Why Does Our Generation Have So Much Depression and Anxiety?

Why Does Our Generation Have So Much Depression and Anxiety?

This is a real, unaltered, photograph of my face as I write this answer. What do you see?

I see the deep bags under my eyes - I haven't slept well in months, not since class started again. My face is pale, my skin dull. My hair, which I normally painstakingly take care of, is pulled back in low pony. I can’t remember if I brushed it today. My eyes do not radiate with life - in short, I look exhausted.

I'm in my third year of my degree, and I'm feeling the strain and pressure. My body is tired after nearly three straight years of gruelling coursework. My mind is slow, it's hard. I call my parents for support. I tell them how I'm feeling. My mom provides this sentiment:

“One day, you'll be able to have a house and a family and this will all be worth it! You won't have to worry anymore!”

I politely accept her answers, tell her I love her, and hang up. Then I throw my head in my hands and cry.

With my generation, there are no guarantees.

I would, honestly, love to be able to afford a little house. A car. Share it with someone I care about. Maybe have a dog, work at a job I can, at the very least, tolerate.

Put food on the table and clothes on my back. Maybe, once every two years or so, take a vacation to some place new, and when the time is right, start a family.

This is the life I'm supposed to earn in obtaining a STEM degree. A life of comfort - not an extravagant, jet-setting life - but a life where I don't have to worry about tomorrow.

I'm not even guaranteed to get a job when I'm done my degree.

It is one thing to push a boulder up a hill for four years, to be rewarded with it rolling down the far slope once you reach the peak. It is entirely another to push a boulder up a hill for four years only to have it roll back over you.

I try to explain this to my parents when I can, but they don't understand. I don't blame them. It's a horrible truth that too many people refuse to swallow.

That's why my generation is so unhappy. When I talk to my friends - other 20 something's, just struggling to survive - it's always the same.

“I think one day, I'd like to have an apartment to call my own. I'll rent it, obviously, because who the hell can afford to actually purchase a house? I'll take the bus to work, cars are too expensive. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll think about getting a dog, if I can afford it.”

That's what life is reduced to.

I have friends who, would, when they're older, love to have a family. My best friend would want two kids. You know what she told me?

“Of course I'd love a family one day. But I'll never be able to have it. Kids need food, time, and toys. They need to feel safe. But even with my income, and the income of my partner, we'd never be able to pay for school, and a car, and a house! A life of penny pinching is not what I want for my kids.”

It broke my heart.

We're sad because we will never be able to afford the lives of our parents. We're sad because we see what's coming - the planet is dying, rich assholes are being elected president, people are being murdered - the world is so hard.

And nothing is guaranteed.


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Most Helpful Girl

  • Don't expect supportive answers here, this place is packed with closed-minded people... But I think the reason is because we're more aware of what's going on. We've been exposed to a lot of information online and not everyone knows how to process it in a healthy way.

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    • Honestly I look around me and see way too many people in their 20s and early 30s that are completely soft and frankly spoiled. Anxiety is making a decision between an iPhone X or a less expensive model. When my grandparents were that age they had to decide what days they could have something to eat and what days they couldn't afford it. Anxiety was coming up with enough money to feed the kids, let alone themselves. The cure for feeling sorry for yourself is counting your blessings and taking stock of the many MANY blessings that you have... not lamenting the things you don't have. You live in the most prosperous country that provides the most opportunities for its people of any country in human history. If you think you have it bad, try living anywhere else in the world, or at any other time in history. You complain because you have nothing to compare your life to. If you saw how most of the population of the world lives, or learned about history, you would soon feel how lucky you are.

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What Guys Said 92

  • 1. Welcome to the expectations that men have had to face and carry for millenia. Your parents/grandparents generation fought so that you had the opportunity to face all of these pressures yourself, instead of being able to stay at home and be a mom and raise quality children while your husband faced all of these harsh realities.

    2. There were never any guarantees for any generation. Why do you think that men took horrible, dangerous jobs that frequently maimed or killed them or shortened their lifespans significantly - such as coal miners who died of black lung in their 40s and 50s? Oil workers? Construction? Welders? Steelworkers? And all of the STEM workers 20, 40, 60 years ago faced the same challenges you are facing.

    3. To answer your question, the depression and anxiety comes from the fact that parents and others fail to tell children how the world really is and set expectations for things that either used to be true but are no longer true, or that were never true. There's also a lot of denial and moral relativism, so the child can never be sure what is right, wrong, true, or false - and the brain doesn't like those conflicts and rejects them, and the symptoms are often depression or anxiety.

    4. No one teaches children the importance of marriage or partnership anymore - we're taught to go it alone - and so most of us struggle along by ourselves. That's the biggest change from the recent past, and the reality is that it's a lot harder to deal with all of this if you don't have a partner working with you and supporting you. Most of our parents and grandparents had partners (husbands/wives), but that's often not the case anymore - and that's not the right direction for us to go.

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  • Maybe we're lonely and missing friends and comrades who were supposed to be here with us, helping us on our mission, but instead they got aborted, and so we're all sad and lonely all the time and we don't know why. Maybe that's why so many guys can't find a girlfriend and why so many woman can't find a good husband. Maybe they got aborted and all that's left for us is other lonely, broken people, missing their soulmates.

    Why Does Our Generation Have So Much Depression and Anxiety?Why Does Our Generation Have So Much Depression and Anxiety?Why Does Our Generation Have So Much Depression and Anxiety?Why Does Our Generation Have So Much Depression and Anxiety?

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  • (I'm married with kids, owns a house and a car with petrol that never run dry yet. LOL.)

    I believe I'm liberal because I talk with people of all sorts, including G@G and able to accept their differing views in life.

    But despite being an Agnostic, I think I'm more of a traditionalist who practices Bible principles as best as I could. (I don't attend church neither do I have close pastor friends.)

    A few things in life I practiced that I think reaped me what I have today:

    1) hard work. I believe in working hard and being honest. This is the basis to put food on the table.

    2) smart work. This is not an excuse for laziness. Neither is it a cover for white collar crime.

    It means service and attitude of walking an extra mile without tiring out.

    3) respect yourself. There will be failures. There will be people who criticizes you. Learn to endure and learn from them.

    4) respect others. This does not mean ok to he bullied. It means stand by your beliefs but identifying the rights for others.

    There is no need to fight or debate. Just leave if you meet unreasonable people.

    5) believe in the greater good. All men has some food in them. See it and love it. Then live life for that good.

    6) I believe in staying virgin until marriage and I did. I believe in being faithful to my spouse. And I believe that children are blessings. So we have kids.

    These are my contentment and occasional happiness.

    There will be problems in life. Choose a principle to live by (I choose Bible wisdom although I am agnostic).

    Smile and be contented. You shall find happiness.

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  • Nothing being guaranteed is kind of the nature of life. An earthquake could kill you tomorrow. You could get struck by lightning. We do need to try to make things better, but things will never be guaranteed.

    That said I understand some of your struggles. I'm not going to post secondary right now, just trying to get by for now, but still I would stay up at night due to anxiety, some days it would be so bad that I couldn't sleep at all and I would sometimes end up going to work for 8 hours after being awake for 30 hours, staying up 24+ hours straight was common. Luckily? I've been unemployed for a couple weeks and catching up on some sleep, it's been really quite good for me. My eyes look as bad as yours, and I get the feeling of slowness, some days I would feel like a zombie, like half my brain was dead, or at least numb, and barely go through the motions. I can't speak for everyone, but for me my depression and anxiety are mostly due to self doubt and a lack of people to consider myself close to. I included a live photo too.

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  • Its very simple, society and certain groups decided to screw with what we had. Now your last rant is actually NOT what is wrong here. Do you realize that for most of the history of the US elections where BOUGHT? And I don't mean like oh rich people threw out ads and what not I mean they literally had groups that would tell you how much money you needed to spend per person to get a vote per district and then they would intimidate people into voting that way. We now have the freest elections we have ever had in history! People being murdered? Are you kidding me? Do you know what the probability of dying through murder and violence was for hunter gatherer tribes? At least 50% and in some cases as high as 90%. Just let that sink in, people who had to worry about starvation, had no access to modern medicine so even a scratch could lead to a life ending infection (and often did) where still more likely to be murdered then they where to die from anything else. Whats the likelihood of you dying from violence currently? .005%. We are literally in the safest time our SPECIES has ever known. Our planet is also greener then its been in almost 600 years: https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3004

    So lets look at why people are more miserable NOW then they where historically. What has changed? We know that in the 50s women where happier then they are now. We also know that medical costs and housing costs where incredibly low until the 60s where they started increasing at an exponential rate until medical costs where 800x higher and housing was about 500x higher. We also know that in the sixties college tuition was about 3,000$ now its in the tens of thousands in addition to all the other fees they attach. What happened in these times?
    Well one, we had government intervention (its funny we talk about how inept they are then demand that they be the ones to try and fix everything). We see the creation of Medicaid and medicare as well as the push for insurance to pay for more then what it previously did. This saw a increase in price as insurance companies started to have to pay more so people felt they could go in for just anything. The hospitals saw that since you the individual where not paying (at least not directly) that they could charge you more and encourage you to get more tests done (they can figure out whats wrong with you with a single test in most cases yet they administer usually 20, because it means more money for them).

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    • They take your money that you earn that you could invest, that you could put in the bank for emergencies and give it away in the form of social security which of course is a pyramid scheme. They are taking your money to pay to people who have retired NOW. Then they turn around and tell you that you will have to retire later in life because the fact is their just isn't enough people generating money to keep paying all these people meanwhile if you where just allowed to hold onto that money to begin with you would never need that social security because that money would be in the bank (or even better be used to invest and generate more money for you to live off of). They then put regulations on everything ensuring that only those who where already firmly established can survive driving off competition and thus raising prices. They then stated that it was unfair for businesses to have aptitude tests because it could be used to discriminate so businesses just stated fine, instead of

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    • On the personal level we know that women where happier in the fifties, but why? Simple, they where allowed to be women. Women want things that men don't, they like taking care of kids (I mean it makes sense that you would be biologically inclined towards it, women give birth and then that child is dependent on her (because she has the breast milk the child depends on) for several years) which is why women make up the majority of teachers, child care takers and also even dominate in pediatrics and nursing. They like the social aspect which is also why they dominate in fields like social work and nursing and psychology. But femininst came in and told them no, they don't really like those things and that evolution isn't really a thing, your not inclined towards anything you have a blank slate and we can pressure you into other fields that you don't want to be in and you will be happy. seventy years later women are more depressed then ever before and more likely to be on antidepressents

    • all while wondering why they are so miserable and assuming it must be because of some outside force rather then because they refuse to acknowledge that their was a reason why women where homemakers and where with children (its because it made them happy). They are now trying to do what men do which makes them unhappy and men are trying to do what women do which makes them unhappy. This is why our society is so screwed up, because a bunch of people thought that they could social engineer us into doing what they wanted us to do because they thought that they knew better then nature, that they knew better then the science that told them this would back fire and now we are suffering the consequences. You want to fix this? Look at who is happy, traditionalist. That's not a joke, that's statistically proven: www.dailymail.co.uk/.../...en-HAPPY-housewife.html

  • Our society feels this way because it sems like nobody cares even anymore about anything family, friends, your bae, people dont want to go out , search for boyfriend , or girlfriend , work , study , or even do anything , getting out from the bed is hard for most people , and when u tell them to work or study HA forget it

    Even the people that are single they dont even want to try finding somebody because they assume they will take advantage of them , and use them some kind of way which is mostly true

    People became so fkn EVIL because of social media , and its getting worse and worse , the facade of perfect life destroyed other people lives

    I feel the same way after my high school 19 i went to college and im stuck for 5 years now and i cannot finish , i feel zero motivation just like many other students that got the same problem ( 80 ish % where i live )

    We will not get the needed ammount of money from our job at first years to even rent a fkn flat.
    Me with my girlfriend we are planning to live together in like a year or 2 and have a family but it seems like this is not gonna be possible with the things that are happening right now

    Young people dont feel motiveted to do anything because its not possible to get a job that high paying to live with ur partner or alone and get kids and live normal life without killing urself working to death , so guys fuck different girls and have funn , and girls are doing the same more or less ,

    Most of the relationships are based on looks because they are and dont tell me they are not
    Some relationships are based on both personality compatibility and looks and those are the real ones

    Being honest i dont know any person that is doing something that he or she really likes and enjoys whatever it is , work , study

    Basically we are dying on the inside while everything seems to be quite ok on the outside , which is not true

    I would give everything that i have to go back to 90's and 2000's... being the same person and same age at that time im now...

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  • I agree with your take and that's what happening these days worldwide...

    Still you girls talk from behind the walls about feminism, while you shall go on the streets and burn these b*tches down, they are ruining families and societies just like cancer and spreading worldwide...

    I was raised on morals and values and learned about a healthy family structure but too bad that these days it's very hard to have a beautiful family like in the 50's, even though i'm able and would never marry a girl who doesn't love to become a devoted housewife, but i would of never been able to ask for this if my late father haven't left for me some herithy and if i didn't have a stable job or owned my house...

    Life is very difficult, even the mentality had changed, it's like a water pipe, you fix the leaking here so it's starts somewhere else, you can never feel comfortable or even truly happy from the heart...

    Time passes very fast and suddenly you see that you have done nothing important in life, it's like your just struggling to live...

    Maybe somehow we are lucky that we had such parents, but what about the next generation, what kind of parents will they have?

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  • "And nothing is guaranteed."

    BINGO! THERE WE GO! THAT'S THE WORD I WANT TO HEAR, actually make that the sentence and phrase that I wanted to hear.

    It's about fucking time somebody gets it. Big round of applause for you for recognizing the harsh cruel reality that it all is. The fucking absurdity of it all. Welcome to the club!

    "We're sad because we see what's coming - the planet is dying, rich assholes are being elected president, people are being murdered - the world is so hard."

    This was never a "fair" world nor a "good" place to come into existence to begin with. We were all just shoved and thrown the fuck into it and clearly we had never willingly signed up and volunteered to come this kind of fucking mess of a world and reality, a world and reality filled with corruption, cruelty, injustices, filled with liars and hypocrites. Therefore it shouldn't be a surprise if MORE people decide to call it quits on bringing and adding new people into existence to go through all of the fucking problems and shit that we all now have to go through and then die some day.

    I do have to say that at least you picked a STEM major, look on the bright side of that compared to those that picked stuff that is less practical and have much more risks and difficulty to finding an actual job in the real world to help them pay back any of those big fucking student loans that they have to pay back. Typically liberal arts would be the riskiest of them all, and the way I always see it, unless you are quite rich and wealthy or already have a well-paying job, don't risk it at all unless you don't mind being trapped in debts from student loans.

    That's clearly a trap from the beginning, a debt trap. In the long run, you'll probably have a better chance of finding something out there that would help you pay off those loans eventually so you wouldn't be in the same situation as those that didn't go for majors that have any actual real world skills and applications. But the rest, like you said, it's still not "guaranteed" in any form or way.

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  • People today aren’t any more depressed than people, at least since industrialization, have ever been. There’s a great deal more awareness these days however. In the past people didn’t know what to call it, and they lived shorter bleaker lives of manual labor. They committed suicide through slower means, mostly drinking themselves to death. Or they simply worked themselves into the ground. The people in charge praised them as having good work ethic and encouraged that sort of thing.

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  • With each generation, life is going at a faster and faster pace. There was also a certain stability generations ago that doesn't exist anymore. 50 or 80 years ago, if you wanted an exciting fast-paced life, you could go to college, get a job in another city, jet around the country, etc. If you didn't want to do that, you could just graduate high school, get a blue-collar job at the local factory (every town had one), but still live a good life in your own town, and grow old with your friends.

    Not anymore. Those local factories all moved to China, so you HAVE to leave your home town to chase whatever jobs are out there. There was also the norm that if you did your job and didn't cause any trouble, your job would always be there. Not anymore. You could now be the very best employee in your company, and you still could lose your job due to some leveraged buyout, or whatever.

    It all depends on whether you want to be very much on the grid (fun, but stressful), or much less off the grid (less money, but less stress).

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What Girls Said 41

  • I don't know in other countries, but in my country the first non natural cause of death is suicide, and when it split according to age, young people make more amount of suicides. Something happens.

    My parents only needed one salary to raise a family, and they were able to start a family in their 20's. People in my country could easily buy or rent a house in the 80's and 90's. Many people could live well without studying a degree.

    Nowadays, almost every young is told to study a degree at university, even though there's not enaugh jobs for the amount of people who end a career. These people expect to work in something related to the field they have studied, so the money invested is not just a waste... But many don't find a job where they can make use of the learnt skills.

    Also, nowadays a regular person can't raise a family with just one salary. You need two at least, and for that two salaries to be enaugh to raise a family you would probably have to start working at your 22-23 after studying a degree. You should save money for some years and also get some promotion so your salary is enaugh. That's means that instead of raising a family in your 20's you would raise it in your 30's (if you are lucky enaugh and don't commit any mistake and find a person who create a family with).

    Also, I don't know in other places, but in my country rent and sell price of houses are too high for the salaries in general.

    So I guess we young people just feel sad because we don't feel we can be the parents our parents were to us, because our lack of money, independence and time.

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  • The economy has changed since our parents were in school. Education is more expensive now than it used to be, as is housing, and pretty much everything else. Salaries haven't increased enough to compensate for it, and jobs haven't gotten any easier to find. Good jobs are harder to find than they used to be. Therefore school is more competitive, and people have to work harder, and they just end up exhausted, and broke.

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  • This is ridiculous. There are no guarantees in life. There never was and never will be. Live with it. I think you´re very spoiled, as is most of our generation. you think you can take things for granted, like getting a wellpaying job, being able to buy a nice house. With more people going to college than decades ago, competition increases. Stop whining and feeling sorry for yourself. Do you think life was easier during any of the world wars or during the great depression? Young people today have more opportunities than ever before, but many have been living very sheltered lives that haven´t been preparing them for the struggles they´re going to face in life. Many are also self-entitled and seem to think they´re going to be handed the good things in life on a silver plate. No such thing, you´re going to have to struggle, unless you´re from a very wealthy family, and sometimes even then. Who says you´re worth having all the nice things in life? Honey, you´re going to have to prove yourself worthy by what you achieve.

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    • She works hard and you feel she is entitled? What kind of backwards logic is that?

  • Yeah it sucks I used to rent a apartment with my sister but it was so tough paying rent we had to move back with our parents. My parents don't understand either they think it's so easy to buy a house when everything is so expensive

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    • Don`t even get me started on that. They keep forgetting that getting a job and buying a house and such was easier in their days.

  • I think because technology and material comforts has ensnared many people in a life of vanity - a life where they aren't serving worthy and noble causes. When you live for something worthy and significant and important - your chances of suicide and depression are a lot lower.

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  • Because you guys don't know how good you got it. You don't think we had problems too? But we pushed through. Stop focusing on what you believe is unfair or wrong and see what beautiful things life has given you. I went through abuse, homelessness, and illness. But rarely did I let it get me down. And not to the point where I forgot how good I have it compared to others. You're lucky to be getting an education. Seriously snap out of it and enjoy what life does give you.

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  • I understand where you’re coming from in reference to the anxiety that presents itself with the expected job market post graduation. The success of your job search depends on a few things, as you know: experience, selected major and connections. As a STEM major, they seem to be better off since those types of careers are always in demand. The technology component of “STEM” does not require a graduate degree compared to other fields. I am a Psychology major and initially majored in IT for a more lucrative career path. I was unhappy and my lack of skill began to present itself towards the beginning of my junior year. Switched my major to what I initially wanted to pursue, which was Psychology and regret my decision. I have an entry level position at the moment that was initially an internship but it doesn’t pay well (not surprised) and I will continue to search with this experience under my belt. I couldn’t continue to pursue something that made me miserable and probably would have been terrible in when presented with a real life technical difficulty.

    Mental health is tricky because a lot of the diagnoses seem to be over diagnosed. There are clearly individuals that need medication to function normally but it may not be necessary to prescribe those that are prescribed medicine for an issue that can become alleviated over time. Maybe it’s situarional and it’s a reaction to what they’re experiencing? I’ve spoken to a few that were prescribed SSRIs for an issue that was caused from environmental factors and the medication didn’t alter their moods.

    I may seem all over the place but I’m attempting to address a majority of the points you mentioned. The fortune our parents and their generation had in the job search was most likely a result of a more successful presidency that ultimately led to a more efficient economy and job openings. A lot of the fields have advanced and require higher degrees today, compared to the jobs in their time that did not require those credentials. While that sounds promising for us, with that criteria to have a higher degree comes the necessity for experience with it. How are we supposed to have experience if we are now graduating?

    I’ve spoken to many that feel as hopeless as we do. It’s unfortunate but don’t stop there, you’re almost done with your undergrad degree. That’s pretty obvious, I presume that was your intent anyway haha. Save up and have a nice vacation after that graduation. Good luck. I’m going to need some too 😳

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  • corporations . employers . oil prices . food prices . housing . local and federal taxes .
    IT prices . health care . educational costs . interest rates . are squeezing everyone dry .
    when the middle class is in trouble . so is the whole country .

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  • I’m totally struggling to survive as a single parent with a failed marriage behind me. My husband was narcissistic so my daughter and I basically left with nothing. I’m not sure I’m in your generation but it costs so much to live these days that it’s hard for anyone starting out or starting over. I have ptsd, anxiety and depression.

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  • WRONG! People have ALWAYS had depression. None of these things that people complain about today is new. The same problems have been around from the beginning of time. The true reason is that this generation has a victim mentality, while people before would just shut up and get along with their life because they knew EVERYONE has problems and you have no right to complain.

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