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Wellness > Mental Health

My Personal Opinions On The Glorification Of Mental Illness

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

In honor of October being Depression Awareness Month, I wanted to talk about my personal experience with depression and how it has been impacted by the glorification of mental illness. I am in no way a professional, and this is only intended to convey my personal experience with my diagnosed mental disorders. Do not use this article as a formal diagnosis, and please seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling. 

To make a long and personal story less long and personal, back in eighth grade I was diagnosed with a generalized depression disorder that got worse as seasonal depression during the year. This led to a constant rollercoaster between feeling great and miserable depending on the day and weather. As if that wasn’t intense enough, mental illness quickly became a trend on various social media apps as I continued to grow with the internet. 

As others my age began to become more social on various platforms, it suddenly felt like everyone I knew was heavily depressed like I had been. However, come to find out a lot of the people I talked to had not seen a professional that sat down with them in various sessions to talk through what it meant to be diagnosed, the basis of the diagnosis, and what to do from there. I have no issue with self diagnosing. Sometimes, before looking to a professional, it can help to self-diagnose or research so you have a grasp on what you’re asking for help with. However, I do not agree with self-diagnosing and not taking the next step of seeing a professional. This does not reflect anyone else’s opinions other than my own. In the same vein, sometimes people start to realize they have a more serious experience with depression based on the few harder days, and that’s normal. The glorification I am referring to is when people without mental illnesses use it as a way to gain popularity.

As this continued to progress, it began to feel like I couldn’t log into any social media account without being bombarded with others that were struggling with depression. However, many of them were experiencing things differently than me. In my young, naive brain, I thought that had meant that I was a poser and I was truly the one that was looking for attention from those around me. I quickly began to stop talking about my experiences, and even began to tell my therapist that I was suddenly feeling a lot better. It felt devastating to me at the beginning of high school since I truly believed that I had started therapy and worked on parts of myself that meant nothing since there truly was no depressive disorder to begin with. There were days where I questioned every single aspect of myself and my experiences, and truly could not tell if I was being honest to myself or not. 

It just continued to get worse from there as things like TikTok began to explode, since everyone would then use the platform to help others “diagnose themselves.” More importantly, the majority of them were not professionals in the mental health field, and even more were not even professionally licensed in anything related to psychology as a whole. The few people that I knew that were spreading information were now everywhere, and it consumed every part of me while I was on social media. Instead of being an escape, it became a prison where I would begin to spiral. 

The glorification of mental illness became a large trend online and no one stopped to think about how it was impacting the people watching it. I understand that I’m only one person watching a video with millions of views; however, there are still people using the videos to self-diagnose themselves incorrectly. Additionally, several others are still watching it questioning their own experiences after being professionally diagnosed. While it can help to have a community to lean on. However, it can be dangerous to lean on groups that see the situation as a fancy trend, instead of what it really is — something that causes constant distress and impairment to daily life.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

Kylie Kruis

Bradley U '25

I am the current president at the Her Campus at Bradley University chapter. I oversee the general operations of the chapter, run meetings, and correspond with HCHQ. Beyond Her Campus, I am also the current community service exec chair for my sorority, Epsilon Sigma Alpha. I have been part of the organization since my freshman year after leading a volunteer group for several years prior to college. I am also the current community service outreach member for Bradley's psychology club, Psi Chi and Psych Club. As the community service member for both, I am constantly reaching out to other organizations in the community to collaborate on creating a better overall town. I am currently a junior at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, majoring in Psychology and English - Creative Writing with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my boyfriend, spending the weekend with my family and dogs, and writing short stories. I'm a new Bachelor nation fan and have extremely strong opinions about most people on them. I also enjoy several podcasts ranging from comedy to true crime. My passion lies with volunteering and being a leader for others whenever possible.