Internet memes are jokes people make on the internet by using an image and putting in a funny caption inside it. Many social media sites and forums are sharing depressive memes about death, hopelessness, suicide, isolation, or hopelessness. A new study by Scientific Reports shows that these depressive memes are relatable to those with depression which can make you feel better.

Scientific Reports Study

This new study wanted to determine how depression influences the way people view these memes. 200 people were surveyed between the ages of 18-56. After completing a questionnaire, participants were grouped based on the severity of reported depressive symptoms. These 43 participants with depressive symptoms took an online survey where they were shown a series of depressive and neutral memes. 

The participants were then to rate these memes based on humor, relatability, shareability, and if they have the potential to improve your mood. The study ended with participants completing another questionnaire to see how they can control their emotions. A neutral theme would be of a golden retriever in the water with a group of ducks. The caption says, “He saw us feeding the ducks, so he pretended to be one.” An example of a depressive meme is a Simpsons character touching his head saying, “My goodness, what an idea, why didn’t I think of that?” The caption says, “When you suffer from depression and somebody tells you to cheer up.”

The Results of the Study

Researchers found that the depressed group found depressive memes more relatable and more funnier compared to the non-depressive group. The depressive group also felt like these memes could improve the mood of others with depression while the non-depressive group disagreed. This shows that people with depression have a darker and more unique sense of humor than those without depression.

Emotional Control

Emotional control is when you respond to experiences with a range of emotions that are considered socially tolerable depending on the situation. People who control their emotions have an easier time reducing negative thoughts and feelings when they see things related to coping with depression. Depressed people who had trouble controlling their emotions were more likely to enjoy depressive memes. These depressive memes may be helping those with depression in making light of bad experiences. Even if depressive memes are not positive content, they send a message to people with depression that you are understood which makes you happy.

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