We Need To Stop The Romanticism Of Mental Illness

We Need To Stop The Romanticism Of Mental Illness

She had just returned home from a day at school. Nothing was out of the ordinary, but she wasn’t herself. She was lying in her bed, crying uncontrollably with her hand over her mouth so no one could hear the noise. Her mind would not stop thinking about all of the sad things that had made her life seem so unbearable. She held her arms across her heart and stomach because they couldn’t stop hurting while an ocean of tears flooded from her eyes and onto her pillow. Her friends thought she was fine and her family never saw the signs. Yet social media sites like Tumblr are posting images of the beauty and strength without sharing the reality of what it’s like to live with a mental illness.  

Many people live with a mental illness. It manifests itself into many different forms and, unfortunately, many cases of it go undiagnosed. It can make its grand entrance sometime during your childhood, high school and college years, or even after you think you have figured out your whole life. It strikes at any time and when you least expect it. One thing for sure is that mental illness is not something to beautify and romanticize.  

In today’s day and age, technology has made it easier to perceive and treat mental illness like it is a common cold: easily cured. It has created a biased idea of what every person with anxiety, depression, or an eating disorder feel and experience without revealing the internal confliction and emotional storm that is happening within someone.

Tumblr, for example, posts images with sayings like, “I think suicidal people are just angels that want to go home,” or “Scars are tattoos with better stories.” These sayings are not comforting to someone that feels like their life is falling apart and they do not help them make better sense of what they are feeling. It is dramatizing this idea that hurting yourself makes you unique and that the mental illness makes you a stronger person because of it. Mental illness is not something that’s cute or desirable or even close to making someone feel beautiful and happy about themselves.

We need to stop romanticizing pain and suffering. Mental illnesses hurt not only ourselves, but also our friendships and relationships, our schoolwork, the things we love, and our goals for the future.  

There is nothing comforting about panic attacks. There is nothing satisfying about skipping dinner. Nothing poetic about suicidal thoughts or beautiful about red stained skin. There is nothing romantic about mental illness.

We have just reached a time where people have started to speak out about their mental illnesses without the fear of being judged and have talked about the importance of asking for help. It’s a hard battle to fight; an ongoing war deep within ourselves that we invest so much into just to survive it. This concept of romanticizing mental illness will only push the conversation and progress backward. It needs to stop now.