We've all seen the depressing quotes on pictures of girls with scars on their arms and the anorexia tumblrs raving about how happy they are that their spines are finally peaking from the back of their bodies or how the anxiety remedy is to take a Lush bubble bath and play some Twenty One Pilots while you're at it.
Mental illnesses are a serious problem not only in our generation, but in all ages globally. Over 350 million people have been diagnosed with depression world-wide, according to the World Health Organization. Anxiety disorders affect about 18% of the US Adult population. It's extremely common to see high school and college students suffering from eating, anxiety and other mental disorders. Addictive habits like self-harm are also extremely common to find.
What's not talked about? How many people have depression and self-medicate. About two thirds of people with major depression never get the appropriate treatment. According to Huffington Post, most people who chose to self-medicate their depression or anxiety disorder are more likely to lean towards alcohol or drug abuse.
Tumblr self-medication is a big influence on teenagers. Glorifying mental illnesses to younger audiences subjects them to not only want to have the illness and that it's a "beautiful" characteristic, but to think that if they spray the room in "stress relief" spray and take long showers they will be healed from any problem they have.
With the influence these posts have on our younger generation, we are promoting unhealthy lifestyles and teaching them that these serious problems are completely okay and something to brag about having. Mental illness is not fun. Seeing doctors and getting treatments aren't an ideal way to spend your weekends. Going to rehabilitation centers for weeks on end to teach your body to stop hurting itself isn't the kind of vacation you want to be on. You are not helping yourself by self-medicating, you are making it worse for you and the people around you. No one online is impressed.
Another thing that's always bothered me on these posts: Why is there anger towards the friends that "desert" you? I agree that it is super important to keep your loved ones close during a difficult time and that support is always appreciated but it should never be taken for granted. They don't have to be there, they chose to. To make a comment saying "the people that leave you aren't real friends" is an incredibly selfish way to look at it. Sometimes deciding to take yourself out of a toxic situation is good for you. You can't blame them for that, a mental disorder or illness does not only affect the person suffering through it, but the people around you. Don't be upset that they left you, because that isn't the case. Respect that everyone deserves a chance to be happy.
So what can I do to help this, Taylor? I'm glad you asked, It's easy: spread awareness. Don't promote the posts on any social media. Luckily tumblr's staff caught onto this as well since it was such a popular thing to post about and began posting suicide, self-abuse, eating disorder and other hotlines on their website after a user starts searching for alarming or disturbing tags on the website. I will also have these numbers listed below.
If you think you or someone you know has a problem: Get help. Sometimes people with mental illnesses or disorders don't even know that what they are doing is a problem. It's important as a friend or family member to step in and intervene if necessary. If you know well enough that you have a disorder, know that you need professional help. Tumblr remedies and sad songs won't heal you. Therapists and doctors work wonders for millions of people. These problems need to be discussed with medical professionals, not over a status update.