Overwhelming student loan debt, inability to find a stable job, living at home with parents, overworked and underpaid, FOMO … What this list represents are some of the struggles that millennials, or those under 36 years of age, struggle with. Social media shows us sunsets, rainbows, fancy dinners, glamorous vacations, fun nights out with beautiful people, and everything that you are missing out on because you’re home on an endless scroll of Facebook and IG and not having fun times throwing around wads of cash. Our generation has the highest levels of anxiety and depression among all other age groups. Is it really any surprise why? And maybe the solution is to fix the root of our problems rather than treating the symptoms. I am pro anti-depressants for those with biological imbalances within the chemicals in their brain. However, I am anti anti-depressants for those whose problems can be solved by finding the root of the depression and anxiety and solving the problem. For some of us, anti-depressants are prescriptive measures to suppress our symptomatic depression and anxiety. My family is predisposed for depression and anxiety, however, I also recognize that I have issues contributing to my diagnosis.
Let’s start at the beginning. School has positioned us to be obedient rule followers, diligent worker bees, and complacent non-risk takers. Our grades are as superficial as our social media posts. Our life has become a series of snapshots and moments instead of a continuous journey of discovery. We are broken up into fragments, both literally and figuratively. We fragment our attention, giving only seconds on each post we scroll past. We have compartmentalized our mind into turning on full speed “work work work” mode and then completely shutting down to Netflix and bed mode. There is no in between. Just as the middle class is shrinking, so are our opportunities, attention span, our priorities, our emotional connections, and our hope. I can’t help but think that something is wrong with the way we float about bouncing along this world. We are casually yet rapidly headed towards a Black Mirror reality, so much so that with the next blink of an eye and a scroll of the thumb, we can be full on living zombies. The destruction of society, privacy, and our confidence coincidentally pair with the rise of social media and of depression and anxiety among youth. Why do I know more about what is going on with strangers I spoke to once in high school than what my friend sitting across the room from me is thinking about. We are priming ourselves for a dismal future where ads are vying for our attention so we can purchase things we don’t need with money we don’t have.
I pose this question, after reading the amazing article linked below, are antidepressants the answer to our depression problem? Or can the answer be fulfilling our unmet psychological needs? Is it a mixture of both?
AI will be good for something, and that something is getting rid of the rote jobs. People are naturally creative. Even if you feel you lack the creativity gene, trust me, we all have it. Don’t you remember as a kid, you entertained yourself. Free of worry, free of outside influence, just pure uninhibited imagination. It is only when we reached that certain point where we realize other people have opinions of us and sometimes they aren’t nice ones, then we started altering the way we presented ourselves in public. I know I was my happiest with a messy bowl haircut, cowgirl boots, red shorts, and a soccer jersey. I ran around, was active, played sports, was creative and artistic. Somewhere along the line I realized in order to be an adult and get a good job, I needed to take life and myself seriously. I pushed aside my interests and swapped it for hard boring work. One of my biggest regrets in life is losing my sense of joy in exchange for good grades and an impressive resume. Now, not everyone takes this exact trajectory, but it is my truth.
Your paid-working life takes up a little more than a third of your waking hours during the week (based on a 40-hour work week). Having a sense of purpose, meaning, and control over our days are some of the biggest factors determining happiness. Read this article below to learn more about this topic and about my inspiration for this post. My next journey will be looking deep into what is lacking in my own self. Unexpectedly unemployed, I find myself thinking, what will it take to make myself happy. Is it a change of mindset? Change of attitude? A daily gratitude practice? A mixture of everything?
Click here to read the great article.