September 10, 2017
A dismissive tweetstorm from American-British kickboxer Andrew Tate, magnified over the course of the weekend, has opened the floodgates to a social media debate about depression, its root causes and the casual harm done by those who deny it's a serious illness.
The 30-year-old fighter, by no means a mental health professional, fired off a tweet effectively minimizing depression as a lazy decision not to exert effort toward positive life change. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
In the days that followed Tate's tweet, some critics jumped to scold him for shaming those who suffer from depression. Others discredited his viewpoint as an ignorant denial of science and clinical experience. The charge was led by author J.K. Rowling and comedian Patton Oswalt.
This thread will teach you a lot about the defence mechanism of projection, but zero about the real mental illness that is depression. https://t.co/PqP1n1DMnT— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 8, 2017
1. False. 2. You're not "sad." You're insane & can't move on & need help. 3. False. 4. Energy drink tagline/bullshit. 5. Fuck you/no thread https://t.co/RnFdzeMi6e— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) September 8, 2017
I've never heard of #AndrewTate— Mr Quirky Beard Jedi (@QuirkyBeard) September 9, 2017
But this is Proof that it only takes ones tweet to realize what a complete ignorant knob someone is...
Everyone has thrown their own pity party at some point, but it's entirely different than clinical forms of depression #AndrewTate— 💡 (@utterfingers) September 8, 2017
"Depression isn't real"- man that seeks to fill internal void with external validation gained from fighting other men #AndrewTate— Tae Kwon Do Kenny (@KennyDeForest) September 8, 2017
So this is my response to #AndrewTate who took to Twitter today to upset about 1/4 of the population and annoy the other 3/4. Please RT.— Salfle (@salfle) September 8, 2017
Other things we can assume #AndrewTate doesn't believe in: reasoned arguments, science, evidence, medical research, doctors, pharmacology...— essers (@essers) September 8, 2017
Tate, unfazed by the response, refused to back down from his argument in subsequent tweets (and there are many of them, if you're inclined to explore this further). He pointed to numerous supporters who said they either agreed with him or overcame depression by adopting his outlook.
Everrrrryones depressed nowadays tweeting me "im depressed and I think" wow. It must suck to lose at life that hard. Boohoo— Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) September 9, 2017
Since my post I've had tons of previously and currently depressed people telling me I'm 100% correct. 💪🏼— Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) September 8, 2017
The way depression is so violently defended is strange. So desperate to be unhappy and have an excuse to not change it. Very odd 🤔— Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) September 8, 2017
Depression is over prescribed by 10,000%. Weakness is celebrated. Personal responsibility is absolved. That's the reality.— Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) September 8, 2017
Big pharma supports the depression lie. You can't fix it yourself, tate is crazy, it can only be cured with meds. Keep popping the pills.— Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) September 10, 2017
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Major Depressive Disorder affects more than 16.1 million U.S. adults, or about 6.7 percent of the population over the age of 18 in any given year. The biological basis of the condition is often impacted and compounded by multiple social and relational forces.
Much of the criticism against Tate came as a disturbed response to his vitriolic, "red pill" stance that depression boils down entirely to weakness. Would anyone disagree that taking an active approach to the treatment of depression (whether it's chronic or episodic) is a necessary personal commitment?
Diet, exercise does help mood and depression but it doesn't cure it. Medication and therapy are often needed too as the main treatment https://t.co/pB62Ew8rEM— Ghostly Whyte (@katie_whyte) September 9, 2017
mixed feelings on this one. depression is real but diet and exercise sure goes a long way to improving my mood— Skid Row Bro ❌ (@BackupErr) September 8, 2017
Whatever some 3rd rate, z list kickboxer thinks (Aaron Tate?), depression is real, but you can still get through #whoisAlanTate— Faye Ferguson (@Faye_Fergy) September 10, 2017
Some of the most insightful and level-headed responses came from Zelda Williams, daughter of the late actor Robin Williams, who took his life in 2014 after struggling with depression for many years.
Whatever your intention, this 'happy people telling the depressed to get off their ass' mentality is harmful, problematic & wholly useless. https://t.co/8DDD18ZYr4— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 9, 2017
If you are clinically depressed, your pain is real, & there is help out there. Just ignore the willfully ignorant.— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 9, 2017
There are no 'experts' in happiness, & he's certainly not an expert in depression. There is pain in suffering. There shouldn't be shame.— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 9, 2017
To those internet bros out there who think that 'manning up' means showing a complete lack of empathy, fear the day you need it. It'll come.— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 9, 2017
He literally said that depression is fake, a figment in the mind of the lazy. Disagreeing does not mean I want people to sit and suffer. https://t.co/Umse3f9nqq— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 10, 2017
Most do. Tragically, it's many times how notoriety works, often given to the undeserving or unwanting. https://t.co/3i8sSfPZkP— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 10, 2017
To be clear, mental illness & depression can & does affect all tax brackets, ethnicities, genders, ages...— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 10, 2017
What you're talking about is not clinical depression. It's a philosophical rut at best. To think they're the same is to misunderstand both. https://t.co/bns24pLfAd— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 10, 2017
You're right. Depression as a word has become mundane and transitory. People use 'I'm depressed' to replace 'sad' all the time. Thoughts? https://t.co/Qdj8FKVUtn— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 10, 2017
And what a brief, shining second of near rational discourse it was! https://t.co/iSNU8cGvhM— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 10, 2017
Hope I haven't bombarded y'all too hard. These discussions are important, but please don't troll anyone on my behalf. Have a puppy instead! pic.twitter.com/e9u80X3i4f— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 10, 2017
And that's probably the best takeaway here: positive affirmation doesn't count among the low, low arts of trolling.