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Don’t Hashtag My Mental Illness- Why It Is Time to Stop Romanticizing Mental Illnesses

It’s 2017,  it’s time for “Eat Less” shirts and black and white Tumblr posts expressing how “beautiful” self harm scars are to finally die.

If you say “she’s so bipolar” when your mom has some major mood swings in one day or buy a “stressed, depressed, but well dressed” T-shirt, then this article is for you.

It has somehow been embedded in our pop culture to believe that it’s cute to be crazy or it’s beautiful to be sad. Most importantly, we’ve been taught that it’s okay to assume or say those things, but it’s not okay.

What we don’t realize is that not only are we contributing to companies that are profiting off the romanticization of mental illness, but we are also creating a stigma against people that actually have mental illnesses.

When someone has a mental illness, they are not just living – they are living with a mental illness.

People with mental illnesses live everyday of their lives fighting an intrinsic battle, a battle that we ignorantly take advantage of. Mental illness isn’t pretty, it can destroy and ruin someone’s life. We have no right to accessorize or romanticize their struggles.

All things considered, understanding mental illnesses isn’t easy, as it is a very diverse and complex subject. However, it doesn’t take a genius to recognize that self harm isn’t something beautiful and depression isn’t cute. These are things that hurt and cause pain and struggle. These are things that no one wants to talk about because it makes them feel uncomfortable. However, those same people won’t hesitate to buy a “I’m psycho” shirt from Etsy. It’s bad enough that people with mental illnesses have to suffer from the symptoms of their mental illnesses, but they also must carry around the burden of mental health. You don’t have social anxiety because you stay in on a Friday night instead of going to a party. You aren’t depressed because you were sad for a day. When someone has anorexia, they shouldn’t be praised, instead they should be getting professional help. You shouldn’t congratulate them for being so thin or tell them that they need to eat more. What they need is to be getting professional help to work towards being in recovery.

When you push these stereotypes and assumptions onto people with mental illnesses, you suffocate them. You’re making it harder for them to cope with and handle their mental illnesses. It’s time to stop and realize that it’s not okay to do that.

To people with mental illnesses: Your illness is not a costume, accessory, or a trend to anyone. Your illness is valid. Your pain and your hurt are valid. You are valid.

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Nahbuma Gana
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NAhbuma Gana is 17-year-old girl currently residing in the DMV area. She enjoys reading, eating tangerines and putting on eyeliner. You can contact her at


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