There is one thing that millennials are really good at: talking. I could literally talk shit for hours. And hours.
The generation before us (the baby boomers) were typically British- emotionally reserved, stiff upper lip. A hairdresser would give them an awful haircut and they’d still smile, say they loved it and pay. But millennials aren’t really like that. We want to shout about things, make noise, be heard. We want to have our thoughts and feelings recognised, validated. So why, when it comes to our mental health, do we still stay silent? Granted, more of us than ever are talking about it these days. But it’s still a problem, and we still need the conversation to carry on.
So… let’s talk about anxiety… okay?
Around 5 in 100 people are likely to be diagnosed with anxiety, and that statistic doesn’t include those who, although suffering from symptoms, do not report it to their doctor. I think realistically everyone suffers from anxiety on some level. Whether it’s sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat before a job interview; a dry mouth and a knotted stomach before you break up with that guy you’ve been seeing for three weeks but hey, he’s really annoying; or a panic attack because actually today, you don’t think you can go outside and interact with other people. You’re not alone. At all. In fact, millennials have been dubbed ‘The Anxious Generation’ and is it any fucking wonder? It’s not enough for your own personal worries to affect your daily life, the rest of society are giving their penny’s worth too. ‘Why can’t you get a job that pays you a proper salary? Do you want to be able to pay your rent or not?’ ‘Where are my grandchildren? Still single eh?’ ‘Living back with mummy and daddy? You have it so easy.’
Give. Me. A. Break.
So what exactly is making us anxious? Here are the top five things:
#5 Romance, or lack thereof
At number five is the fear that we won’t fall in love. People are settling down and creating a family much later in life these days because their career aspirations are more of a priority. But this doesn’t remove the pressure that a lot of us feel to fall in love and have ten babies to create the modern day Von Trapp family from The Sound of Music. We are afraid that an unexpected pregnancy will spoil our chances of career progression, but then afraid that if we leave it too late, we may never settle down. And social media doesn’t exactly help. Is it just me or did everyone get engaged this year?
#4 Our career path
As millennials, we are always chasing that sense of fulfilment. We want to be doing a job that ticks all the boxes: good salary, beer on a Friday and that feeling that you are doing something meaningful and worthwhile. But it’s just not always the case is it? We often have to work underpaid jobs that we hate just to pay the bills or commit to an unpaid internship. But in the grand scheme of things, wherever you are right now in your career is exactly where you need to be. And just remember, Colonel Sanders didn’t think up KFC till he was 65 and he wasn’t a billionaire till he was about 88. So… you’ve got loads of time.
#3 Housing… again
People are still getting worried about housing. Still. OMG. If it’s not the monthly worry that you won’t be able to pay your rent, it’s the worry that you won’t get on the property ladder. And then you have to live with weird people or you have to move back home. And if you have to move back home will you ever move out and do you even want to move out if it costs £600 a month and… *breathe*
#2 An uncertain future
Quite often, when people ask me where I will be in 5 years time, I stare at them blankly- how am I supposed to know? For millennials, there is no certainty about how our future will look. But it’s actually great because there aren’t really many traditions or rules that we have to follow anymore with regards to our future. Although an uncertain future is a scary thought, you have a blank canvas to make it whatever you like.
And last but not least. According to statistics, 67% of people reckon that money worries cause them the most anxiety. It seems to be that in our attempt to afford the general cost of living, we end up missing out on things we really want, like pizza or Chanel handbags… you know, the important stuff. But it doesn’t really have to be like that.