Generation Anxiety

You go to school, you get all A’s, you came in last in the School sports day but it’s ok because you still got a participation award. You get out of University with your 1st class honours degree and BOOM you realize that it doesn’t mean much and you can’t just walk in to a 401K career where you make an “impact” overnight. 
Sound familiar. I was talking with my Mum recently about my own anxiety and she said that my generation is one of the most depressed and anxiety-ridden generations ever, yet we have such incredible technological advances at our fingertips, we have good jobs but we’re miserable and were attached to a vague concept of “making an impact”. We’re not entirely sure what that impact should be and how to make it but we want it, perhaps slightly selfishly too since we know that making a good impact on society will bring fame, fortune and adoration. We also don’t want to wait or work too hard for that end goal and if we don’t get it quickly we quit.

Part of this issue is the “participation award” syndrome that kids get in school now. There’s 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place or gold, silver, bronze in the Olympics, there’s no “hey you didn’t place but great effort” trophy or medal. You just didn’t win. Better luck next time. This “participation award” syndrome simply sets you up for failure in the real world. I know I’m not saying anything new or groundbreaking here but it’s something that I’m noticing more and more.

We have anxiety and depression because we can’t find happiness in our jobs because we’re obsessed with making that $401k fear of housing markets being forever out of our financial reach, the Instagram algorithm is making our engagement tank and you’re constantly counting “likes” I’m guilty of these things too but I’m turning 32 next month and I have a loving husband, house and career; I’m unbelievably lucky and I never thought I’d have them by the age I am now. We can’t become Instagram famous or YouTube stars overnight, in most cases at all. By all means do it if it makes you happy but when you start to notice that the number of views or “likes” you get on a photo or video starts to negatively impact your mood or how you act then it’s time to take a step back and walk away and get back to finding joy in the little things in life.

Something that my Mum said really stuck with me; our Grandparents couldn’t entertain anxiety and depression because they were living through World Wars, every day that a doodlebug (bomb that made a loud noise going up and then the engine cut out and it was silent coming down) didn’t come through the roof was a gift. Our Parents came on the heels of that generation and they knew what their parents had been through with war and rationing so it threw things in to perspective. Please don’t take this out of context and think that I’m making light of Anxiety or Depression because I’m not; I am aware that both are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, I’ve experienced Depression and I suffer from Anxiety myself and see a Counsellor for it but every day I’m trying to make sense of it and find things to be grateful for and happy about because at age 32 I’m not about to let the best years of my life with a Man who loves me go to waste.

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25 Comments

  1. September 5, 2017 / 7:59 am

    It is amazing how hard we find life now days. Especially, like you mention, that generations before us went through so much worse and coped a lot better

  2. September 5, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    I think that spending so much time on social media can have some pretty negative effects on a person’s mood. I try to check in with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram no more than once a day and I’m trying to spend more and more time outside and socializing with friends. I’ve found that the more time I spend away from my computer, the better I feel.

  3. September 5, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    This is so interesting! I think looking back at older generations is such a great way to put things into perspective, I really enjoyed this!

  4. September 5, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    I agree there is definitely such thing as participation syndrome and no one is rewarded for when they do not win and it’s so sad. We should be rewarded for at least trying. Beautifully said x

  5. September 5, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    I liked that you said we should find joy in what we do, else back off.. And now we have a long list of desires and becomes tough to cope. Older generations were far patient and better with that.

  6. Joline
    September 5, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    I hear ya. You set goals, accomplish them, but somehow it’s still not enough. I feel that way anyway. My sister always has to remind me to step back and look at my life so I realize how far I’ve come and how lucky I am. It’s a constant struggle, happiness and contentment. That insight about our grandparents having lived through wars definitely puts things in perspective!!

  7. September 5, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    For me today’s generation is believing on one touch formula. With a touch of button or magic they want to change their life without waiting or working hard. It takes us 9 months to come out of mother’s womb and so is the success. It cannot come overnight though world is becoming smaller and easier to reach. Hard work and patience is the key ingredient to our life. In my country India, it is said the more we wait and do hard work, the the most ripe fruit we get at the end of day.

  8. September 5, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    One thing I have noticed even more so with my children, is the problem social media and technology has caused them. The instant gratification of someone liking your post or movies on the go make it impossible for them to wait to earn something. I have found one of the best ways to help my anxiety is unplug at least one day a week. Hard to do as a blogger, but essential for my sanity!

  9. September 5, 2017 / 11:34 pm

    well written… we have lost the everyday goals…we nned to be happy again from simple things and not over do it!

  10. Joanna
    September 6, 2017 / 4:10 am

    I always thought that the school system should be different. In my country, we all compete on subjects that we don’t like and we are not good at. Why should someone good at math be in competition with someone good at arts? I think this is the base where the depression and anxiety are created. We don’t feel good enough because we don’t enjoy what we are doing and that affects our minds. It all starts in school…

  11. September 6, 2017 / 6:03 am

    This was beautifully written. I have also noticed that this generation is not taught how to handle stress and thus the majority falls into depression or anxiety. I am not trying to make light of depression or anxiety either, but I do feel that nowadays, people just fall into depression or anxiety because they are not taught how to handle stress and how to live life to the fullest.

    Thank you for sharing.

  12. September 6, 2017 / 7:48 am

    Le sigh, don’t remind me, girl. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of being in school. You went to class, you got good grades and your goal was graduation. Once you’re out of that system, it’s a whole new ball game and one that’s incredibly hard for most of us.

  13. September 6, 2017 / 8:31 am

    Life has actually become stressful nowadays. I remember when I was a kid, life was much much at ease, not just because I was a kid, I could feel all that ease in the family, with the cousins, and in the overall lifestyle. Whereas, now when I see kids, even they are stressed out about things that I know we wouldn’t even consider back in my days. I know I sound like an 80-year old, but these are my true feelings. I guess we need to let go of our stress and anxiety, we need to find a passage to let life in again.

  14. September 6, 2017 / 9:16 am

    It is weird that in an effort to make things easier and better for our kids, the generation before may have made things worse. It is important to struggle and fail and see that it is okay and that you won’t be good at everything. Sometimes I feel like we are denying our kids these important lessons.

  15. September 6, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    You’ve written a very insightful piece. It gives me much to think about. It’s good that you’re reclaiming the best years of your life and not letting them go to waste. I think it’s the first step in beating depression and anxiety.

  16. Kassy
    September 6, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Anxiety is so real. It’s something that I think people have struggled with forever, it’s just that now days, it’s much more ‘acceptable’ to talk about them openly. I’m really glad it is too, because I know keeping it all bottled up definitely doesn’t help!

  17. September 6, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    I read your post and I am feeling I am there with you and I can hear you talking. Your writing style is so clear. Can`t agree more, we live in the virtual world but we actually seek happiness and approval in real life.

  18. September 6, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    I think every generation goes through different stressors in life. Looking back on what the older generations went through though puts it in perspective though. Sometimes what we think is the most stressful thing ever really isn’t

  19. September 7, 2017 / 2:36 am

    I believe that young generation today had a reputation for being more fragile or less resilient and much overwhelmed compared to their parents when they were growing up. It’s an occurrence that cuts across all demographics.

  20. Elena
    September 7, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    I believe that we are not happy with ourselves for who we are and we are completely trying to achieve success and recognition from other people. In a way that makes us anxious and depressed.

  21. September 7, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    I read the most beautiful article on the New York Times today. It’s about how the happiest people (those who are most fulfilled in life) aren’t famous or in the spotlight. Instead, they’re quietly going about their lives, making a difference where they’re able to the people around them. I had lunch with a neighbor the other day who retired a couple of years ago. She spends her days taking care of her house, her husband, going for a walk, reading a book, making dinner, helping a neighbor, taking care of herself. She says it’s the happiest season she’s ever had. I offer no profound words .. other than the thought has been on my heart. Here’s a link to the article. http://sexyveggie.co/2wCoyVG xx

    • September 7, 2017 / 5:50 pm

      Aww thanks for the link Ali! I think we get so caught up in approval and “likes” from people we don’t even know to compensate for something that’s missing but a simple, well-lived life one that may not be super rich or famous will provide the least stress and the most contentment and happiness.

  22. September 7, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    I think that every generation battled and battles their own issues. No generation has been spared of turmoil, obstacles, technological advancement and modern views. I think it’s just more prevalent and in your face because now mental health issues and depression andstress levels are so widely talked about.

  23. September 9, 2017 / 12:21 am

    I try my best not to be affected by social media and the standards it sets. I try to live simply and be happy of the things, simple blessings that come my way.

  24. September 11, 2017 / 9:43 am

    I agree with you that our generation has everything available at ease of fingertips due to the advancement of technology. We have forgotten to find happiness in little things in life. Great reminder and beautiful piece of writing. Also, loved your outfit!

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