I’ve seen a few opinions around the interwebs lately that all of this blogging and talking on social media about mental illness, mainly depression, is glorifying it. They believe that through showing the realities in our words and pictures, that we are somehow making it seem like it’s something that people will want to have. Like the latest must have accessory, or something.
I don’t know about anyone else here, but I don’t think there is anything remotely glamorous about having a mental illness. I don’t think that me talking about the realities of it would make anyone feel like they just had to have it. I’m not sure what part of depression is supposed to be the good part.
I’ve dealt with depression, BPD and self harming thoughts/behaviours for over 12 years now, and looking back there weren’t many glamorous moments in all of it. I have spoken on the blog over the last 3 years about a lot of those moments. That isn’t glorifying it, it’s speaking my truth.
Depression robs you of your dignity. It kills the light behind your eyes and tries to push away the people that you are close to. The sad truth is that some of those people don’t take much pushing, depression is a lonely illness. Depression is ugly and raw, it strips you back until you are nothing but a blob in your bed. Is this the glamorous part?
Maybe people believe that not being able to work due to a mental illness means that you are a person of luxury, that life is easy because you don’t have to get up and go to work everyday. Please tell me what is so luxurious about fighting tooth and nail every single day just to lift your head off the pillow. Please tell me what is luxurious about staring at your wardrobe every morning, unable to make the most simple of decisions. Is is luxurious to stay in your pyjamas for a week because you can’t bare to make another decision or step foot outside your house?
Maybe it’s sitting on a therapists couch each fortnight that must be glamorous. I mean look how the media shows the therapy relationship, it couldn’t possibly be hard at all. It’s not glamorous to have your innermost thoughts taken out and poked and prodded. It’s not glamorous to go through your thoughts with a fine tooth comb, looking for that one kink in the chain.
There is nothing to glorify when it comes to mental illness. There is nothing glamorous about mental illness. There is nothing to be envied here.
I use my experiences to reach out to people. I don’t use it so that people will feel sorry for me, nor do I use them to glorify mental illness. If I was, well I’m not really doing a very good job of it!
Glorifying? hell no. Sharing, support, knowledge and encouragement maybe. I love what you do. It’s important so people don’t feel alone.
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
Tegan, I think you’re incredibly brave for being so frank about your experience with mental illness. I feel certain that blogs like yours help those suffering to know they’re not alone. x
Wow, really? Do people really say that? I think it’s fabulous that we’re writing about the reality of mental illness because almost everyone is affected by it in one way or another. And if bloggers don’t stand up and talk about it, who will? I think it’s so important to blow the stigma and I think that’s starting to happen. I suspect there are just some people who don’t want to hear about it because they still think it’s something you can just snap out of. Which is why we need to keep talking about it.
I find it hard to believe anyone would think that blogging about it is glorifying it. But there are strange people out there – even chronic physical illness (supposedly less stigma) two different doctors have told my husband to not “just sit on the couch and eat all day” and they couldn’t be further from the truth about what he does all day. They just have no concept of it and make presumptions.
I find sometimes people are big headaches that put on human suits and walk around. It’s so important to talk about these things, to make people feel like it’s ok to not be ok, ok to ask for help. I’ve heard people (walking headaches) saying that these campaigns glorify or glamourise mental illness… when do I look most glamourous, I wonder: is it when I can’t remember if I took my antidepressants and just hold my pillbox and cry until I feel like my face is melting or is it when I have third-day bed hair and better dark circles than a racoon?
I don’t see how people think talking about it is glorifying it. Its like society just wants everyone to shut up and thats not going to help anyone.
How could people even think this Tegan. They really have no idea. Thank you for sharing your stories as it educates and helps to shed light on the realities of living with a mental illness.
If sharing, supporting others and feeling like perhaps you’re not alone is glorifying, then yes. But that’s not the definition I’m familiar with!
People who think that are clearly not reading the posts people with mental illness post. Perhaps they just see that there ARE posts and make assumptions?
Glorifying? No. De-stigmatising? Yes. It’s quite a silly and harmful statement to make, really. I mean, should we go back to a time when people weren’t allowed to talk about these things and everyone was forced to keep up this bullshit notion of the “stiff upper lip”. I think it is a fantastic indication that we are moving in the right direction as a society when people feel they can be open and frank about these things.
As I’ve said before, you are paving the way for so many who aren’t as brave and strong (even though you don’t see yourself as this) to speak up and share you feelings/experiences. Love your work girl x
Great post and completely agree I was criticised for blogging about my depression saying it was attention seeking and ‘fashionable’ I then felt I had to stick up for myself yet I know from feedback me being open has helped others and me but it is hard enough getting up in the morning to then have other people (including friends and family) be so critical and naive. Well done for speaking out.
I have just read this post in disbelief, how can people think this glorifies mental health problems. There is such a stigma around depression and other mental health problems that needs to be broken. I have had depression and other mental health problems for over 20 years and I can say there is nothing glamourous about IT at all.
Well done for getting the problem out there and for letting people know just how debilitating this illness can be.
When I had told a “friend” about visiting a psychologist once a month she said, “I don’t know…I’ve always been taught that it’s not good to talk about yourself so much” Not long after that conversation, I ended our friendship. She didn’t “get” that it wasn’t a fair-weather choice for me to start getting counselling – it was all for a very good reason.
People who don’t “get” mental illness don’t understand why it’s so important for it to be discussed.
Depression is not fun, ,nor is it glamours….wished that there was no such thing as depression!!!
Suffered it with Postal Natal Depression, and on/and off over the years.
And yeah trying to get out of bed is not the most fun thing in life.
But I thinking sharing the story of those that have the illness is really important so that others do not feel alone 🙂
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How is there anything remotely desirable about having a mental illness? Really don’t understand these people. Who would want to be in sheer hell every day for years on end, because that’s what it’s really like.