“Mom, you wouldn’t believe how many people my age talk about mental health,” my oldest daughter, Mackenzie said. “It’s not a taboo subject anymore. I know a lot of people at work and friends outside of work who see therapists or take medication for anxiety and depression.”
Really? I couldn’t hide my smile. Not that I want them to be dealing with mental illness. But I’m glad they’re not afraid to bring up the subject.
My experience growing up was completely the opposite. I felt alone. My panic attacks began when I was ten. I kept it a secret. I didn’t want to be thought of as strange or different. I didn’t reach out for medical help until my early 30s.
Mackenzie is 24 years old. She graduated college three years ago and started working at a great company. She loves her job, and is happy living on her own and being financially independent. But she’s struggled the past couple of years with stress and anxiety.
Mental health conditions run in our family. I’ve recovered from panic disorder and agoraphobia. My youngest daughter Talee had panic attacks when she was young and is now panic free. My mom has dealt with severe depression. Doctors say our imbalanced serotonin is hereditary.
Mackenzie was aware of this, and spoke with her doctor about treatment options. She decided to try an antidepressant.
It’s been several months now. The medication has helped her immensely, with little to no side effects. She often says, “I’m so much happier!”
Music to my ears.
Mackenzie knows she’s not alone in trying to manage her anxiety. Many of her peers are stressed too. She says there’s an actual name for it. Quarter-life crisis.
I laughed a little. “You mean like a mid-life crisis, but a quarter-life crisis?”
“Yeah. You can look it up. It’s really a thing.”
Mackenzie’s anxiety may be caused by a chemical imbalance. But coping with generational stressors most likely contributes to it. I asked her why Millennials are so anxious.
“A lot of reasons. Everything is so fast-paced and competitive. Part of it is social media. The sense of immediacy, everything has to happen right away, at the click of a button. There’s pressure to constantly be ‘on.’ To look and sound perfect, and act like you have it all together. But you don’t.”
“A lot of it stems from when we graduated. We worked hard to get a college degree and now we’re in jobs that we’re not sure about. I love mine, but some of my friends are saying, ‘Is this what I really want out of life? Should I be doing something else?'”
She continued, “Then there’s personal relationships. There are dating websites and apps and pressure to find someone. The clock is ticking. But a lot of us aren’t ready to settle down yet.”
Some of these concerns go way back. But past generations didn’t have to navigate the constant deluge of the internet and social media. It can make life better but can also complicate it.
I can’t begin to solve the dilemmas facing Millennials. I’m just glad they’re talking more about mental health.
And that my daughter is happy.
First image courtesy of here
Second image courtesy of here
Third image courtesy of here