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Depression lemming
delirium happy
rho
Oh I got it from jaala; she got it from womble2. We all agree it must have been megpie71 who gave it to him. She got it from lisawolf who got it from katsue_fox. And everybody knows that katsue_fox... well, put it in a friends only entry so I can't track back any further, actually.

By which I mean, with all due apologies to Tom Lehrer, that it's lemming time. What with me being me and everything though, I'm not going to do it properly.

I sometimes suffer from depression. I am not particularly strong, but am intelligent and capable of at least some things, though I suck at others. I am not stupid but I am frequently weak and almost always lazy. These fact are almost entirely unrelated. Depression is an illness that millions of people suffer from and there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help sometimes. However, it is neither an excuse for lack of effort, nor a "get out of jail free" card. If anyone sees me treating it as such, then I expect them to beat me around the head, and I will not condone anyone else who does use it as such.

If you've ever felt this way, then do whatever the hell you want to with it. Get a skywriter to emblazon it across the sky. Tattoo it on your left buttock. Ignore it for all I care. But don't just copy it word for word into your journal, because that really doesn't accomplish anything.

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don't just copy it word for word into your journal, because that really doesn't accomplish anything.

Unless someone feels exactly the same way as you, which is probably unlikely given the variation in personalities and brain chemistry.

But I feel some of the things you do as well, especially the first two-thirds or so of your "I sometimes..." paragraph.

I've sometimes wondered whether I have depression in the medical sense or whether I need outside help, but haven't had it looked it by a professional; among other things, because I typically seem to get along well enough and also because I'm often lazy.

I'll think about what you wrote, though.

However, it is neither an excuse for lack of effort, nor a "get out of jail free" card.

Then what's the point?

I'm not defending that sort of behavior, I just don't see what the point of claiming to have a depression is unless it gives you an exemption. The whole point of establishing that you need help is to suspend your obligations for the betterment of yourself. To a certain extent you have to stop whatever else it is you're doing, so that you resolve the depression.

There's a big difference between "please cut me a little slack" and "I am disclaiming responsibility for my actions", which are two ends of a spectrum with all sorts of intermediates.

Actually what I'm criticizing is that fundamentally there isn't a big difference; and apart from this, lack of responsibility to any degree can be interpretted as an exemption. So you say, "But why would you want to see this as an exemption?" Because you said it's not a "get out of jail free" card, though there's no other reason why you'd be saying you were depressed unless to disavow yourself of some level of cognitive responsibility. Of course, there are other "reasons" such as to get attention, but I think most people would agree that's not a successful end.

Or perhaps simply because you want the fact to be recognised, so that you might have to acknowledge it, and perhaps better combat the problem with the help of those people around you.

I read the dictionary entry for lemming; I get the part about furry rodents who mass-migrate. It still did not seem clear to me how you were using the word (it appears to have a cultural meaning I'm not aware of here). Would anyone mind explaining?

lnr started it a long time ago, IIRC.

I believe it comes from a computer game popular in the '80s, where the idea was to get the lemmings from beginning to end of the area - this involved putting fences down so they didn't walk over the edge of the cliffs etc - they didn't learn that if one fell over it might not be a good idea to follow him. So the idea is that they are lemmings because people blindly copy/follow what someone else has done.

Lemmings will do that sort of mass-suicide in real life, not just in the computer games. I know this cultural meaning of "lemming" has been around at least from 1954 and probably earlier, because I've seen a movie from that year that referenced it. :-)

</useless trivia>


Hmm. How to respond to being called a lemming?

Touché on the Tom Lehrer reference, by the way.

But don't just copy it word for word into your journal, because that really doesn't accomplish anything.

Nothing earth-shattering, but I think it does accomplish something. It's a "stand up and be counted" sort of gesture that follows a formula and is therefore easily recognizable--rather like, "I'm [so-and-so] and I'm an alcoholic." I did italicize to indicate that I was quoting another's words. Perhaps it doesn't express exactly what you or I think about depression, but it did sum up nicely some of the self-confidence problems that people with depression often struggle to overcome.

I meant to express solidarity with the other people who have posted the meme... and, I admit, this took less effort than coming up with my own wording. But I considered for a while before posting it (I even considered modifying it as you did) so I wouldn't say I was simply following a trend completely blindly. At any rate, it seemed to me to accomplish more (and take up less space) than one of those randomly generated "Your LJ friends' secret identities!!!" memes.

Of course, your mileage may vary.

Re: Hmm. How to respond to being called a lemming?

Hey. I was possibly a little harsh in my wording. I'm sure that thre's a word for overstatement for dramatic effect, but i can't remember what it is. But it was that, anyway. I do see the point to standing up and being counted, and if the option for someone is to either repost the exact same excerpt, or to stay silent, then posting the entry is definitely good. I just think that there are a whole lot of ways to make the point than this. I mean, your entry didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know about you. In terms of people standing up and being counted, I think that it would make a much more forceful point if everyone actually spoke of their own personal experiences, rather than just using the boilerplate text.

Oh, and I agree totally that it was more use than the ranodmly generated "your friends secret identities" sort of things. I've run out of different ways to rant about them by now though :)

Re: Hmm. How to respond to being called a lemming?

I'm sure that thre's a word for overstatement for dramatic effect, but i can't remember what it is.

The closest I can think of is "hyperbole" and that's not exactly right because hyperboles are supposed to be really obviously exaggerated. There wouldn't be room for misinterpretation with a hyperbole unless the reader was really dense. (Ok, so I know a few people like that, but it's not true of the overall population.)

Re: Hmm. How to respond to being called a lemming?

Hey. I was possibly a little harsh in my wording.

For my part, there should have been a smiley of some sort in the subject line. I understand your point in the original post and in the above comment and I'm not offended by it (if you were worried about that). I was a tad startled when I first read the entry but not actually offended.

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