Sending out an SOS to the world
One of the discussion topics this week on twitter was this article from the Guardian, about mental health among authors and publishers.
One author quoted said “So much anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect […] waiting for a response, and the agent or editor who is juggling any number of books and therefore can’t always give the author what they need there and then.”
In my experiences of the publishing world, this is largely the case. The publishing timeline is so long, and it’s often unclear what’s going on. Kathleen Schmidt has written about publishing’s broader woes here,
and one of her points is publishers not having the budget to even market books they’ve paid money to aquire. Seems stupid, but plenty of authors have found themselves having to be their own publicist too: with little guidance in how to go about it. Stressful!
But is that really a “mental health” issue? I tend towards the view that we overmedicalise, and pathologize, normal human emotions. Feeling pissed off, or nervous, or sad, can be a rational reaction to one’s situation, not something to be treated.
Nonetheless there is no doubt younger people today are going through some degree of mental health crisis. I am sympathetic: I was a depressed teen, and it would have been so much worse if I’d had to contend with social media at the time.
The screen-mediated life is making people more unhappy, while also holding out unattainable solutions (you’d be happy too, if only you had this figure, or these products, or this life). Young women are increasingly having plastic surgery to match the filtered appearances of instagram models.