1. You use it to be an asshole to other people. If you don’t call someone back, it’s not because phones give you anxiety. It’s because you’re an inconsiderate asshole. If you don’t show up to a friend’s birthday party, it’s not because you are bad in social situations. It’s because you’re an inconsiderate asshole. If you take your stress out on your significant other constantly for no reason, it’s not because you’re depressed. It’s because you’re an inconsiderate asshole. Mental illness (although convenient) is not a catch-all reason to treat people like shit.
2. You are constantly sharing shit about it on social media. Every time someone writes a #powerful #essay on whatever website about their struggle with upper-middle-class anxiety, you share it. You share “How to date someone with ____.” You share “7 things only people with OCD know.” It’s your whole identity, and you’re constantly reminding people that you are sick and brave and in a permanent struggle against the world.
3. You list it in your bios. If your bio announces from the get-go that you have depression — before you even mention, I don’t know, a job or a hobby or an accomplishment, you need help. And not in the “Lexapro” department, in the “you have nothing interesting to say about yourself besides a disorder” department.
4. Your definitions of illness change all the time. One day, depression means you can’t get out of bed or tie your shoes or pay bills. The next, it means you want to stay home and watch movies. The next, it’s not that serious. Your definitions change all the time, depending on context and how “sick” you really want to look.
5. When it’s convenient, your illness takes a back seat. Unless something really fun is coming up and you manage to get it together, or you want to impress a date by pretending that you’re really active and outgoing and happy! Then you’re fine :)
6. You think it’s “controversial” to talk about. If you think it’s still a “controversial” thing to announce to your Facebook friends that you struggle with bouts of anxiety, you’re either living under a rock or looking to be a martyr. It’s not controversial anymore. Everyone is open about their struggles with mental illness, and posting stuff about “u shouldn’t be ashamed of ur depression girlfriend~~~” is just redundant. If you need to announce it, fine, but don’t pretend like you’re being brave by saying you’re sad sometimes.
7. Even though your relationships have clear patterns, you don’t accept that they might be your fault. It’s never you! It’s always your string of completely unique exes who all just happened to be terrible people and just couldn’t accommodate your #illness. Ugh. Next time, you’ll date someone who “gets” you.
8. You constantly post baiting things so that people will ask what’s wrong. “It’s been a bad day. :(” “Not feeling good.” “Ugh, I can’t even.” Yeah, you’re posting those statuses because you want people to ask how you are, and you want to vent about it. But everyone has problems, and using the “feel sorry for me” card over and over again is incredibly irritating for everyone around you.
9. You’re not really trying to get better. Maybe you take medication. Maybe you’re in therapy. But when it comes to the behavior that you’re doing over and again, you’re not interested in doing the hard work that is required to overcome mentally ill behaviors. You’re interested in talking about it, and identifying as a person who has ____, but you’re not interested in being better. Because that’s no fun.