Lorrie Lynn: No, you don’t have a mental illness

Lorrie Lynn

Not to be angsty or annoying, but I’d like to share one of many pet peeves with all of you lovely readers, and one of the more serious ones that I don’t have to feel guilty for being annoyed with, at that: the popularization and romanticism of having a mental illness.

Being down in the dumps for a couple days does not mean you have depression. The feeling of being depressed does not mean you have depression. Believe it or not, being “depressed” and having depression are very different things.

Needing to take a couple melatonin every once in a while does not mean you have insomnia. Not being able to fall asleep until 1 a.m. every so often does not mean you have a sleep disorder. Are you sure you aren’t forgetting the light mocha frap from Starbucks you had at 5 p.m.? Because I’m pretty sure I saw a picture of that on Instagram — good job with the Hefe filter, by the way, gold star for originality.

Feeling your heart race a bit before a test or a race doesn’t automatically mean you have an anxiety problem. Being unsettled when you walk by people you think don’t like you does not mean you have chronic anxiety. High school is nerve-wracking; it is, but really, do get over yourself. Or at least get diagnosed first.

Looking in the mirror and feeling fat does not mean you have anorexia or bulimia. Not eating for four hours one day (and bragging about it to anyone and everyone that will listen) does not mean you are anorexic. Taking laxatives and drinking gallons of water a day doesn’t make you bulimic.

Being upset your boyfriend of two weeks broke up with you but then feeling happy and free an hour later, only to feel sad again another hour later does not always mean you are “sooooo bipolar!” Loving your parents one minute and hating them quite literally the next does not mean you have bipolar disorder. It means you are a teenager.

If you’re feeling out of sorts, by all means please do see a doctor. You could very well have a problem, though I pray that’s not the case. But if it is, it’s better to get it figured out and dealt with properly than sit and whine about what you think you have.

What you probably don’t realize when you say these things without cause is that you’re demeaning everyone who actually does suffer from these things.

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and eating disorders are not things to embellish; they need none of that. These aren’t disorders, they’re diseases, and they are fully capable of ruining lives. All one has to do is simply not fight back and they will become lost to their label and become their disease completely.

Your lamentations are equating you to the actual diseased, and while none of our lives are perfect and I have no doubt you are dealing with your own issues (that could totally be worse than insomnia or anxiety), your problems are not those.

If you want to use your voice to talk about what you’re dealing with, please do, but for the sake of everyone else, at least do it humbly and (dare I say it?) honestly.

What do you think?