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The Student News Site of Agua Fria High School

OwlFeed

The Student News Site of Agua Fria High School

OwlFeed

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Are Mental Disorders More Romanticized in Today’s Society?

Dissociating Representation
Dyversions, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Dyversions
Dissociating Representation Dyversions, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

In today’s society, there exists a concerning trend where mental illness and disorders are frequently romanticized. This romanticization, even though sometimes it’s done unintentionally, creates hurtful stereotypes and makes people see mental illness as “glamorous”, even though it is far from that. Most of these stereotypes stem from people on social media claiming to have a disorder with certain symptoms, and people saying they have a disorder because they have the same exact or similar symptoms which is not always the case.

While there has been increased awareness of mental illness in recent years, there are indeed many downsides to society romanticizing mental illness. Some of the main problems are things like misinterpreting what mental illnesses are, normalizing unhealthy behavior, discouraging seeking help, and one of the biggest ones is the constant comparison between people. In some cases, romanticizing mental illness can lead to a harmful social dynamic where individuals may compete or compare their suffering, potentially invalidating the experiences of others who do not fit into the “romanticized narrative”. Mental health illnesses can vary all the time, there is not one set kind of behavior for somebody with mental illness whether that be anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, however, just because you have some symptoms that correlate with any mental illness does not mean you necessarily have a disorder. If you are concerned about having a mental illness, what I recommend doing is going to see someone like a psychiatrist, therapist, or any doctor who can help.

Mental Disorders
Paget Michael Creelman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve read a couple of articles about the harm people who romanticize mental illness cause. One of the main reasons people romanticize mental illness is because of the internet. I read an article, The Harms of Romanticizing Mental Illness – Norooz Clinic, that talks about how the internet has an effect on this topic. “Social media users may glamorize mental disorders, causing them to look trendy, fascinating, desirable, and a unique trait.” This is a bad portrayal of mental disorders, they are not fun, or trendy. They can be difficult and exhausting and I feel like many people don’t realize that. Many platforms, like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and many more have people who share their experiences and show them in a glamorized manner. Recently on TikTok, there has been a trending video with a lady who has glamorized “bedrotting”. Bedrotting is something many people who struggle with motivation and any mental illness can do. At times where all you want to do is lay in bed and forget all responsibilities. Many people struggle with this when they’re going through rough times and this lady is making it seem like a trend. 

 

Mental illnesses are a serious issue and everyone turns it into something it is not. Another article I read, Is Mental Health Romanticized in Today’s Society?, talks about how “When someone downplays a serious mental health issue, they are consequently stripping the severity from the term.” A lot of people make mental illness seem so common and because of that, it’s so normalized by everybody that seems to think it’s not a big issue or important. “They are romanticizing a prevalent issue that should be taken seriously in today’s society” Mental illnesses should be taken seriously because they are serious. There should be no debate about this but because all of these people talk about how they have an illness but they seem fine, many people tend to think it’s not important. It’s also very invalidating for people who do have mental illnesses. I had the chance to interview another one of the journalism students, Zoe Perez and she has a lot to say about this topic too. One big question I focused on is do you think people romanticizing mental illness affects us negatively as a society? Zoe said she does believe it does, “Yes, mostly because it takes away the freedom of people who actually have it and the meaning of the illness because it’s so overused, people who actually experience symptoms aren’t gonna feel confident saying something because it’s seen as normal.” I also asked if she thinks social media/technology has any impact on it and she agreed with that too. “Yes, people do it because they follow social media, it causes lots of trouble and yes it can be used to tell people good information about it but it also worsens the whole situation.” Overall Zoe also believes that if you really think you have an illness or any kind of mental problem you should follow up with someone. Don’t count on a video you see on TikTok or a quiz you took on Buzzfeed. See someone if you believe you need help. 

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