Metamorphosis of Mental Health Across Generations
Updated: Mar 30, 2021
I remember my late maternal grandmother as a very positive person who loved to cook for her whole family, who loved to have family and friends over all the time and make a difference in others’ lives as much as she could with the limited resources she had. She got married to my grandfather at 17 and had four daughters and a couple of babies who did not survive. In an old and crowded house all her life, she had a hard life. No dishwasher or fully automatic washing machine. Nothing that we take for granted today.
We would visit them every Thursday night for dinner with my parents, my aunts, their spouses, and kids. She would cook for and feed fifteen to twenty people every Thursday. My brother and I loved spending time at their house after school or for sleepovers on weekends.
I have never seen her complaining about anything, never seen her down or depressed, even after she had a stroke later on, which considerably diminished the quality of her life. She still smiled all the time.
They were never well off, my grandparents. They always had a very limited budget, but they were always happy. I bet most of you remember your grandparents the same way. Compared to the current generations that seem to deal with more depression and mental illnesses each year, they had a much better mental status. Even though they had harder lives than us, why were they mentally more stable and happier?
Why are mental diseases getting more and more common for people? Did we always have these ailments in the past? Were they mostly ignored and denied, and now we are evolving into more sensitive beings with every generation?
People witnessed wars, famine, extreme poverty, and epidemics and endured them all, mentally and physically. Then why do we get upset with the small stuff now? Are we getting weaker? Are we too spoiled?
It is a fact that people are becoming more susceptible to depression and anxiety due to added pressure from society, social media, and the pandemic. We are all more conscientious about mental health, which is excellent, but I wonder whether we exaggerate the symptoms? Are the doctors too quick to prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs?
Is it because medications are the easiest and fastest way to deal with mental problems instead of meditation, psychotherapy, mindfulness, and natural remedies?
We should exhaust every alternative option before accepting medication, which will most probably become a long-term commitment, according to a New York Times article from April 2018.
Remember, we are all stronger than we think. Life is hard in different ways for each person and every generation. It has its ups and downs, but sooner or later, everything falls into its own rightful place in its own time and at its own pace.