Today, it is not uncommon to hear a teen over-exaggerate, pretending or claiming they have a mental illness of sorts. They self-diagnose, they look up their symptoms on WebMD, and their most trusted source is usually a close friend.
News Flash: If a person has not been officially diagnosed by a mental health professional, that person cannot and should not go about saying they have a mental illness.
A person does not have an eating disorder just because they’re on a diet.
A person does not have clinical depression if they just get sad sometimes.
And a person most definitely does not have an anxiety disorder if they just so happen to be cramming for a test tomorrow.
Mental illnesses were not made for people to glamorize self-harm and depressing poetry as romantic. There is nothing sexy or beautiful about marks on a person’s skin that are the very embodiment of hatred for oneself.
In fact, self harm is the ugliest thing a person could do to themselves.
I have struggled with a mental illness for the better part of my teenage and young adult years. Diagnosed after months of therapy and tests and emotionally draining frustration of not knowing what on earth could possibly be wrong with me, I cannot understand why anyone would want to fake having a mental illness for attention.
Why would someone want to lose the friends and life opportunities that I have?
Do not be shocked, for that is what this whole mental health awareness movement is doing to people. Society, especially the impressionable youth, is getting the idea that “mentally sick people get help, love, and attention” and are thus abusing the resources that an actual person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, Psychosis, or Schizophrenia may need to make it through another month, week, or even a day.
Better yet, most kids who fake their mental illness aren’t even that hard to weed out. They’re the ones who absolutely refuse to seek help in mental health professionals. The ones who change their demeanor around different groups of friends. The ones who change who they are and how they treat other people in front of their parents. There is no consistency in their downward spiral.
A person with depression does not have the energy to hold up all these multiple facades, and if they do they’re not going to utilize it. They have more important things to use their depleted energy on, like staying alive long enough to see the hope at the end of the tunnel.
There is nothing glamorous about a person hanging from a rope in their closet.
There is nothing beautiful about a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
There is nothing attractive about cut and burn scars on a person’s forearms.
There is nothing sexually appealing about a person (male or female) who is merely bone covered with skin.
There is nothing romantic about a suicide note or an obituary.
The world needs to realize what it is suggesting when main characters who are depressed and self-loathsome become the poster-children for beautiful relationships with great friends and happiness.
It’s suggesting that being sad and acting depressed is cool and will gain you popularity points and attention. It’s suggesting that all kids and adults with mental illnesses are looking for attention and gives us all a bad reputation; when all we want is just to feel warmth and happiness when we feel the light of the sun on our faces.