Never in my life would I have thought that it would become popular to suffer from anxiety and depression. It is true that diagnosed anxiety is on the rise, as is depression and suicide. It is also true that more people have been speaking out, either online, or in public about their struggle of coping with their mental illnesses. But instead of jumping to the conclusion that these people are shallowly mocking a serious condition, is it possible there could be a reason why so many are coming out with diagnosed mental illnesses?
Our relationships and community ties are weaker.
Over the years, society has become more reclusive and paranoid. The days of people stopping by your house because they were “in the neighborhood” are long gone. In fact, if you go to someone’s house without calling or texting first, it could be misinterpreted as a rude gesture. Parents have become more untrustworthy of strangers, and they raise paranoid children, and we as strangers are aware of this. We can’t interact with someone else’s children without the possibility of being drawn out as threatening.
With our communities growing more cautious it creates a rooted anxiety amongst people. So we turn our attention to things we can control, like money, fame, and our image.
We’re more focused on goals
We want more money, we want to make a name for ourselves and our family, and we want to look good while doing it, which isn’t all that terrible. Our goals, however, are largely based off of other people that have already achieved great success in that field. This often creates a sense of urgency for people, and they turn unknowingly selfish in their pursuit to the top.
This is a stressful experience for the person and the people they encounter. When people undergo the competitive pressures and shortcomings of “climbing the ladder” in a cut-throat industry, many turn to self-medicating instead of seeking out a psychiatrist, or going about other means of professional help. A lot of this stems from high social expectations of accomplishing unrealistic goals and enduring the hardships that follow without complaint.
Our expectations are too high
The emphasis on “you can be anything you want to be” and “you get an A for effort” are toxic. We are psychologically stripping the youth of their potential. We are, with great effort, trying to justify our weaknesses, and the weaknesses of our children by sparing their frailty, and celebrating their faults. If we never lose, how do we ever learn? When the time comes to move out, and move on to the real world, they will be at a greater disadvantage. When they apply for their dream job and get shot down, this will cause them to panic, and fall into a deep depression because failure is an entirely foreign discomfort that they were never taught how to handle.
This argument is obviously a hypothesis, and my personal opinion as to why so many people, especially millennials, are coming forward as having a diagnosed mental illness. Those that undermine anxiety and depression as “a cry for attention” or “trendy” need to take a step back and realize that you are potentially making someone feel bad about a serious issue and possibly preventing them from seeking out medical attention.