​10 Offensively Merchandised Mental Illnesses

​10 Offensively Merchandised Mental Illnesses

We need to stop glamorizing mental illness.

Mental illness is one of those awkward, deep topics that no one wants to bring into the conversation. However, we need to start talking about it because you might be surprised how common mental illness is in our society.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in the United States, 1 in 5 adults suffer from some form of mental illness, which is approximately 18.5 million Americans. However, adults aren’t the only ones affected. Approximately 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 13 and 18 experience some form of mental illness in their lives.

When discussing mental illness, it’s important to remember that mental illness takes many forms. Some of the more common forms include anxiety disorder, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Every form of mental illness should be taken seriously.

Unfortunately, there are some clothing companies who don’t want to take mental illness seriously. They want to exploit it, glamorize it, and use it to make a fashion statement. Here are 10 examples of clothing companies selling insulting merchandise that make light of mental illness:

#1: “I Hate Being Bi-Polar, It’s Awesome!”

First of all, mental illness of any kind isn’t “awesome.” It can cause people to physically or mentally harm themselves. The second problem with this shirt is that it makes light of bipolar disorder, which isn’t something to make light about. Remember: Mental illness isn’t a joke.

#2: “I Used To Be Schizophrenic But We Are OK Now”

This shirt makes fun of schizophrenia, which is incredibly rude. Schizophrenia isn’t a joke, and it shouldn’t be the design of a t-shirt.

#3: “OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder”

I understand why someone might want to buy this shirt, like if they really like Christmas, for example. However, it’s insulting to glamorize OCD because it is a serious mental illness. There are other ways to show that you love Christmas without making light of mental illness.

#4: “I Thought I Was Bipolar, Turns Out I’m An A**hole”

This is one of the rudest shirts on this list. Not only does this shirt make light bipolar disorder, which is a serious mental illness, but it implies that people who have bipolar disorder are “assholes,” which is incredibly rude to those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

#5: “Social Anxiety Intensifies”

This necklace glamorizes social anxiety, which isn’t something to make light of or glamorize. Social anxiety affects many people, and it’s not considerate to those who have social anxiety to make light of the serious mental illness that they struggle with.

#6: “Blame It On The A-A-A-A-A Anxiety”

There are a lot of people who struggle with anxiety, and it is a serious mental illness that shouldn’t be glamorized and made light of. This is just another example of merchandise that glamorizes and makes light of a serious mental illness. Mental illness should always be taken seriously.

#7: “I usually try to keep my sadness inside where it can fester quietly as a mental illness”

It’s not safe for people struggling with depression to hold it in and not seek help from a clinical professional. This shirt implies that it is supporting people struggling with sadness and depression to not seek the help that they need. Always encourage those suffering with depression to seek help from a counselor or even from a friend or family member. Simply talking to a friend can help that person a lot.

#8: “Eat Less”

Urban Outfitters received severe backlash after they manufactured this shirt and sold it at their stores. Because of that, they pulled it from their stores, which is great, but this shirt stems from a larger issue of glamorizing and making light of eating disorders and mental illness. This shirt encourages eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Eating disorders are not glamorous and they need to be taken seriously.

#9: “I Have OCD But I Only Clean Things When I’m In The Mood Because I’m Also Bipolar”

Not only does this shirt make fun of OCD, which is a serious mental illness, but it also makes light of bipolar disorder, which is another serious mental illness. OCD and bipolar disorder are serious mental illnesses that should be taken seriously.

#10: "Depression"

This is a classic example of glamorizing depression, which is a serious mental illness that many children and adults suffer with in the United States. This shirt was also manufactured and sold at Urban Outfitters, and it was taken out of the stores and off of their website because it received harsh criticism for glamorizing depression. Depression, as well as all other mental illnesses, are not fashion statements and should be taken seriously.

I hope this list shed some light on the problem with glamorizing mental illnesses in our society. Mental illness should always be taken seriously. For more information on mental illness in the United States, please visit the following website: www.nami.org.

Cover Image Credit: The Odyssey Online

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Me Vs. Food: My Secret Battle With Eating Disorders

Shedding light on a silenced issue

Eating disorders around this country are spiraling out of control, but not all disorders are able to be seen. Sure, you may be able to tell that someone is underweight or someone is eating too much, but by looking at my own picture, would you be able to tell that I switch between restriction of food and purging? I don’t think so.

Since February of this year, 2018, I have had a silent battle with food. In the beginning, I would restrict myself from eating at all and would limit myself to no more than 500 calories per day. That battle persisted until everyone started noticing I wasn’t eating and was losing weight, so that’s when my battle with a different kind of disorder began.

I started eating more so that everyone around me would stop asking me questions and forcing me to eat when I clearly didn’t deserve that. Therefore, I began eating and engaging in purging activities to eliminate that food from my body. I still maintained my weight, but I stopped losing weight like I had been before, and that was my only goal.

No one ever knew about this secret battle of mine. I consistently told others that I just wasn’t feeling well, it was a side effect of a medication, or I’d just completely lie and tell them that I had eaten that day. The reality is that there is a reason why I began this battle with these difficult eating disorders.

At first, I struggled with eating because I believed I didn’t deserve food. I believed that the pains of hunger from not eating for days was what I had deserved for being who I am. I can’t lie and say that this still isn’t a partial reason why I still struggle with this today, but that reason has gone behind another very strong, loud one.

In the middle of April, as I started leaving the past behind me, I met a guy that I thought was going to make my life so much better. This was the truth until I started finding myself becoming an entirely different person because of him. The only real reason I even started seeing him was because I believed that that’s what I needed to keep other things off of my mind; a man.

The reality is that after only a couple of weeks, I started receiving messages from him telling me that I should only ever find myself in public if I looked “good” and that whenever I had time off work I should find myself only with or talking to him. Nothing else. He’s told me directly something that I will never be able to take off of my mind for as long as I live. He said to me:

“Look, I don’t feel like claiming you. Maybe if you just lost more weight, wore different clothes, or changed your body more, you’d be more attractive to me and then I’d claim you. But right now, you’re not good enough.”

When I got this message, it was a sure sign to me that I clearly needed to do something about my body. This is when I started engaging in purging behaviors, though I kept eating to ensure no one would ask me questions. In addition to this, I tried buying and wearing different clothes, engaging in other behaviors and even started acting very out of my normal.

My point in sharing this information that no one knows at this point, is that I know what it’s like to have to hide feelings and emotional abuse because of a fear of questions or judgements from others. More importantly, I understand what it’s like to have to hide entire disorders because of a fear that others will always have something to say about it. My belief now, though, is that even though this is a battle I still deal with daily, others can say all they want.

My reality now is that I still do speak to this guy and I still do struggle with these harmful eating habits. But what I can’t do anymore is try and pretend like it’s not real because of a fear. My hope is that someone reading this knows that there are other people out in the world with these issues, fighting the same battles.

During this battle, my self-worth is determined entirely by your acceptance of me.

Cover Image Credit: Brianna Gavin

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