Have you ever taken public transport and looked around. I was on the tube today and I looked up, paying attention to what was around me. What I saw was many individuals looking as if they were run down (one lady was actually asleep) and looking like lost souls. Now, this may not be what they were feeling but there was definitely a distinctive look and feel to everyone on the tube. I couldn’t help but wonder… what are we doing to ourselves? This was during the time that most people were making their way back home and I couldn’t help contemplate… what lives are we living and what jobs are we doing that create this feeling in us!?
The other realisation was that we seem to be needing connections with other living souls yet we look down at our newspapers, books and phones while listening to music, completely cut off, by choice, to what surrounds us. Why do we do this?
Then there were those who were clearly trying to get the attention of others either by acting out, being loud reacting with large expressions and the general ‘i’m beautiful/handsome” behaviours but, if anyone dared to look at them they pretend that they don’t want the attention. Again, very perplexing!!!
Somewhere along the way we have confused our minds and making some strange choices that does not feed our souls… I am part of this problem!
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking feeds into this problem! We seem to only want to be seen when we choose to be seen, in the image we want to portray and they be gratified for it when we do! Never really wanting to be seen in our full ‘glory;’ the good and bad! The simple community interaction has become obsolete, if anything we look at people who try to interact and have a conversation in public environments with disdain (why are you interacting with me, disturbing me from my own controlled environment where I’m pretending no one exists around me) or with apprehension that they may be ‘strange.’
As a society and as individuals what have we become? This does not feel as if it’s the right route to fulfilment! It has also not gone unnoticed by me that we are in a society with the highest rate of depression, anxiety and suicide. British people are ranked around the most depressed people in the western world. Are these factors to these illnesses! Then we have to take prescription drugs, or even self medicate through ‘street drugs’ to deal with it and come out the other side with some resemblance of normality or happiness.
I know many of us believed that if we had more money we would be happy and those who are rich are automatically happy for what do they worry about. But then, I wonder if we ask people around the world who are dealing with starvation, war, natural disasters and oppression what they thought about the British, they would probably have the same response. What do we have to worry about… free education, healthcare and government services to help those who are struggling, such as council houses, benefits, social services etc! Yet, here we stand with a statistic that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In actual figures that is quarter of 66.57 million which is about 16.64 million people!!!
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. That is more than the populations of New York and Florida combined.
These are some scary and telling statistics which clearly indicates to me that we need to change things as they are broken!!!
There has been reports and clinical research stating that the more time young adults spend using popular social media, the greater the link to depression. But, what about us, the fully grown adults, what’s the reasoning behind our ratio?
When doing research I found that many researchers state that depression can be caused by:-
- Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause depression later in life.
- Certain medications. For example, some drugs used to treat high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers or reserpine, can increase your risk of depression.
- Conflict. Depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.
- Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, can also increase the risk of depression.
- Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought that depression is passed genetically from one generation to the next. The exact way this happens, though, is not known.
- Major events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring.
- Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.
- Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or is a reaction to the illness.
- Substance abuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression.
“Depression is an extremely complex disease. It occurs for a variety of reasons. Some people experience depression during a serious medical illness. Others may have depression with life changes such as a move or the death of a loved one. Still others have a family history of depression. Those who do may experience depression and feel overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness for no known reason.”
Is it really “for no reason” or are we not asking the right questions. Such as:-
- Fulfilment in job… are we choosing careers that we enjoy and are genuinely interested in or do we often ‘fall into them in our younger ages” and then continue to do them without questions. Or choose careers that pay well and have high social standings. How often are we choosing university courses based on what we’re goof at or what would make us a lot of money instead of what we’re interested in! Anything can be a career yet we choose to ignore that fact! The problem begins at a young age!
- True connections in the relationships we foster. Are we with the people who bring out the best in us, who we can share things with, treat us with respect, empathy and love or do we compromise so we are not alone, so we can have the image of childhood; partner, marriage, house, children, grandchildren?
- Our social acceptance of the high consumption of alcohol! We drink to celebrate, when we’re sad, as a reward, to drown our sorrows, when we socialise, when we’re alone, when we are stressed and when we are happy!… Why do we do this? Social norms or are we overwhelmed by our emotions during these situations and try to numb or control them or, simply to have an outlet for them??
- Are we making decisions through expectations, social norms or fear instead of choice? Would the world really fall apart if we all did the things we want (just as long as we are no hitting ourselves or others.) Or would it just be that it would change drastically! No longer fulfilling the commercialised world with profit based industrialised companies such as banks etc that was created before us! It might not be recognisable to the world that we lived in and maybe that would be a good thing because how good is this world really, to justify the fighting, pain and hurt that we are doing and in, to keep it this way?
- Do we want to be seen and heard for who we truly and yet project a false self to the world and the break comes from when that becomes to exhausting, especially when life throws us challenges and changes?
- Do we want to feel like we belong but, spend so much energy being accepted and often have to shut down parts of ourselves!
- What happens when we have been taught to question our instincts and that ‘logic’ should override it?! Are we now using our brain to tell our heart what we want instead of our heart guiding our minds into helping us achieve the things we want!… We shouldn’t or can’t go after and have what we want because …(full in the blanks.)
- That we have become so busy that we no longer allow or choose to self-reflect. How well do we really know ourselves. What motivates us, how are we feeling, what do we really think about any given subject, not regurgitating someone else’s idea’s and words but, actually come to some form of conclusion ourselves which may often fall somewhere in the grey area instead of black or white!
- Are we too busy planning and working towards our future that we are no-longer taking time to experience and explore the present?! When was the last time you appreciated the natural beauty that is a sunset? When we do eventually do it, we always stop in awe at the beauty, yet we do not take the time to do it and it’s free and occurs every day!
To me, these are some valid questions and reasons why I think we and myself often fall into darkness! Am I asking myself the right questions, this was not taught to me instead it is something I have had to figure out on my own through my own experiences.
So how do we, who are aware of this, ask ourselves these questions and try to make conscious decisions navigate within this world. Could doing this be another cause or reason for anxiety and depression… quite likely, yes?!
My journey and point of this post it to try and figure out how ‘we stand in the light’. What helps us create happiness within our lives because the stories we were told as children; have a good job, have a partner who has a good job, get a house, be married and have children does not seem to be the full answer. There definitely is some truth in it but, I guess in all things, it depends on the translation of it and what each point really means, which is where the answer probably lies.
I’ll keep investigating, keep asking and definitely keep being interested… if you have any thoughts or comments, please let me know.