A skinny white girl with mascara running down her perfectly contoured face; romanticized crying while a boy dramatically rescues her in his arms.
Depression means something different to everybody. Depression is staring at a wall blankly for hours, numb to outer sensations. Depression is forgetting to shower and brush your teeth for days or weeks. Depression is feeling disconnected from everybody around you and not being capable of holding a conversation. Depression is going to work/school and staring at your project, with no desire to complete it. Depression is staying in bed for weeks on end without changing your clothes. Depression is a never-ending fog that follows you all day, not allowing you to process what’s going on in front of you. Depression is crying for no reason, and feeling a burden to show anybody your tears.
Depression is not pretty, and it’s not an illness to be romanticized. Music, media, fashion, and social media have somehow portrayed the image that depression is desirable. We use depression as an aesthetic. We are quick to put a label on sadness – which is a regular human emotion, and will say we are depressed. We have created depression to be a trend. I can never forget the period in Freshman year of high school, when my group of girl friends were cutting themselves because it made them edgy.
I’ve had mixed feelings about fashion brands coming out with mental health themed t-shirts. Depression had always been something I was ashamed of – and definitely not something I wanted written on my articles of clothing like a sign: “Hey! Look at me! I’m depressed!” Although the awareness being brought to mental health issues is beneficial, social media influencers have taken “sad girl culture” to the extremes, We label people with serious depression and mental illness as crazy, yet we will gladly wear a t-shirt glamorizing mental illness to post a selfie with on Instagram. I always found it counteracting when girls would post a photo smiling in the sunshine wearing a shirt that says “sad girl” or “depressed” written on it. It seems that brands are exploiting suffering in order to become popular and create quick trends.
Individuals have found it unfair that people can choose to wear a shirt romanticizing their mental health when they have never firsthand experienced it. Depression looks cool when written in a cute slogan – but when you’re having a panic attack on the middle of the subway – nobody is looking at you like you’re aesthetically pleasing or cool.
We believe our depression isn’t valid because we aren’t physically exploiting ourselves or creating a scene. There is nothing wrong with expression, but the egotistic desire for attention isn’t always present during depression. Sometimes it means Please pretend I don’t exist and let me be depressed in silence.
Depression is real, and not to be taken lightly or as an aesthetic pleasure. I have provided below a depression/crisis hotline that allows you to text rather than speaking verbally to. You do not have to be suicidal in order to contact, this service is also used as a listening ear.
https://www.crisistextline.org TEXT HOME TO 741741
My message inbox is always open, and although I may not be able to respond on instant, I guarantee I will respond within 24 hours. I care.
Beautiful artwork by @sophierosebrampton