Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"Why are people so depressed?"

Please note that this is the second entry of the day, so scroll down to see the previous one.

My teacher in Seminary posed this broad, wide-open question this morning, "Why are people this generation so depressed?"which led me straight to Mary-Kate Olsen. OMG, Why am I so freakin' obsessed with this child? But anyway, this is a girl who has anything and everything that anyone and everyone wants.
She's been a star since she was 8 months old, whether she was talented or not.
She has a twin sister for constant companionship.
She and her sisters are heads of a humongous empire consisting of dolls, videos, books, cosmetics, and clothing. They are in complete control, and they make a gazillion dollars a year.
She even had a boyfriend until after she got out of rehab (or around there)
She has been waited on hand-and-foot all her life.
She has a Range Rover.
She has EVERYTHING materialistically, but she is still miserable.

Miserable enough to starve herself, put herself in danger, and risk death.
That's hard for some people to believe.

So why are people so depressed? Essentially, this generation has more than the previous ones did. When people have a lot, they always want more. People are greedy. They look at the Olsen twins and think, "Gee I wish I had all that!" and the Olsen Twins look at J.Lo and say, "We wish we had that!" (Why do you think they just came out with a signature fragrance? Watch-they'll open their own restaurant soon, too.) I don't know where J.Lo looks to superiority, because she has already done everything possible, but obviously, she's miserable too. If she had any happiness, keep a guy more than 8 months. The point is, people are looking at what others have, and obviously they have less, so they become miserable.

Story of my life. My high school friends are probably laughing now. In high school, for some reason, I was really competitive with grades. The funny part is, I'm not even really smart, so it was totally futile to compete with people whose IQs are double mine, but my focus was always on those girls who got 90s without studying. I'd look at my hard-earned 80 and cry. I never thought of the one or two girls who gave it their all and landed a 65. The thought of that pain makes my heart ache again. That need to be just as good as someone else. To have as much brains as she has. (I coulda gone for money, looks, all the good stuff. For some reason, I chose brains.) Truly depressed people feel that way about EVERYTHING! They're always looking to see who has more than they have in every area and lament about how little they have been given.

FYI, I am so over the grades thing, so don't be afraid to show me your A+s.

I also have a lot more to say about Materialism, which I briefly touched on here, so IY"H, if all that doesn't fly out of my head, like the other 3 entries I planned...


At 12/01/2004 8:08 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

I can totally relate. I’m just starting to become religious (orthodox) now (my family is conservative), and I can tell you that I have traveled all over the country and had tried and done everything possible and yet I was still always depressed. Living a Jewish lifestyle has definitely made me a happier person!

At 12/02/2004 2:52 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

That's really special. I'd love if you'd elaborate on what made you come to this conclusion, and why you feel that way. It can be inspirational for ppl like you and FFBs who feel burnt out.
Also, can I ask how old you are?

At 12/03/2004 6:47 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

Like I said before, I am just beginning to get religious so I know I still have a very long way to go, but I will be happy to share some of my thoughts with you, since you asked.
Even with all the things I have done in my life I have always had this empty feeling inside of me that would never go away. I knew there had to be more to life than living the way I lived.
I feel like when I wake up in the morning I have a purpose now to get up and do my best to serve G-d and remember that he is alwayds before me. I no longer feel the need to look for that next thrill in my life because it doesn’t mean anything and wont get me anywhere.
I met a girl a couple of years ago who really helped me out and she was the first Orthodox girl that I really got to know. She always seemed so happy and cheerful and used to teach me some things about Judaism. In the beginning I was very skeptical, but then I realized that she was the real deal and I found myself wanting to emulate her bac. Her life seemed so much richer than mine. I ended up staying a short time in Israel studying. It was very difficult for me coming back from Israel though bec. I was very nervous that I wouldn’t have the strength to not go and hang out with my old friends, but thank G-d I have.

By the way, I am 26 years old. I don’t want to bore your readers with my whole story, but that is the jist of it. If you want you can drop me an e-mail at Ashleyl444@yahoo.com and I can share some more thoughts wiyth you if you’d like. I am very open and honest so you can feel free to ask me anything.

At 12/06/2004 11:44 AM, Blogger Barry said...

Re blogger: Why are you so obsessed with depressed people and anorexics? The fact that you're always thinking about them says something.

Re Ashley: Great to hear your story. Just realize that becoming orthodox is not the answer to all of life's problems. You may be on a high now, but if crises occur, God forbid, you may feel like throwing in the towel, thinking that you got a raw deal. Just realize that being orthodox does not mean you're in fantasyland.

At 12/06/2004 6:50 PM, Blogger TRW said...

Um...Barry? I agree that people have their down days, but, as an FFB, I just want to point out that I am SOOO happy and thankful to Hashem that I am where I am (and hopefully I'm still climbing!) and that I love being frum-so it's not just a temporary high..as long as you're willing to make the effort see the 1,000,000s of good things rather than highlighting the few bad..

At 12/07/2004 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to add my two cents 'cause this is interesting -
deeper spirituality (notice i didn't say religion) can add depth and meaning to your life, no question
but i think the suspicion comes from the question as to whether it's spirituality that's bringing depth or structure, rules, dogma, rhetoric - two completely different things at work there - (how often have we heard the phrase, 'i was so depressed until i found jesus') no offence meant to anyone, but really, i don't think rules & regulations add to my spirituality
and perhaps that leads to the question of the day - why are people depressed?
well, since i'm on a roll....i would tend to think that the answer is quite obvious - we're selfish, self-obsessed, lack inner discipline and a sense of community, tend to think in terms of segregation, put quantity before quality, lack in true spirituality which would inevitably lead to compassion, the list goes on and on...whatever leads you to being a better human being is a good thing...but i think we somehow think this is supposed to be an easy thing to do, that somehow we deserve to be happy...what an illusion...life is hard, life is sweet...it's how you deal with it and others that makes the difference

At 12/08/2004 12:05 PM, Blogger The Perfect Ema said...

Why are people so depressed? laziness!!

It's easier to say "i'm depressed," then to just get up and move!! Go do something with your life, instead of moping around that you're sad. Make something of yourself!! Go daven!! Go help someone!! Stop sitting in front of the computer for hours and hours at night and so then at the end of the night have nothing to show for it. (uh, uh, uh, uh, no comment here). And back to anorexia....it's much easier to just exercise for hours at night and not eat then to actually feel one's feelings, study for the test, help others, etc. It just is, kay!!

At 12/08/2004 8:39 PM, Blogger TRW said...

I tend to agree with Ema...there's a comfort in being depressed-just thinking about how bad your life is negates the need to get up and do something about it! It's so much easier to sit and stew..people would rather complain about a problem than get up and DO something about it..

At 12/22/2004 9:31 PM, Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

Great piece, but for me, it all boils down to the immortal words of Pirkei Avos: "who is rich? he who is satisfied with his lot." How true.

At 1/20/2005 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that Perfect Ema and other commenters out there are aware that for people who are really clinically depressed--as diagnosed by a mental health professional--pulling themselves out of bed in the morning to simply "do something" involves a tremendous effort and should not be compared to a healthy person who is "lazy"

At 2/20/2005 11:53 AM, Blogger The Perfect Ema said...

if anyone is still reading these comments, anon, of course I know about real clinical depression, but I don't think that is what Michelle was talking about. In addition, even with real clinical depression there is still something called behavioral psychology! (P.S. i was a psychology student)

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