It’s the new cool thing to do. Everyone is doing it. Go with me on this journey:
So our generation has an “attitude” problem and most kids suffer from chronic fits of “depression” apart from the economic one. I maintain, for the most part, that it’s not the kind requiring pill mediation and medication, but rather a symptom of three things:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Inability to let go of the past
- Not taking action to move forward, or as I like to say, immobilizing fear
EXAGGERATION: So I suppose using the word “depression” is hyperbole, if we consider the medical use of the word. I’ve felt it, though I could be what some people describe as an “unhappy attention whore” rather than depressed. Which really hurts, because I don’t even get paid. However, in the spirit of being kinder to myself, I will point out that the feeling I experience is more substantial than that time I decided to go emo in high school. My unhappiness is valid, but it’s also something I have the control to change.
MEDICATION: Though some people do have a genuine use for prescription medication in order to deal with medical issues and mental illness, we live in a culture that grossly overprescribes drugs and glorifies the use of illegal ones. So while Adderall could boost my attention span, cocaine my confidence, and heroin my feel-good sense of joy, in all honesty, I’d rather grow up and learn to deal with myself. I’ve also seen enough Breaking Bad to be terrified of anything stronger than Aspirin, though I have a lot of irrational fears.
RISK AND REWARD: It’s not a new find. I’ve known I’ve had an attitude problem for a while, almost a conditioned sadness and negativity, but I never knew what to do about it. There’s a risk in changing yourself. It’s easy being miserable and staying in it because you know what to expect. It’s terrifying to do something to change yourself and risk still being miserable or having to adjust to something new. Fear of the unknown prohibits people from growing.
RESPONSIBILITY: The first thing that you can do is accept that this habit came from somewhere and out of something. Once upon a time, I had a reason to be depressed, but then I made a choice not to let go of it, maybe without knowing it was one. Even if you are still in it, there is always a choice. Take responsibility for how you feel and take action to get yourself out of it. Sometimes you have to be your own parent. Use this as an excuse to watch Supernanny; she totally knows what’s up.
ACTION: Taking action is always the hardest for me. Immobilized by fear. It takes the smallest stepping-stone to start, and that for me was gratitude- beginning the day by writing three things that I am grateful for. There are all kinds of studies behind this (I would list them, but I also know you know how to google and I’m all about your own self-sufficiency…yeah, that’s what that is about). Two guys in Canada created The Five Minute Journal, which is the format I started to use. It’s great.
GRATITUDE: I state what I’m grateful for, create daily goals, and think about what I can do better tomorrow. Being happy for what I have makes me less likely to focus on all the things I don’t. Negative thoughts don’t service me, the absence of what I have doesn’t either, so it’s time to focus on the good. Since you can’t hire the Dallas Cheerleaders to pep you up every day, time to do it yourself. You got this. Go get ’em.