Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
HAPPY MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH! I am so excited that we have an entire month dedicated to the importance of mental health. Mental health is so important and there is still such a stigma surrounding mental health.
Today I just wanted to touch on the stigma around self-diagnosis and the toxicity of social media. I actually wanted to talk about this because I listened to my friend Tim, of 20TIMinutes podcast and he brought up such a good point. He was saying how he is thankful that the stigma around mental health is getting better, however in doing that, there are still a lot of issues with the way information about mental health gets spread. Tim specifically brought up the fact that so many mental health professionals are posting on Tik-Tok about the symptoms of anxiety and other mental health disorders. I too have posted videos like this as a way to share my own experience and what I go through. However, Tim brought up such an important point that I had to share in case you didn’t listen. The problem with videos like these is that we are putting them on a platform with a multitude of underage children and even young adults. This age range is super impressionable and although it is good to spread awareness and share mental health struggles to lessen the stigma, these videos are almost doing the opposite. They are in turn causing all these young children to self diagnose. Self diagnosing is a huge issue because general feelings like nervousness or sadness can be misconstrued as serious anxiety issues and depression. It can be super confusing for children and young adults to be able to know the difference of mental health disorders and just human emotions. The problem then with this is that there seems to be a glamorization of anxiety and other disorders on these platforms. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have seen videos where having anxiety and panic is just quirky and cute. This is then spreading another huge stigma. For many mental health disorder patients, our symptoms and diagnoses are absolutely catastrophic and life derailing. Having these disorders isn’t quirky or cute, they are very serious. It is basically like a chain of events.
People make content about mental health→children and young adults watch and then analyze their own behaviors→they self diagnose→they perpetuate a different stigma in their own content glamorizing mental health disorders→they may try to self treat and it can lead to harmful behavior
This may seem like a non-issue to some, but it very much is an issue. Mental health is such an important yet touchy subject and I genuinely feel like things won’t be better if every neuro-typical kid starts diagnosing themselves with issues. And listen, I am not saying you can’t poke fun at your own disorder or even have fun with it once in a while since comedy is a coping method for some. But when we start acting like serious issues aren’t as serious as they are because everyone has them (even though they don’t and it’s self diagnosed), it will become such a non-topic and become non-important.
Something that was a struggle in my mental health journey was getting a diagnosis and being able to accept it. Part of getting a mental health diagnosis is what you do after the diagnosis. If children are self diagnosing, they may also feel the need to self medicate to try and relieve symptoms they may not even have. This can all spiral down a bad path considering the strength of mental health medications and the impact they can have on different people.
I also think it is a slap in the face for people who have tried tirelessly to understand their mind and their symptoms for other people to just see one video highlighting certain symptoms and just decide that they have a disorder. There are so many components and testing that goes into diagnosing and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Mental health professionals are struggling more than ever because of this cycle of self diagnosis and trying to treat themselves. Tim mentioned that his therapist said there were so many circumstances where it was hard to help these kids because not only would they self diagnose, they would then try to self treat by just watching mental health content. There are a lot of mental health professionals and clinical content creators, however, like myself, I am not licensed. So now when I make content, I really try to make sure people know that my content is NOT medical advice and what worked for me may not work for someone else and vice versa. I just think in this generation it is almost too easy to get your hands on information when so much of it can be incredibly misleading.
I don’t blame children for self-diagnosing either because it is hard not to when you are so young and cant distinguish your emotions that are normal from disorders.
This is a short blog today, but I just wanted to remind everyone to be careful of the information you spread online about any type of illness. It can even be physically. You never know who is going to read it and self-diagnose which can lead to more harm down the road. I also try to make sure that I am not spreading false information which is why I try to always back up my information with literal data and statistics. Please remember to always get a professional opinion when it comes to your mental health!
Listen to Tim’s Podcast here: → https://open.spotify.com/episode/669c0dHCCXUfsl2gRMDEHw?si=l4Y5rlS7StqMMR2bdLL-Sw&dl_branch=1
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.