Jordan Flores was in High School when she first started to feel anxious. She didn’t like who she saw in the mirror. By college, anxiety became full-blown depression, fueled by what she saw on social media.
“I followed a lot of health and fitness accounts and through that, they are constantly feeding you what you’re supposed to look like, what you’re supposed to be like, how you’re supposed to dress, all of those different things, how you’re supposed to be eating. I let that control my lifestyle,” Flores told CBN News.
That resulted in an eating disorder.
“I hated myself at that point. At the moment, I wouldn’t have even been able to recognize myself. Physically I looked a little bit the same but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t able to connect with people, I had severe anxiety when it even came to going out to dinner with people, I wasn’t able to do that anymore. Every part of my life revolved around my mental illness and I was unable to actually see that,” Flores explained.
Millennials in Massachusetts have the highest rate of depression in the entire US, specifically millennial women.
But why? Neil Hubacker, of the Massachusetts Family Institute, believes it’s linked to how his state has dealt with religion and the family.
“When we’ve de-constructed things so much, we’ve created a whole generation that wonders, ‘Who am I, whose am I, where am I going?’ Hubacker explains.
He points out that this depression is greatest where many of the countries top universities are located.
“It seems like in our exaltation of the mind or in our exaltation of the human, the self, at the expense of not worshiping God anymore, think of Romans 1 and what Paul describes in Romans 1, in that I think that there is something at work here, something spiritual at play,” Hubacker says.
‘Achievement Arms Race’
In dealing with this challenge, Boston area pastors recognize some generational factors at play. One of those being the desire or pressure to achieve more than their peers.
Adam Mabry is the pastor of Aletheia Church in Cambridge and while he sees this in his young congregation, he first saw it in himself.
“In about late 2013 our church was growing quickly, we had a new baby that wasn’t sleeping well, we had a house that I was remodeling and a degree I was trying to finish. Up to that point I’d always been able to push past my problems with more achievement, put in a few more hours and we’ll get over them. I was not able to push past those problems and I hit a wall and went into a pretty deep depressive state for awhile” Mabry told CBN News.
Mabry knew he needed rest, but realized he had to first learn that discipline. That led him to write a book called The Art of Rest.
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