The Unfortunate Romanticisation Of My Misfortune

By: Eshal

Today we have a very special guest post from one of our friends about the romanticisation of mental illness in the media. We think this is an important topic to discuss espeically in an online setting so we hope you enjoy this amazing article!

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on

With the increasing spread of awareness on social issues thanks to social media platforms like
twitter, tumblr, instagram, and many others, which have helped raise the voices of previously
unheard minorities and helped call for a change in our thinking and in our world, there is one
issue that has also been addressed and talked about but ended up manipulated by the black and
white filters of tumblr blogs to being the picturesque image of a beautiful girl crying into the
shirt of a man who promises to save her from her demons.

It is the issue of mental illness, a truly ugly beast that terrorises you every waking hour of the
day, being portrayed as a melancholic gif of running mascara and raindrops. Why somebody
would want to think of something so truly ugly as something to be desired in order to find true
love, will forever puzzle me.

There are so many aspects of this world we could blame for this wrong doing, and each and
every one of them factors into the larger problem of romanticising mental illness.
Television and media are the usual ones to portray mental illness in a completely distorted form.
Mental illness on television is represented in the form of serial killers, criminals, and villains.
The other end of that spectrum, we see a more romanticised view of mental illness in teen
dramas. From a boy kissing his girlfriend’s self inflicted wounds, to a girl wanting to “fix” her
“broken” boyfriend who hates himself and the rest of the world, wanting to make a better man
out of him. We see a constant stream of mentally ill people being portrayed as either the classic
stereotype of just being plain old “crazy” or people who were wronged at some point in life and
now have a “dark” side to them, hence requiring their significant other to “cure” them with their

The miseducation of parents and those slightly older also plays a role here. When their children
are disheartened about their lives and their futures and question whether any of this is even worth
it, parents always tend to bring up the clear inevitable to them of having a loving family of their
own with the one they will fall in love with. The parental prioritisation of their child furthering
their family line and providing them with grandchildren is the main contributor of this thinking.
It is clear that they simply have their child’s best interests at heart and would only like for their
child’s happiness but the thought that their child does not see having a family as being the
pinnacle of success in their life is one that is not known, and oftentimes hard to accept, by
parents. I do admit that it is of no fault of their own that they remain unaware of the true nature
of mental illness, they are from a time when there was less exposure to the problems of those
who were unlike them. This makes it our job, as the ones raised in a time where information is at
the tip of our fingers, to be the ones to help them in understanding the issues that they, and you
yourself, may have never struggled with.

But at the end of the day, a lot of the problem also stems from us. Ranging from tumblr popular
aesthetic blogs with their melancholic quotes about relationships, to popular youtubers profiting
off impressionable teenagers with humour teeming with self hatred and teenage revulsion of
anything mainstream. Depression is not an aesthetic for “sad girls”, and neither is anyone an
“anxiety queen”. OCD isn’t a quirky joke about your friend who’s neat, and neither is bipolar is a
synonym for “moody”. The list for what and what isn’t mental illness goes on and the internet is
guilty of promoting this quirky view of mental illness. We, the younger generation, are guilty of
this. the next time you post that picture of raindrops streaking your window pane with a caption
relating to depression on instagram, think once again about the ideology that you promote.
One cannot expect to right all the wrongs of others if they have not right those wrongs in
themselves. Spread awareness, discuss with your family, debate with your peers, and most of all,
work on yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s