I know it has been a source of much knee-jerk amusement for the hipster crowd, but reading about A.J. McLean being treated for depression gave me pause for a minute. Not just for the obvious “money and fame don’t buy happiness” angle, but also because I think it represents a real milestone in the public perception of mental illness.
I didn’t think we’d get to a point so soon when a person whose job it is to entertain would be able to be so upfront about their struggles and still have it be as accepted as if they had cancelled shows due to a twisted ankle or something.
We’ve always been quick to dismiss artists as emotional basket cases, whose depression is to be accepted, perhaps even expected. But entertainers, whose job it is to perform, not create art, have been held to some weird superhuman standards, and I’m hoping this is the sort of thing that makes a generation of young women, most of whom are still currently wrapped up in the rituals of teenage fandom, grow up with an understanding of depression as “that treatable, common, disorder that A.J. from Backstreet had”.
Except, well, ya know… not in those words. Heh.