Mentality and romance
By Alex Cole
The subject of mental health is becoming more understood medically, socially and more people are realising that it needs to be addressed. Alongside many others, the millennial generation are fighting against the stigma that limits societies awareness of the different types of mental health. But in this battle, they are being declared as over dramatic by some who were brought up in a time when they were taught not to discuss these issues; creating a misunderstanding of the realities of mental health and the range of conditions associated with it.
So why is a generation of strong, stigma fighting warriors so troubled? Is it because we’re finally diagnosing and recognising how common ill mental health is or because they have to deal with heightened complications such as financial worries? The answer isn’t either of these. These problems have existed for generations and do not have a simple explanation. But we can’t ignore the reasons that contribute to why millennials are facing such issues.
The first topic that needs to be highlighted is mental health and romantic relationships. The amount of millennials that I’ve spoken to who have agreed that modern dating has had a negative effect on their mental state is staggering! Firstly, when a person is struggling with their health, it’s instantly more difficult to embrace the terrifying quest of social events and interactions. That’s right, quest! Secondly, it seems that people now have more choice and horribly, can change their mind at any given moment. This seems to be the most common problem that has had a negative impact on this generation. Essentially, people now have to get to know each other the way you would through dating, before a date even occurs. Due to the amount of time invested, a sense of hopefulness and connection is formed. But when this suddenly ends, defeat is felt. This then leads to self-doubt and confusion. It appears that these occurrences are becoming more frequent. As a result, the experience becomes mentally tiring and emotionally exhausting. It saddens me that so many people I know are not treated the way they should be and through these experiences, confidence shattered.
I asked my friends who have had both positive and negative dating experiences to sum up their thoughts on the subject. They said the following:
"It makes you feel like you’re not good enough".
"It feels futile".
"It makes you feel like a number and replaceable. When that isn’t the case, as everyone is special in their own way".
"I felt totally expendable and I feel like people are more accepting of being treated like s*** on a date. I feel like it put a pressure on me to only feel accepted and good enough when people bother to keep it going. Therefore my self worth became reliant on other people which took a very long time to get over and to be honest I still feel like that a lot of the time".
"Dating is like going out for a run in the rain, you desperately don’t want to, you feel exposed but feel like you should and there’s only a 50/50 chance it will make you feel better".
While it bothers me that some of the kindest and most accepting people have dealt with these situations, it proves that attempting to dive into the world of relationships isn’t as simple as it once was. It has a huge effect on mental health and can damage people’s confidence. As someone who deals with an anxiety disorder, specific social situations can be difficult. Dating can be even harder. This is yet another unexplained result of living under the umbrella of mental health. From experience, you’re in a constant state of worry; are you interesting? Will someone get bored? Then when you actually go on the date, you find yourself close to a panic attack. No really, it could be the most ideal dating experience and you still panic. As you could tell, this then prevents the ability to completely be yourself and you guessed it, causes more anxiety! Unfortunately, people don’t recognise this, therefore ending any possibility of relationships before they really get to know the other person. This doesn’t just to apply to romantic relationships, but platonic too!
However, those who are struggling need to remember is that there are also others who understand those feelings and now see the positive side. Sooner or later, someone will realise how truly magnificent you truly are. To quote one of the best films of all time ’10 things I hate about you’ (seriously, it’s genius): “don't let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don't deserve what you want”. If you ever feel extremely low though, always remember there are various methods of help available and try to find the suitable support system, which is best for you.
What those with anxiety disorders and other health issues need to understand is that they shouldn’t doubt themselves. There are going to be times when you get upset and rely on that giant bag of Doritos or tub of ice cream. But that is okay. If a negative thought appears, remember to breathe. It’s not strange to feel upset or disappointed. You’ll learn that there are so many other people who have been through the same situations. Then you’ll find everything quite ridiculous and discover the humour in it all. Don’t forget some of the greatest writers/musicians also experienced these situations and created the most moving pieces of work of all time. It might be difficult at the moment, but always remind yourself you’re enough. If you don’t, just remember Chandler Bing did just fine.