I genuinely put off watching this video because I knew it would make me mad, and boy was I right. Nicole Arbour is infamous for her controversial videos that usually offend a specific type of person, she has posted videos targeting lots of different groups of people including; vegans, black people, 'fat' people, Instagram models, feminists, transgender people and my topic of this blog post... people who suffer with depression.
The satirical theme of Arbour's videos is set out to offend the target of the video, that's obvious. I'm watching it through as I type this - I'm 24 seconds in and have already been hit with her mockery of sufferers in some form of southern American accent (trying to sound dumb or uneducated?); "depression is a chemical imbalance in your head, you can't just fix it." She then follows with a record scratch and "but ya' can." She also does another mockery at 52 seconds of what seems to be the imitation of again an uneducated person, but this time a young/teenage girl; "being depressed isn't the same as being sad, it's a real thing."
I'm not entirely sure why she's trying to make this a joke or take the piss out of anybody who suffers, but it's really not funny and can be so fucking damaging. People literally take their own lives - do you really think they wouldn't CHOOSE to be happy if they could?
One part that really angers me is when she starts to talk about when she (yes, she!) actually took anti-depressants and she flicks to another stupid satirical moment where she says "anti-depressants please." through the side of her mouth and then acts as though she's drinking fuel (the anti-depressants) which makes her happy (with an annoying 'ding' noise...sigh). She then continues to say "being high isn't being better" and then a video of zombies - I don't know about you, but I've never felt 'high' whilst taking anti-depressants nor do I feel like a zombie - this is the case for most.
There are so many quotes in the start of this video that are misinformed and stigmatising, but I'll just hit you with a few;
"Maybe you want to be a victim - or maybe you wanna' get better."
"Happiness can be a choice."
"It's all in your head."
So, the first thing she has done in this video is offend every single person that suffers with depression through mockery and undermining, and then mid-way through she changes her tone offering up her four steps to beat depression - is she kidding? Does she honestly think people now want her advice?
Alas - her first step is to go 'inside' and figure out what you haven't processed and uses the scenarios; being in a bad relationship, disliking work and having shit friends - so she's comparing the symptoms of depression to just being miserable with your actual life when she just showed a pie chart explaining that depression comes from 'within'. And THEN says... "I felt more depressed when I...." I mean at this point does she really think we want to hear about her 'depression' when it's evident she hasn't a blinding clue what it is, and informs us that if we're depressed it's just our life that's fucked. But that's ok, keep fuelling the stigma that depressed people are just weak, no problem.
Step two is full of lifestyle (ish) habits.. she first comments on exercise. Now obviously I agree with this one, but again she counteracts her own arguments when saying that it will 'treat' depression, acknowledging that it is an illness when earlier she mocks someone saying it's real? Hmm. Plus it's also important to note there can be many barriers to exercise, and also depression itself can cause physical aches and pains.
Her next lifestyle choices are to; compliment and cheer for people (because this makes her happy, ok gr8) and make the 'decision' to not be depressed by cutting out the 'bad stuff'. And the bad stuff by the way is apparently watching the news, CSI & horror movies as well as eating 'garbage'. I mean having a healthy diet is definitely important but watching horror films, really?
Step three; "Find something to be excited about!" where she discusses meeting up with friends and being grateful. I find this part really irritating because she actually makes some great points here - suggesting you write down three things that make you feel grateful every day and socialising more often.
Step four; "And FINALLY, make the decision that you are no longer depressed."
I literally laughed out loud. She doesn't describe this step in much depth but basically she explains again that it's 'all in our heads', that the Doctor can't fix us but we can.
This video is SUCH a mismatch of messages that I'm literally so confused after watching it again - like is she trying to help, or is she trying to make you feel pathetic? It's clear that everything that she has spoken about in this video is based on her experience with depression as there is a total lack of empathy with the generalisation of depression and it's affective treatments.
I guess what she's trying to do is get a reaction out for people (shame on me for reacting) but also help at the same time? For real, I've no idea what's going on here.
There are parts of it that actually provide useful advice, but there is so much that is stigmatising and generalised that it just shits all over it. She genuinely could have made a really helpful video for her 2.6 million followers on Facebook. With such a big following she should be far more careful about what she says. This is an entirely different ball game to vegans or feminists because this is illness and it really is so real.
Mental health awareness has become a popular topic as people and organisations attempt to take away the stigmas surrounding mental illness, and it's very disappointing to see videos like this.
Check the video out here and let me know your thoughts!