When did having a mental illness become a trend? I remember being in middle school in 2007 and everyone claiming to be Bipolar, though what they were really trying to claim they had was Borderline Personality Disorder. For years, many have used OCD as a term for liking cleanliness. However, this problem goes even deeper than saying “I’m so OCD” just because someone left the cap off a marker. The internet has made it possible to connect with all kinds of individuals. It has also made it easier to turn anything into a trend. This includes mental illness.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with having a mental illness, as long as you are actively seeking help or want to get help. However, it is as though there is a niche group of individuals who seem to think that if they say they have a mental illness they will not have to take any accountability for anything they do because “I have a personality disorder.” The internet has made mental health conditions such as Borderline personality disorder, ADHD, Depression, and now Dissociative identity disorder (DID) into a trend. If you have spent any amount of time on Twitter or TikTok, you are sure to have seen it. TikTok is currently overflowing with videos of individuals switching to their “alters” on camera. When someone calls this out for being what it is, fake, they are told that “fake-claiming” is bad. However, so is creating a stigma around a mental illness.
For anyone whose argument would be, “Well, everyone experiences symptoms differently,” while that may be true in some instances this is not the case. In order to be properly diagnosed with a mental illness, you must fit specific criteria. This suggests that many of these individuals have never actually been diagnosed by a mental healthcare professional. Though not everyone is able to afford seeking mental health care, it still becomes clear how much of this is either exaggerated or fake. Statistically, there is no way that all of these people are experiencing multiple personalities in one body if that is even possible, to begin with since it is still highly debatable within the world of psychology. Even if it does exist it is highly unlikely that “switches” would be able to be caught on camera or that you would be able to make character lists for each personality.
DID, as these individuals call it has never been proven to exist, no matter how much you feel like you have more than one personality. Mood changes or characters are not different personalities. No matter how cool movies like Split may make it seem. All this does is add more stigma to an already stigmatized mental illness. There is a reason that DID is no longer called Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD. DID is characterized by two distinct personality state changes and is brought on by extreme trauma. So, either one of two things is occurring. Either DID and “Plurality” is trendy, or these people actually believe they have it which could fall under mass hysteria.
Though mental health conditions have been treated like a trend for a long time, it seems it has become more prevalent due to social media. This is especially true when communities form around these “mental illnesses.” It ends up hurting those that are actually affected with real symptoms of a serious condition. When mental illnesses become trendy, it might be time to get offline and go outside.