Depression in History
Roles of Society
It is safe to say society has played a significant role in the development of anxiety and depression. It is hard to deny its influence on humanity’s way of thinking, acting and his/her belief system. Take a moment and ask yourself, am I over weight and unhappy because I want to be thin and fit? Why? Is it because you believe it is the way you should be? Why? Why is that your belief? What fuels the belief that you will become a better version of yourself if you were to lose weight and tone up? Where does that come from? You could argue, that is, simply the way life is.
Humans are superior beings with high levels of intellect but somehow, we cannot think for ourselves. We cannot separate ourselves from the programming that has happened throughout history. Think about this. Someone, somewhere, at some point, decided that someone, who had less than them, were lesser beings because of it. You can trace this back throughout history. I wonder what took place, who was involved and what emotions this person felt to conclude this ideal. Power! The feeling that has corrupted the world since the beginning and has poisoned humankind. Somewhere, power was first felt; the ability to overcome another, releasing chemicals in the brain and an addiction formed. The stage was set.
An argument could be made that it began with Neanderthals and the art of survival. Two primitive men fighting over the proverbial piece of meat. One would be sustained and one would die. Could it have been that moment of success that has driven the reach for power throughout history itself? A learned behavior that has aided the kings to throne and thrones to kingdoms? The ability to elevate oneself to an esteemed role that weaker, lesser beings would then follow with awe and obedience. They would follow blindly, as the people in power were superior because they “were” in power. They obeyed to receive proper treatment and to avoid falling on the power’s rapacious side; survival became the art of compliance. Finding your own, left to those who defied ideals of others and fought to secure their place as warriors and free thinkers.
Being a free thinker would be considered an act of treason, defiance against the rulers. A punishment suited best by being cast out, murdered or publicly executed. It was not allowed! Think about this, a truth to power and its workings. The free thinker found inner power to think freely but his thoughts wouldn’t have gained idealistic power without the followers that imbued him with it. Without followers, a free thinker would have been deemed insane; often many were. Rulers only took notice if they thought the ideals of the radical would jeopardize their stance within the kingdom. Then public execution was the means in which to regain control over those who chose to follow the radical.
Power has been the heroin to the human race, since its early discovery to our present day. There are wars over power today as there were thousands of years ago, However, power does not exist without you, because the power exists within you! We choose in which we endow our power and allow it then to have power over us; but it starts within us.
Let us ask ourselves, once again, why we desire to be thin and fit! Why does it feel, deeply rooted within us, how it is we should be? Where has that feeling come from? Is it our own? Is it a form of societal brain washing that has been underwritten within our mental DNA?
Looking back during the renaissance and the paintings that depicted women during that time, what do you see? Many plus size women who are seen as sexy. A time where god given bodies were accepted and sought after. Fast forward to the Victorian era where women would suffocate themselves, to achieve the smallest waistlines possible to appear sexy and alluring; striving to cinch their waists to merely twelve inches. Then again in the fifties, curvy pin ups were the epitome of sex appeal, and now since the sixties, eating disorders have ballooned because women strive to be the thinnest they can possibly be.
One person, then another, then another and then the majority of the population gravitates to what is believed to be the hierarchy of perfection. Women who put their power in an ideal and then allow that power to control them. It is learned behavior! Years of constant misinterpretation of power being absorbed and believed to be one’s own mentality. It isn’t to say that being fit isn’t a better choice for health and life sustaining reasons, but being thin isn’t! One can be extraordinarily fit and healthy without being a size zero.
Each day we look in a mirror and because we do not see a magazine figure staring back at us, we feel inferior, less attractive and less alluring then the Giselle’s of the world. You allow yourself to feel that way! It is only you who can put a stop to that form of thinking.
History has fueled the epidemic of self-loathing and it continues to do so on a much larger scale than previous decades. We are enveloped in a world of social media that delivers these ideals twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The message is inescapable; you need to be something better then who you are to have worth. 20 years ago this could be avoided, now these messages can be sent to wherever you are, directly to your phone. We live and work with technology that has allowed easier access to almost everything. Apps that make life convenient; programs that take the “Think” out of everything. Our minds have become weak and incapable of dealing with our thoughts, there’s an app for everything. We are no longer forced to preserve sharp minds and maintain clarity. If tired, skip the bank lines and transact online. If running behind, purchase movie tickets on a mobile app.
The topic of technology raises many discussions on the role it plays in our mental health. Have our minds become indolent? Are we overstimulated? Is technology beneficial to us or is it impeding our ability to regulate our mental well-being?