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Depression: Are any successful entrepreneurs even affected by it or do they just snap out of it?

Discussion in 'General Mindset, Motivation, Beliefs' started by Claude Roy, Jul 31, 2018.

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  1. Claude Roy
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    Claude Roy Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Hey Guys,

    Today, I wanted to talk about something that I haven't found a lot on and I know that it's not something fun to talk about, but I really think that it is important to do so. I recently came out of a depression that hit me really hard for a 2 months and before getting hit by it, I was really making some fantastic progress on my fitness and always reading and searching for products for my business but than, depression really hit me like a truck where I really couldn't keep up on my training, couldn't keep up with my plans, started self-medicating with video games or laying in bed and beating myself up about it, asking what's the point of life, etc.

    There's that one part of me that tells me to stop being a pussy and just get over it and that I'm never going to amount to anything if I can't manage this kindergarten sh*t and if I can't stop being so emotional. When I question these thoughts, there's one question that comes to mind and it is: Are there any of you entrepreneurs who are earning at least 5k a month feeling these things and had trouble with depression or can you just brush it off, put your feelings aside and get back to work?

    When I'm all down in darkness, I feel that I'm the only one feeling that way because what you see in books, social media or entrepreneurs talking about them is all about success, making a lot of money, huge cars, how good life is and of course, it's the stuff which is the most fun to talk about. When I can see and think more clearly though, I believe to question it and think that it's only half of the story. Like MJ says in Unscripted, sometimes people put themselves up to look like they want to be, not like they really are but I've rarely heard any entrepreneurship book talk about the darkness and how to keep going. Did you guys personally have an experience with darkness and still can be able to run a business? I'd really appreciate some vulnerability if some of you mind sharing your experience, tips or some resources that you have been able to use to get over it? I'm going to share some of mine because they really helped me to get over my dark times.

    1. Start exercising: Put your body over the mind instead of the mind over the body. I forced myself to register for a big triathlon even though I've never done any before and told all my friends because I knew it would keep me accountable. I immediately started feeling better because even though I didn't always make progress in my business ventures, if I cut off 20 seconds out of my 10k run, that just feels great and it makes me feel a lot better in general as well.

    2. Get f*cking help: Go seek out help from someone who's specialized on the subject, a therapist or if you can't afford it, just talk to it to a friend or someone online. There are websites that will have people there 24/7 to chat with you and talk like 7cups.com or betterhelp.com. You can get a therapist on both websites as well for pretty cheap.

    3. Build a routine: Whether you want to meditate 15 minutes in the morning, go jog for 30 minutes at lunchtime or do yoga or whatever before going to bed, I found that it helped me a lot to train myself to do stuff even when I didn't always feel like it at the moment because I know that it helps to keep my mental health in check. Making your bed is a quick example that I found was really helpful as well.

    4. Help/care about someone else: That might sound corny but when I felt alone and isolating myself, I started to force myself to go volunteer somewhere and be focused 100% on the cause at hands or it could be helping a client, friend or a family member with something. One thing that really helped me was cold approaching people in the streets and genuinely get to know them and make them feel great.

    Sincerely with love,

    Claude
     
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  2. 404profound
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    I've experienced this exact same thing, not not long ago. I would imagine many early and seasoned entrepreneurs experience this. One of the reasons is cognitive dissonance, or the degree to which reality does not come up to snuff with expectations. As aspiring entrepreneurs we have mental models for what success should look like, and being a part of this forum shows us that our models have been realized by some others, which lends us confidence that they are indeed attainable. But in my opinion an easy and dangerous emotional mistake is to fall too in love with this optimism. As other threads have discussed, it's easy to get caught up in the event to the point where the process of getting there is overlooked. And when we see others doing well, we have no insight into how tumultuous their process to their success event was. We just think "Ahh, maybe I'm not like those successful people. Maybe I don't have what it takes." Usually, this thought is irrational, but we treat it as fact, and allow it to taint our self-esteem as an entrepreneur.

    You are right that caring about someone else is a large cure. What turned the ship around for me was becoming laser focused on just solving a problem for someone. I got this snowball rolling by doing small things for free. I handed out some bottles of water to the homeless on a hot summer day. I rang up some connections and offered myself for free coaching sessions. Etc. Now I'm to the point where I am comfortable soliciting myself as an employable problem solver without the help of an employer (though I still need a job for income at this stage). Point being, Once the focus came off my own success relative to the world, and onto helping one person at a time, it was empowering and made me confident in myself and my ability to create value.

    The other things you listed in my opinion are also important. I find that when I go without exercise I have noticeable decreases in my mood throughout the day. With exercise it's largely hormonal; endorphins, testosterone, etc. With regard to getting help, I can't tell you whether or not you should, but I can tell you there's a fairly good chance it would help. It helped me. In college I had a sport psychologist during my time as a D1 athlete, and now I have a clinical psychologist I see off and on as challenges emerge. They make a difference in how you process your thoughts.

    Anyway, hope this helps. Don't get too down - especially if you've got running water, a bed, and the basics. The rest is gravy.
     
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  3. MTF
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    I think that entrepreneurs are generally more prone to depression. There are more decisions to take, more challenges, more uncertainty, and then there's the wild roller coaster of ups and downs, particularly during the first several years when it's so hard to make anything work.

    The amount of money you're making doesn't really change anything. One of the darkest periods of my life was when I was making the most money I've ever made in my life. Making more money can intensify depression because if you no longer need to make more money (you feel financially secure), you shift your focus and lose a sense of purpose in life. If you're struggling with depression now, you'll struggle even more when you're financially successful.

    What helped me the most was joining @Kung Fu Steve's coaching group and learning from him and George (his business partner) that depression is a pattern. It's the wrong physiology, focus and language that you use that makes you depressive (here's a quick article about it).

    Since it's a pattern, you can change it by treating it like training: whenever you find yourself in the depressive state, look at your physiology, focus, and language. If you frown, your shoulders are slumped, you breathe shallowly, you think about what's wrong in your life and complain how it all sucks, then no wonder you're depressed.

    Ever since I joined Steve's group I've been religiously doing priming, which is a routine that helps you change your physiology, focus, and language. It comes down to deep breathing, expressing gratitude, visualization, and incantations (which is like affirmations but combined with exhibiting proper positive body language). It felt VERY weird at first (I'm allergic to bs New Age stuff), but it's been working beautifully for me despite my initial doubts about it.

    Here's one audio with guided priming by Tony Robbins: Priming Exercise - Tony Robbins (I haven't done this one, I use a different version that's not available publicly).

    In the end, it's all about conditioning.

    Do you feel depressed? Make something to feel better no matter if you're in the mood or not. Switch your focus to helping other people, go exercise, express gratitude, breathe deeply, sit in the sun - whatever helps you feel better. Unless your hormones are out of whack, you have full control over how you feel - but it takes work to recognize you're repeating the same pattern and then self-discipline to break it.
     
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  4. socaldude
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    Dude, depression is one of the most common things ever. I wouldn't even be embarrassed about it.

    People never talk about it.

    I have found that it's more important to avoid or stop doing certain things. Instead of trying to do something because there are more than one way to be happy. But the list of things that cause depression is shorter than the things that help alleviate it. And because chances are the things you are doing are directly impacting your depression.

    Instead of asking yourself "What should I do? Try asking yourself what should I stop doing?

    The vast majority of people who are depressed are all making the same mistakes.

    This works in business as well.

    For example:
    Stop being isolated
    Stop being angry
    Stop being unhealthy
    Stop being selfish
    Stop no having a purpose
    Stop being unspiritual

    The worst part about this illness is that it's a catch-22. In other words its a self feeding never ending cycle.
     
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  5. BucketHolly
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    BucketHolly Contributor

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    I know it's not easy, my dear. But you just have to hang in there. Things will get better soon. Wish you well.
     
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  6. Kung Fu Steve
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    Kung Fu Steve Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    We must treat our business and our lives like a professional athlete treats their game.

    Constant and never-ending improvement.

    Mental training, physical training, constantly improving our strategy.

    How serious does a pro athlete treat their mental and emotional health? ... ask a Michael Phelps!
     
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  7. MidwestLandlord
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    Same.

    Plus I kinda expected money to "fill the hole" in myself (so to speak)

    And to my surprise (not really), it didn't do that.

    Yep, since about 16 years old. Ages 16-26 were hell on earth. Started to get my sh*t together mentally after that. In a good place since about age 30. Major situational depression for awhile 2 years ago. Good now.

    You listed all good stuff, all helpful stuff.

    Exercise especially because it helps regulate hormones (especially testosterone in men), which are critical for mental health.

    The problem IMO with most mental health assistance though, is they don't talk about how to control your mind.

    "Talk to someone"

    Sure. That usually does help. Can especially help an urgent mental health crisis (suicidal ideations)

    But over the long-term, especially with most therapy, it just leads to constant "victim-puking" that not only wastes time, but has a detrimental effect by trapping the mind in constant rumination (even just at the subconscious level)

    There is significant research to show that this is what happens with depression:

    Negative thinking styles = rumination = increased stress hormones = over-dreaming (REM sleep, or Beta & Alpha brain waves) = less recuperative sleep (theta & delta brain waves) = decreased serotonin production

    And the cycle just repeats itself over and over again. (depressed people dream up to 3x as much as non-depressed people)

    Your job is to interrupt the cycle at the beginning.

    Drugs help depression by either increasing serotonin (or serotonin uptake), or attempting to force the body out of REM sleep into recuperative sleep.

    But see how serotonin and sleep patterns are NOT the start of the cycle?

    The start is negative thinking styles and rumination.

    Which are thoughts in your head...and they CAN be controlled.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is the only thing that comes close to helping control thoughts (that I'm aware of), but it doesn't go far enough.

    TL;DR

    Learn to control your thoughts, train your brain.

    Even to the point of physically yelling "STOP!" when an intrusive thought enters your mind. (it interrupts negative thinking with a physical action and a voice outside your head)

    This ^^^
     
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    socaldude Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    The way I look at it is that depression is a cognitive structure in your mind made up of propositions. Kind of like beliefs and ideas. Kind of how like atoms and molecules are put together.

    This cognitive structure will try to exist as long as it can as much as it can. Intrinsic to this cognitive structure are ideas that will try to keep it alive. This is where denial and rationalization come from. It somehow "knows" that if it's hidden from you awareness it will continue.

    This is why self-awareness is so important. You can't deconstruct negative ideas unless you identify them and replace them with something more appropriate and effective.

    This is kind of a weird way of looking at it but it's true. :rofl:
     
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  9. bizguy4life
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    Start taking Vitamin D if you are not getting sun - 5000iU day
    take magnesium 200 mg day (liquid)
    take vitamin B12 ( 3X Day)
    goto the gym 5 x week
    meditate (practice breathing)

    As an entreprenuer stress will burn through these nutrients in your body and leave you susceptible to anxiety depression
    the constant loads we are under require extra attention
    mind body and soul

    Hang in there it shall pass we all go through it....
     
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    In my experience, this was maintaining this every single day. While I might have like one or two hours where I may go in low arousal, I think if you train yourself every day for the last ten year like I have, you instantly know how to bring yourself up. I chew a lot of gum for anxiety. I find it is more biological and the nervous system more than my thoughts. I also empty out my thoughts every day. When you use a journal, or use some form of writing it gives your thoughts structure, organization, and focus. This just takes a lot of hours of practice mastering your thoughts.
     
  12. Sanj Modha
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    I been thinking about this a lot and in my opinion - we're all bi-polar.

    6 years of going solo has filled me with anxiety, stress, sleepless nights, money worries, low confidence and self-esteem.

    However, after talking to other I've realized it's all part of the human experience: I'm not alone.
     
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    Dude it is very common.

    I am on antidepressants atm for depression and crippling anxiety, thank f*ck for modern medicine i can now function in day to day life.
     
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    For me, returning to my entrepreneurial pursuits seems to have (so far!) relieved me of depression.

    For reasons which are too long to go into, I put my ambition aside ten months ago. Life was not easy for me during this time. It's an uneducated view as I am not a doctor, but I think denying my life mission put me into that state. But since my FTE I haven't had a sad day yet.
     
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    Depression is very common. I like a lot of the comments in this thread.
    For me, the key is to be grateful. I keep a list of the good people, things, and events in my life. I keep a list of accomplishments that I can review when I feel like I'm not making progress. I try to celebrate where I am and what I'm doing.
    Yes, things go wrong. That's life. I've had some pretty spectacular failures, but I'm still here. Yes, I could be doing better. I have to rest in the fact that I've made my choices. They led me to this place and time. My life sure hasn't been a bed of thornless roses. But, I have lived my years with more zest and energy than most of the people around me. I have to remind myself of that sometimes to push away the demons...
     
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    Right now I'm suffering some kind of depression. Maybe because of the cognitive dissonance mentioned above.

    Thanks for all the great tips shared.

    Time to go running for exercise!
     
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    There are several forms of depression. Some people are prone to depression because of their brain chemistry.

    But for most of us, the cause lies in our paradigm of life. Our thought patterns, limiting believes and actions that reinforce negative patterns.

    I'm not in my best moment right now. I went through several depressions in the past, and I've been in a state of "I know all of this sh*t and nothing can help me" for the last months. But that only reinforces a feedback loop of negativity. I stopped my exercising, going out, and a lot of things that make me feel better.

    This summer is key for me, and I'm working to establish new good habits again. Some days are great, others I think I'm faking action.

    My point is: depression is not something you fall into. You work your way towards it. Each action or thought drives you deeper into the blue in a negative spiral of change.

    But the contrary is also true. As water causes erosion that creates canals and therefore more water follows these canals and make them stronger, your thoughts and actions drive you in one direction or another.

    But is f*cking hard to see all of this coming, you only notice it when your "canals" are so profound that it takes lots of energy and will (and help) to get yourself out of them.

    I don't know if all that have any sense :D
     
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    Been depressed a few times, think you just gotta be optimistic which is a habit like everything else.

    If you don't believe tomorrow is going to be better you won't do what it takes to get there.

    Just gotta see the glass half full instead of half empty.
     
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    This is key. I'm not sure if it is a cause of depression, but certainly a cause of feeling that you are a failure, that you can't. Comparations are horrible, and even when you read about the struggles of other entrepreneurs, you are only reading a page or two, not feeling it for months or years.

    You are never prepared for that when it comes.
     
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    Been there. It is real and no fun.

    I was very depressed at the end of a major tailspin. It was difficult to get out of bed. I just snapped out of it one day. The questions arose: Am I in need of food? Shelter? Transportation? ANYTHING? The answers were clearly "NO". So I went back to work with a different attitude.

    Exercise and meditation helped a lot.

    The ability to let go really helps also. Sometimes we like to play the victim and clutch that feeling very strongly.
     
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    The more you focus on the negative of course it will magnify and spiral out of control. There are times you just have to discipline your thoughts and aim your focus on what you intend to focus on.

    This might be removing yourself from the environment temporarily, removing yourself from the relationship, removing yourself from whatever your focusing on.

    For example, some people will focus on their boy/girl friends social media, if they cheated on them, they will focus on the other person. They will do this for hours and hours and go over every love letter, video, photograph, memory there is their experience.

    They will go through the five stages of grief. They will get obsessive about it and make it bigger by dwelling on it over time. You can do this in business as well. For example, you start a business, become successful, and out of no where your partner exits the arena.

    They may have found another partner in business. You go through the five stages of grief. Get obsessive about the situation with anger and revenge. This is just human nature. Some people are more psychologically developed than others, have the right coping skills, manage themselves, manage their emotions, and handle things in a positive way.

    The more educated you are about the nervous system, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, psychology and spend a lot of time interacting with others, the easier it is to navigate in life. This is just like going to the gym every day and working out with your body. It takes discipline every day to work out your mind. It doesn't mean you will never have low arousal or high arousal or feel down on some days and up on other days. This also depends on whether your using alcohol, drugs, or smoking. This also depends on what you're eating and feeding your body. This also depends on how much sleep you get. There is mental exhaustion from trying to push yourself to hard with educating yourself. There is also emotional exhaustion from dealing with negative people on a long-term basis.

    This is all managing your life, making deliberate choices, and if things don't work naturally, than go to the appropriate medical or mental health professional and see what kind of suggestions they may have.

    This is always recommended for the simple reason there can be other factors medically unseen to cause depression. A medical physical is always important to rule out all biological factors.
     
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    Zhan Zhuang works for me.
     
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    I have always had a theory about depression. Iv'e never seen it put this way anywhere.

    It's strictly based off first principles.

    The key is our body. Our body confuses us through it's continuous interaction with our environment. Our experiences and memories.

    Our body distorts reality so to speak and somehow projects it as external. Leaving us even more confused because we somehow think our experiences are "objective" or "absolute". And yet they are our very own creations.

    If someone does something bad to you I'm not saying what they did wasn't bad. I'm saying your reaction and it's emotional legacy is your own creation and responsibility.

    Kind of how like Plato put it. Our body is the biggest obstacle to enlightenment because of how it distorts experiences. It's the allegory of the cave and how most are prisoners to the shadows on the wall. In other words the distorted reality caused by our body. Thats what he was basically saying.

    The key I think is to integrate emotions and experiences instead of having them affect us.

    Kind of like the locus of control thing. Power and responsibility is put back in our hands instead of projecting outward in the form of hate, anger etc. It's self awareness.
     
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    I had an episode two days ago where it was about the worst I've had in years. I don't really wanna talk about what happened, but it was really bad.

    Anyways, it only lasted about a day, then I recovered and when on with my life.

    Depression is misunderstood, but it's believed there's a genetic component to it. A research team isolated a gene, chromosome 3p25-26, which kept showing up in families with depression. I'll link the article:
    Genetic link for depression found

    Something about the way we're wired enables us to slip back into depression. It's not that we feel that way all the time, but we have the genetic components to access it. It's like a loop in a program that is only activated when the conditional is occasionally met.

    I've noticed this because some people I've met don't understand depression at all. It makes as much sense to them as being born with two heads; they can't fathom. It's not that they never get upset, it's that they nervous system LITERALLY IS NOT WIRED FOR THEM TO EXPERIENCE IT.

    Man do I envy the f*ck out of those people...

    In my own family, mental illness runs rampant. That with a cycle of dysfunction. I'm pretty sure both upbringing and genetics play a part in why I'm so f*cked up. A developing brain doesn't experience the things mine did and turn out completely normal and healthy. Our brains are computers, and our programming is mostly done during our childhood, when we're most vulnerable. Sick f*cking glitch of nature if you ask me...

    Okay, so now that I've spelt out all the doom and gloom, here's the upside. Depression is NOT a sentence that you will live a meaningless life. You do NOT have to get a complete handle on it to do anything meaningful. Abraham Lincoln, Dwayne Johnson, and Winston Churchill are a few examples of people who faced depression.

    What I'm doing is learning to rewire my brain. Changing my inner programming, and just seeing what happens. I feel I could be a lot more productive and useful if I wasn't subject to and intense spiral every now and then that required me to get back on track. Well, we'll see how it goes!

    Last thought: see depression for what it really is: a sequence of chemicals in your body. That's it. Some stupid f*cking chemicals that can be recreated in a lab. A lack of serotonin and an increase in cortisol. Does something like that deserve to define who you are?
     
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  25. Mattie
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    Mattie Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I think this is the point. Techniques, methods, education, and from talking to a lot of people on reddit with a lot of mental impairments, there is a difference with what they're told, what they know, and the systems aren't teaching them and educating them on certain stuff. Working at a place for the mentally impaired, I know they go around in circles, rarely have enough time with a psychiatrist other than 15 minutes. Insurance only covers perhaps two hours a month, and possibly they might go to a support group. But when they're in a support group, they remain in the doom and gloom, because everyone is in the doom and gloom. They're not removed out of the addictive or abusive environment. Thy go back into the same home and can't get away from the addictions, alcoholism, abuse, and relapse.

    Neurology is never discussed, nor the nervous system, how it all works. Usually there just handed a prescription, perhaps a booklet on depression, come for appointments, and talk about the problem. Which there's nothing wrong with this, but if the true objective is to "Know Thyself", what is normal behavior. If you look around there isn't much on normal behavior. You find more on abnormal behavior. You will see all kinds of books and research on every emotion, feeling, and thought and it is projected everything is abnormal. Psychiatrists have been coming out and stating we're getting lost in abnormal. They are also stating they're diagnosing people with labels when it comes to the natural reaction to events, versus long-term mental impairments that will last a life time.

    As you stated we're wired to go into low arousal, but we can also come back up into high arousal. This usually has to do with conditioning and emotional triggers. Fear exposure gets rid of these triggers and helps them become neutral.

    When you talk about the problem all the time, you get stuck in the past, the trauma, and force yourself to keep looping and relive the experience. NLP stops you from focusing on the past and brings you back to the now. This is all where direct your focus and attention. Writing helps because it is your thoughts. It's a simple task and organizes and structures your thoughts. It forces you to be in the present and the now. And if someone does have a severe mental impairment, you can not read what they're saying because the words are scrambled up. Although some people might not know metaphors, symbols, foreign languages, and misinterpret this if they don't know the information.

    I have to say that some therapists don't keep up to date with the generation trends and I used to keep up with the Millennial's while my son was growing up so I could understand their language when texting, and communicating with one another online. As a good parent should do. I had to tell a few school counselor's and teachers what stuff meant, because they don't stay up to date, and even the School systems are offered free training and they refuse it for children who are in certain programs.
    This also depends on whether they go to a private school or public school and what benefits the children have.

    Most parents do have advocate for their children in school systems, because their staff is not trained to deal with children. In the Millennial generation there was a huge trend in diagnosing them with ADHD as early as kindergarten. Now giving children psychological tests for any mental impairment as this age is quite interesting since they're not even developed enough to know what 1 +1 equals. Past generations they had small school rooms and ran outside at recess.

    I believe you have to add in past generations didn't have television, technology, and the internet with a bunch of distractions in childrens lives. They were out doors farming, or running around and playing.
    Generation X and Millennials lived in a different school system entirely.

    While we have a history of Psychiatry you can even learn about the dark side of it in history. This is always subjective when you're dealing with thoughts of a person, their individual brain chemistry, and a whole list of diagnostic criteria to meet. In general for all the theories, concepts, and beliefs, someone had to go through the whole process to begin with to come to the conclusions they do. Medical science has been catching up with it and probably will advance, but this seems to be based on what we learn as we go along in history.
     
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