Many of us struggle to believe our stories are worth telling. Something holding me back is the generalised anxiety disorder I was diagnosed with in my early twenties. This ‘more or less permanent sense of gnawing uneasiness’ is a lens I view my world through and something Hugh Mackay and I discussed during the AANA Masterclass Series earlier this year.
Hugh pointed out anxiety could soon be a bigger threat to public health than obesity and I can’t say I was surprised when I learnt from a recent report that 56 per cent of people within the media, marketing and creative industry showed mild to severe symptoms of depression. Added to the recent furore from the Roy Morgan call to arms and Willie Pang’s subsequent response, I realised this was something I had to write about.
It’s a very personal story and one I’m hesitant to tell after my family WhatsApp group blew up when I shared Anne Helen Peterson’s Buzzfeed article on ‘millennial burnout’. It was handbags at dawn as my baby boomer father insisted symptoms like stress, insomnia, self-doubt, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, dissatisfaction and inadequacy were not particularly prescient for 18-34-year-olds, but another example of the snowflake generation not knowing how good we had it.
As a strategist, it’s my job to be constantly thinking about how and why we make decisions. That means almost every moment is an opportunity to study human behaviour, whether I’m sitting in an Uber, ordering a coffee or online shopping while waiting for a flight. I think we’re all agreed the line between work and life has blurred, but I think many of us have internalised the idea we should be working all the time.