At first I think depression is caused by a chemical imbalanced. I personally know that the few times I get depressed it seems to come from nowhere and tends to be related to weird excito-toxin foods I previously eat. But upon further thought regarding young people, I feel like young people shouldn’t be depressed. They have their entire life to look forward to. They are at the stem cell point in life where the options of paths to take is more varied than ever in life. Yet it is young people who are plagued with suicide and serious depression. What is the problem here?
More often than not, young people live in families where they do not have any support for their passion or aspirations. And oftentimes it’s not just a lack of support but they also receive downright cruelty and abuses of varying form. Many young people don’t receive love or when they supposedly do it’s a transactional form. Reciprocation is healthy, but transactional is different and is where love is withheld until you do what the other wants.
Without a solid, loving, compassionate, understanding, supportive family, many of these people born in toxic families either isolate themselves or seek companionship from a friend group or dead-end relationships. This is natural…if your family fails you, seek family elsewhere. But oftentimes if there is a friendgroup or relationship, they are also more often than not foolish, incomplete and toxic. Indeed when a person comes from a toxic family they seek out relations that emulate what they know. They also did not develop the confidence to say no to energy suckers and realize they deserve better.
In having deep conversations and hearing the life stories of many people here is a common archetype I hear:
Person comes from toxic family where they receive no support. They go to school where the other kids (usually from toxic situations as well) are cruel and likewise do not support eccentricities or being authentically you. Many teachers are jaded and are forced by higher bureaucracies to teach according to constricting standardized tests leaving little room for organic expression and interaction further stifling authentic creative expression. Peer groups usually force uniformity to the arbitrary rules of “fitting in” such as wearing certain clothes, picking on certain people, liking/disliking the same things. A person fears breaking from the peer norms for fear of being relegated to a lower rung of the social order…or perhaps no rung at all.
The landscape often doesn’t provide inspiration or outlets either. The city, suburban and even subrural landscape is a hard, manicured, contrived landscape. Organic things like weeds growing in monoculture grass, animals like coyotes who might eat fluffy, fruit trees which make messes on sidewalks are all eradicated. The creative expression of Nature herself is squashed by the collective humans in these landscapes. Nature is trimmed, chemically treated, put in straight lines just like the human body on TV and magazines. Many cannot simply walk out their backdoor and access wildness. Indeed since there is no common access between houses a person has to walk great distance on hard surface with fast cars in order to access the remaining parcels of undeveloped land so they could perhaps warm their soul with the sound of red-wing black birds, the glimpse of a timid deer or elusive coyote, where the wind blows freely it’s subtle wisdom. Where the makeup of humanization homogeneity is washed away by the wild rain. Where you can put your hands upon the ground look at a square inch of soil and witness the completeness of life and death in an instant. Multiple animals, insects, moss, lichen, plants which you can hold in your hand…not so in any manicured park or maintained lawn. The soil of authentic reality under your fingernails sifting through your fingers. It is here where you realize the magic of existence. The of even the most mundane. It is here in what many see as demure nature where you can sit on a rock or nurse log, lay upon the grass or lean on a tree, look to the freeing sky and dissolve into nothing/everything beneath you. It is here where you are accepted and can express your authentic self. It is here where you find the nourishing support of Nature.
But alas with continuing ignorant development/destruction gobbling up the last remaining wild lands for the the sake of linear progress, young people have less access to these places of acceptance and expression. National and state parks are usually distant and are not something most people can have spur of the moment walkable access to.
Even for the lucky people who have access, many have been instilled with a fear of Nature. A fear of people (criminals), animals (coyotes, cougars), insects (ticks, mosquitos), plants (poison oak), themselves (injury, getting lost). This fear comes from a toxic family, ignorant friends, an alarmist news and dramatized pop-culture/media. A shame people fear the wilderness which is the antidote to their existential despair.
So people come from unsupportive families, surround themselves with vampire friends, and live isolated from Nature….and then they drink the kool-aid when it comes to career/jobs…
There is no doubt that except for the most extreme of people, we need money to live in our modern society. There are two ways that most people pursue this…hourly jobs or salaried careers. With the later being the better of the two paths because at least there is space for respect and upward mobility but it is nonetheless an hourly job in disguise. Young people who are unsure of a career path turn to jobs to satisfy the need for money. But most jobs they get are dead-end, useless, mundane jobs in artificial environments which will eventually be replaced by robots/computers. To compound the purposeless jobs they find themselves, they often have the archetypal authoritarian bad boss or manager who once again suppresses authentic expression. When it comes to hourly jobs you are subconsciously admitting to selling your precious time and your life….aka selling your soul. If the end goal is simply to get paid for your time then if we follow the logic and we could just speed up time so it no longer exists that would be preferential. This is seen with workers watching the clock and who can’t wait for 5pm or the weekend to come. In other words they are saying “I want to throw away the majority of my life in order to have my money and precious few hours at the end of the day and week to really live”.
What is seldom taught in school, or by mentors and family is entrepreneurialism and creating your own business. While there is often the mundane in entrepreneurialism, you have the freedom to go for a walk whenever you want, talk to who you want, express yourself however you see fit, pet your crow sitting next to you on your desk and live the life you want to life. Contrary to hourly workers, an entrepreneur wishes time would slow down. This is a healthier perspective and is indicative of a life well lived. Live life where you wish time would slow down instead of speed up.
Over 160,000 people under the age of 25 commit suicide each year and is one of the leading causes of death among young people. What is the antidote to this?
Personal spiritual foundation.
Access to Nature.
Learning to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right things.
Outlets to express their authentic selves.
Choosing the path of transmuted anger instead of paralyzing sadness.
Personal Spiritual Foundation
For many young people, the older authoritarian religions of old do not resonate for good reason. But without a replacement for spirituality many resort to agnosticism. But even with their agnosticism/atheism they approach it without passion. At least the passionate atheist has purpose in the dogma of reason/logic and ironically absurdism.
But without a passionate personal understanding of spirituality, life can seem meaningless and purposeless. Reading self-help books and diverse perspectives on spirituality can plant the seeds of formulating your own spirituality; but what is most important is creating your own spiritual experiences. Seek out what can only be called “magic”. The synchronicity between friends and loved ones. How music creates emotions. How dance is liberating. How a sunset or natural vista is inspiring. How the unity of a sperm and egg can create a whole new being. The relation we have with animals. The feeling of compassionate Love. When you seek out that which cannot be explained and only experienced, you will find your own spirituality.
Access To Nature
Likewise, Nature and wilderness is the best place to experience this unexplainable magic of deep and profound truths. Nature is where we came from thus our original Mother/Father. Consequently the compassionate Love and acceptance one can experience in Nature fulfills us. It is here where you recharge your energy, let go of negative attachments, can express your authentic self and derive the deepest wisdom.
Learning To Say No. Learning To Say Yes.
Learning to say “No” specifically to people who are toxic is important for living a harmonious life. People who cause self-doubt, drama, trauma and co-dependence are energy suckers and drags…but also powerful teachers. With the lessons to learn how to say no and stand in your own authentic power.
Sometimes a person will need to go through social catharsis and remove toxic people from their lives. Saying to “no” to certain “friends”. Changing schools where you don’t know anyone and can reinvent the social expectations others have of you. Or moving to a different town to get away. Sometimes drastic circumstantial shifts are needed to rid one’s life of toxic people and situations. The key however is to not repeat the mistakes of the past life. No longer will you accept disrespect, lack of support, degradation, abuse, or irresponsibility from your family, friends or mate. With new people and new life with less precedence as the old entrenched people of past, it is easier to stand in your authentic power.
Conversely people who come from toxic situations often have a lack of confidence or fear of success. Many think they “are not good enough” for XXXXX. Whether that is a mate, a career, a location or other things. When people think they are not good enough they say “no” to things they should say “yes” to; to things which would empower and uplift their life. Thus relegating themselves to a life which confirms of a faulty paradigm of disrespect and drama. Many times when you try to approach a person who you think is better than you or try to make a sale with a big client you will be rejected. For some people from toxic backgrounds, they use this rejection as confirmation that they are unworthy and then retreat into a contracted state. But success is created from grit and perseverance. Eventually someone will say yes! But you will only find out if you devote enough time and have many doors slammed in your face without loosing hope. An example is where someone buys land to mine for gold and after spending much money and many years yields nothing. They quite, liquidated the equipment and moved away. The next person who bought the land found the richest gold vein just a few feet over from where the previous people where digging. Opportunity happens for people who devote themselves and never give up hope even after heartbreak and disappointment.
Sometimes when life seems meaningless, purposeless or deadend….enough for them to consider suicide….a person just needs to make a radical shift. Sometimes it can be changing the way you dress but other times it can mean selling everything, getting a credit card, changing your email/phone and moving across the country…or to another country. By making such drastic changes you are more likely to break things loose to have the life you want than staying in a situation which gives no fulfillment.
One of the most detrimental things for young people is a lack of creative outlets to express themselves. Art, music, writing, outdoor recreation and dance among other things are all outlets than need to be supported. Without healthy outlets like these, the pure creative energy get’s stagnant and spoils into self-destructive behavior such as indiscriminate sex, drugs, alcohol, addictions, peer pressure, delinquency, or risky behavior resulting in injury/heartbreak. In hearing the stories of many people who went through tumultuous younger years, I have found that efforts by parents and teachers to suppress these behaviors through shame, fear or punishment just creates further entrenchment of the self-destructive behavior. These foolish actions are pursued to fill the void of organic improvisational spontaneity they lack in their day-to-day life. The antidote to these risky behaviors is to avoid the exciting appeal they provide by giving young people fulfilling outlets for their creative energy and supporting the eccentric experimentations with understanding wise guidance.