so, especially in coping with depression. Episodes play automatically one after the other, and shows are available for seasons at a time. The lack of energy combined with the lack of motivation experienced by the depressed person can make watching episode after episode an effortless pastime, while remaining sedentary for long periods of time can actually lead you deeper into a downward spiral.


In addition to experiencing apathy, lack of motivation, and hopelessness, depression can have negative consequences on an individual’s ability to socialize. Depression can impact on how a person functions in the world and how they relate to others. Normal, everyday interactions with people can feel like the equivalent of lifting a 50lb weight. Individuals with depression often feel like they are a burden, which can cause them to limit their social interactions, or avoid socializing all together. It can often be difficult to “keep up appearances” and match the seemingly effortless flow of conversation with others. This can be exhausting, as shown by the expression of Michael B. Jordan in the meme above. 


Depression is often accompanied by negative, pervasive thought patterns. Someone with depression could be trying their best to get through the day, when without warning, self-rejecting, self-loathing thoughts intrude their mind. These thoughts can be all-consuming and debilitating, and combined with the lack of motivation and energy, have the capacity to quickly derail any bit of initiative the depressed person is taking toward maintaining their daily functioning.

Depression memes provide comic relief for a serious, dark, and challenging mental health diagnosis. The first step of recovering from this diagnosis is identifying that you have it. Again, if you believe you may be depressed, please contact a healthcare professional and get the help you deserve. Depression memes can allow you to feel a sense of connection that there are other people out there that understand. And if enough people out there understand the problem, the more hope that can be fostered for a solution.

- Alexandria (Alex) Fairchild, LMSW

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