By Natasha Sharma
The answer to this question of course is ‘No.’ Nevertheless the percentage of people diagnosed and dealing with a mental illness increases with each passing year. Certainly over the years, due to advances in society and technology, we have become more aware of the biological and psychological markers of mental illness, and more willing to recognize it. Another reason put forth to explain the rise of mental illness is the idea that we currently live “in more difficult times” than previously. I don’t agree with this. The reality is we now live in arguably the easiest times in the course of human history, and we seem to have lost some of our “toughness.” But I’ll save that last point for another article. Sure, we have our fair share of problems (faster pace of life, career burnout, environmental concerns), but I wouldn’t trade these problems in for the ones our ancestors had (such as world war and widespread disease) any time soon. And we are no more pre-disposed to mental health issues now than we were then. So what is really going on here? Are we all getting sicker? Or do we simply need to understand the difference between a mental illness and a normal response to the experience of life? I think it’s the latter.