The Cure for Wellness is a recently released movie that focused on reinvigorating those who find life tedious and uninspired. While I personally did not watch this film, the idea easily resonates with the masses. There is a reason why travel is so sought after, it is an escape from humdrum lives and is an exciting alternative.
Depression has been eating away at civilization since the turn of the 20th century. Agne Narustyte called it “the disease of our time” in the book Aesthetics of Boredom which, was published in the late 90s. During that period, the two conditions were newly distinguished to be different. Before that, they was seen as one and the same.
Boredom is the lacking the ability to engage with one’s environment, and lacking the necessary skills to entertain oneself. Chronic boredom exhibits the same symptoms as depression, such as sleeping constantly, but Danckert insists that “they’re not the same emotional experience” and has surveyed over 800 people in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. The findings suggested that while the two were intertwined, they are separate entities. Boredom has also been linked to attention disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The fine line between boredom and depression is that when someone who is bored is given something to do, boredom might be alleviated. But when someone suffers from depression, even getting out of bed is a daunting task, much less to say anything else. However, if someone is bored with a certain activity, it will most likely result in error and poor performance due to disinterest. This could be dangerous, especially when they are in charge of system or heavy machinery with the potential to take a life.
Depression might cause a person to take their own life. Living becomes a chore and the end to their own existence sounds like a reprieve. A mental illness commonly tied to depression is anxiety. It is the most prevalent of all, affecting 40 million adults in the States. It has become a “modern epidemic, greater than depression”.
The Telegraph has an interesting theory about why those born after 1980 seem more affected by the disorder and it has to do with the digitalization of our era. Being so connected by social media and the internet but at the same time, completely disengaged. While there are forums where one may find like-minded people and be accepted, there is a need for physical interaction and a tangible community rather than one through a screen.
Furthermore, the FOMO (fear of missing out) trend is a big indicator, not about how millennials want to be at a certain party or event but that they are afraid by not being there, they are being left out. The proper term being athazagoraphobia.
Before social media took over our daily lives and encroached itself into every single activity, it did not seem like such a big deal when one could not make it to a gathering. But now that one is able to see for themselves in real time how much fun everyone is having at the outing, a sort of primal fear arises: would they be as happy if I were there? Or perhaps one was excluded from said gathering, and those questions would morph into an uglier version of events, with the uninvited feeling ashamed at being the only one excluded.
This play on insecurities intensifies feelings of being unwanted while the human psyche craves acceptance above all. Furthermore, studies suggest that those most at risk from developing this new and disturbing condition are those whose basic psychological needs were not met and have low self esteem or preconceptions of being incompetent.
With all these disorders running rampant though our society, propelled by the very foundation of our internet and technology driven age, it is a no wonder that drug addiction is also on the rise. It is not a rare occurrence to hear of someone self-medicating through illegal substances. Ketamine might become the leading treatment for depression, with Johnson and Johnson already looking to invest.
How does this new treatment work? First of all, it is not the high from the drug that makes the depression disappear, Professor Loo told The Independent. Most of the patients hated the drug induced haze, going on to say that “the antidepressant effect kicks in a few hours later and are maximised about 20 hours later, when you’re fully alert and in your usual state of mind”.
However, this does not mean that the use of recreational drugs should be encouraged. Without the proper guidance and knowledge, recreational drug use could prove fatal or become disrupt everyday life. Furthermore, not everyone is capable of affording a detox center or has the ability to come clean on their own.
Perhaps before we try to solve the problems that present itself, we should try first to get to the root of all problems. It seems that everything stems from not having a meaningful life. Without having to fight for physiological or safety needs as outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, many millennials are focused on love, esteem and self-actualization. The dangers of this is that our world has not evolved quickly enough to accommodate that turn of events. However, this does not mean it is not changing.
Many new age millennials have adopted the mentality of living simply and not needing riches to be happy. There are those that live as volunteers, living a basic life that meets their basic needs. Then there are the ones we see the most, those that frequently our social media. Travel bloggers or entrepreneurs, living the life for all to see and also one of the driving forces behind our existential crisis. While it is not a suggestion to sell everything one owns to live a frugal life, but if people were more self aware about the kind of life they wanted to lead, they would have more purpose and less disorders.