Let’s just start out by saying this. I’m not 100% percent bitter, only about 83%. And not at all moms. Just 31% of them. But a title called “Why I’m 83% Bitter at 31% of Moms” gave my math phobic self severe heart palpitations.
One of my favourite bloggers once said “everyone has something”, a statement referring to the idea that each person is going through their own battle- a notion that has really hit home with me in the last few months. Bloggers with children are no exception. I read a lot of blogs of women in their 30′s and 40′s who are slugging it out with family and life and health and jobs. And sometimes it gets too much and they write about needing extra help for managing depression- therapy, daily mediation or medication. When they post about being depressed or overwhelmed they are applauded for being honest. When they post about taking time for themselves, they are revered for making themselves a priority. When they share that they have started therapy or begun medication, there’s a standing ovation and if you can listen closely you can hear angels singing sweet praise.
But if you are childless and in your 20s? It’s not the same. It’s been my experience that a person in their 40′s who is a mother and writes about depression and medication is treated differently than someone in their 20′s who is writing about depression and medication. There’s this idea that a 20 something hasn’t lived enough to really know what depression is or that a person in their 20′s really can’t possibly be as stressed or overwhelmed with their life to require medication because being in your 20′s is about 2 hour mani-pedi appointments and nights out that always resemble a Bud Light commercial.
Which baffles me because you know what? Being a 20 something is really fucking hard sometimes. Hell, being a HUMAN is really fucking hard sometimes. As a 20 something, you battle new jobs, new loves, new moves and the whole battle of “WHO AM I AND WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY ENTIRE LIFE?”. It’s in your 20′s that suddenly the world expects more from you than you ever imagined. You make choices that will affect your whole life- furthering your education, moving, traveling, settling down. You start accumulating your first awesome truckload of debt through student loans, mortgage payments and/or the addition of a vehicle that doesn’t have a Wilson Phillips bumper sticker. Add to the fact that your parents are getting older, you are competing with a facebook full of friends who married their kindergarten sweetheart and insist on uploading a picture of them happily kissing ever 3.4 seconds and shit gets real very fast.
It’s in your 20s that your heart often breaks for the very first time. Not a tiny crack like in highschool, but the kind of Earth shattering break that still catches your breath when you think about it. It’s in your 20s that you realize your life may not end up how you always wanted it to be- or that the life you want will require more of you than you ever imagined. Work demands more of you because you are new and are supposed to be eager and able to work 28 hours a day and live on Redbull and the notion that in 30 years, this will all be worth it because you will have a corner office.
Yes, being 20something can be overwhelming. And if you have great friends, family, stable brain chemistry, a delightful work situation, Suze Orman approved finances and you refuse to sign up for Facebook, it can be manageable. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, regardless of age- life takes you gently by the hand, leads you to the nearest sidwalk and curb stomps the hell out of you. For many, the remedy to that kind of pain and depression comes in the form of therapy or medication. Sometimes both. Sometimes it comes in the form of vodka tonics on a Tuesday afternoon while you wear an orange caftan and pretend to be Rachel Zoe. I’M NOT JUDGING.
Obviously I’m not saying that one age group over the other has feelings or circumstances that are more valid when it comes to needing help. Far from that, actually. As someone who is in therapy and is taking medication, I realize that depression is like lightening- it can strike anyone given the right circumstances. What I am saying is- someone in their 20′s can be just as in need of help as someone in their 40′s and should be equally celebrated for getting help. I refuse to live in a world where universal acceptance of those requiring medication or therapy to battle depression is denied based on age. The idea that one age is more acceptable to get help than another is not only sad to me, but also seems dangerous. Not just dangerous to the people who are young and are avoiding getting help because they don’t want to appear “spoiled” (and yes, that’s a term I’ve heard used more than once to describe 20somethings in therapy), but it seems dangerous to all of us- that regardless of our age that we can’t embrace the idea that at some point, everyone needs some goddamn help.
I’m going to put on my orange caftan now. It will be bananas.