Newest Trend: Mental Illness

Newest Trend: Mental Illness

Emily Brown, Print Staff

   Mental illness can be confusing. Figuring out how to describe what’s going on in your mind, reaching out and telling others can be difficult. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, what even is mental illness? Mental illness is defined as: “A condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behavior or thinking.” 


   “I’ve never been taught about mental illness in school. I think that this isn’t really fair because this is where most people experience the most struggles or they struggle because of school. I think it would be helpful if the school could maybe talk about mental health awareness more, or teach coping mechanisms. Not everyone can afford going to therapy and little coping mechanisms for anxiety and other mental illnesses could be a great help,” Brooke Batema (10) said. 


   Students suggest for the school to show us more coping skills for things everyone experiences like stress and sadness. Mental illness is a huge topic. Yours and others’ safety is what matters the most. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of and teaching our kids would help us in the long run.


   Depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia, ADHD and many more are just the start of the list of mental illnesses. People may confuse depression with sadness, anxiety with being anxious, ADHD with being hyper, OCD with liking some things a certain way, PTSD for having a sad past and many more. These are symptoms of the disorders but do not define them. Making sure you are diagnosed before you talk about having a mental illness is extremely important. If you do not actually possess all the qualities and are assured by a medical professional that you are mentally ill, you’re underestimating the illness. People say things like “My mom is so bipolar, she yelled at me for not cleaning my room,” and “I went to sleep so late last night, my insomnia is so bad,” and “You look so anorexic.” They’re using mental illnesses to hyperbolize their sentences. 


   There is a difference between spreading awareness verses gloating. Spreading awareness is announcing that there’s nothing wrong with having a mental illness, showing it doesn’t define you, showing symptoms, some coping skills and where you can go to get some help with it. Gloating is showing off things like what you’ve done to yourself from mental illness, showing the negatives and reaching out for pity and acknowledgement that you have a mental illness, making it look cool or like a trend. 


   “It gets annoying when they try to make theirs sound worse than yours when it’s not a competition, and it’s not something to romanticize,” Sami Togtman (10) said.

   All around social media you’ll hear people talking about their “mental breakdowns” after they have just dyed their hair a new color, or how they are having a “panic attack” when they’re scared or worried about something. People have picked these up as quirks or cool things to say to hyperbolize something. Then when someone is actually talking about their panic attacks or mental breakdowns, everyone shuns them off for not putting a trigger warning or other sharing with the internet. 


   Another thing people do on the internet is show their OOTD, also known as their outfit of the day, to show off their sick bodies as an aftermath of an eating disorder or their self harm scars, which have triggered many people struggling with the same issues. 

   On many social media platforms people talk about mental illness. Expressing their feelings, showing symptoms and many other things. All over the comments section are people relating, or self diagnosing. Many comments contain things like “so this isn’t normal?” and “I thought everyone had this?” While people may be experiencing different symptoms of some mental illnesses, others normalize a thing that shouldn’t be. Other people use their platforms to talk about stopping the glamorization of mental illness.

   “Please stop glamorizing and romanticizing mental illness and mental health conditions. They are not a glamorous thing to have. They are much more than what people perceive them as. Mental illnesses are not choices. For people to minimize them so they seem common is exactly why people are so afraid to speak up,”  user gmf.designs on Instagram said.

   It’s okay to have a mental illness. Know the signs and when to ask for help. There are many options for getting help such as: talking to a trusted adult, getting an online therapist, or an in-person one or telling your family doctor. In case of crisis you can call 1-800-273-8255, or text TWLOHA to 741741.