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The growing phenomenon of romanticizing Mental Illness throu

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Laura Lopez

on 10 February 2014

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Transcript of The growing phenomenon of romanticizing Mental Illness throu

The growing phenomenon of romanticizing Mental Illness through the Media and sites like Tumblr.
The problem
You see it more and more, people romanticizing or fetishizing mental illness, making it seem more like a fad then an actual problem
Books
Most YA books have some sort of absurd way of depicting mental illness, making it a characteristic of important characters instead of something they go through.
Films & Tv Shows
Sherlock is one of the biggest examples of Tumblr users fetishizing something that isn't even 100% correct.
Films & Tv Shows Cont.
In American Horror Story some people defend one of the characters Tate Langdon (who was a psychotic mass shooter and rapist) as being misunderstood and in 'love' excusing his actions because he was possibly depressed.
In Conclusion
One of the biggest things about how media depicts mental illnesses (besides depicting them wrong) is introducing this things where the audience begins to use what these characters suffer from as an excuse for what they're doing. When in fact they shouldn't be used as an excuse, but as a way to understand why they characters are how they are (this goes for people in general).
In the media mental illness is depicted as some sort of quirk that characters have, that eventually rolls into what allows them to score the love of their life.
In books it's the thing that sets that quiet girl apart from all the others, because the fact that she can't smile is so so hot.
But on sites like Tumblr it can be even worse, as users reblog and share pictures of self harm and promote eating disorders as the next cool thing, not even considering the triggers those things could have on others.
Of course their are always some exception to what the author means to give the audience and what the audience picks up on.
Looking for Alaska
Paper Towns
Perks of Being a Wallflower
These are the most popularly misinterpreted books on Tumblr.
On the show the phrase 'High Functioning Sociopath' has been coined to describe the main character (Sherlock), and many fans and Tumblr users have taken liberties to use that as excuse as to why the character is the way he is, others have even gone as far as to proclaim themselves 'Sociopaths' or 'Psychopaths' without researching what either of those disorders mean or taking into consideration that known of them are trained doctors able to determine any of this.
Of course parts of the Sherlock fandom aren't the only ones to throw words around like they mean nothing.
Silver Linings Playbook uses the struggle of dealing with Bipolar Disorder of one character and the depression and nervous breakdown of dealing with the lose of a loved one of another as a tool to sell a heartbreaking and quirky love story.
Sucker Punch and Fight Club both portray mental illness as being cool and mysterious.
Movies about tortured artist who suffer from mental illness make them out to be the symptoms of 'tortured souls' portrayed people who actually deal with them as 'misunderstood poets'.
Tumblr
Besides being pretty triggering and unhealthy for those suffering from a mental illness to see others suffering from a mental illness, Tumblr is probably one of the biggest contributers to romanticizing mental illness adding to it's stigma
The most disturbing part of all of it is tags and blogs created that promote things like eating disorders, self mutilation, and self medication. [Warning: I don't advise going on into any of those tags for they can be triggering and are quite disturbing.]
Some of Tumblr also promotes mental illness as being tragically beautiful. Countless black & white pictures and poems can be found dedicated to this romantic notion that some how this beautiful knight will one day appear with sparkling blue (or green or brown) eyes will appear, kiss all your scars, sweep you off your feet, and make you better.
It's not very often you actually see something about the truth of depression or anxiety or eating disorders or self harming or any of these things.
Another thing it's done, with the help of sites like Tumblr, is set up this form of thinking between some people that suffering from a mentall disorder is a somehow twisted good thing. It makes young people think it's tragically beautiful to struggle with these things when in reality it can be really horrible for some people.
It's definitely a problem we should work to correct and not spread.
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