The Great (Millennial) Depression

The Great (Millennial) Depression


I've had depression since I was 14-years-old. It's not something I hide, nor am I ashamed of it. It's just been a part of my life for a long time. It's actually one of the reasons I got into writing; In order to sway thoughts of bodily harm and emotional depreciation, I started to create stories. Because my world was unbearable at the time, I immersed myself into ones that I created and that I had control over. Luckily, being a part of Odyssey has given me an outlet to continue to express my opinions and inspiration for storytelling in a more healthy way.

When my journey began, it was incredibly difficult. I spent two years on various medications, one of which gave me a sleeping disorder. I had two doctors tell me that I was bipolar, one told me I had anxiety, and one went as far as to tell me that I should be committed (at this point, I wasn't suicidal or isolating myself from the general populace).

I knew that I had none of these disorders; I was just depressed. See, a lot of people don't realize that depression is co-morbid with a variety of other disorders that coalesce into a cacophony of emotional turmoil. I was depressed, which made me feel anxious. When I was anxious, I would often switch between being anxious and being relaxed. This would often cause drastic mood fluctuations which, in reality, is quite normal for someone who has depression.

When I hit college, I majored in psychology because I wanted to understand why I experienced this horrible emotional stress as a child. As I grew into my big-girl pants and developed a passion for investigative journalism, I started to dig into the possible reasons behind my unhappiness.

Around this same time, I was beginning to immerse myself into the world of social media. Truth be told, I didn't get a Facebook until right before my sophomore year of high school, and I got a Twitter during my second year of college. I still don't have an Instagram.

As I started to break away from my cocoon of self-imposed social media isolation, I noticed that celebrity and peer deaths filled my news feed on a regular basis. Some of them were due to natural causes, but a lot of them were suicides. Why was that?

According to a study by the American College Counseling Association, there has been a 16 percent increase in depression rates in college populations since 2000. Additionally, according to some recent studies published in a Washington Post article, 44 percent of college students experience depression, and suicide is one of the leading causes of death among students.

According to anoter recent study, 1 in 5 Millennials reports being depressed, compared to 16 percent of Baby Boomers and 16 percent of Generation Xers. That's a huge discrepancy. Why?

"Millennials are growing up at a tough time. They were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve. Individual failure is difficult to accept when confronted with a sense you're an important person and expected to achieve. Even though, in most instances, it's not their fault -- the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age -- that does lead to a greater sense of stress," Mike Hais, a market researcher, and author, told USA Today.

You see, reader, Millennials are growing up in the wake of the most devastating economy crash since The Great Depression. They're growing up around a 50 plus percent divorce rate and during the Digital Age where nothing is private, secure, or inaccessible for longer than 30 seconds. Millennials are bombarded with social, economic, emotional, and educational stressors the likes of which this world has never seen.

Our entire lives are displayed on screens. Our education is based on an obsolete letter that a professor, whom most of us will probably never see outside of class, gave us. We are expected to walk out of college, degrees in hand, with a job on the horizon. We are expected to delve into our college careers with nothing more to go on than our high school educations, and walk out having all but cured cancer.

Of course, we're depressed. The world around us has changed tremendously in comparison to generations before. Now, this is not to say that Millennials are more depressed than generations past. Not at all. This article is meant to convey the point that Millennials are experiencing depression at record levels because of extraneous stimuli that previous generations didn't have to experience. We, millennials, are the generation of the "Great (Millennial) Depression."

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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The Truth About Narcan, Insulin, And Who Pays For What

"Stupid junkies, I have to pay for my Insulin but they get Narcan FOR FREE. Can you believe that?"



Let's talk about it. Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan or Evzio is a "medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose." According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Naloxone basically reverses the effects of an overdose.

As you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every other social media platform in the world, "junkies" get indirectly bashed, undermined, and in a nutshell, told that they don't deserve a place on earth.

The most common argument used by "non-addicts" is "I have to pay for my Insulin for my diabetes, but they get Narcan for free? Wow, our government sucks and the system is a joke."

For those of you that don't know, diabetes is a disease in which the body's ability to produce or respond to the hormone, insulin, is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.

There are two types of this disease: Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes that result from a variety of different factors. Diabetes can be acquired through genetics but can also be personally obtained through lifestyle, depending on the type. Aside from genetics and being born into a diabetic family, you may also be diagnosed with diabetes as a result of physical inactivity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and being overweight. In other words, if you let your body go, don't work out or do some type of physical activity, let your high blood pressure go untreated, and eat unhealthy foods; you have a chance of developing diabetes.

Next, let's talk about prices.

On average, Insulin costs $200 monthly. This depends on the brand, personal insurance, coupons, and other factors such as organizations that help people get cheaper insulin.

Narcan nasal spray costs $130 for a two-time use. You can buy it at CVS Pharmacy (and other pharmacies) in states such as Ohio, Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. Some of these states may require a prescription.

Now that you know that Narcan/Evzio isn't free, it's time to talk about other charges that are brought upon addicts when they overdose. If an ambulance is called, they have to pay for it. If they are sent to the emergency room, they also have to pay for that.

The idea that "junkies" get Narcan for free is something society has made up to make drug users feel even more guilt than they already do from having an addiction alone.

Believe it or not, most of us are addicted to something that can be fatal or cause illness/injury. If you eat processed foods or sugar ridden foods every day, chances are you have an addiction to sugar. The withdrawal that someone has from quitting sugar is similar to the withdrawal that one goes through from quitting heroin. You get a splitting headache, you have cold sweats, you are moody, and it makes you sick. If you drink coffee all day on most days and you try to quit, it results in an awful headache for a few days. The addiction to cigarettes and the withdrawal that people go through for that speaks for itself; we all know a smoker or an ex-smoker.

Instead of following social norms, degrading drug users and putting ourselves on a pedestal because we don't use heroin or another "hard drug," we should advocate for the health and stand up for each other. If you see someone on the street that you know is a drug user, pull them aside and pray with them. Help them find a better life. Recommend church, rehab, or any other ideas that may be at your fingertips to mention.

The moral of the story is this: we all have an addiction, hypocrisy is at it's finest thanks to social media, and we are all human. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge them. It doesn't cost a dime to shed light on someone's life, especially when they are in need.

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