In light of the recent discussion about mental health awareness, I’d like to discuss a disturbing trend I’ve noticed amongst my fellow young people, and what I believe is a healthy solution.
We live in a confusing time. The expectations of society, especially how we’re expected to work and interact with each other, change so frequently that it’s absolutely mind-boggling to an outside observer.
As the future generation, we are not only expected, but obligated to rise to the challenge and meet these increasingly chaotic expectations in all that we do. The model of success in the modern day is being someone who has total control over almost every aspect of their life.
When I say control, I mean that they’re in a good, safe position and that they’re able to consistently maintain that position, no matter what changes may come. Once you can control these, you’re set.
What so many young people fail to understand is that gaining full control over your life is not an end goal, but a process that lasts for all of it. In our struggle to understand and control every aspect of the world around us, we collapse under our own frailty. We are simply unable to spread ourselves so thin without tearing. It’s impossible, and it’s unhealthy and counter-productive to try. Such behavior of denying your limitations because you feel society expects more of you, or that you owe it more, inevitably could lead to anxiety, paranoia and depression.
The smart people stop there and rethink their approach but the overwhelming majority of young people don’t learn. Instead, they resort to medication and drugs to deal with the physical and mental strain. When that doesn’t work, they turn to harder drugs, alcohol and other self-destructive behaviors that only make the problem worse.
The only end to this path is either a complete mental breakdown, or something far worse.
While chronic mental illnesses are responsible for this behavior in some cases, in most cases, the opposite is true; the behavior becomes an illness, and then it becomes almost impossible to fix. So many of us never want to show any weakness. We hide everything, our feelings, our pain, our struggle.
Some of us are too nice and don’t want to burden anyone else with our problems. Others are too selfish and either don’t want or don’t care, to reveal their pain because they think it makes them weak.
We think it makes us invincible if no one else can perceive our pain. But all we do is ignore reality and isolate ourselves within our own minds. The only outcome of that is misery and hopelessness. Absolutely no good can come of that. Burying yourself in work you hate and earning a decent living does not matter if it dooms you to misery.
That’s not living. That’s hell on earth.
If you, the reader, are suffering in this way, and feel like a change is in order, first admit this to yourself: I can be weak. I am not invincible. I can control very little. Therefore, I shall only focus my efforts on what I can control.
Once you admit that to yourself, and believe it, you will feel a peace, a freedom, that comes from acknowledging it. It should feel as though a great weight has been lifted. Once you do that, you can attempt to master your limitations in a healthy way. And once you do, however long that takes, you can add a little more weight. From there, who knows what’s possible?
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