Is Modern Life Making Us Crazy?

I was just glancing at an article about psychology, just glancing, not reading, because it’s such a common theme that it’s boring, and I don’t give it a great deal of credence in any event. The title of the piece was Modern Life is Bad for Mental Health, or maybe it was Is Modern Life Bad for Mental Health, because it’s popular these days to phrase statements as questions, which leaves the author with plausible deniability. This little tidbit stood out to me: “…ever since the 1930s, young people in America have reported feeling increasingly anxious and depressed.”
Well, of course. Since the 1930s, maybe even starting a decade or two later, as the first half of the 40s was not a great time for introspection, that there was any place to report problems like ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety,’ and stuff like schizophrenia was just referred to as “completely nuts” and it was avoided because it would land you in an asylum, which was sort of like prison.
Depression was just ‘sadness’ and a certain amount of it was inevitable. No internet, no TV, and even movies were still in black and white. Swing bands, big bands were all the rage, that was the cutting edge, and rock and roll hadn’t been invented yet. There was no fast food, and the minimum wage was less than nothing. Who wouldn’t be depressed. But, that was not enough to be labeled as mentally disturbed and you wouldn’t what it to have been because, as I said, asylums were like prison.
Anxiety was just nervous, jittery, maybe ‘all wound up inside’ and it wasn’t such an unusual state of affairs. All sorts of things could knock you out of the game, from disease to unemployment to getting kicked in the head by a horse (think about that – pretty much nobody gets kicked in the head by a horse, any more. Progress.)
It’s possible that modern life is making people a bit crazy, but this article did nothing to prove it. There’s a huge difference between what gets reported and what’s really out there, and there always has been.


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