Hi guys, it's Lauryn! If you know me, you will know that I DESPISE the romanticism of mental illness and the idea that having one is somewhat quirky or fun. I realised this was a thing a few years ago when I noticed how easily influenced teenagers of today's society are and if they see someone else doing something, they pretty much automatically want to copy it no matter what the outcome.

On Tumblr and Instagram mainly, but all social networking sites, you will often come across a teenager or young adult claiming that they are "anorexic/bulimic" because they have skipped a meal or they are "bipolar" because they have had a mood swing or they had an argument with their friend and they are now not feeling as great as they were five seconds ago. Now just a disclaimer for all of you critics out there, I'm not saying that these people do not have mental health problems because I simply can not be the judge of that nor is it even my business to interfere but my problem is when people act in this way to try and seem "quirky" or they believe that this will gain them more friends when really they are lowering their self worth to gain somebody else's attention. This is incredibly toxic for the brain because people are trying to be something they are not in order to gain likes from people or attention.

Not only does this make said person feel ultimately worse in the long run, it is also going to increase the stigma against mental health issues making the people who indeed have mental health issues more unwilling to open up and ask for help because they are scared that they are going to be judged due to the amount of people that claim to have them because they believe that it's some sort of a unique character trait or something that is good to have that will gain them friends. As well as this, it is not allowing people to acknowledge the true facts of mental health issues but feeding them with lies, myths and assumptions that are not true but will be easily placed into the minds of the tremendously easily influenced minds of society's teenagers today.

The media is not helping to lower this stigma in any way shape or form. For example, I often see images on social media displaying an "anorexic" girl with mascara running down her face and a messy hairstyle, THIS IS NOT ANOREXIA. Anorexia is the constant shaking and trembling, the headaches and sickness, hair loss from your scalp, discoloured hands and feet caused by poor circulation, the fine downy hair growing on your body and the constant sleeping problems. DO YOU REALLY WANT THAT? DO YOU WANT TO FEEL THIS WAY? NO, I didn't think so. What you see is not what you get, there is so much more than people will ever know about because I guess a line is drawn and it is done.

The same goes for depression. People believe that depression is just something of a "I can't be bothered to do anything because I'm lazy" attitude. It is not uncommon to hear people use "depressed" as a synonym for upset which really is one of my pet hates. Depression is not just feeling sad. It's the loss of interest in activities that you've participated in for years, the constant self loathing, the aches and pains that one just can not describe, the disturbed sleep and changes to your menstrual cycle. Do you not realise how horrible that sounds? That is the lives of some people every single day then you criticise them for taking the day off of work or school? Isn't that making you the bad person?

I think that it is important to understand mental health issues and to be able to co operate with people who suffer with them because the world is a constant changing place and you never know who could be struggling. Therefore, if you see someone expressing some of the symptoms, you could give them a helping hand. However, it is just as important to NOT SELF DIAGNOSE. If you think you could be suffering from anything, it is important to go to a doctor because by self diagnosing, you are creating a false image of yourself, one that may not actually be there or be something completely different. This then lets your mind think it's something else and that is where the deterioration will begin as you will search for the symptoms within yourself and if you don't have them, you will start to believe that you do because you have convinced yourself that you have it.

So, that's the end of today's post! I hope you all enjoyed reading and I'll be back next time to argue my case on why mental health should be treated as an equal with physical health! Once again, if you have any queries or requests, please feel free to email me on laurynmathews2@gmail.com or snapchat: laurynmathewss. If you are friends with me on facebook, also feel free to message me there if you wish. Thanks again for reading and I hope you'll be here for my next post!

- Lauryn Mathews