So, this is a very long post, that is a bit of a ramble on top of my current soap box. I am not a “writer” I am going to edit for typos but I want to keep everything in here I think for me it is important. If you make it through thank you, hopefully we will be able to impact some of the negativity in this world and help support our people.
We have a bit of an epidemic going on right now with Gen X-ers struggling, it’s not just Gen x-ers but Chris Cornell’s passing has heightened my awareness to the people of my generation. Strong successful people are committing suicide and deep in depression even when from the outside, it looks like everything is fine. It is sad. What is going on with us? Where is this coming from. Depression is sometimes disguised as perfectionism or OCD. In today’s world we have social media, cell phones and news 24/7. We have never had to learn to wait for things or information. Stereotypically, Men feel pressure to provide for their family be it by working overtime taking night calls or selling out shows. Women have the cover girls on magazines to look at and try to attain the looks of models who were probably airbrushed and the super mom who has a perfectly organized home and the perfect Pinterest gift for the teacher ono teacher appreciation day. We compare ourselves to all of this and more. We have an image of what our lives were supposed to look like that we fabricated when we were young. Maybe it’s the image we were modeled by our parents or what we wanted out parents to be. We made promises to ourselves that we would never ______________ or we would give our kids and our family better than what we had growing up.
Problem is that we set ourselves up for failure. With all the expectations, we made of ourselves coupled with the comparison of social media and that image in our head that was right or that we wanted in life when we grew up. We were told we could do anything. Generation X was the first generation was told we could have the world and many of us were given the world by our parents. Select sports started when we were kids and we have perfected it to be just the way we would have wanted it when we were growing up. Or is it? We are spending so much time working overtime to get that perfect car that we dreamed of as kids and complain we don’t have time for ourselves. We spend so much time giving our kids the perfect opportunities that we forget who we are doing this for. The money and time we spend on our kids to make them happy, we are hoping at some point to get that in return and we get sad when we don’t get as much as a thank you from Jr. Are we misplacing our energy?
I have coined a term (I am sure it wasn’t me but I use it all the time) “Mom Guilt” dad’s get it too but it’s when as parents you can’t be there for your kids every second of every day. We attempted attachment parenting and realized that it wasn’t for us so we beat ourselves up for it. Many of us got spanked as kids and we weren’t going to do that but we realize not setting boundaries for our kids drain on our lives wasn’t the answer either. There is a happy medium but we haven‘t found it. (Nothing against attachment parenting, I am not an expert, I am using this as an example of my life.) How do we give our kids better but not lose ourselves in the process? We feel bad even that we must ask this question, why don’t we just “know” and who is to blame?
My generation has spent a fair amount of time trying to blame people and circumstances for our situations as well. It’s the way we were brought up, it’s that we got spanked as kids or that we didn’t get spanked. Our parents were the first who started to go to schools and make excuses for us. Many of my friends grew up without accountability, we blame millennials for this but it started in my generation there was just no social media to prove it. We were the first to have cell phones as young adults, I got mine at 18, the hubs at 17. We have been able to be in constant contact with everyone for basically our whole adult life. We are the age of instant gratification. We are not afraid of working to get what we want but we want it now. Fuck waiting for it! But in that, we get frustrated, disappointed and sad that we put in so much work and get no pay off…or very little, of at least it feels like no or very little pay off. It is a source of depression. Reading this article as true as it feels even writing it is frustrating even possibly infuriating. Our generation is also famous for denial. If we don’t acknowledge a problem, there isn’t one. Especially now, there is a depression crisis. We all think it is so important to get it checked out but how many of us sit in our own depression trying to shake it off? So many of us have cried for those we have lost Kurt Cobain, Robin Williams and Chris Cornell but how many of us sit in our own depression thinking it is not that bad. I am guilty “I just need to shake this off” I tell myself, maybe that is the case. We want help for everyone who is depressed but we don’t want to have to acknowledge our own depression. We see it as a fault of something.
Why? Who the fuck knows! We are the first generation not afraid to talk about it, not afraid to acknowledge that there is a problem but we still let it go in our own lives. We think we will be thought less of if we have depression. But do you think less of anyone you know who has depression, who sees a counselor for it or takes medication? My guess is you answered “no” so why don’t you take care of you? We learned what depression was, we learned that it’s okay to talk about it, as long as it’s not you. We also didn’t learn one of the best ways to combat it (okay I am not trying to simplify treatment of depression please don’t think I am I am offering help to those who have the blues not a clinical depression) one very simple way to combat feeling blue about your life it is self-care! Take care of you. Stop trying to impress Facebook and take care of you! Exercise regularly your physical fitness affects your brain. It has been said exercise is the most underused medication for depression and/or other mental illnesses such as ADD, anxiety and even obesity (that’s a subject for another day)
The purpose of this article is to start a thought process for those people my age that are struggling. We may have a good career, a house a family who loves us, but due to circumstances (sometime beyond our control and sometimes within out control) we struggle to be okay. Things just aren’t as good as we want it. We aren’t as happy as we were that day on vacation or we don’t have any time for ourselves because we spend so much time on everyone else! It’s called life! LIFE is depressing sometimes and that is okay! Life is a pain in the ass sometimes. You have kids? You added stress and kids make things harder it’s okay to say out loud! As long as you acknowledge this is a passing event! It will not be horrible forever!
What you must do, is live in the good moments! Yes, getting up at 4 am to go to work then rushing home to get kids to practice and one to dance while you shove PB&Js down your throat because that is all there is time for tonight just to get home in time to help your ungrateful kids with homework and send them to bed and then catch the last 5 minutes of your favorite show before you are falling asleep on the couch before you can kiss you wife hello at the end of the day right before you go to bed, kind of sucks! But there is greatness in there too! You are providing activities for your kids making memories with them at the ball field or giving them the opportunity to make memories with friends, and so much more value is in these days! As much as they suck. Maybe you travel for work and miss you babies first steps which sucks too, but don’t miss their last steps, or their next steps. In life, we have to pick our battles but it’s important to also pick our victories! Victories happen every day you just have to look at them. Maybe your kid struggles at game time but in practice he hits homeruns, relish in those moments!
We create our own happiness! Let’s stop creating our sorrow by dwelling on what is wrong with our life or actually, we dwell on what is not perfect in our life! Most of us have it pretty good. Many of our icons we lost to the nasty disease of depression and suicide looked pretty successful too! Let’s not be a casualty of our generation or our image we had in our head that we thought was how things should be. Let’s talk about our own depression! Say it out loud someone will hear you and support you! There are hotlines, use them! Be a friend but don’t be afraid to ask for a friend when you need one! Reach out! Imagine what may have happened if those who we lost too soon were able to reach out!
I know there is much more to it than I am making it sound right now, but it started somewhere! Let’s make this world a place where we stop judging each other and more than that, we stop judging ourselves. Speak our truths, are you feeling lonely, say it! Are you feeling sad? Say it! Are you feeling like the world and everyone around you would be better off if you were dead? Say THAT too!!! If you are someone who hears someone saying these things, don’t judge them! Don’t try to fix them. Try to understand. Put your arm around them and say “that must be horrible to feel like that!” and then give them a hug. Don’t try to offer a solution, ask them if they know how you can help them. Offer them your time, your moral support, “I’m here for you man” goes a long way. “Do you want to talk?” or “Do you need a hug?” Just be there. Call help if you feel they need a professional. Make sure they know they are not alone and the world would absolutely not be better without them in it! We need our people. Maybe telling those people what they mean to you in your life. How they have inspired you. It may give them something to focus on that is positive. It may not, so don’t get upset if they don’t snap right out of it! Just be there! Just BE there!