The Romanticization of Depression

Upon walking into my room there is a basket full of pills, and while many are vitamins and Advil, there are also a few prescription bottles. I have prescriptions for my social anxiety and depression and I am not ashamed to say this. In my eyes there is absolutely no shame in taking medication that helps you. I often hear “you don’t need that, just pick yourself up!” or “you seem normal to me, why do you go to therapy?” First of all, NONEYABIDNESS, FOOLS!  Secondly, just because my mental illness cannot be seen does not mean that it is not there. Due to the fact that mental illness cannot be seen by the naked eye,  it has been deemed as something that you should be able to control. It’s not an ailment the public can see, so you should be able to hunker down and say, “NO DEPRESSION, YOU CANNOT CREATE THIS CHEMICAL IMBALANCE IN MY BRAIN, BECAUSE I AM MAGICAL AND I SAY SO.” In all seriousness, controlling a mental illness is about as possible as controlling the weather.

Everyday is a more of a struggle when someone says, “I’m bipolar today, my mood changed twice.”

Unless you are diagnosed with the illness, you’re not bipolar today.  Do not diminish someone’s mental illness by making light of it and reducing it to “mood changes.”

Aside from my regular tongue-biting, due to people’s ignorance and lack of education about mental illness, I have lately found myself staring at my computer baffled by the romanticizing of depression, especially on Tumblr. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a Tumblr for quite some time. I love it and I am an avid user. I find it easy to relate my feelings to photographs and quotes from various novels as many Tumblr lovers do, but lately, posts that I see are glorifying depression and social anxiety instead of aiming to combat them.

Scrolling through my dashboard on Tumblr I see beautiful women with tears running down their face, their mascara running, with a caption reading, “I’m just a sad, lonely girl,”  and 89,000 notes. Those notes mean 89,000 people have either “liked,” or reblogged the photo. Another example is an image of  a cigarette box with apiece of paper taped to it reading, “You have to die of something.”  As I see countless photos of bruised hands and knees and cut wrists,  I also see thousands of reblogs, followed by the #beautiful and #depression tags. Beautiful and depression do not correlate. Depression is not beautiful. Depression is not a style, and it is certainly not a fad. That is not to say that people who are depressed are not beautiful, because that is not the case; but depression is not something that young men and women should be aiming to have.

Being in unhealthy relationships, cutting, wanting to kill yourself, alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental hospitals are all glorified examples of a disfigured form of romance on Tumblr. In reality, none of these are romantic at all, they are not “tragically beautiful,” (which is often a tag underneath photos), they are not poetic, they are not desirable, and will not make you more desirable.

Stop romanticizing the things which hurt you.

It’s a big enough problem that people idolize mental illness, and Tumblr recognizes this problem. When searching tags like “depression”, tumblr issues a warning. (See left.) They would like to help their audience. So, Congratulations, Tumblr, for being a fantastic community.

Please remember, you are not alone. Reach out to someone, anyone, including myself, and the staff of Bitchtopia.We are always here for you.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “The Romanticization of Depression

  1. While I don’t think that romanticizing mental illness is a good thing, I think it’s a coping method for people who don’t know how else to cope. When you’re stuck with something you can’t escape, it’s easier to deal with if you find something of value in it, some beauty or meaning. And when you feel like you have nowhere to turn in real life, the internet is an easy place to turn. To simply dismiss the people who romanticize mental illness without trying to understand how and why it happens does a disservice to people who may truly be suffering and not know how to deal with it.

  2. There is nothing beautiful about depression. It’s not fun. It’s an uncontrollable force that has the power to destroy your life. I wish I could just “pick myself up”. Thank you for writing this piece.

  3. I don’t understand people who are threatened by how other people cope with their depression. You say that you take prescription medication to help you cope. How does it feel when people disregard your strategy to combat mental illness as perhaps being a temporary escape to a permanent problem. I understand that chemical imbalance is a real thing, and if you are properly medicated you may be more stable and level headed. However, couldn’t it be argued that people who you say are “Glorifying. and romanticizing depression” are simply trying to find something of value, some sort of beauty or meaning brings comfort. I personally believe expressing one’s depression or other complicated feelings by means of various artistic outlets: imagery, music, etc.. is a much healthier way to cope with depression than taking a “Happy” pill to cope with these feelings. I’m certainly not ashamed to say that I romanticize the shit out of my depression because it has proved far more productive and healing, compared to the years of Prozac, numbed out emotional, Mental Illness victim that I had become. I am not saying that Mental Illness is untrue. However, I believe we all have more power over depression, anxiety, etc.. then we think we do. I have found that more than half of my depression, and anxiety is “Situational Depression” and if you have had some time to accept and experiment with various forms of coping and treatment, you may find yourself at the point of realizing that Romanticizing things is not offensive, and also, you might want to learn about Satire, Sarcasm, and Art for Art’s sake. There is no Magic pill. Pillz aren’t beautiful. Depression can be. It’s up to you.

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