If a person grows up in a really messed up environment – like an abusive home, or in a cult, or in a war zone, they have no baseline for what a normal, healthy way of life is.
You’d need to take the person away from the environment and expose him/her to a healthy environment long enough for the damage to be undone.
Similarly, I feel like the longer I’m away from the rat race the more I realize the rat race is an intrinsically unhealthy environment. It’s messed up, and it warps our brains.
It’s hard to put into words why….
it’s because it destroys our ability to appreciate the little things
it’s because we spend our lives working so hard that we don’t get to live our lives
it’s because we’re trapped by expectations of what we should be doing
it’s because while it’s ok to complain about being unhappy with life, there’s this understanding that you *should* be happy with your life, because it’s intrinsically *good*
Maybe that’s the crux of it. We get these messages that we’re doing the right thing by working 40 or more hours a week, by buying and maintaining a home, by being a happy little capitalist worker bee. We do these things and the message society gives us is that if we’re not happy, then there’s something wrong with us. Mental illness, depression, anxiety. It’s all because of chemical imbalances or unproductive thought patters. But what if it’s not? What if the problem is that the life we *expect* to make us happy is actually inherently unhealthy?
What if this country’s high levels of low grade mental illness have nothing to do with brain health at all, and are simply due to people trying to squeeze themselves into a reality that doesn’t fit?
Sigh. Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.