The Romanticization of Mental Illnesses

Often we hear people around us expressing their anxiety and mental health issues. Have you wondered if they really face it or are they just romanticizing and glorifying it? Romanticization is the portrayal of a situation in a way which makes it seem idealistic and better than it really is. And yes, we do romanticize something as critical as psychological conditions.

Romanticization creates a glamorous and fancy portrayal of mental illness in which social media in particular plays a major role by creating this distorted image of mental health that appeals to people, marking it as an ‘aesthetic’. With the advent of Gen-Z, taboo topics like mental health and related problems are being talked about and great efforts are being made toward normalizing them. But there’s an unprecedented problem that has appeared, in the effort to destigmatize mental illness, we have created a society where it’s romanticized. This poses a problem for society since simple nervousness is being perceived as anxiety and loneliness as depression.

The initial reasons? A question with multi-level answers varying from social media to influencers and our favorite- peer pressure. We see posts and videos on social media, we see our favourite influencers coming out and speaking about their journey and struggles, resulting in the idolization of these illnesses. To fit in with the crowd, and receive attention and sympathy, people try to develop issues where there are none.

Mental illnesses can have a serious impact on someone’s life and can be hard to speak about. But the people who are actually going through such a difficult time stay shut and don't ask for help while the ignorant youth parade around calling themselves depressed. They consider 'tragic' as 'beautiful' and have created a mindset that having mental diseases is related to strength and beauty. No doubt, people with mental illnesses are both strong and beautiful, but people aspiring to have depression and participating in self-harm are repulsive. Pain is neither pretty nor cool.

Mental health is not a joke, and mental diseases are not a "quirky trait," therefore pretending to have one is an insult to those who genuinely experience it. By glamorizing and making it seem desirable we are giving the wrong impression to people who are suffering that they don't need any support or medical attention. To break the stigma we need to treat mental illnesses just like any other disease.

Share your opinions on this in the comment box.

This post is part of the weekly blog series under Project Samvedna.

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