The following paragraphs may be triggering for people dealing with mental illness
The year my age transformed onto two digits is the same year I started struggling with anxiety and depression. Five years later, I started struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder as a result of an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship, and PTSD later that year. At one point, my mental illnesses got way too severe that I couldn't speak, walk nor stop crying for about a week, and I couldn't explain it, even if I did, nobody would understand. When I got a little better, I went back to school and I broke down, that was the day I got professionally diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I never told my parents about it because of the stupid taboo and stigma about mental illnesses. There are two things I remember the most from that day, it is how the doctor looked at me while writing down my diagnosis, it was like I am a second class human and my hesitation to tell my then-best friend about it because I was afraid he would ditch me but he was so supportive and we remained friends, I think our friendship even got stronger after it, and I am so grateful for that because a lot of people don't have the chance to keep their friends through their struggle with mental illness.
Three years later, I can say I am doing fine. I don't struggle with depression, anymore, and my mental health is kind of stable, and I am dealing with my mental illnesses in a positive way, and I hope, one day, I will get the chance to say that I am 100% mentally healthy. But there's still a problem; people still don't understand. A few months ago, a friend compared my PTSD to children being afraid from the monster under the bed, I was frustrated but no matter how much I explained, she just didn't get it, nobody ever did. So, I seek representation in films and TV shows, so they may be easier for people to understand but I found none.
When Netflix announced they are doing a show called 13 Reasons Why and I read the premise of the book, I was optimistic because finally, somebody decided to break the taboo and talk about mental illness, little did I know. The show ended up romanticizing and glorifying suicide. There wasn't a single mention of mental illness in the show. They, also, had the main character who commits suicide as a whiny melodramatic teenage girl who blames most of her mistakes on other people, which enforces the stereotype about suicidal people. Let alone the fact that they triggered a lot of people by showing her suicide on screen. I am a person who isn't suicidal, anymore and I got triggered. And it seemed to me that Netflix is just using me and every other person like me to gain money and nothing else. At first, I thought I was being too sensitive or missing something but I have noticed a lot of people experiencing the same problems as me with the show. And what assured that there motives were purely financial is the unnecessary season two.
Netflix, later, announced a film about eating disorders and anorexia starring Lily Collins called To The Bone. What really got me hyped for this movie is the fact that Lily is an eating disorder and anorexia survivor and Marti Noxon, the writer and director of the film, is also one, so, I thought they were going to get it right and really break the taboo this time. But that still didn't happen. Collins play Ellen, a 20 years old female, who is struggling with eating disorder and anorexia. Ellen is written as a "cool girl" and that can be seen from her first scene ever which glorifies the illnesses, she looks like the girls you see in anorexia related tags on Tumblr, however, this isn't Ellen's only problem. When Ellen goes to the house (which is represented very unrealistically) where she starts her inpatient programme in, a supervisor asks her if she is a cutter and her reply was, "Nope, not that on trend" which paints both eating disorders and cutting as trend and nothing more. Another insensitive moment is when girls ask her if she purges and she replies with "Not my style" and I know they are both jokes but jokes can be insensitive. Another joke is Ellen's sister's "It is like you have calories Asperger's" when Ellen counts calories. The film is super triggering as it consists of characters talking about a lot of food's numbers of calories and Luke, a character, saying that Emma Stone is fat because she is at least size six according to him. Moving on to the romanticizing, Luke's whole role in the film was to romanticize the illness, Ellen falls in love and BOOM! she's recovered which is silly. Eating disorder patients have love interests of course, but having a partner doesn't equal romanticizing the the illness. The whole movie is really disappointing.
Netflix needs to stop with T.V shows and movies that are supposed to help "spark a conversation" and "break the taboo" because they do so much more damage than help within the conversation. I don't care what their intentions are, all I care about is neither me nor my illnesses are a prop to be profited off, I am a human and my mental illnesses are as valid as every physical illness there is, and people need to start seeing that. And if anybody reading this is interested in seeing a movie that represents eating disorders fairly in my point of view, you can watch Feed, starring Troian Bellisario and Tom Felton on Netflix and iTunes, however, it may be triggering for some people.