The over generalization of mental illnesses has become a pretty big pet peeve of mine. I cringe when the girl in front of me at Starbucks whines that she was “so OCD” today that she organized her twilight memorabilia for twenty minutes. Or the student in my class cries “insomnia” because she stayed up all night re-blogging stereotypical photos on her tumblr. Self-harm isn’t something to aspire to, pictures of self inflicted wounds shouldn’t be metamorphosed with vintage filters and re-blogged causally.
Mental illness is not a trend, it will not slowly disappear like hair bands and the beanie baby. People will always be suffering. I’d truly love it if this romanticism of mental illness was helping to end the stigma that surrounds it, but it only serves to isolate us even more. If someone was to step up, speak out about their chilling delusions or bizarre and debilitating compulsions do you think it’d get as many re-blogs as the picture of a pretty girl crying and a definition of depression? Do you think it’d reach a thousand, even a hundred likes? No.
Mental illness is charming and harrowing when it’s locked in your computer screen surrounded by a pretty border and some insignificant phrase. It’s romantic in blockbuster films where your illness hardly gets in the way of true romance and then it’s smooth sailing from there on. As soon as you find a partner you’re totally cured!
The world prefers to keep it’s distance from the real thing, all pretending they commiserate wholly, but never truly letting us in.