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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.


I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.


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