Sometimes, I just have to laugh at the absurdity of television advertising, specifically the ads produced by pharmaceutical companies now that they are able to advertise their drugs to people other than the doctors.
In general, I think the ads for drugs are a really bad thing. Even for the most stable of those around us, I imagine the ads are creating more and more people that believe all their troubles will just go away with the right chemical concoction. "Talk to your doctor to see if Wonder Drug Z is right for you."
"Hey, Doc, I saw an ad on TV about the Little Purple Pill, and I was wondering if I needed it 'cause, you know, I don't have a purple one yet, and it would look real good next to the blue one in my daily pill box."
"But you don't have acid reflux disease, you have a bad heart, black lungs, on the list for a liver transplant and ED. But all those we can fix with the right medications."
"Alright, I was just checking because the ad said to. See ya next week. Oh, by the way, how do you get acid reflux disorder, cause I really do want that purple pill."
Yeah, I know, probably not very realistic, but either is the ad that brought up all this in my brain. The ad is for the drug Cymbalta, an anti-depressant. I have no problem with taking medication for depression. Even with the troubles I have had with them in the past, I still believe for the vast majority of people with depression medication is a great tool along with therapy. I even understand the concept that certain anti-depressants work better in combinations than separately.
What gets me about this commercial is the portrayal of the depressed person as some kind of zombie like creature. I know from my own experience I may feel like a zombie, but I'm not going to sit in a room with other people and act like one. There's still enough misunderstandings about the whole depression thing that those suffering from it generally do their best to never let the public at large know about it. All the depressed people I have ever known have one thing in common: we are pretty good actors.
So here comes this commercial. Showing symptoms of depression that look more like catatonic schizophrenia than anything else. And this is how those without depression are going to expect us to act? Let me tell you, it's not like that for the majority of people suffering with depression on a daily basis. Depression usually leaves some level of functionality. When a depressed person gets to a point that they feel they can no longer function, most of us crawl into a hole away from people. Besides, if we all acted like the folks in the commercial, depression would be easy to spot and then maybe everyone would stop telling us to just "cheer up."
I think there are much better ways to recognize depression, but they require observation and admittedly are hard to make come across in a 30 second ad. Oh well, capitalism at it's best. Exaggerate the symptoms to make them show up better on screen so you can sell a few more prescriptions, and to hell with the truth or if it hurts those your drug is supposed to help by giving a false idea of what depression is like to those who don't have it but still have to deal with us.