January 28, 2022

The Anxious, Depressed World We Live In

Ryan Paugh had a great post today about his own challenges with anxiety. As someone who has been anxious since about age 16 (I really can’t remember exactly, but this is about right,) I can empathize with Ryan on many levels. I recall my grandmother telling my mother one day that “Bea doesn’t listen when you talk to her.” I was about 17 at the time, and I was trying to listen to the conversation, but there were several people talking, and I was much more worried about what I was going to say that I became numb to what was going on…really bizarre at the time. I have never had a true anxiety attack and have never been diagnosed, but I have to say that I have spent a lot of sleepless nights worrying about problems which never happened and days spinning about what to say, what to do and how to proceed in life.

The thing that I found interesting on Ryan’s post was a comment from a reader about how it is a good thing that the negative stereotypes around anxiety are somewhat waning…that it has been or still is some sort of flaw or shortcoming that employers consider during the hiring process. While I can somewhat see the view of this (say an employer who is stuck in the past,) I honestly don’t “get this.” Here we are, in the year 2008, in a day and age when technology and information and change are zooming ahead of a human’s ability to keep up with the changes taking place, and we are expected to be calm amidst the storm. We are expected to not be anxious over pressure, and how dare us to be depressed when our great expectations are not met. Tisk, tisk!

In Jean Twenge’s book Generation Me, she discusses not only Gen Y’s self confidence but their natural inclination to anxiety and depression. As a parent of three Gen Y’s who are constantly struggling with trying to keep ahead, the buzz of thousands of possible choices in life and the let-down of hopes and life dreams, my question is “Why in the world do we still see anxiety and depression as stigmas that put our reputations at risk?” I think it stands to reason that if you put someone in a high pressure/must perform/gotta get the “A” environment, eventually, that person will be affected by performance anxiety and with anxiety comes depression.

So, today, if you are reading this blog, I encourage you to speak out on how we can address this situation. While therapy is a great band-aid, I believe we have a much bigger issue at play here…the competitive nature of our world, which includes parents’ demands, our education system’s requirements and the workforce demands that only the best and brightest get the big office with the six figure salary on the corner of the building with the 10,000 foot view. It’s time to breathe…to take a rest and to stop being so damn demanding of our kids.

That’s it for my rant today..

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