I want to kill myself is pretty much the response to every slightest inconvenience that happens in a day of the life of the current generation. Talking about Mental Health to parents is still an ‘awkward’ topic for discussion and very few people attempt to even take a chance to start a dialogue about it with their parents. So, that leaves people with only a few options when it comes to looking into and searching about mental health issues, and at the top of it is social media.
The wide social media presence of today is not a joke. Social media platforms act as tools to get to know a person’s life; their likes and dislikes, their opinions on every issue, where they are and what they’re up to at the moment. And amongst all these bombardments of information on social media platforms about friends, family, celebrities and events, over the years, the awareness with regards to mental health has also increased but has managed to give room to a lot of myths and misconceptions.
The worst of everything is that nowadays, the idea of romanticising depression, anxiety and other mental health issues is trending.
How? As humans feeling of belongingness is one of our primary needs, it is always better to be in the company of people who feel the same way as we do, to connect. But, here’s the thing. Are we sharing the stigma?
We are finding an increasing amount of content on social media, of normalising mental health issues to the point where these issues have become “slangs” and everyday words to express dramatic exasperations. And the result, the slowly accrued seriousness and awareness built up on mental health issues shatter in a second to being viewed as something normal and unimportant.
We all know how important and powerful stories can be. Millions of people have found their sense of belonging and community by sharing their stories with the world, stories that others can relate to, stories that others can connect with. So, it is very important to realise that there are many who are battling mental health issues and are struggling to cope up with it and the things we carelessly put out there on social media for the world to see, can affect those who are genuinely suffering.
Even in films, the supposedly “depressed” and “brooding” character is looked at as being mysterious and attractive as their romantic interest swoop in as cheerful and oblivious people who then go on to “mend” and “fix” the said “brooding” person’s heart as they then ride into the sunset. People do not seem to realise the issue with these stories and films and content. It will only serve to silence those who are actually suffering from mental health issues as they can begin to downplay their suffering and start viewing themselves as being dramatic or worse, silence themselves because others might not take them seriously. It can begin to form a vicious mentality that mental health issues are “normal” and not something to seek help for to feel better and that these issues somehow will make them “special” to stand apart from others.
Suffering from mental health issues is not a joke and is not attractive.
It’s planning for your best friend’s surprise birthday party for a week and not wanting to leave your bed on that day. It’s in the gloomy weather when you thought you’d feel peaceful if you travelled alone away from the crowd, but end up sobbing in front of strangers solemnly because they’ll never know or ask you what your problem is. It’s when someone compliments you, tells you that you look pretty, but how you find every flaw in your body each day before you step out of your house. It’s a beautiful family dinner with all your loved ones sharing jokes, revisiting the memories, escaping busy, restless lives and just once, just once the memory of you before depression flashes and how you silently feel your heart sinking amongst the laughter, controlling your tears. It’s when you find someone you really admire, but secretly punish yourself because you know you’ll not be good enough and doubt they’ll also leave. It’s about how you tell yourself each day it’ll get better because it always does, but slowly get exhausted because of how awfully long it is. It’s the disappointment that shakes your world and opens a door of gazillion questions asking if you were ever good enough. It’s always about needing a mask but never wanting to wear it again.
I’m not trying to underestimate or belittle anyone’s feelings or experience BUT it’s very important for us to understand the level of intensity about the words you’re referring to.
1) Feeling anxious does not mean you have anxiety.
2) Feeling sad, low, dull does not mean you’re suffering from depression.
3) Not wanting to hang out with people, initiate a conversation with friends, enjoying social situations does not mean it’s social anxiety.
4) Panicking or feeling nervous does not mean you’re having a panic attack.
If you feel like you might be genuinely suffering, please do not hesitate to reach out for help and consult a professional to diagnose the condition and get better. But if not, then please do your bit to raise awareness about these issues using your social media platforms but most importantly, do your bit to stop the romanticization of mental health issues.