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UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

My last two years of teaching I had four senior girls tell me they suffered from anxiety/depression. Three said they might have to leave class suddenly if they were having an anxiety attack. They would also be absent a lot. I stared at them, trying to process what I was hearing. All four of the girls were exceptionally pretty. And sure enough, they did exactly what they said they would do. The fourth girl just sat quietly in her chair. What I noticed was that other three were constantly on their phones, even though they weren’t supposed to be. Their fingers furiously typing. One day, the most melodramatic girl suddenly left the room—she had ominously warned me she would. When I had a break, I went into the hall. She was typing. I told her to get back in class. Tears. Ugly ones. Don’t you understand? My life is falling apart!! I figuratively kicked her rear end back into the classroom. All four of the girls disappeared. Only one of them, the quiet one, did her work from home and passed my class. The other three never answered my emails and failed, which meant they would not graduate. This mental health “crisis” routine is getting old. Those three girls were addicted to the endless drama of life online. That was their problem, and I had little sympathy—except for the quiet one. I sometimes think of those girls. Were they fired from their jobs because they wouldn’t put their phones away? Did they try to pull the mental illness scam? Did they have better luck with men than they did with me?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yikes. I had a girl – a college senior – in my illustration class. She could have been one of the students you cite: weepy, dramatic, attention-seeking, lazy. But I had zero patience for her and told her that professional artists (her ambition, such as it was), couldn’t be flakes. Her mother (!) called me at home and screamed for twenty minutes, but the kid never came back to class, so I gave her an incomplete, and she didn’t graduate.

I couldn’t believe it, but in the following Fall semester, she was back in my class! And she stopped showing up after three weeks, again failing to graduate. No more calls from Mom. By this time, even she must have had enough.

Jim M
Jim M
1 month ago

Why did you listen for 20 minutes?

David Morley
David Morley
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

That’s not a mental health crisis! That’s natural selection at work!

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

So, not so strong and independent after all.

David Morley
David Morley
1 month ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I’m beginning to think that terms like “strong and independent” actually have no meaning for the people who use them, aside from being approved positive markers.

If you were to ask someone who so self describes to demonstrate their strength and independence I think their response would be: “what do you mean?”

Dave Canuck
Dave Canuck
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Illness of the privileged, spoiled and overindulged. And being told too often how awesome and amazing you are. Then they can no longer deal with life’s challenges, most people on this planet have to struggle to survive and get by, isn’t that horrible!

Thomas K.
Thomas K.
1 month ago

I am endlessly bitter about this new, bullsh** fixation on ‘mental health’. I’ve lived almost 20 years of constant suffering from severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, severe enough that it is quite literally crippling. And in all those years very few people have given a *damn* about my ‘mental well-being’. Now we have pampered clods self-IDing themselves based on tiktok memes, using my illness as a justification for their selfishness, and basking in and soaking up all that unearned sympathy that I never got, and *still* wouldn’t, to be honest.

The more we loudly proclaim to care about the marginalized, the less we seem to *actually* care. I despise modernity.

Dillon Eliassen
Dillon Eliassen
1 month ago

“Therapy queen
Now we’re sharing the same dream
And our hearts they beat as one
No more love on the run”
-Billy Ocean

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 month ago

Well written article. Both amusing and informative. “Mental health” is part of health and should neither be ignored as it has been in the past nor singled out for special attention as it is in the present. Similarly, we don’t give up on life if we get a sprained ankle nor should we conflate “things not going our way” with depression.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I think mental health falls within the paradigm of pendulum theory. For a long time, anyone dealing with such issues kept them quiet. Adults paid cash for therapy sessions because the last thing they wanted was a paper trail like that following them. Far better to have cancer or heart disease than bona fide depression. The pendulum has now swung to a similar extreme on the other side of the center point, where people routinely claim PTSD or some such over very minor life events.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I swear if I hear one more muppet claim PTSD I will boot my TV across the living room!
Once the lid came off on ‘mental health’ it was always going to end up here.
It’s such an easy thing to claim.
It’s making an employer’s and teacher’s job near impossible.

William Simonds
William Simonds
1 month ago

The comparison with Harry seems to me to be apt. What is galling is not that he “quit” the monarchy, but his addiction to the attention he gets by bashing it. When one lives in a world that is defined by “self”, any threat to the centrality of self in that world is existential. These women, Harry, and quite possibly a whole generation have been failed by a society that abdicated the responsibility to instill any concept of selflessness as a rational and reasonable ideal. Struggle, rather than being a process through which true maturity emerges, has been redefined a threat to maintaining one’s own immaturity. Thus the world cannot be about duty and honor for I would have to dethrone myself for that to be the case. I fear we have truly lost our way when any growth from immaturity to maturity is considered a mental health issue.

Sayantani G
Sayantani G
1 month ago

I am confused as to the moral of this story! Resigning Miss Teen USA after competing for it invoking ” mental health”- is it to give up on notions of beauty and femininity that are considered old fashioned; and hence a continued claim to status in Woke Olympics?
Or is it the confused reaction of a confused and spoilt generation?
Not sure.
Kat seems to say a lot without going to the nub of the issue clearly.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

Without being too harsh on a 17-year-old, when exactly did her values epiphany occur? A cynic would say that she and the pageant were aligned when Ms. Srivastava decided to enter, when she went through the process, even after she won, effectively robbing the first runner-up of a moment in the sun.
This mental health “current thing” is getting out of hand, making a mockery of genuine psychological issues. Perhaps both of these ladies are truly suffering from some serious issues, but this is a period in which things like PTSD and rising claims of neurodivergence have cheapened the enterprise. PTSD is being on a battlefield and picking up the body parts of your now-dead comrade, not hyperventilation because JK Rowling said men are not women.
As the article correctly notes, Srivastava knew what the game was and she chose to participate anyway. It is long past time for the adults to stop being scared of the children. That approach has served society poorly, and that’s an understatement.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

As mentioned in the article, no one gets to be Miss Teen or Miss anything without years of experience and fighting for notoriety in local and regional events. It takes a certain fortitude to make it to the finish line and now that they crossed it, which is the easy part, they falter? I say this is nothing more than a scandal, paid for by the pharmaceutical industry.

M To the Tea
M To the Tea
1 month ago

The topic can be argued in either way, but the prose style of this writing was amazing.

David Morley
David Morley
1 month ago

There are no beautiful surfaces without a vacuous lack of depth, Nietzsche updated for the instagram age.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

The unfortunate thing about social media is that it rewards extremely narcissistic behavior. Hopefully some other technology will come to replace it. The sooner this phase of history ends, the better.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
1 month ago

Great piece. A welcome antidote to the endless ‘affirmation’ automatically granted to Generation Candyass.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
1 month ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

Generation Candy Ass indeed! – This is the best crass line I have ever heard! Truly!

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Sylvestre

Thanks for the kind words.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
1 month ago

Damn – Rosenfield has iron balls – Just what the doctor (or this case therapist) ordered