Are you tired of the constant over-romanticization of mental health issues and suicide because I sure am, everywhere you look, you can see numerous examples of this taking place. One of the most prevalent examples of this issue is the Netflix tv show and novel 13 reasons why. This show popularized the novel in which the main character hannah, commits suicide and creates tapes to throw the blame onto 13 different people. So what’s the problem with this? People who kill themselves – and young people in particular – rarely make meticulous plans and even more rarely explain their reasons. Suicide is devastating and haunting because, with few exceptions, loved ones are left with more questions than answers. While in this every character is given a thorough explanation except for her parents.
The story works its way to the end in which she kills herself, making the series portrays suicide as a viable, logical option, which it definitely isn’t. Some of you may also be familiar with the popular website and app Tumblr, where the majority of the romanization occurs. These pictures are just a few examples of the thousands upon thousands of quotes and photos that romanticize suicide and depression. All these catchy little quotes and rhymes combined with still images seem to scream for attention in all the wrong ways. Mental illness is exactly what it is: an illness.
Do we romanticize cancer? No. Do we romanticize Cystic Fibrosis? No, no we don’t. So then why on earth do we make romantic, pretty pictures talking about depression, suicide, bipolar, self-harm, and eating disorders? Are we lying to ourselves saying that it is okay to feel broken or worthless? Depression is real. Suicide is not romantic. Self harming is dangerous.
Tumblr needs to stop putting the opposite ideas into the minds of their young users. None of these things are something that should be idolized or desirable. What should be desirable is to get better, to get help. It is desirable to leave the dark and come into the light. It is desirable to be able to put down that razor, to look in the mirror and see a beautiful reflection. Don’t worry if you have reblogged photos like this or even created them, it’s never too late to stop, focus on the positive rather than creating a culture of negative. it’s no wonder our generation is so confused about mental health disorders. They all just make it seem like a mental illness is just a really exy frame of mind, like you’re just so deep and broody and everyone will love you for it.
They have become a replacement for having a personality for some people, where in reality people with actual mental health problems are shying away from the world, too scared to speak out. What posts like the “strong for too long” one do is create this fallen hero image. It creates a story of someone who has continuously fought and in a way lost because the depression won in this scenario. Other mental illness romanticizing creates the same sorts of images and stories and even ideals. Ultimately, it is not how mental health works, which adds to more confusion and misconstrued ideas that lead to mental illness stigma. When we latch onto these images and these stories, we deny ourselves and others the opportunity to see the disorder, and, more importantly, the person who is struggling with it, for what and who they really are.
When we create stories, we kind of detach ourselves from reality, which I would suggest puts us in line to ignore the actual issues that we face