Speak up about depression

There is a campaign in the UK that encourages people to tweet about depression. The aim is to support teachers, who being put in an untenable situation, have high rates of depression. I support teachers. I know that here public school teachers are in an untenable situation. I know the dangers of commenting on a situation with which I am unfamiliar. Therefore, let me make clear that I am not against this organization or their work or even necessarily this campaign. I do want to caution against one assumption: that more sympathy to depression in general on a societal level, on a conceptual level, may be wrongheaded.

A friend once said to me : “Depression is nothing more than selfishness.”

I was shocked. How could she make this difficulty out to be so simple? How could she be so hardhearted.

Over the years however, when tempted to be depressed myself, I have often come to have respect for her position.

Our society has, over the last almost hundred years, been so sympathetic, so “soft” in Barone’s terms, that much of our backbone, stamina and standupand doit-ness has waned. We get whiners, self-interested, incompetent populations. We get a proliferation of special protections. We get more neglect of training and no lessening of abuse.

So, yes, teachers should not be in untenable situations. Yes, we should be alarmed at high rates of depression amongst a profession of public servants. Yes, on an individual caring level, we are often called to be sympathetic.

However, let’s stand up against our own depression with discipline and faith. Let’s then work politically or personally for improvement of the situation. Neither being depressed nor catering to the depressed changes the situation.

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