Angst or Adderall

February 29, 2016


photo | Maya Jackson

When did you fall out of love with life?

It was probably when your first pet died. You realized if something so pure and loved didn’t have a place here, eventually, you wouldn’t either.

The apathy set in through your teenage years. Suffocated by grades, numbers, and the same town you’ve been in for years now. The drive to “become more” deteriorated as time went on.

Nothing excites you anymore. You start to rely on the future for hope.

Getting out of here. Getting away from her. Getting back at him.

You’d show everyone how much they had missed out on… eventually. Years pass, graduation gets closer. It’s all happening. This is everything you’ve ever wanted.

It’s not enough.

For so many of us, apathy finds its way into our lives between all the numbers that grow to define us, the expectations that conform us, and the responsibilities we didn’t ask for.

This routine nonchalant-ness, this weak release of control over our own lives is the issue; not societal prohibitions.

When did you fall out of love with life?

It was probably when you stopped searching for the best in people. Stopped experiencing new places. Stopped pondering new ideas. The problem isn’t “him,” “her,” or “this town.” The problem is our apathy. The solution is us.

Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, and pressure to succeed. For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. Suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems and stress.  Coping mechanisms are at our disposal, but instead of using these, we go directly to pharmaceuticals.

There is a sharp rise in teen suicides across the board, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.They are up 76% in girls aged 10-14, up 32% in girls aged 15-19, and up 9% in boys aged 15-19. It’s the biggest spike in 15 years. Suicides among young people continue to be a serious problem. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. According to the American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds.

People my age, this microwave generation,  keep searching for relief from depression, anxiety, and restlessness in pills, because we can’t cope with actually having to wait.

Starting medication isn’t a game, and it isn’t a fix-all. While it benefits many people, medication is almost a life-long commitment. It becomes a dependency, especially when one begins it while their brain is still developing.

Beginning in middle school, teens should be taught that these feelings of loneliness, restlessness, and anxiousness are not necessarily  things to be medicated for. The trendy appeal of “shutting down your emotions” has led to no one talking about what they feel anymore, to teens feeling left out in the cold.

When did I fall back in love with life?

It was when I made the conscious decision to change my life and start caring about myself more. When I decided, if I felt restless, I was going to make myself busy.  I decided that apathy was no longer an option, and living my life isn’t an option any more either.

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    Julia Nall | Mar 2, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    this is such a good column, I think you handled the topic really well.