Trigger warning: Mental illness, self-harm
You can find anything on social media these days. Dance moves, recipes, how-to videos. Anything you could fathom, it’s out there on the web to be found. With that being said, not all of it is friendly or light-hearted in nature.
There has been what I would call a movement in recent years of people coming forward and being more open with their battle with mental health issues. This in itself is great. It’s shedding light on an issue that has been hidden away in the shadows for far too long. But with that being said, there is also more to this that has been seemingly becoming more and more popular. And that is the romanticization and glorification of mental disorders.
There is nothing wrong with being open and having a dialogue about battles that you’re facing with depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. In fact, being open and talking about it is the way to continue gaining more and more support for these issues.
But let’s get this straight–there is nothing beautiful about depression. There is nothing beautiful about anxiety. There is nothing beautiful about bipolar. It is tragic, it is ugly, and it can be brutal.
There is nothing glamorous about gasping for air with your heart racing and mind on overdrive in the midst of a panic attack. There is nothing glamorous about swallowing a handful of pills because you so badly want the pain to end. There is nothing glamorous about feeling like the world is coming down on your head and you can’t breathe, so you slice your skin open in hopes of feeling some kind of relief for just a split second.
None of these things are rational and none of these things make sense–but that is part of the battle that numerous people face each day. These are real issues that real people like you and I face every day. And to glamorize it on social media like it’s a beautifully tragic thing? That’s a punch in the face to the ones who are constantly fighting their demons.
I am in no way diminishing any person’s personal battles, because we all face them. And nobody’s battle is worse or better than the next person. A majority of people believe things like self-harm and suicide attempts are nothing more than a cry for attention. A way to get pity. Is that the case sometimes? Maybe so, but this is not always the case. They’re desperate for help and don’t know where to turn or who to go to and just need something in that moment. Some kind of relief. But this also all stems back to the romanticization of these issues on social media.
We need to be better. We need more dialogue and communication with each other. Check on your people. Even the strong people around you. You never know what kind of demons and battles they’re fighting in their own minds. And one simple act of reaching out can be the catalyst of change.