Teens ‘tumbling’ down slippery slope

Hannah Martin

Tumblr, a popular social media site, hosts 130.5 million active blogs as of Aug. 8. That means many of those individuals see the disturbing entries glorifying anxiety and depression on a regular basis; posts including phrases like ‘Once they stop talking to you, they start talking about you’ and ‘I don’t need a reason to kill myself, I need a reason not to.’ Teenagers who have never experienced depression before are jumping on the bandwagon and self-diagnosing themselves as depressed or anxious, and all just to fit in with a community of people on the Internet. These users harm both themselves and others by posting graphic narratives and images, and encourage the attitude that everyone is out to harm one another. Tumblr has reportedly taken action against these posts by banning them from the site, but enforcement is minimum. It’s truly frightening for someone with anxiety to read these posts on a regular basis, and the posts shouldn’t have to be tolerated by anyone.

A study conducted by Nutrociência, a nutrition-based organization in Portugal, indicated that depression rose as internet usage increased among youth with a perceived “low friendship quality.” You’d think that people would be using the Internet to support each other through struggles with depression and anxiety, but instead, it’s been morphed into a medium of self-loathing glorification.

So why the negative attitude? It can’t be that every single person who falls under this self-diagnosing identity has been raised to want to be anxiety-ridden. It can’t be that they don’t want to flourish and/or help one another; every human wants to enjoy life. I think it’s time for serious reform on websites like Tumblr.

“I wish I wasn’t so ugly and pathetic and stupid and fat and unmotivated and disgusting and annoying and embarrassing and worthless and emotionless and cold and hurt and upset and empty,” an ‘anxiety blog’ post reads. This is a perfect example of the horrible identity being claimed by thousands of teenagers today— the ‘awkward’, insecure, friendless girl who’s just waiting to be discovered. It’s not cute or funny to try to adopt this miserable persona, and there’s no reason why anyone should want to.

To be perfectly honest, I feel that many entries written about anxiety and depression are by authors who have nothing above the average level of teen angst, worrying about petty little things like relationships and homework (not to say that some of them aren’t authentic). The conditions are being used as a mask for youth to hide behind and as an excuse for seemingly ‘awkward’ everyday happenings that, truth be told, most people experience as they mature. It’s humiliating for people with serious conditions to be forced to identify with a bunch of wannabe kids who want to seem like some disturbing form of a hidden, antisocial treasure. Teens (not to mention users of all ages) should be free to enjoy their lives and pursue happiness without the pressure of negative posts bringing them down.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email