Saturday, September 20, 2014

Romanticizing vs glorifying

If you search mia, ana, depression, anxiety, suicide, self harm or any other related word into tumblr, you will find a load of black and white pictures of sad teenagers, and depressing quotes.

You will also find a bunch of people ranting about how terrible it is to romanticize mental illnesses.

Here is my unpopular opinion: Romanticizing mental illness is fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. However there is a BIG problem with glorifying mental illness. The problem is, the difference can be hard to notice.

Romanticizing illnesses is done all the time. From John Green writing romance novels about teens dying with cancer, and a potential suicide in "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Looking for Alaska", to quotes such as "There are lines on your wrists/ like railroad tracks/ and I know exactly where they're going/ but there is no train to heaven" (Unknown), we romanticize illness everyday. It helps us cope. Thinking that we are tragically beautiful, or a purging princess, or a delicate doll helps us hate ourselves less.

The problem occurs when the romanticizing enters that grey section, where illness are glorified, the bad sides pushed aside, and people start wanting eating disorders. I'm talking about people thinking that being depressed means someone is going to save you and help you escape from the dark side. Or thinking that cancer will make you realize exactly what you want in life, and post recovery you will live your life to the fullest.

This isn't how illnesses work. Yes maybe when you are depressed you have that one person who never gives up on you and gives you hope. But you still can't get out of bed everyday, cry yourself to sleep at night, get nightmares, and can't cross the street without secretly hoping that a car will run you over. If you wish you had an eating disorder, stop right now. You will lose your hair, your friends, isolate yourself, and the disease will take control of your brain.

If romanticizing your illness helps you cope. Continue what you are doing. I know that reading poems about people dying, and reading books about beautiful girls who cut themselves but get saved and find themselves with the help of a boy, gives me hope. Makes me think that I'm not just a crazy worthless girl. But please never encourage others to worsen their disorders, and if you find yourself wishing you could have a bit of anorexia or anxiety please stop and read about all the terrible side affects of these diseases.

-Niqi
xoxo

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