June 19, 2020

What Jim Carrey got Wrong about Depression.

If you’re curious, here’s Jim Carrey’s perspective on depression:
Jim Carrey explains Depression in the Best Way I’ve ever Heard.


I read an article regarding Jim Carrey and his epiphany.

Some would say enlightenment—but I see that term used far too often, and truthfully, I don’t see a possibility for universally meaningful, profound knowledge through the human condition/experience. I think it would be silly to strive for, for the human experience is about the experience, and there couldn’t possibly be a one for all—we are just too complicated.

What I want to outline in this specific article is Carrey’s comment on depression. See here:

“People talk about depression all the time. The difference between depression and sadness is just from happenstance—whatever happened or didn’t happen for you, or grief, or whatever it is. Depression is your body saying f*ck you, I don’t want to be this character anymore, I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me. You should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play.”

The author of said article refers to this as, “The best assessment of depression I have heard.” I must critique this.

Quickly, I would like to point out that grief is not depression. Grief is grief, and rightly so f*cking obliterating, yet that doesn’t mean it is depression, though it can lead onto such. (Just needed to pop that in, as I haven’t noted it elsewhere.)

And continuing:

I understand from the standpoint of the idea of self, and where Carrey correctly speaks of working to maintain a character or stable, definitive collection of who “I” am. (I call it “boxing.”) However, to regard the whole illness of depression into just an unresting idea of self and what you achieve, I deem as absolutely incorrect.

There is no doubt a link between the struggle of a person with depression and who they are, who they strive to be, that they are failing in some way—however, this is not all that encompasses depression. Still, it is a symptom of depression itself.

Depression, in my observations and lived experience, is the loss of vitality; it is the loss of reason to live and to be alive. It is a sickness. It is not an idea perpetuated by ego—not at all.

I refer to what Carrey spoke about as the “Spectrum of Self.” I see that this is inherent to the overwhelming, painful feelings that can swirl around the mind when depressed. However, this does not equate to what the illness of depression is, and to be feeling this way, or to be thinking especially profoundly about this, also doesn’t compare to having depression—recognising that these are deep questions that can frankly sit you on your ass regardless.

Depression affects your ability to live and to be. You have no self in the pits of depression—because your “person” doesn’t exist when one faces the questioning of one’s own life.

The “avatar” is a way to deal with this. It is a way to get out of bed and say “Hello,” while getting a drink of water because you haven’t had a drink today. It is to recognise the core of what means something to you and cling onto that for dear life.

Depression rips you of self, because the ego is so unimportant while you are trying to achieve the basics of survival.

The human experience fundamentally relies on a character as we navigate this world; there is one’s career character, the different levels of friendship, a relationship, one’s family character. The human condition of “self” is a spectrum; sway and play with it.

To confine yourself to one box, out of an immeasurable amount of options, and break yourself sticking to it is heartbreaking to see. To be trapped in this cycle is a part of life that some never realise—yet this is not what depression is.

Furthermore, Carrey stated:

“I have no depression in my life whatsoever—literally none. I have sadness, and joy, and elation, and satisfaction, and gratitude beyond belief. But all of it is weather, and it just spins around the planet. It doesn’t sit on me long enough to kill me. It’s just ideas.”

First off, good for you for not “having any depression.” Need I say, doesn’t this make your remarks irrelevant? Depression is not ideas; depression is not “the weather of emotion;” depression isn’t a feeling that “sits on somebody long enough for them to die.”

Depression is an illness—and a grave illness at that—and it paralyses millions of people. It is a silent killer that encourages people to take their own life—and many do. Framing depression this way is foolish and unaware—not to mention degrading to those who suffer and to those who know depression as an old friend.

Depression is a lack of vitality. Depression takes away any meaning of life and any intention of living it.

To Jim Carrey, and the “best assessment” lady, congratulations on your journey of understanding self and trying to explain the human experience. I will say this loudly: The struggle of self and identity does not create depression. If anything, this harmful rhetoric could fuel the self-blame and shame that stricken those who live with this silent disability.

Furthermore, “deep rest” is a personal choice, and one can obtain that through meditation, float tanks, a prime sleep schedule, and taking time off…the list goes on.

Depression is not a deep rest. Anyone could tell you how shattering, reducing, and inert this illness truly is. Nobody feels well-rested and spiritually intact after a debilitating episode. Depression is an illness so profoundly complex and personal that to shove it all into this idea of “self, spiritual, ego enlightenment” is an embarrassment.

I will finish on the idea that Carrey spouts: “None of it matters,” and “We don’t matter.” Speaking in regards to blindly living, none of that matters, and am I rude to have no care to speak of that? I’ll say to make of “blindly living” what you will, it incorporates a range of ideas, and societal rules, roles—the crap upon which western society was built.

However, our essence together as humanity does genuinely matter—our culture, our hearts, our art, our contribution to this planet, what we give, what we receive, what we do.

Regardless of anything outside of just us here, right now, as people—that does mean something. I encourage you to make it something.

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