Monday, December 7, 2015

Why Mental Health Disorders Emerge in Your Early 20s.

Vice has an article up on Why Mental Health Disorders Emerge in Your Early 20s. This is something that's come up in a few of the articles and books I've read, but I wanted to highlight some of the points made in the article for my own clarification.

The interview quotes below are from Johanna Jarcho, Ph.D. a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health:
... The vast majority of mental health disorders do emerge during one's adolescence or early 20s. If you're going to have an anxiety disorder as an adult, there's a 90% chance that you'll have had it as an adolescent. Basically, you're not going to develop an anxiety disorder as an adult. You're going to develop it as a kid and then it'll carry through to adulthood. Emerging research suggests that this is because adolescence is a time when the brain is changing to a great degree. We once thought that the brain didn't change that much after earlier childhood, but what we've seen is that the brain continues to undergo really profound changes up until your early 20s. It's still quite malleable, so being exposed to different influences in your social environment can really have a profound impact on the way that your brain continues to develop.
 Is there anything else you think that the average young adult should know?
They should know that most of the mental health disorders that people have in their 20s do dissipate. That can give you hope. But they should also know that if you're one of the people for whom it's not going to dissipate, it's much better to get help sooner rather than later. Don't think of seeing a mental health professional as something stigmatizing that you only do in a moment of acute crisis. Think of it as a general wellness thing, like going for an annual checkup. Talk about problems early instead of letting things build up.
It seems, to me, that a lot of this has to do with self-awareness of ourselves within an outside world. My introduction to my anxiety and depression was through an eating disorder. I was 16, all of a sudden I was worried about my being sexualized, my being wanted and accepted, my place in the world (literally). Anxiety is another branch to that same fear, our role, our responsibilities, our natural state versus what we feel we should or should not be. Depressive thinking - acknowledging the struggle, the pain, seeing things an insurmountable - all comes in when you start really identifying with your ego, especially an unstable ego that is panicked and threatened, as well as sensitive, self-conscious and hormonal.

You know teenager's are ridiculous, and often feel immortal? They go through their Jackass phase where they do dumb things because they can, to make their friends laugh and because they're going to live forever, just astronomically high on being oblivious and self-centred. Well maybe that eventually dulls and mutates into something else. Maybe it worms it's way back inside of you, and rots. It becomes its own antithesis. You're suddenly faced with the reality of all of your choices. The difficulty of moving forward and choosing your life. Suddenly there's college. There's a major. There's a gap-year or time-off that could ultimately lead to you being homeless, because there is no time for time off. What about working while in school? What about taking out a student loan? Loans? What about your sexuality? What about it is abnormal? Wow, that person is really good looking. You are not that good looking. Independence would be nice. But you can't afford to live on your own. Stay with your parents, like a loser. Your ex is now with someone put-together. You're a mess. You don't come from money. Work two jobs. Is everything meant to be this difficult already?

What if all of that ignorance gets blown open into something like a hyper-awareness?

Maybe that's what it looked like for me, since I'm hyper-sensitive, an introvert, and a thinker.

But not everybody is made like me. Maybe it's different - the process. But, it could also be rooted in that same rot. That existential ignorance that becomes existential knowledge, coupled with the trauma of navigating that realization and moving towards (or avoiding) that eventual acceptance. 

No comments:

Post a Comment