My dad has long held that depression and anxiety are a myth. Oh, he thinks some of it is real, assuming it comes from a biological source like a chemical imbalance in the brain. But everyone else needs to just toughen up. My dad's "technique" for dealing with depression and anxiety is to remember his days in Vietnam, when he was being shot at or getting shrapnel dug out of his face or whatever. He says, "I just remember things could be way worse, and it puts everything in perspective."
One time, in a fit of sarcasm, I unloaded on him. "Wow! People have been researching mental illness and depression for centuries! Billions of dollars and eons of time invested! And answer to all of it comes from a guy with no background in psychology, physiology, or sociology! Don't they feel stupid now!"
Yeah, he didn't appreciate that.
Recently, Nicole Arbour has resurfaced. Apparently, she needs attention again, and she's already shot her wad with her "Dear Fat People" video. So she's made a video saying what my dad and so many other people say, that depression and anxiety are myths. America is the most successful country in the world, all survival needs are met, no one has any reason to feel anxious or depressed in this country (I'm assuming she's not including poor people or people being falsely accused or discriminated or....)
With it being Memorial Day, talk of veterans and PTSD is everywhere. And apparently, it punched through the bubble of my dad's perception. And he's saying that he understands vets and those who served have a reason to feel anxiety and depression. But no one else does.
I told him that was bullshit. He asked me to explain why so many people in The Land Of Opportunity are depressed and anxious. I couldn't get more than about a minute in before he told me I was overthinking it and dismissed the whole thing.
But I don't feel like letting the thoughts fall away. So herewith is my explanation for why so many people nowadays have anxiety and depression even though, on the surface, it seems they shouldn't experience those things.
It's because people are becoming aware.
America is unique in that we don't really have any kind of foundation for a basic life. Instead, the world is full of billboards of all kinds. Some are on the sides of roads. Some are people positioned by the media or other people as an example of what people are supposed to be. Women's magazines are all about how the women reading them aren't thin enough or pretty enough or successful enough. Men's magazines are how men are slobs and can't help themselves. So to make up for it, buy these products. Buy this make-up. Buy this car. Buy these clothes. Buy this sound system. Watch this sports event. Talk about these movies. Go to this music festival.
Man is unique in the animal world in that man can develop artificial means to circumvent natural limitations. And society has evolved to take advantage of that. Happiness is unobtainable unless you spent so much cash and own certain things and participate in certain events.
And this is where the depression and anxiety come into play. People eventually start to awaken. They don't awaken completely, but they become aware that something is wrong. They are buying and doing things, and it isn't making them happy anymore. But no one tells them that's okay. They tell them they just need to buy more stuff and attend more things. Different things, but still consuming.
And this is where it comes from.
People realize there is something terribly wrong with modern life.
Everyone needs something. Some need Jesus. Some need themselves. Some need purpose. But whatever people need, it can't be found in a store or in a groupthink environment. And no one knows how to get there, because people aren't willing to help them. There's no money to be made doing that.
People are tired of being told what they should be, how they should react, what causes they should support and what causes they should oppose, especially when what they are being told conflicts with what their heart tells them. Christians don't want to hate gays, and are tired of being told by the authority figures in the church that have to hate gays because THEY say so.
The widespread depression and anxiety won't go away anytime soon, though. In order for that to happen, there has to be a social revolution, of people putting themselves and their truth first instead of some power structure's truth. And that's not happening.
But the day is coming. More and more people are realizing it takes more to be happy. They are realizing that distraction doesn't work anymore. "That's why it's called a movement -- it goes a certain distance then it stops. Revolution keeps coming back around IN YOUR FACE."
Widespread depression and anxiety are simply the logical conclusion of an uncaring society that exist to perpetuate wealth, whether monetary or status.
And society is getting tired of it.
It's not here yet, but peace and clarity are coming. Everyone? Just hang in there.