By Ashley Hoffman
November 17, 2017

The comedian Andy Richter might be known for firing off humorous tweets, but this time, his feed was no joke.

After a Twitter user wrote “depression is a choice” this week, Conan O’Brien’s right-hand man delivered a succinct clap back on Friday. “Oh really? Well “go f-ck yourself” is a directive,” he wrote.

And then he got personal. The “depression is a choice” tweet angered Richter so much that he had to pull over his car after his school drop-off to share own experience. In a series of emotional tweets, he elaborated.

“I have been followed by an ever-present amorphous sadness for almost my entire life. I am 51 years old. It varies in strength from a casual unresolvable suspicion that I will never find the joy that others do in a sunset, to the feeling that being dead might [be] a respite and a kindness,” he wrote.

He then went on to share that he’d been taking medication for “decades,” believes wholeheartedly in the life-saving power of therapy, and now leads a successful life at work and at home.

“I will still reach the end of my life having walked through most of it with an emotional limp. I do not wallow in self-pity. No one did this to me. It is just how it is. I am just unlucky,” he said.

He closed with a message for those who don’t grapple with the burden: educate yourself or simply be lucky and quiet. “If you are unburdened by depression, real true depression, count yourself lucky. Keep your quick fixes to yourself. This is the kind of bullsh-t that kills people. Learn, then speak. Or just be lucky and quiet.”

People were quick to chime in with kind words for the comedian.

Earlier this year Richter opened up about his battle with depression, which began when he was 5, in an episode of the podcast “The Hilarious World of Depression.”

Not everyone was pleased that Richter chose a random Twitter user as the target of his rant, however. Journalist Emma Roller wrote: “Andy, as someone with depression, I recognize your pain and appreciate your words. That said, cursing out someone with ~500 followers seems unhelpful. You can use your platform to dispel myths about mental health without punching down.”

Richter defended his tweet storm, “I wrote this thread b/c the person who wrote it expressed a very prevalent mindset that needs to be addressed. That’s what I did. I spoke to their ideas.”

He added: “Yes, the initial tweet was aggressive and lop-sided. But the discussion it inspired IS useful. Impersonalizing it would have been less effective, I think. And it is twitter. We are all humans here.”

This isn’t the first time a celebrity has used clapped back at those minimizing depression on the platform. In September, kickboxing champion Andrew Tate faced criticism from no less than J. K. Rowling, Patton Oswalt, and Chrissy Teigen, after sharing he thought “depression isn’t real.”

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