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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

HANNAH PAHLETEG

PAIN ISN’T PRETTY

Senior Project FALL 2017

My project deals with the topic of the glamorization of mental illness and self-destructive behavior. Mental illness sufferers, such as myself, would agree that mental illness is serious, is not beautiful or quirky and should not be idealized in any way. Recently in popular culture online, there has been an influx of media and merchandise inaccurately portraying mental illness. One problem society is facing today is that young children are being taught through social media that disorders like depression or anxiety are trendy. Social me
dia is known to have many devastating effects on the average persons mental health, which can present lifelong issues in their life. Mental illness is not to be glamourized, there is nothing cute about suffering, and it is not a condition I would wish upon anyone. Self-diagnosing yourself with an online quiz to determine what mental illness you suffer from can be harmful, but some people think that it is a valid means of getting a diagnosis. No matter how much research a person does about mental illness there will always be some form of bias, which can cloud the way of finding what they truly suffer from.


I have suffered from mental illness for most of my life, noticing issues arising in my middle school years, so this issue is extremely important to me. I have struggled all these years to work with my mental illness and break through all the challenges and stigma I face every day. With my project, I hope my work can open people’s eyes to what is going on in these communities where glamorizing mental illness is rampant. Drawing has helped me cope with the negative feelings that I was having at the time, and has been helping me throughout this project. My journey is not over, but I hope to inspire others, and break stigmas from mental illness.


My project is created digitally, utilizing a drawing tablet and art programs to get the finished product. I want to get a painterly feel to my drawings, working in a similar way to that of a painter. I wanted to take a subtle approach in creating images that are pleasing to look and provoke a hint of uncomfortable feelings, steering away from the cliché of dark images. I want the captions to provide context to my images, using quotes that actual people have used on social media, to show the severity of this issue. My hope is to inspire others to work through the hard times with their mental illness and path to recovery.