If you open the Twitter app at any point of the day, chances are you’ll find at least one user tweeting about mental illness, and this is GREAT. Removing the stigma of mental illness is a topic that, in the past few years, has become highly publicised on social media. However, along with the benefits of this – people feeling free to talk openly about their personal struggles, friends being made over similar experiences and even people being inspired to seek help or diagnosis with problems they’re facing – there is also the downside. Like anything on social media, with the good comes the bad, and, with this particular topic, for every person bravely documenting their road to recovery, there’s someone romanticising a condition they may or may not actually suffer from. From ‘pro-ana’ Instagram accounts to ‘suicidal Tumblrs’, there are thousands of people, all over the world, painting a picture of how being mentally unwell makes you cool! and interesting! and super mysterious! I cannot stress enough how WRONG and DAMAGING this is.
In recent years, it’s become ‘fashionable’ to throw around words describing mental states as metaphors of how you’re feeling. “That gives me ANXIETY.” “I’m so DEPRESSED right now” “I feel super BI-POLAR” “I’m so OCD about that”. Clothes shops are marketing garments with slogans such as “Cute but psycho” “Eat Less” and “Suicidal” on them and, as someone who has struggled and is still struggling with mental illness, I can tell you that this doesn’t make me feel great. Panic attacks aren’t romantic. Anxiety isn’t cool. Depression isn’t trendy. Do you see anybody pretending to have a broken leg because it makes them feel interesting? No. So don’t pretend you’re bi-polar. 1 in 4 people experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime, so if you REALLY think that makes you better than everyone else, then fingers crossed you’re one of the ‘lucky’ ones. If no t- you’re welcome to mine.