Lighthearted jokes about mental illnesses add up to problems for those who are truly suffering.
We nowadays often hear people saying, “Oh, wow, I’m so depressed,” or “I’m so OCD.” But just because you might want a clean desk or have a routine doesn’t mean you have OCD. And just because you’re sad once or twice doesn’t mean you’re depressed. People are now making these sayings so widespread that people who mean their words are overlooked and people aren’t genuinely concerned about those trying to seek help. People need to stop making mental health a joke and start taking it seriously.
People who claim to have mental illnesses are taking away from people who initially are seeking help. Someone has the courage to finally ask for help, but they get shot down in the effort only to be told, “Wow, you’re just faking it.” Or because when people do have alarming signs of mental health, it’s simply overlooked since what they spoke up about is said so often. They may do something drastic to get the attention, so they get the help that they need, but then are slammed for ‘wanting attention’(Jabr). People need to stop making claims about mental illnesses and need to stop the over-popularization of these phrases. Mental health is not a joke.
People who suffer from mental illnesses get annoyed because people are making false claims. I have social anxiety, but from an outsider’s point of view its simply seen as my being an introvert. Being introverted doesn’t mean you have social anxiety, though. It is much more than that. It’s walking down an empty aisle at the grocery store because someone was in the one I needed to go down. It’s being afraid to throw away trash in the middle of class because people might look at you. The same with depression. It’s not about just being sad occasionally. It’s about being not motivated to even get out of bed. You can have insomnia or never get out of bed the whole day. Your diet changes too, you either eat too much or too little. You’re not enjoying the things you do anymore, and you’re always tired no matter how much sleep you get (Depression). This is what these mental illnesses look and feel like, so making a trend out of having them isn’t funny.
Talking about mental health on social media is a thing when you are trying to educate people on it, not make false claims. Elyse Fox founded the Sad Girls club to better the health of generation Z and millennials. Alexandria Elle wrote a book on healing and self-love. She posts words of encouragement for people who are struggling. These people assist and are trying to get people to come forward and ask for help, but their efforts are being slain by people who make false claims. Social anxiety is not about not wanting to leave the house. Depression is not crying twenty-four hours a day. OCD is not about being organized. These are small aspects of these mental illnesses and we need to begin to put the correct information out in public.
Mental health needs to start being about truth. Don’t make false claims, because you’re hurting people who need the help. We also need to start understanding what these mental disorders are and begin to understand what people who deal with them are going through. Don’t make assumptions, but instead begin to understand and study them.
- Depression (major depressive disorder). (2018, February 03). Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
- “Inaccessible Memories.” Flickr by Wayne Grazio
- Jabr, F. (2010, July 28). Self-Fulfilling Fakery: Feigning Mental Illness Is a Form of Self-Deception. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/faking-mental-illness/