An essay on depression and anxiety
At the age of 24 being depressed isn’t cute anymore. I’m not saying that mental health issues are cute to begin with, i’m saying that personal responsibility increases with age. As a teenager you have a bit more scope to be the young and glamorous stereotype, permeated in a Lana Del Ray lucid dream. At 24 with the first signs of aging beginning to show on your forehead, greying skin has caste away all previous youthful forgiving. Depression now isn’t a silent illness. Years of lows and the current neglect you’ve been giving yourself can’t hide under the surface forever.
As a teenager you have a bit more scope to be the young and glamorous stereotype, permeated in a Lana Del Ray lucid dream.
It’s no longer a societal acceptance not to have a lid on your shit. Eating a whole packet of coco pops as your total calorific consumption isn’t a fun thing to do at this stage in life, it’s a sign that there’s nothing left in your cupboard because you haven’t been able to follow your intrinsic hunter gatherer genes and gone to in search for food to keep you alive.
Or alternatively, maybe you managed to pull yourself together for the sum total of 5 minutes to look like a functioning member of society. Maybe you did make it to the supermarket but the pressure of having to look together sets It off. The feeling of that cold sweat overcomes you under your winter coat, the roots of your latest scalp bleach have reached 3 inches, the ever growing dark circles under your eyes show no mercy to your non made up face. Everyone in here knows you’re not succeeding as a functioning member of society. But you did it, you made it to the shop.
The facade can’t last too much longer so you reach for what you can as quick as you can. Coco pops. You pay and make a hasty, anxious sprint back for home. Only narrowly avoiding bumping into five people on the way, nearly getting hit by a car and fumbling for your house keys and dropping them by your door. Anxiety can be overwhelming.
Well done, you made it out the house today. You bought food and washed your body in order to leave and you made it back in one piece. I’m sure the security guard can’t keep on track of your food habits. I’m sure he hasn’t clocked your second packet this week. Stop being so narcissistic no one cares what you look like or are buying. Stop always thinking of yourself.
The automated response leaves your lips, it doesn’t even cross your mind that this isn’t true.
Your housemates comes back from work, he asks how you are, “good, thank you. You? How was your day?” The automated response leaves your lips, it doesn’t even cross your mind that this isn’t true. You’re living your norm quickly diverting attention away from yourself, celebrating their successes of the day with them. They congratulate you on how well you seem to be getting. You’ve become a master of hiding it. You couldn’t actually say how you have been or what you have done with your day.
Maybe you’re having a better day. Maybe you manage to clean your whole bedroom and the kitchen. You buy some food for the whole week to facilitate some sort of meal prepped healthiness. But it catches you as you start to cook. You just spent £20 on food but you boil some pasta and smother it in ketchup instead. Ah well you can’t win them all you think. Being in bed by 10 though, that’s great, what a good day. Nope. You lay awake all night, heart palpitations, racing heart rate and thoughts that won’t stop. You can’t win them all you think. You won’t win any of them you know.
Living in the 21st century, apart from various commodities and products of technological progress, implies facing serious challenges. Among them, one can name global warming, third-world country hunger and poverty, nuclear weapons, cancer, and so on; one of such issues that poses a significant threat to modern people is depression. Depression has become one of the most widespread illnesses, which can be explained by a combination of factors typical for the modern world’s lifestyle.
The first—and surprising—risk factor for developing depression is gender. About 20-25% women in the United States develop serious depression, sometimes not just once in their lives; for comparison, only about 12% of male Americans face the same problem—or maybe, they visit a doctor’s office less often (All About Depression.com). This is probably connected to the fact that in today’s America, women often have to deal with a wide range of roles, such as business woman, mother, wife, housekeeper, and so on—and these roles often conflict with each other. Unhappy marriages, hormonal changes, and heredity can be contributing factors.
Another group of factors that lead to depression are different psychological problems. Most often, low self-esteem is the major cause, since it makes a person treat themselves with neglect, prevent them from believing in their own strengths, and see the world pessimistically. Other possible psychological reasons are stress, perfectionism, chronic anxiety, avoidant personality disorders, and so on (PsychCentral).
Personal factors, such as complicated life situations, a tragic family history, childhood traumas, living in stressful environments for a long time, and other similar life circumstances can garner depressive conditions. Genetic proneness is also related to this group of causes. At the same time, it does not mean that a person will automatically develop depression if he or she had cases of depression in their family, or they are in a complicated life situation. This group of factors mostly creates premises, and is commonly combined with other risk factors (Beyond Blue).
Alcohol, by the way, is as strong of a cause of depression as genetic factors or psychological problems. Although it is usually considered that alcohol helps people get rid of stress, and increase their communication, in fact it is a depressant that increases a person’s chances to develop depression (femah.net).
These are not the only possible causes of depression, but commonly, this disorder is caused by an aggregate of the factors described above. It is likely that women develop depression more often than men; also, people with psychological problems and complicated personal circumstances are more prone to developing depression. The usage of alcohol not only does not help people get rid of stress, but on the contrary, increases the risks of developing depression. These factors should be taken into account in one’s daily life in order to avoid depression.
“Causes.” All About Depression. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
“What are the Risk Factors for Depression?” Psych Central.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
“What Causes Depression.” Beyond Blue. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
“Alcohol as a Depressant.” Femah.net. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
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