It seems that our society has developed a new fixation with mental illnesses. This may not be all that surprising given all the tragedy and violence that is happening in the world, but as someone who has lived through the decade of all things social media, I have concluded that most teenagers are heavily fixated with the idea of mental illnesses. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are all mentally ill, but rather infatuated with the perception of being psychologically incorrect.
Our society hasn’t always been perfect, but it seems that the younger generation has become more drawn to mental illnesses than ever before. Social media has provided enough proof by having its own niche of accounts and profiles dedicated to specific illnesses like depression. Being depressed seems to be taken much lighter these days than ever before. In the 70s, when we first discovered antidepressants teenagers, adults and seemingly everyone seemed to become suddenly depressed. Over time, this escalated into people almost lusting over the idea of needing treatment.
Real psychotics will be the first to tell you that there is nothing cute about being psychotic. Yet, teens are still assertive that being psycho is what’s new and hot. When did we all become so desperate for attention that we decided to all diagnose ourselves with illnesses? Kurt Cobain also certainly didn’t write his heart wrenching suicide note so teenage girls could wear it on a shirt. It is almost like we are mocking someone’s suicide note, because a suicide note shouldn’t be as casual as a love letter. It’s so mind-blowing that more than 350 million people are really fighting depression but we still are merely promoting it to our most insecure age group. It says something about who we are as a society if we all secretly want to be depressed. The amount of attention that the “depressed and lonely people” get is very ironic considering they are the ones that feel the most alone. If we are all really that depressed and psychotic, then we really wouldn’t be wearing it on our shirts to our high school parties. Realistically, being mentally ill is not something that should be bought into because there is no luxury to it at all.
Freedom to express yourself and expressing a message to perceive yourself a different way are two very different things. There is nothing wrong with expressing your true feelings on social media, but there should be a limit on throwing around expressions like cute but psycho. We are taught in school so widely about mental illnesses and how to cure them, but it seems that we are using the information to only worsen the cause. The concept of being depressed is a very battling process. Someone who is struggling from depression not only doesn’t like to address it, but they would definitely never promote it. People who think that they want to be psycho or utterly sad all the time are not educated enough on what it really means. With how entitled most of the teens on social media are to education, it is truly baffling to see everyday someone make such an imprudent remark on mental illnesses.
There is really nothing glamorous or cute about being mentally ill. You don’t need a doctor to tell you that, and there really isn’t anything that should be taken out of for being sad all the time. I remember reading Prozac Nation and being amazed by how complex depression is. Elizabeth Wurtzel brought a new light to the illness by making it so honest that you could relate to it. This doesn’t mean that I would go out and say that when I grow up I want to be just like her, but that was the whole message of her book.
Teenagers are misreading the overall idea of being depressed and expressing it. So many famous artists and singers have struggled with mental illnesses as well, but that doesn’t mean that we should all want to be just like them. Not being able to live a normal life because of your own mind is not trendy at all, and there really is nothing cute or edgy about being so sad you can’t get out of bed. As a society, we should start analyzing what we say because once you have a real mental illness, all you want to do is escape it not broadcast it.