There’s something about throwing up a janky peace sign to yourself in a greasy mirror post-weekly Wednesday night sobbing session (no, not the one you had scheduled in your G-Cal that should have ended forty-five minutes ago, the one that came after you hit that point in the night where you realized it was an all-nighter kinda night) that gives you the strength to wash off your runny mascara that you paid an extra ten dollars for and wipe off the remnants of the half a gallon of chocolate milk you impulsively bought at Jansen’s twenty minutes ago (even though you’re lactose intolerant and wanted to go Vegan three days ago) and walk back into the Cocktail Lounge. I know what you’re thinking, “wow, Sara, that’s like really messy, maybe you should see someone” or “maybe just stop buying the chocolate milk?”, but I sweaarrr it’s totally not about me, and if it was, I’m only sometimes lactose intolerant. “It just be like that sometimes,” my freshman year self told the mirror as she vehemently denied the toxic pattern in thinking she was developing.
And yet so many of us are fine with the culture of casual depression. Predicated on the normalization of our mental illnesses and declining mental health as a coping mechanism, there emerges what I like to call: the increasingly dangerous “I’m sad lol” and “I hate my self-ie” culture. In Mikhail Lyubansky’s article “Robin Williams and the Mask of Humor,” he recalls his work with troubled youth, explaining their different manifestations of depression: some being so sad they’re unable to utter words, others angry to the point of violence, and a third group, the hardest to reach, “the entertainers”.