There has been much talk on the dark side of the net about a recent study supposedly claiming Goths are more depressed than other Subcultures.
Here are some good responses online to this study:
What follows is only my opinion and personal experience. However it should be taken into account that persons such as myself that have been in the subculture for quite some time might know a little more about it than researchers who may just lump all dark alternative kids into the same box or view the culture as the cause of depression rather than a way for lonely outcasts to find a place where they feel at home.
I have had bad anxiety and been a bit obsessive since I can remember. Even as a kid I was eaten up by anxiety. For a long time I assumed this was normal. Even after that I was afraid to seek help because being a Goth is often misjudged as a cause of depression by the mental health community. I was lucky to eventually find help without judgement, and urge anyone who is judged by their doctor or counselor to seek a second opinion.
I didn't get into Goth because I had anxiety, although the ability to look at death with humour and without fear was a definite relief for someone who made elaborate plans to escape the house in case of a fire and suchlike since childhood. I was always expecting something bad to happen to me. Goth let me have a sense of humour about death.
I have always liked the elegant past, elaborate architecture, etc. I grew up rather like a child in the past, with rather strict overprotective parents. Books were my main friends, I was always socially awkward and said the wrong things. In my first year or high school, my "friends" literally ran away from me and hid at lunchtimes.
I discovered Poe when I was around 11 or 12, reading The Black Cat in a story collection. For some reason I thought it was a true confession of a murderer. I soon found out it wasn't, but I was hooked. In my second year of high school I discovered Into the Dark by Victor Kelleher (a retelling of Dracula) and The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. I fell in love with lush Gothic literature. I also had older friends I only saw in school who played Vampire The Masquerade, which piqued my interest, although I never played.
But this article isn't about my Goth journey, it's about whether Goth is related to depression.
I really identified with what the lady said in that video, I too already liked the art, literature, architecture, loved the past and a sense of Goth romance, finding there was a culture that embraced them was like coming home.
It was also a relief that Goth did not make us hide our emotions like I was often taught, but express sadness through poetry, art, stories, things like that may make goths seem more depressed, but are actually a great outlet for those feelings. You also aren't made to feel bad or weird for having those emotions which is often not the case in everyday life. It can nurture your creative side as creativity is often highly valued in Goth society.
I have always been someone whose emotions were close to the surface, I cry easily, I take cruel words to heart. Goth helped me see there was nothing wrong with me. I was stronger knowing I had a tribe of like minded folk. My kindred.
The thing that can make teenage goths more depressed is the bad reactions of friends and family, even professionals. My family definitely made me feel like the black sheep and that made me quite depressed. If anything any study based around young goths should focus on convincing parents to find things in common with their children and not isolate them because of misconceptions. Since I was a Goth teen more sources have come out doing this like Gillian Venters, I only wish she had been around back then! Maybe my parents would have listened to her.
There also needs to be understanding in schools as alternative kids are more likely to be bullied and they need to be supported by staff. I was lucky to never be discrimated against for being goth, just being socially awkward. Teenagers should not be told that changing themselves to suit the mainstream is the answer, Goth teaches us that we should express ourselves, no matter what everyone else thinks of that.
As with everything else, of course, it should be noted that some people can get too obsessed with being "Gother Than Thou" and if your friends become like that you should nicely mention it to them. There was a time when I cared too much what other Goths thought of me, but I got over it. There will always be negative people in every group but I have found the majority of Goths to be welcoming.
In case anyone who might have read some of my recent mentions of my current bad anxiety and depression but not have read my posts last year when I talked more about it:
I have had depression and anxiety quite badly for over a year that was probably mainly triggered by the stress of finishing a three year degree, countless job applications and interviews, only to find that there was very little employment in my area and that I was considered overqualified for many jobs and could not even get a look-in. Unfortunately it triggered a breakdown, feelings of worthlessness and very bad social anxiety. Although I have definitely improved since then my social anxiety is still quite bad. The anxiety and depression have nothing whatsoever to do with my involvement in the Goth subculture.
To finish off the post on a positive note, here is another study that apparently proves black makes us sexier!