The Toxic World of Instagram’s Diagnosis of Depression

Trigger warning: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, NSFW, Suicide

Diagnosing oneself with “depression” has become a common practice for teenagers and young adults, and all this diagnosis requires is merely coming across numerous “relatable posts” that talk about a sense of dread, lethargy, pervasive sadness.

But these posts are usually absent for the small portion of people who have also had sporadic weeks of elevated energy, nights they forewent sleep, and the days their thoughts raced with excitement. And so their bipolar disorder could easily go unrecognized, their hypomania remaining invisible to both them and their inimical social media, and the resulting mental health misdiagnosis could very haplessly prevent them from healing.

‌A common perception amongst our generation is that this might make you look mysterious and different in the crowd. But it’s also doing a disservice to millions of those who are genuinely battling these mental conditions — battling suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

There is literally nothing romantic about it!

Romanticization of mental illness is different from “Normalizing” it, and is extremely toxic.‌ Everyday, thousands of suicidal children are banging their doors, crying for help, scratching walls of their minds in order of trying to escape out with whatever strength they have left, yet being constantly turned away by their teachers, friends and parents because of the adamant prevalence of those “I wanna die” posts in which everyone quirkily tags their friends to be perceived “cool”. Don’t lie, you know you’ve done it too.

Friend 1: Dude I feel like dying. Friend 2: No shit man, me too! lol!

‌The stigma never vanished, it just morphed into a trend. ‌The erroneously colossal amount of congenially cerebral pastel quotes, doodles of slit wrists, artsy photos of pills on a plate or a gun shooting flowers is somehow convincing the malleable brains of our youth that mental illness is an epicurean art-form that they deserve to master in the most perfect of ways.

There are 125K+ posts with the hashtag #wannadie.

‌Being Suicidal isn’t beautiful and it doesn’t make you more attractive. It is a constant surge of debilitating fatigue that makes every single day painful. Mental illness is not an “aesthetic” — it’s tears, trauma and tantrums. It’s therapy, medication, thoughts of death and self-harm. That might sound extremely romantic to you, given the circumstances, but it plainly is not. Here’s something you can watch to understand the depth of it-

“This is a eulogy for those swallowed by their own minds.”

‌Mental Illness isn’t restricted to losing all your motivation, losing your friends and family and messing up your education. It is a daily battle that can feel impossible to win.

But what can we do now? If you think or feel like you do suffer from a mental illness, (please) reach out to a professional and get their opinion if you can. Self diagnosing is very harmful. This can often lead to misdiagnosis, and in many instances not noticing other opaque symptoms that only a qualified medical professional would construe. Instead of diagnosing your amorphous symptoms relative to paradigmatic shows such as 13RW, ask for more accurate depictions of mental illness. A better way to support and help those with mental illnesses might not be limited to liking convoluted sad posts and donating to organizations, but rather, you could start off by being a good listener. Ask for accurate experiences of mental illness, whether it’s OCD or bipolar disorder, and turn to the usage of resources like research. Be an ally to someone in need, for once do not answer back with a “Me too sis” but with a “oh, I wish I could understand your pain, right now, all I know is that you’re very brave for fighting, and I am here for you”.

There are copious shows that focus on raising awareness on taboo topics. While it’s progress that people are more openly talking about mental illness, it’s important to realize how impressionable young minds can be. By romanticizing and deifying mental illness, we make it seem as if you need to be depressed or have OCD to be relatable or different. And the credit also goes to our favorite musicians that cry about death, depression and anxiety in their utterly soulful voice. They make it look quite feasible to write about how lovely it is to be all alone, and how thinking of our graves makes us beautiful by bringing quixotic imagery of blooming roses into our minds (=prison, according to a certain music video).

The insipid advertisement of mental illness on merchandise such as clothing and phone covers has been in trend for a while now. The desultory cliché narrative on these items inadequately waters down the actuality of real people’s horrific experiences. It also makes it seem exponentially more desirable and pretty to have a mental illness because of how it is now perceived to be.

Wanting to die comes in waves, and tonight I’m drowning. #Relatable, right?

Glamorization and Glorification and Romanticization of being depressed af in this century, suffering from a mental illness has become “beautiful”, “trendy” and “quirky” in the eyes of amenable young audiences. Because of this, more and more people falsely claim to have a cursory mental illness and dauntingly so because they seek attention and believe it makes them seem unique and special. I mean who wouldn’t repost the conspicuous “A history of trauma can give you a high tolerance for emotional pain” quote and get the attention of everyone watching your stories? Doesn’t it hit home.

So go, find out what type of bread you are, search for new music, learn a new skill, but please stop swimming in the poisonous waters of this everlasting quest of #Relatable Instagram sad posts because it is simple not a treasure and it definitely is not worth it. You have the right to be capricious, but it doesn’t make you bipolar. You can be scared, worried, scrupulous and fidgeting but please do not call your ephemeral nervousness “Anxiety”. You will face challenges everyday, but they are impermanent, and only you have the strength to overcome them.

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occasionally drowning in poetry, hoping and striving to swim someday!

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Spriha Shekhar

Spriha Shekhar

occasionally drowning in poetry, hoping and striving to swim someday!

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