The Infuriating Tale of Comparison

Recently, I’ve been fuming over something that happened a while ago. I don’t know what to do with my anger, so naturally I’m going to splatter it all across the canvas of the internet. Before I go on, I must note that I heard the quote secondhand. The individual who informed me of this quote, though, is my friend “Person A” in the story, and I respect their trustworthiness. Even if the story is all fake, which I doubt it is, it’s still something that I’d like to address, because it has happened elsewhere. Believe me.

Person B is the one who made the statement.

Without further ado…

“Oh, Person A, your depression has hit you far harder than it ever hit Abigail.”  Wow. Person B thinks she has the supreme power of entering the mind of both depressed individuals and comparing their struggles. Way to trivialize my illness. Sure, she recognized that Person A is having a hard time, but at my expense! (Just a life skill for you all: comparisons between people almost never accomplish anything good. Avoid them at all costs.) In addition, everyone who’s been depressed has had a slightly different experience. Of course, the basic features will be there in all cases, but there are a variety of other symptoms (referring to those listed in the DSM-V) that could create numerous variations. Nothing in the world of mental illness is all cookie-cutter identical. I, for one, experience more atypical features– which include temporary mood brightening in response to positive events, increased appetite/weight gain, oversleeping, a long-standing pattern of interpersonal rejection sensitivity, etc (Source). Furthermore, atypical features are often more common in those with bipolar disorder. So, my depression would manifest itself differently than that of Person A. That doesn’t mean our experiences were less incapacitating or less life-altering than the other, it simply means that they were different. I missed out on experiences because of depression. I lost friends because of depression. I was hospitalized for depression. Nobody should dare believe that it didn’t hit me hard. You can’t just look at a depressed person and say, “Oh, she’s not depressed! She seemed happy and excited to be around her friend!” (See above mention of temporary mood brightening.) Person A and I both experienced terrible, terrible depressive mood episodes. We both suffered–differently, but equally. Person B had no right to attempt entering the minds of Person A and me, and no right to quantify our depression. She is not a medical professional. 

And for the love of God, Person B, if you ever find my blog, get off your superior, “all-knowing” high-horse and quit having the fantasy that you’re some sort of mind-reading god, because I hate to break it to you, but you’re not.

You’re really not.

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