Before I start ranting and raving, I just want to clear up, that I am not in ANY way trying to cause offence or make accusations about anybody in particular. I am not aiming this post at any one person; it’s just an issue that I feel very passionate about.
Mental illness has been something I’ve lived through since I was born – it’s not something I’m ashamed of anymore. A lot of people close to me have suffered with depression, bi-polar, anxiety, eating disorders and so on, and to be completely honest I used to think it was the most embarrassing issue I’d ever had to deal with. Thanks to new laws and legislations, and people being made more aware of what exactly these conditions are, judgements don’t come as often anymore and it does become easier to deal with. Sufferers (I use the term lightly) can go to the doctor and get the help they need without being turned away, or sectioned, and they can talk about it without being mocked or cut off by the people they love. It’s not funny and it’s not embarrassing; it’s life.
It’s also not a fashion statement. I am honestly so sick and tired of seeing 14-16 year old girls and boys on the internet claiming to have anxiety disorders and bi-polar because they saw somebody ‘Twitter famous’ Retweet it once. I cannot for the life of me grasp why it’s become such an ‘in thing’ to have a serious medical condition. You don’t have anxiety because you refused to go out for a week after your boyfriend broke up with you; you don’t have depression because you moved away to uni and get temporarily home sick; and you don’t have an eating disorder because you skipped breakfast three weeks ago. I do not dispute that some people do suffer young, and for no reason at all. These things can happen to anyone and I am well aware that there isn’t necessarily an explanation for everybody developing these illnesses. I just can’t stand the fact that there are people out there genuinely suffering with bi-polar who can’t get to grips with their illness and drive themselves crazy trying to be ‘normal’, whilst somebody else is claiming that they also have the condition because they are occasionally happier or sadder than usual.
I find it so disrespectful that people use mental illness to gain popularity or because their friend has one. There are people out there who don’t know what to do because they are so ashamed of themselves and the social stigma attached to them. Severe cases can break up families and end lives, and there are still children out there who use it as an excuse to gain a little bit more attention off of their peers because nothing else dramatic is happening in their lives.
Honestly, before you tell everybody you have depression, go to your doctor and talk to them. There are people genuinely worse off than you.