Author Archives: kayliejbarrett

Symposium Story: Beautiful Suffering Turned into Dark Dismay: Glorification of Mental Illness on Social Media by Abigail Cox

Kaylie Barrett

As people increasingly share information about their lives on social media, Piedmont College junior Abby Cox is concerned about the impact it can have on those with mental illnesses.

“When individuals with a mental illness see that others are glorifying illnesses that they suffer from it begins the propagation of beautiful suffering,” said Cox.

At the 2020 Piedmont Symposium, Cox, a mass communications major, presented her poster “Beautiful Suffering Turned into Dark Dismay: Glorification of Mental Illness on Social Media.”  Cox noted there is a lot of negativity on social media, and this may have negative impacts on some.

“Beautiful suffering is the online portrayal of suffering on social media that generates misbeliefs and misconceptions about mental illness,” Cox said. 

For example, when a person says they’re “depressed” because a concert is canceled or they spilled something on their favorite shirt, it minimizes the pain of those actually suffering from clinical depression. 

“When a person is actually suffering from a severe mental illness sees that, they don’t think that their issues are big as they actually are,” she said, adding that it can make those suffering from depression feel “little and smaller.”

While researching, Cox found there are many contributing factors linked to glorified depression on social media. 

“There is a growing interest in the potential influence of psychological well-being on social media,” she said. 

Today, mental illness is portrayed differently due to the impact social media has on today’s society and generations. 

“Mental illnesses are now represented as “interesting personality quirks.”

Like mentioned earlier, people feel belittled by something as serious as Depression being taken so lightly as a “personality quirk.” 

Fellow student, Breanna Gipson viewed the presentation and felt it impacted her greatly. “I see a lot of meme’s on Facebook and especially Instagram that would be considered glorifying depression or mental illness in general,” she said. “Those posts are usually shared and reposted by millions of people so it’s spread everywhere.”

Mass Communications Professor Joe Dennis said he can personally relate to some of the points Cox made in her presentation. “It took me a long time to come to accept my clinical depression, in part because I misunderstood the meaning of depression,” he said. “Because everyone one gets ‘depressed,’ right? I thought I should be able to snap out of it. And when I couldn’t, I sunk even further.”

Cox ended her presentation with reminding the audience to be more aware of what they post and the true meaning of the words they write. 

Kaylie Barrett

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I am Kaylie Barrett, a freshman here at Piedmont. I am a Nursing major and plan to work as an OR Nurse once I graduate. I am also a student athlete and compete on the track team here. 

My family is my greatest possession. I am the oldest of only two kids. My brother, Cooper, is 15 and a sophomore in high school. My parents re my biggest supporters in everything that I do. Whether it’s competing in sports or even doing good on a test, they are always encouraging and fill me with positivity.

I attended Chestatee High School where I found my best friends. In the duration of the four years, I spent every summer, Thanksgiving, and Christmas break out on the basketball court. After my second year, I had finally realized that it wasn’t the sport that I loved, it was the people I shared it with. I hated practice. But boy did I love dancing and singing at the top of my lungs in the locker room before and after practice. The girls had become my family, literally. I was spending more time with them on the court than I was spending with my parents and brother. When I played my last game, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that I had the opportunity to meet my life long best friends.

Growing up, I always had the most wild occupation aspirations. I wanted to be a fashion designer, and plastic surgeon, a movie star assistant. Every eight year old girls dream. Once I got to high school everything changed a bit and I knew that I needed to legitimately focus on my future plans. I took a series of Healthcare classes before deciding this was truly what I was interested in. My senior year I was involved in a program called Work Based Learning that provided me with an internship at a local clinic.While working, I was able to do nursing tasks daily. By the end of the year, I was able to sit in on surgeries and that was when I fully decided that OR Nursing is where I wanted to be.