Faking mental illness isn’t “main character energy,” it’s an inimical means of gaining attention for the wrong reasons


TikTok has become a dangerous breeding ground for self-diagnoses and worry.

Just because you enjoy having your pens color-coded or your books all in a row doesn’t mean you have OCD.

Just because there’s a happy day followed by a sad day every now and then doesn’t mean you have manic depression.

Just because you get hyper when you have too much coffee doesn’t mean you have ADHD.

That’s not to say that you can’t have any of the mentioned conditions, but it takes a professional diagnosis to know whether or not an imbalance like this is present. 

Not—like much of TikTok has decided in recent months—the “professional” opinion of someone self-diagnosing behind a screen.

Mental illness is not a trend, so stop making it into one.

There has grown to be a stigma around mental illness over the past few years, isolating those struggling with mere chemical imbalances in the brain and forcing them to feel more alone than ever. However, now, things are being taken to the other extreme: self-diagnosing. 

TikTok has found a way to, once again, bring chaos to many communities. It started with misinformation and inappropriate content aimed at children, and now, it’s the self-diagnosing mental illnesses train. 

It’s even gone so far that hashtags, like “dissociative identity disorder” and “borderline personality disorder,” have millions of views on the platform; now countless teens and young adults all over the world believe that they do have these conditions just based on simple assumptions with nothing to bolster the idea. 

There has become a trend in the makeup community as well, in which artists use makeup to imitate the effects of a crying episode, eventually being recognized by some as the “cute-ification” of mental illness. 

Of course, there are informational and well-meaning figures on the app raising awareness for certain mental disorders. There have been influencers who have started fundraisers or have done small series on the importance of mental health, in order to inform and validate viewers. These people are the respectable ones in the mental health community on TikTok, and they do what needs to be done.

If no real answers are promoted in the community for those who need them, then there may as well be no representation whatsoever.

However, as every coin has two sides, we can’t continue to ignore the constantly growing—and worsening—group of people who assume that it’s okay, in any respect, to get into the young minds on the platform and inject these ideas into their conscience. 

Sometimes, teens just want answers. “Why do I feel this way? Is this a normal issue? How do I know if I have anxiety?” For these answers, they often look in the places they know best: social media platforms. 

And a great deal of the time, they take the first answer that they find, even if it’s not completely real. 

Perhaps the worst part about this whole situation is the fact that large numbers of the people involved in this can’t rightfully be blamed. There’s supposed to be a distinction between simply hopping on the bandwagon and genuine concern, but that line has been blurred. Without that clear boundary, there is very little accurate representation of serious problems, and that leads to collective participation in these detrimental movements.

If no real answers are promoted in the community for those who need them, then there may as well be no representation whatsoever.

As someone who wants the best for everybody, it’s disgusting having to sit around and watch hundreds of thousands of teenagers and children panicking about these things, merely because they don’t know the facts about it. 

The media needs to filter out the fallacies being spread—either with malicious intent or just pure misinformation—and allow for there to finally be peace in the world of awareness for mental health disorders.

Stop glorifying mental illness. Stop making it into a trend. 

Clout shouldn’t be so important to you that you abandon all basic human decency and morals for a few million views. 

All I’m saying is that, though everybody has the right to free expression, it’s not worth it if all that’s going to come from it is misinformation and widespread incompetence.