**Disclaimer: I realize that this is a touchy and personal situation for some people. I’d just like to point out that I acknowledge the rest of this post to be my personal, honest opinion. I realize that the following does not apply to everyone. I would also welcome you to vehemently disagree with me. I love a good, stimulating debate.
Every so often, there are crazy fads in the media world. Harry Potter was a fad. For the next few years after its publication, there were spin-off wizarding books and movies galore. Vampires were in vogue for a while, too.
A very odd one that has been a popular muse for years is mental disorders. So many books and movies have been based off of mental disorders. I’m a big fan of some of these movies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Silver Linings Playbook. It’s one of my all time favorite movies.
One thing that I would like to point out about this particular movie, and others I have seen:
They romanticize mental disorders.
As far as movies go, I expect a certain amount of exaggerating. It wouldn’t be such a great story without a Hollywood ending, right? The two depressed outsiders find comfort in a mutual understanding, and that blossoms into love. So quaint and heartwarming to watch.
As a person who has seen a family crumble as a result of manic depression, I realize that the truth can be horrifyingly different from the Hollywood ending.
Before I continue to my main point, I’d like to say that I do think that mental disorders are a very real, and serious disease.
So what is wrong with this romanticizing of mental disorders?
Personally I feel that it has inspired a generation that prescribes pills whenever anyone feels anything outside of happiness.
Your boyfriend broke up with you? And that makes you sad? Better go see a therapist.
Because it definitely isn’t natural to feel sad about the ending of a relationship, or anything…
You’re nervous about getting into college? Better go get a prescription.
Because NO ONE ELSE in the world worries about anything like that.
And my personal favorite: Wow, you line your pencils all up in a neat row. And your room is so organized. You must have OCD!
Yeah, because OCD definitely works like that.
We all have heard remarks along these lines. I don’t think these people mean to be taking these disorders lightly when they say this. In fact, I don’t think they give these remarks serious thought. They are concerned, or see that you’re hurting, and they’re genuinely trying to help. Or be funny, when it comes to the OCD.
Sometimes, I think younger people almost want to suffer from these disorders. There’s a certain fascinating mystery that goes along with depression. Why are these people so sad? Why can’t they realize how amazing life is, and how many people love them?
I feel that some people that self-prescribe these disorders without seeking professional help want to be rescued by their friends and feel special. I mean, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper find a happy ending from it, right? There’s just this obsession with mental disorders nowadays.
Again, I realize that some people in these situations DO need help. But the vast majority are just suffering from a more common and treatable disease. Feelings.
IT IS NATURAL TO HAVE EMOTIONS.
This morning on the radio, I heard a commercial for a child-rearing program. The tag line went as follows:
“My seven year old seems to have some difficulty in school. He has to be reminded constantly to focus on school work, and his teachers say he distracts others in the classroom. Thank goodness for the ******** program.”
Can you honestly tell me that you were able to focus on school work when you were a child? What first grader honestly wakes up in the morning thinking, “Gee, I can’t wait to go and do addition today.” And what kid doesn’t talk during class? Kids are NOT robots that follow every order and rule. Kids are kids, and up to a point, I think the above stated behaviors are completely NATURAL.
And I find it very sad that these natural emotions are being labelled as a problem.
But here is my biggest pet peeve. This is what makes me furious:
One of my best friends got a case of premature senioritis this past year. Nothing wrong with that. She’s fully enjoying the prime of her youth, and I commend her for that. However, this resulted in her skipping a majority of her classes. Again, nothing wrong with that. Her money, her decision about how she decides to waste it.
Inevitably, her grades went south. In one class in particular — a very important class she needed for graduation. Needless to say, she grew desperate.
One evening, she shared a potential plan with me.
She got some advice from an old friend of ours. He advised her to do the following: tell the teacher that she is battling depression. That was why she was unable to go to classes and complete the work.
I lost it.
It’s been quite a few months, and I still grow angry as I remember that night. I don’t even know why I got so mad. I don’t suffer from any of these disorders, so really, I had no right to feel so angry.
Regardless, I feel it is ridiculously appalling and insulting that anyone on this living earth would think of that as acceptable behavior. Lives are destroyed by this disease. Families are torn apart or thrown into poverty. People die from this disease.
And this 20-something party girl was considering using it as an excuse. I just couldn’t believe it.
Let me say that she did NOT end up going through with this. She had many discussions with her teacher and was able to do extra work to make up her grade. The depression plan was one that she grasped purely out of desperation, and she was not going to follow through with it.
She didn’t mean anything bad by that; I know it. She is not a bad girl. And other people who have used it as an excuse don’t mean anything hurtful by it either. Really, using depression as an excuse doesn’t cause any harm to anyone else.
But it’s a slap in the face for those who actually suffer from the disorder, and cannot process how to ask for help.
So there it is. My rant about the stigma of mental disorders is complete.
If only these diseases were as easy to spot as others.