Typically, stereotypes are negative, often demeaning assumptions regarding people by lumping them into, “They all do these horrible things” or “You know how those people are.” Without malice or prejudice I’ve been guilty of stereotyping. I don’t like that I do it and I certainly don’t want people to stereotype me.
The more I thought about it, I realized, there should be positive stereotypes.
Based solely on my own personal observations, countless minutes of research, no scientific basis and a lifetime of experience, I’ve come up with some stereotypes. These are what I consider, positive stereotypes about people with clinical depression. Of course, stereotypes don’t actually fit every single person in that category. And people without depression can have these traits as well. I don’t know why I feel the need to over explain this, perhaps it will be addressed below:
- We are extremely creative. Within the arts and creative communities, the majority of professionals either currently suffers or has suffered from depression at some point in their life. From painting, theater, poetry etc., we as a depressed people are always searching for an outlet. And typically we are into more than one genre, as one outlet is just never enough. I’m not saying we are always good at it, but with distorted thoughts come some really creative, deep meaning stuff.
- We are very empathetic. We know so intimately what it means to suffer. When anyone in our life goes through difficult times we fully understand what they might be experiencing. As a result we are totally there for the other person (sometimes whether they deserve it or not). We listen well and give great advice that we ourselves have probably heard many times but don’t really follow.
- We know a lot of random stuff really well. Since we rarely understand ourselves perhaps we feel like we need to know something… anything. Often times by accident we stumble across something that catches our interest. We then read and research everything we can on that particular topic. We may not know what the hell is wrong with us, but we sure know why it’s colder when the sun is closest to the earth or how many times our favorite celebrity has been married, been in rehab, or been pregnant.
- We communicate well with others. Not to be confused with socializing well. We make a point of clarifying and explaining details so that there are no misunderstandings. This is especially true when addressing sensitive subject matter. When it comes to our intentions we have to be clear. We know the pain that comes with confusion, the self-doubt that comes with a misspoken word. To avoid all that crap we may repeat the exact same thing using different words so there can be no uncertainty. When we ask if you understand we genuinely want to know so we can fix it if you don’t.
- We obsess. Sometimes this is paired with #3. When it’s not turned negatively inward that obsession is also used to support causes. Whatever our belief systems or societal issues we care about we whole heartedly support and fight for them. Sure we may be wrapped in a blanket while still in our PJs, but we will sign those electronic petitions with a vengeance!
I’m sure there are more positive stereotypes that could be added but these are the traits that stood out to me. Even if we are not celebrity status, even if we have days where we don’t get out of bed, we have an important impact on the people in our lives and the world around us. Now, if only we could get the rest of society to recognize these positive stereotypes as well!!