The Generation that ( Glorifies / Vilifies ) Mental Illness

I am a Millennial, 24 this year. Sandwiched against Baby Boomers and Z Generation, me and my friends, we are taught differently about mental illnesses, and how to cope with it.

Grown in between, I realize that my childhood is by all means, still have it’s ups and downs, but I never even heard the term “mental illness”…and to make it worse, growing up in an Asian household, I’ve been told that such things were projected lies, that can be solved easily by “believing in yourself” and “pray to God more often”.

It wasn’t until I went to college that everyone began to understand — and to fully comprehend the importance of mental wellness. It could be the result of many musicians that appeared with their sadness songs, about growing up and the toughness of life.

And as things when south, it went to the polar opposites of things. A social phenomena that swipes back all the progress that leads us to understand mental health better, and turn into a boomerang…all the kids think it was “trendy” to have mental illness(es).

So much, that I began to reminisce the good ‘ol days ( yeah, I know, I’m old ) and how they tackle this problem differently back then. But, that wasn’t going to change anything, as a matter of fact, it changes nothing at all. I realize that this is the problem of all the era of humanity — bridging problems that appears during the youthful days and how much it differs from the adulthood days.

Don’t get me wrong. I hated the way they treat all my crying back then…to “toughen up” is not what I had in mind when I was thinking of dark thoughts. But the days when I am at my lowest…they didn’t have to appear again. And as Baskara, the vocalist of Hindia said it best, “Sadness is not a competition.”

That statement holds true. I wish not to delve unto my deepest drawer of mind, scribbling paper that is already filled with my worst of fears and breakdowns, only to write some more. To feel some more. No…we all deserve of happiness. The tunnel of our darkness needs not to be long, it needs to be lapped quickly.

With a grain of salt added, this story only justifies those who belong at the polar opposites of such problem. There are many that belongs in the middle of the spectrum, those who know when to wipe your tears off and when to let the tear faucet turned all the way down. I envy those, and I want to be those people. And here’s a fact; you and I can be like them, too.

I struggle to be myself these days, but then again, who doesn’t? Like our judgement on tears, we can make choices that make us happy — because no matter what, your smile should appear at the end of the day, and it should be as wide as your cheeks can pull them. The old people can do it, the toddlers can do it, and you can do it. It doesn’t need a dictionary chockfull of psychological term to make your day bright.

It only needs you, and what you long for.

Mental health is a problem for the ages, and I am more than glad to see the light shine on this topic like never before. And no matter what generation you belong to, whatever you do and how much is it that life is going to throw at you, just know that the only thing matters is you. And you have no idea how much that is worth…for you, for me, and for all of your loved ones. They might not understand a word of these mental wellness thing, but they love you.

And isn’t love the greatest psychological word of all time?




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Alessandro Mulya

Alessandro Mulya

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