Go through your Twitter, Facebook, Snapgram feed on any day of the week and you will have at least two to 68 friends talking about anxiety. Dennis Freund noted in A Psychiatrist Speaks Out: Psychiatry, Sexuality, Maturity that we’re “the age of anxiety.” I have a personal hypothesis as to why and we’ll talk about that Wednesday, but think about it – anxiety is just one of the many mental health disorders out there. In retrospect all should be taken seriously when they get to a certain point, but in reality – we all go through the basic ones. Not everyone will be diagnosed with the biggies like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but anxiety and depression – those are the more common ones that take place. Which is both sad and interesting all at the same time.
Freund notes of depression that “we all go through it.” I did in high school when my Good Charlotte daddy issues took an extreme turn, and again in 2014 when a horrible boss led me to seek the wrong kind of control. Instead of seeking help though, my mom said to just “get over it” when I was a teen – therefore I started writing. Note: we’re not a “head to the doctor for things” type of family. So I didn’t talk openly about it, which is the same way Felicia Day felt. She wrote in her memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), “My mental health problems made me feel ashamed. I felt like I had to hide them until I could ‘work through it’ on my own.” Personally I’d never go on any sort of pill, but I was like Day in that I didn’t talk openly because it was my problem – no one else’s. Plus, who wants to hang with a downer like that?
Thankfully though, over the years we’ve become a more open society in terms of talking about how we feel on the inside because let’s face it – people going through that deep, dark depression that leads them to feel like taking their own lives, or just sitting around and doing nothing – those people need as much help as a cancer patient. In my case, my sadness never took any sort of dark turn towards self-harm. Mainly because I grew up around girls who cut and found that to be an insane thing to do. You get one body, don’t hurt it. Anyways, those who hit that wall of depression that’s soaked in despair – Freund says “if properly diagnosed, there are treatments and appropriate therapy capable of producing cures.”
Therapy and such are for those who can’t take it on by themselves. I was able to and Freund agrees that some of us “are able to handle [it] as we proceed from one stage of development to the next.” So depending on the person and situation, you may not have to head out and seek professional help. Just know that, you are not alone in feeling down. You’re human, life isn’t perfect and everyone on earth is going to go through depression at some point in their life; just at a variety of different levels.
Over the next few days we’ll talk to a woman who found solace from her mental health in the comics, get physical with anxiety, talk about the most common mental illnesses in our age group and more.