Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stop Romanticizing Mental Disorders by Christina Barron

Stop romanticizing mental illness. Specifically depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harm. There is absolutely nothing beautiful or romantic about these things. Yet, today’s society of teenagers seems to think so. Mental disorders are regularly being glamorized by pop culture through movies, social media sites, music, and some books. This is wrong, and it is imperative that it stops.

Why do teens encourage each other that  allowing harm to their bodies and their mental health is considered to be the almost popular thing to do? Though it is glamorized, like most things pop culture pushes, it is far from romantic. America is experiencing a national mental health crisis, and its teenagers, its next generation of leaders and impactful citizens, are the last people who need to be using mental illness as an artistic gateway to popularity. 

However, the sad truth is, American's are under-educated on how to properly respond to teens experiencing mental illness. It is not the way to being the popular kid like social media would have you believe, nor should it be. But, if a teen does indeed have a mental disorder and they don’t skillfully cover it up with a pretty mask, he or she will be shunned. They don’t become the beautiful, popular friend with a quirky trait. They become the kid most people are afraid of and don’t know how to talk to. This isn’t pretty, it is horrible. Mental illness changes lives. It doesn’t turn life in to a super romantic teen love story. Life isn’t a John Green book. People need to see that!

Bulimia isn’t a pretty long haired girl bending over a toilet with a tragically beautiful face on. It’s a miserable face with vomit dripping from its chin and a bleeding throat.

Anorexia isn’t a slim figure shyly refusing a cupcake at a party. Its peach hair growing all over their freezing malnourished body who could drop dead of heart failure at any moment.

Depression isn’t a model with running mascara staring off into the sunset. It’s a boy staring at the ceiling at 4 o’clock in the morning with burning eyes because he can’t find the motivation to close them. 

Self-harm isn’t handsome boys kissing a shy girls scars and telling her she’s still the most beautiful girl in the world. Its scars that will be there for a very long time and showers that sting.

A panic attack isn't a gorgeous girlfriend burying her face into her lover’s chest and him telling her everything will be OK. Its feeling out of control and like all oxygen has been denied from your lungs.

Mental illnesses are real, and they are far from pretty. Please stop taking them lightly. Stop romanticizing teens being sad and harming themselves. Stop treating depression as a lovely cue for a perfect love story, there is nothing romantic about hopelessness and suffering.  Flowers won’t grow out of the scars on their wrists. A kiss won’t heal their mind. When someone is made to feel like death is their only escape, a cute celebrity isn’t going to come sweep them off their feet and save them. Mental illnesses don’t suddenly make people special or make people start to care about someone. They are monsters that destroy lives. Please stop promoting them as something wonderful to impressionable teenagers.

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