Romanticizing Mental Illness — Are You A Part of This Trend?

Photo by Ian Espinosa

“Sick of crying, tired of trying. Yeah, I am smiling but inside I am dying.”

If I had a nickel for every time I saw a post like this, or with a similar tone, on social media platforms, I’d be holidaying in some luxury destination for life.

It’s fascinating that the cry for more awareness about mental illness would tug us to a situation when people would start romanticizing with the problem itself.

More people still need to be made aware of the mental illness that so many others go through every single day of their lives. The mainstream is still inattentive to the excruciating pain and struggles this group of people experiences that we, collectively, must address and discuss.

But an unexpected challenge is now making the task-at-hand quite a bit tricky.

So many young social media users are now romanticizing with mental illness.

Being in depression, experiencing anxiety, having bipolar disorder, and even blading the arm has emerged to be “beautiful”, unique, and cool.

It’s a dangerous culture that we have entered now wherein even critical topics such as mental illness are being trivialized. It’s a culture where…

  • Seeking attention has become a go-to for many, even when it comes in the form of sympathy.
  • Songs made on depression and sadness are so hauntingly beautiful that a person would love to be positioned in that place.
  • The heroic stories of emerging from depression to the top have normalized mental illness as a mandatory stop in the journey to success.
  • Having a mental illness separates one from the crowd. And that special feeling is out-of-the-world.
  • Reading any kind of crappy quotation on a beautiful picture looks very inspiring.

Let’s be bluntly politically incorrect right now:

You aren’t depressed just because people aren’t responding to your texts. You aren’t bipolar because a movie is making you happy and sad at the same time. You don’t have an anxiety disorder because you have stage fright.

These conditions are extremely serious, beyond many’s imagination. Please do not normalize it or exaggerate your situation.

Don’t let the internet tell you that something is wrong with you. Don’t let those online quizzes make you believe something otherwise.

It’s not a “cool” thing to experience depression. Being depressed doesn’t make you different and special.

Let’s not trivialize mental illness.

If you genuinely believe you have some problem, stop scribbling about it on your social media timeline. Frankly, no one cares!

Seek professional help. Get diagnosed. Reach out to the people who you trust with your life. Talk to them. Talk to a therapist.

As for the rest, don’t label yourself as mentally ill. You’re not!

To much of your likings, this might make you look mysterious and different in the crowd. But it’s also doing a disservice to thousands and millions of people who are genuinely battling these mental conditions — battling suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. There’s nothing romantic about it really!

(For Indians) If you need help, dial 022 2454 6669 and contact Aasra. Go here for more information.

Also, here’s a directory of mental health hotlines for all the different countries.

Stay safe. Help the people around you.

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Asif Ali

Asif Ali

Life essays and social notes

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