I usually avoid Rush Limbaugh for the misogynistic racist and irrational person that he is, however when he launches one of his patented rants on mental health issues there’s a reason not to merely push the radio button and make him go away — there ought to be some push back. About 22 hours ago Mr. Limbaugh offered the following commentary on the unfortunate death of Robin Williams:
“He had everything, everything that you would think would make you happy. But it didn’t.” Now, what is the left’s worldview in general? What is it? If you had to attach not a philosophy but an attitude to a leftist worldview, it’s one of pessimism and darkness, sadness. They’re never happy, are they? They’re always angry about something. No matter what they get, they’re always angry. ” [link]
Aside from being a mis-characterization of liberal philosophy which conveniently conforms to Mr. Limbaugh’s performance art form, this is about as bad as commentary on depression gets.
First, if Mr. Limbaugh’s advice — just be a conservative and you’ll be happy — were correct we’d not see depression clouding the lives of conservative friends and families, but unfortunately depression doesn’t respect party lines or economic boundaries. While it may be associated with some groups more than others, the disease doesn’t leave any subset unscathed. [NHI]
Secondly, and perhaps most egregiously, Mr. Limbaugh gives every appearance of advising that should a person want to avoid this mental illness all that’s required is a change of political philosophy. This is entirely too close to the “Snap Out Of It” school of really poor advice.
A person may be angry, or sad, or pessimistic, or in grief; these are simply emotions associated with everyday life on this planet. Depression isn’t periodic sadness, or situational grief, or even temporary anger — it’s a debilitating mental disease which leaves the individual feeling helpless and hopeless…for weeks, or months, or years.
Instead of listening to Mr. Limbaugh’s misinformation, there are better sources of intelligent discussion about mental illness and depression specifically. Why not begin with the NIMH site? Continue on to their definitions and discussion page. There’s better information from the DBSA than you’ll find listening to a right wing radio host. Want to find out how prevalent depression is in your area? The CDC has some answers for you. Less interested in statistics than symptoms? The Mayo Clinic offers still more information for you, and discusses the symptoms in greater detail.
No matter what credible medical source of information a person seeks in order to advance his or her understanding of this disease, which may affect some 14 million Americans, it would have to be better than that from a radio host with a reputation for artificially categorizing all things human into a matrix of all things political.