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Rapper Makes Video Claiming We Should Stop Saying, 'I Am Depressed'

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Are you depressed? According to rapper and spoken word artist Prince Ea, you aren’t.

“You are not depressed, stop saying that,” he says in a video, before immediately acknowledging the statement is controversial. “Oh, snap, I got people mad already… How dare you question my depression. Hold on, hold on. Don’t be so quick to protect that which causes you suffering.”

He continues, saying depression is an experience, not an identity. You experience depression, but you are not depression.

“You are the sky. Depression, frustration, sadness — these are passing clouds. They come, they go,” he says.

The video, which has been shared over 83,000 times of Ea’s Facebook page, drew mixed reactions. One commenter compared the rapper’s claim with using people-first language vs. identity-first language for a diagnosis, like saying “I have bipolar” instead of “I am bipolar.”

Others thought his reasoning didn’t apply to people who have more chronic depression, like major depressive disorder.

“I think you’re confusing the emotion of sadness with the actual mental condition of major depressive disorder,” one commenter wrote. “It is a physiological condition. One that is always there whether we choose to dwell on it or not. Would you tell someone who is diabetic, ‘You are not diabetic, you’re just choosing to focus on insulin and blood sugar levels.’ Nope, you wouldn’t because that would be ridiculous. There *is* a difference between the emotions of sadness and depression and those of us who actually have chronic MDD.”

Others agreed it’s important to not identity yourself as depression but thought it wasn’t fair to compare the experience of depression to a passing cloud: “As someone who struggles with depression, I can say that its (sic) not like a cloud that just decides to float away, it stays there constantly and sometimes its smaller than other days but it is always there, telling someone it will just go away, or tomorrow is a new day is very disrespectful… so please don’t compare depression to just being sad or frustrated because it is so much more complicated than that.”

Another wrote, “Telling them to wait for the clouds to pass is not a very helpful or empathetic thing to do.”

Prince Ea wrote a comment in response, emphasizing his point was depression is not an identity:

This is not a purported ‘cure’ for depression. This is a call to live in reality. Depression is not YOU. It is something that you are the witness of. The witness of Depression is not Depressed. The witness of anxiety is not anxious. If you have an open mind, I urge you to sit with this. Who is the witness of thoughts? Stay in this place. Many of us have come to protect and defend our prisons but this has never served us. Nutrition change, exercise, natural medicine, in some cases pharmaceutical and psychotropic medication, SPECT scan to diagnose brain health (you are not stuck with the brain you have, you can improve its health). All of these tactics should be explored to treat depression symptoms. Never forget though, that YOU are the pure witness. You are the sky. Do not identify with what comes and goes.

What do you think of his description? Tell us in the comments below.

Originally published: June 22, 2016
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