Editor’s Note: Depression, mental health, mental illness, ableism.
There are times when I don’t want to check Twitter or Instagram because I’m afraid of triggering myself. I’m in recovery and I’m scared that I’ll find a trigger word or some content to set me off and then there’ll be no turning back from there – I would ruin the progress I’ve been making till now – all the hard work would be rendered waste.
Trivializing mental health is like a hobby nowadays for people online, which baffles me constantly. How someone’s health or ill health can be funny is absolutely beyond me. But to some people, it is. This is nothing but reckless behavior – one that needs to be modified, and soon.
I feel like a definition of mental health is pertinent before I address this peculiar and overly analyzed topic though – especially on the internet. Because the internet thinks they have a degree in… everything.
You heard me. The internet feels they’re entitled to an opinion (which, in all fairness, they are) but about every damn thing? It could be your personal problem and the internet thinks they know everything about it. Newsflash: they don’t.
Mental health is a serious issue. It affects every part of our lives and should not be ignored. It is not a joke. But on the internet – everything is a joke, and everyone is a meme.
Even though our society refuses to acknowledge the gravitas of mental health, we ought to. It is as consequential and important as physical health.
It’s just not as visible, so that gives people a free pass to say things like “It’s not real.”, “It’s just in your head.”, “Snap out of it!”, and you know what? You’re absolutely right.
It is just in my head. But I can’t snap out of it.
Because it’s real.
Mental health is like physical health – except you can’t see it. It’s like a fever that’s in my mind. And I need help for it. I don’t need your smarts and wits – I need medical help.
Or at least, I did. I suffered from clinical depression for what were probably the longest few months of my life. And thankfully, I got the help I needed.
My depression was triggered due to a long period of illness and I was put on medication, I underwent therapy. Now, my depression is an ex who tries to text me sometimes, but I’ve put him on mute forever. He can’t bother me anymore.
That is my past now.
What still bothers me though is, how complacent people are when talking about mental health nowadays. I may not get triggered as much anymore, but I know someone can, and that makes me uncomfortable. How can anybody take mental health in jest?
Because you can’t possibly feel “bipolar” one day at random. You can’t be “so depressed” just because you didn’t get tickets to see your favorite band. And that teacher definitely cannot be “freaking psycho” because she told you to stop talking in class. The weather is NOT “schizo.” Don’t use “retarded” for that friend who said something you didn’t expect them to. And please, for the love of God, do not call your mom “crazy” for grounding you.
I can’t deal with another teenager posting their caption on Instagram as “let me just kill myself already” because they have exams coming up.
Stop trivializing mental illness. My mental health is not a joke or an aesthetic you can adopt. Being “depressed” is not cool. “Cute but psycho” is not quirky.
And liking dark clothing in no way correlates to having a mental illness.
Stop glorifying and romanticizing mental health and mental illnesses to the point that the people who actually get triggered and affected can’t be taken seriously anymore. People need to be held accountable for their actions and understand that what they say or do can have serious consequences.
Just because you haven’t suffered, doesn’t mean you’re allowed to be complacent – it just means you should be more responsible and help in whatever way you can. You have a privilege that can be used to make the lives of so many people better.