SLEEP, ANXIETY, ETC.:
WHY OUR SOCIETY ISN'T FIT TO HANDLE MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

Talk of mental health has been on the rise for the past couple of years. Perhaps it’s more easily diagnosed, or our society is more struggle-inducing, or mercury is in retrograde, or we all have bad luck. It is my goal, in this post, to answer this question and bring awareness to the big picture: it plainly sucks to have anxiety in our society. Having personal experience, both being diagnosed with it myself and being amongst many peers of my similar age struggling with it, there’s clearly something going on here, and it’s not being handled well.

1. It’s commonly only treated with pills

I’m not just saying this to be bitter. Western medicine has been standardized so that if you come to your doctor’s appointment saying you’ve been having anxiety, you’re likely going to walk out with a single solution given to you: anti-depressants. Hi there, big pharma. Now, I’m not saying I’m a big alternative medicine hippie. But let’s take a look at this article. The U.S. pharmaceutical market is the world’s most important national market. TL;DR: it’s important for us to crank out prescriptions. This has it’s pro’s and cons, but to a 20-something needing more than just a band-aid, it’s detrimental.

Please note the use of the term band-aid. Pills really are, if you think about it. Anxiety, for the most part, comes from within. It’s our minds that need healing. For instance, meditation has many proven benefits and same with therapy. These sorts of things go deep into our minds and reroute our ways of thinking, whereas pills just numb the feelings. So please, don’t believe pills are the only escape route to anxiety.

2. It’s a silent struggle

In our culture, if you break a leg, get bit by a shark, get beat up in a motocross accident, you’re going to get a great deal of attention. “DAMN, bro!”, “OMG, are you OK?”, “I sent you your favorite flowers”, “Stay in bed and rest! That doesn’t look good!” Yet if you’re struggling with anxiety, for instance, if you can’t leave the house because it’s cripplingly overwhelming, or you’ve slept only 2 hours the previous night because of recurring panic attacks, you’re not going to get much sympathy at all.

“Suck it up, I’m tired too,” “OMG why are you so lazy?” are some common responses to these issues. Why is it that our society nearly glorifies physical ailments, and shuns mental ailments? May I also mention that going to therapy has a bad rep, too, or even if you are on anti-depressants, people are quick to consider you as crazy, psycho, etc.

3. It’s stereotyped

“Millenials just can’t deal with anything because they’ve been babied their whole lives.”

Shut up, Susan.

In all seriousness, if you’re younger than the age of 25, you can confidently expect anyone older than you to deduce your problem to a millennial problem. Millenials, according to many, have been given “participation trophies” their whole lives, and thus when are spat out into the real world, can’t deal.

Can we just take a moment to acknowledge what we’re faced with? Student debt, a screwed up economy, impossibility to obtain a house, or even apartment in the near future, Trump setting up America for failure at the time we need it to be functional the most, and the pressure to be digitally present 24/7.

We all have our own unique issues, but overall, why does our society have to stereotype young people? This can be potentially dangerous, in fact incredibly so. If someone seriously damaged inside is deduced, it could lead to lack of proper treatment, losing out on a good life, or suicide.

So let’s do something about it. Next time it seems like someone is having a bad day, or you meet someone who tells you they struggle with mental health problems, keep an open mind. Silent struggles can be just as real as physical struggles. Both require healing and care.