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Offlineunlikelyhero
Ramblin' Man

Registered: 12/31/02
Posts: 106
Loc: Lancaster (Uni), Darlingt...
Last seen: 13 years, 7 months
Increase in teenage depression
    #1912510 - 09/13/03 01:51 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Here?s a really weird fact: affluent British 15-year-old girls are now twice as prone to anxiety and depression as their poorer neighbors. These girls have every possible advantage. They do much better at school than boys. Hard-won freedoms denied to their mothers and grandmothers mean they have much more money to spend and choice about how to use their time. If any group is feeling pretty chipper about life under American-style advanced capitalism, it should be them.

Yet they are increasingly miserable. Whereas in 1987 only six percent suffered from a serious mental illness, now it?s 18 percent. The cause of this derangement is the same as the one that has led to a dramatic rise in mental illness since 1950 throughout the developed world and especially in America. It?s a pathological attack of Keeping Up With The Joneses, an obsessive and envious comparing of what you own and who you are, of never being satisfied with yourself or what you?ve got.

In the case of the affluent teenage girls (but not poor ones or boys), between 1987 and 1999 their worries about school performance and their weight soared. Their anxieties perfectly matched a dramatic leap in their exam results and ever-greater pressures to look like Kate Moss or Posh Spice. Increased demands from parents, teachers and the media led to an epidemic of maladjusted comparing of themselves with other girls? looks and academic success.

Comparing to other people is a part of the human condition. If we want to be better at something, we naturally look toward people who have already achieved what we aspire to. Equally, if we want to cheer ourselves up, we gain succor from observing less accomplished performers than ourselves.

When looking for ways to improve my golf, for instance, I compare myself with my friend Paul, who is much better than me. But when comparing upwards you have to be careful. To avoid feeling hopelessly outclassed, I must put Paul?s excellence in context by saying things to myself like, ?he?s been playing for years? and ?he practices all the time.? This is known as ?discounting.? Without it, I would not be able to learn from watching Paul without falling into despair.

On the other hand, when I play with my friend Hugo, who is useless, it?s important that I allow my superiority to nourish my self-confidence (this will help in the hard times when I?m playing Paul). If I were depressed, I would be liable to say to myself, ?I beat Hugo, but he?d probably win if he only practiced a bit more and had a few lessons.? I would discount the fact that he is worse than me and gain no benefit to my self-esteem. Instead, I just enjoy being better.

American advanced capitalism has ruthlessly exploited our comparison instinct. More than that, it encourages grossly pathological ways of comparing, both upward and downward.

We are under continuous pressure from a very young age to compare ourselves with incredibly talented, beautiful and ultimately unreal people, all without discounting. Television and magazines give us the illusion that these stars are people just like us.

As a result, affluent 15-year-old girls are liable to say in all seriousness that they hope to be as successful as Madonna or Posh Spice, directly comparing themselves and apparently oblivious to the extreme improbability of it ever happening. Feeling they almost know these women and encouraged by song lyrics and autobiographies that promise ?you too can be anyone you want to be,? the girls make no discount for what has made the stars stand out.

In Madonna?s case, for instance, she is a Machiavellian workaholic who has used money and status to compensate for a terribly disturbed early childhood. As for Posh, she obsessively craves attention and was willing to do anything to be famous. Without these pathologies, a normal girl is unlikely to be prepared to go through the awful distortions necessary to achieve stardom.

Equally destructive is the fact that, when these increasingly perfectionist girls read their usually excellent exam results, or look at their pretty faces and nubile bodies in the mirror, they fail utterly to enjoy what they see. Instead, they look at others who are better than them in some minute regard (?better at math,? ?bigger boobs,? ?more friends?), and feel like failures. Worst of all, when they hear of others who have done worse or see girls less pretty, they shrug it off, discounting the evidence that all their work has not been in vain: their best is never good enough.

Compared with 1950, and with accelerating speed, a ?grass is greener? mentality has been made a part of ourselves. Studies of lottery winners show that they soon readjust their sights and begin to long for what they do not have. They may now have a Merc and a Porsche, a large home and no need to work ? but if only they could afford the yacht, the mansion, the helicopter?.

Likewise, enormously wealthy people simply raise the standards of what they expect, so that even if they stay in the top hotels, drive the most opulent cars and so on, they will always feel there is a better one elsewhere. They are constantly infuriated by the smallest sign that what they have is less than the best.

Continual economic growth is only possible if needs are constantly diversifying to create new markets. There is a necessity for ever more diverse needs so that ever more specific products can be devised to meet them. Advanced capitalism maintains itself by fostering spurious individualism, pressuring us to define ourselves through our purchases, with ever more precisely marketed products that create a fetishistic concern to have ?this? rather than ?that,? even when there is no significant practical or aesthetic difference. It profits from the dissatisfaction and rage that are engendered by unreal social comparisons, encouraging us to fill the consequent psychic void with material goods and drugs of solace (alcohol, illegal drugs, food, nicotine).

Money can even be made from restoring the chemical imbalance in our brains that results from these overheated ambitions and false identities, selling pills and therapeutic services to the damaged and subordinated. Capitalism does very nicely at both ends. It creates misery, and it cures it. Our inner lives foot the bill.

Oliver James is a clinical psychologist and author of They F**k You Up (Bloomsbury, 2002).


--------------------
They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference - Bill Hicks


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OfflineGernBlanston
unintended sideeffect

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 841
Loc: In my pants
Last seen: 5 years, 2 months
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: unlikelyhero]
    #1912567 - 09/13/03 02:07 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

No Logo?
Or You Are Being Lied To?

I've read that recently but can't remember which...


--------------------
There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
  --  Howard Zinn


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Offlineunlikelyhero
Ramblin' Man

Registered: 12/31/02
Posts: 106
Loc: Lancaster (Uni), Darlingt...
Last seen: 13 years, 7 months
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: GernBlanston]
    #1912592 - 09/13/03 02:18 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

It was neither. It's an article in this month's adbusters magazine. They Fuck You Up isn't considered an amazing book but I think his previous book (where the quote is taken from) 'Britain on the Couch' is supposed to be amazing.

UH


--------------------
They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference - Bill Hicks


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Anonymous

Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: unlikelyhero]
    #1912595 - 09/13/03 02:20 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)



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Offlineunlikelyhero
Ramblin' Man

Registered: 12/31/02
Posts: 106
Loc: Lancaster (Uni), Darlingt...
Last seen: 13 years, 7 months
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: ]
    #1912604 - 09/13/03 02:24 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Hahaha, fuck man, I hadn't seen it on the rest of the site before. Thanks for pointing that out mushmaster. I apologise for posting the same article!

UH


--------------------
They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference - Bill Hicks


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
Stranger
Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: unlikelyhero]
    #1913151 - 09/13/03 05:38 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)


It's an article in this month's adbusters magazine.


I think that magazine is slanted...just a tad bit.


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OfflinePsilocybeingzz
Male User Gallery

Registered: 12/15/02
Posts: 14,463
Loc: International waters
Last seen: 4 years, 7 months
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1913780 - 09/13/03 09:44 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

really you think its slanted


YA, well I would say it is to, its slanted towards truth!, towards, real writing with authors that are not just trying to make a buck, plus, ANYONE can write in


the new york times is slanted

adbusters is more grassroots thats all, you might not be used to some of the ideas discused in adbusters if you get your info from the "corporate stream"


--------------------


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Invisiblez@z.com
Libertarian
Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 2,876
Loc: ATL
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1914391 - 09/14/03 02:38 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Psilocybeingzz said:
adbusters is more grassroots thats all, you might not be used to some of the ideas discused in adbusters if you get your info from the "corporate stream"



That just made me laugh.


--------------------
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineMalachi
stereotype

Registered: 06/19/02
Posts: 1,294
Loc: Around Minneapolis.
Last seen: 8 years, 26 days
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: z@z.com]
    #1914426 - 09/14/03 02:59 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

no kidding, adbusters might be too much for us "corporate" types.

that kind of silly posturing is what makes no one take adbusters seriously... sooo pretentious.


to address the topic.... wookiefoot puts it best: the pot has been boiling so long that no one realizes it's getting to hot. the kids NEED the sacred, not sacred shells like christmas and christianity. why do you think this site is so popular? why is coldplay pop? etc.


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
Stranger
Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: Psilocybeingzz]
    #1914870 - 09/14/03 09:08 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)


YA, well I would say it is to, its slanted towards truth!, towards, real writing with authors that are not just trying to make a buck, plus, ANYONE can write in

adbusters is more grassroots thats all, you might not be used to some of the ideas discused in adbusters if you get your info from the "corporate stream"


I am familiar with Adbusters and some of the ideas put forth in
it(excess materialism is ruining the world, consumerism is a disease,
the media is used to control people's minds and it is run by
"right-wing" bigots, there are world-wide conspiracies by the
"privileged and elite" to keep the general population down..etc..
etc...). It subscribes to all of the classic fantastical left-wing
conspiracy theories. I'm not saying that there isn't some truth
to some of these viewpoints, but the way in which it is put forth
by Adbusters is so dogmatic, posturing, self-righteous, and
pretentious(in my opinion).


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OfflinePhluck
Carpal Tunnel
 User Gallery

Registered: 04/11/99
Posts: 11,393
Loc: Canada
Last seen: 7 days, 14 hours
Re: Increase in teenage depression [Re: unlikelyhero]
    #1916318 - 09/14/03 08:50 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Analyzing data is key.

For instance, are rich kids more likely to be depressed, or are they more likely to go to a psychologist and be diagnosed?

Are the more educated kids more likel to think of their emotional pain as depression?


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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