The Millennial Self-Diagnosis Crisis

The Millennial Self-Diagnosis Crisis

Deciding you have a mental illness can't be an option.
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“There’s nothing wrong with you,”

said [Mom/Dad/Grandparent]. “You’re just being dramatic.”

Too often have millennials heard this phrase and received these words when they were seeking comfort. A generation brought up under intense, emotional stress, having their feelings and emotions undermined. There are times throughout one’s youth where, yes, they are most definitely being dramatic, but that doesn’t mean that every cry for help doesn’t deserve some form of validation. It is this lack of validation, this desire to assume that nothing is actually wrong but instead that one is being dramatic, that I think has lead millennials on a rampage of self-diagnosis and publication, therefore desiring validation where they could never find it.

I will neither confirm nor deny anybody’s mental illnesses. Depression is real and it’s destructive, but it’s also so often mistaken for being upset or feeling disappointed in one’s situation. Anxiety is tangible and overwhelming and miserable, but that doesn’t mean that all stress, which can at times bring on those feelings, is the same as anxiety. The aforementioned, as well as countless other mental illnesses (OCD, ADD, bipolar disorder, ADHD, etc.), have become, especially with the increasing individual social media presence, a central point of discussion for many young men and women.

Not because they’ve seen a doctor or a therapist and someone has told them that what they’re feeling isn’t just sadness or a feeling of overwhelmedness resulting from outside factors, but because they are seeking validation and will turn to putting labels on their feelings as a means of garnering external support. It’s much easier to empathize with someone who's not simply ignoring their responsibilities and then swimming in the aftermath, than someone whose “ADD” leaves them with “Anxiety” about tasks they can’t complete because they can’t focus.

It’s easy to understand why this is happening; millennial brains are, and I myself am admitting to this as I make this generalization, wired to desire constant attention and focus. Narcissism is prevalent in a culture that spends most of its time staring at photos of other people and sharing photos of yourself in everyday situations, and understandably so. There also wasn't the right outlets, as there has never really been, for kids to seek mental health and guidance without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable, having to ask a parent to pay for it, or making some sort of effort to see a guidance counselor who is more concerned with scheduling 20 students into an AP History class, than with your feelings.

However, this does not mean that it’s not problematic. While unfortunately if I could, I would kiss the foreheads of all of my contemporaries to make them feel validated, such would not solve the problem. Lots of the issues that young people face are, in fact, their own damn fault. Part of growing up is learning to deal with these mistakes and not just deflect them into a category of self-inflicted mental illness. So while part of the issue is that we can’t diagnose people if they don’t see a doctor, we also can’t diagnose people if they don’t have anything actually wrong with them, but are instead lazy or maybe a little self-absorbed.

Part of the issue is by feeding into these conspiracy-style mental illness diagnoses, we are also invalidating people who struggle with real mental illnesses every day. Imagine hearing day-to-day rhetoric whereby what you’re going through, what you’re taking pills for or staying up until two in the morning for, is being used to describe the sensation of forgetting to do one’s homework because they were out all night. Imagine not being able to find validity in your own issues because others are inflicting it upon themselves.

People with real anxiety often won’t spend so much time ruminating on their anxiety because it’s not easy to talk about and it’s not comfortable to bring up in a group conversation. People with depression oftentimes don’t like to publicize it because they don’t like to publicize their struggle with something that so many people see as self-inflicted. It takes great strength to come out with a serious mental illness, and only a little strength to come forward about one that you’ve decided you have.

It’s okay to seek validity and it’s okay to feel mentally unhealthy, but if such is the case you shouldn’t take to social media to proclaim that you are a slurry of mental illnesses bottled up into one photogenic post-teenager. If we’re trying to open the discussion on mental illness, to relinquish the taboos that have hindered the subject for so long, we have to stop making it seem like it isn’t worth discussing; that it’s a product of lazy twenty-somethings not being able to take care of themselves.

Cover Image Credit: Asdrubal luna / Unsplash

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Am I Going To Survive This Long Winter Break?

The feeling you get when you spend too much time with your family and you're ready to be back with your friends from school

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Yay! I am all finished with my final exams and projects for my classes this semester. I made it through the first semester of tis year when I was becoming worried and stressed. Now the grades are put in and I get a nice long break to relax, celebrate the holidays and spend time with family. However, I did not think that I would be craving to go back so soon after spending a few weeks with my family. I love them dearly, but since I am used to being away from them while at school to now having a whole month and a half off from school away from my friends, I know that there are going to be times when I get frustrated with my siblings or my even parents.

Thank goodness that I have a job this seasonal time or else I do not know what I would do. This will give me some time a couple of days out of the week to have some alone time and even meet new people at my job. It is not a bad thing to need this time away from family because it's normal, so if you are feeling guilty DON'T! Now that I have a part time job I will be making money to go and spend for myself or for Christmas presents for my family and friends. This is exciting because now when my mom, sister and I go shopping I can use the money I earned instead of feeling bad when I ask if my mom can purchase it.

The sad part about being out of school for so long is that I won't be able to see my friends because they live far away. For a whole semester of seeing them whether it was in class, going on our daily scheduled breakfast, lunch or dinner date, spending countless hours in the library, or just spending time together over the weekend. Now having a whole month and a half break of not seeing them is going to be so hard. When I need to call them because I am in need of someone to talk to besides my family I know they will answer and plus I will want to know how their break is going.

The most important thing for me to remember when I do get frustrated is that my family loves me very much and this is the time of year that brings us all together. When we pray for patience in stressful situations, God gives us the spirit and opportunity to be patient. In scripture in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter seven verse eight it states, " The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride". What God is telling us here in this scripture is that no matter how the frustration or argument may have started what matters is the end. God wants us to come together in love and forgive one another. Also He tells us that patience is better than pride because when we have patience for each other that is reflecting God's love.

This winter break may be long and I am thankful for it to use it as a time to relax and enjoy my family and I hop you do as well.

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