Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why All the Anxiety (and Self-Destruction)

Cold Hard Fact: Incidents of chronic anxiety, clinical depression, and suicide are taking place at epidemic rates in America.


Is it because we are a nation of weaklings who can’t deal with ‘real life’ without resorting to freaking out, falling into deep depressions or killing ourselves?

Or is it in our collective DNA, or ‘something in our water’?

Or could this thing we call ‘real life’ actually be a collective cultural nightmare we’ve unconsciously constructed by repeating the same actions over and over that make us feel anxious and self-destructive?

The highest rates where these chronic ailments and lethally self-destructive behaviors take place is among two (relatively) small but important segments of our nation’s population: our military personnel (including their families) and the working poor and unemployed.     

Unfortunately, too often these two groups converge.

But taken separately, the first group, active and former military, can hardly be blamed personally for showing the wounds of the physical and emotional damage they experience while defending our nation on the  front lines. There does not exist, nor will there ever exist, a pill that can make one immune from the effects of partaking in the horrors of war.    

But if we are going to continue to ask, and depend on, literally 1% of our population to physically defend  the rest of us, shouldn’t the other 99% be willing to do whatever it takes, or costs, to insure that they are taken care of when they come home – including, especially, receiving counseling and jobs that pay a living wage?

Now imagine yourself in the latter category, trying to support yourself and a family by making a wage at or near the national minimum ($7.25/hr.)?  I hope you have a good imagination, because you simply  cannot do it in realty.

In 20012, it cost the US economy (its taxpayers) more than 40 billion dollars in uninsured medical care to cover the cost of ‘collateral damages’ done to people (inlcuding many veterans) living at or below poverty in America.   

Would it not be cheaper, and more humane, for us to simply provide proper care for our veterans and provide livable wages to our working poor.  It would cost less in the long run, and not have such a devastating effect on our fellow citizens.      

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