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Depressed But Happy?

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Ishaan Gupta, 2nd year, ME takes a dive into the meme culture and our newest means of social interaction.

If you’ve not seen a meme about it, it’s probably not important enough. 

Be it our shared idiosyncrasies or our takes on the latest socio-political issues. Memes are the ultimate example of how we, as millennial and Gen-Z kids, like our content. 

Memes are slowly becoming our go-to method of consuming content and social interaction. As we get more nihilistic and spend more time with our phones than a book in metro rides, we’re weaving a story of our generation. A phenomenon we refuse to talk about. 

Is inaction breeding a bigger audience for memes?

Memes and trolls about depression are so deeply prevalent in our lives that the line between romanticisation and hyper-awareness blurs everyday. The quality of being extremely aware about our situation is worrying, to say the least. We take comfort in our introspective superiority and refuse to do something to actually improve our situation. Our situation’s repercussions do not scare us as much as they should. Rather, we capitalise on our mental illnesses to seek bonding, to socially validate ourselves. We do that because, well, it works like a charm. A portrayal of mental health issues through humour is a coping mechanism that pays in popularity and appreciation of wit. Our culture enables the condition of mental illness by romanticizing it and putting an incentive on its head. In a scenario like this, we'd be stupid to not do it? Maybe?

Maybe, shitposting is the only organic answer to the other side of social media. 

While half our feeds is hell bent on showing us curated lives of our happy friends, depression memes are a complete opposite of the positivity that used to be social media’s USP. The friend who makes an anniversary post about his parents is the same friend who double taps on a meme about Freud’s infamous Oedipus complex. As we’re taught about the grayness of our lives, social media shows a demarcation of humanity. It shows that a person can be black-and-white instead of gray; that your need to express contempt and hope for something else can exist together, yet stay immiscible. At the end of the day, both of them are a means to the same end: an end of instant gratification.

Self-contradiction is an art we’re getting too effortless at. We go on about our tendencies of social isolation and how much we like it; all of it to get replies, comments and anything that makes our thoughts feel relevant enough in this myriad of people trying to seek approval. It is becoming a form of suffering we long for. Our memes tell a tale of our confusion. Our memes are a cry for help and yet, a resignation into the abyss of its nihilism. It brings us  to our next question, 

Are we jealous of the people who are actually happy with their lives? And if so, would we give up our relatability in exchange? Do we want to be happy or relatable?

The culture that memes breed brings up several equally important questions. One of them being, as we garner a larger community and nurture it with our deepest flaws, are we taking a lesson that we’re not alone anymore or are all of us really being lonely together?

Posted by Ishaan

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