This is an essay for my English Class. I really would like feedback on how to improve the first 2 body paragraphs, I have major writers block. It is based of the 5th Chapter of Paul Robert's book "The Impulse Society," I don't feel it needs to be read to understand the essay but if you chose to read it, that's awesome! Thanks for any input! ~Amanda
Please keep in mind this is still a rough draft so I'm sure there are plenty of punctuation and spelling errors. Don't feel pressured to correct them, but if you chose to do so, that's cool too. :)
In America, about one in sixpeople will suffer with some form of Mental illness in their lifetime. Paul Roberts' book, "The Impulse Society," is extremely useful to many fields of study, especially psychology, due to its deep analyzation of American behavior. The field of psychology studies the way the human brain functions and how we behave. Several of thebehaviors mentioned in the fifth chapter of Roberts' book, "Home Alone," are particularlyintriguing to psychologists due to their impact on our emotional states. Over personalization, specialized communities, and constant contact are all direct causes of the impulse society's loweredself-confidence and feelings of isolationand loneliness, all of whichcould be leading to the rise of mental health issues in the United States.
One of the first points Roberts elaborates on is the fact that America is becoming more and more personalized. It has become the norm to surround ourselves with like-minded people and things, creating our own personal niches. Roberts states, "The bigger risks in our rush to personalize are subtler the more we retreat into self-made experiences and lifestyles, the harder it becomes in engage in what is not familiar or personalized." (Page 119). Roberts is insinuating that Americans are growing towards a tendency to escape to what is comfortable. When we crowd our lives with very specific types of activities, we close ourselves off to new experiences, which lowers our self-confidence. Once we are exposed to conflict, we shut down and retreat from the situation which decreases our opinions of ourselves. Psychologists have used this information tohelp patients understand that by limiting themselves to what they're comfortable with, they're putting themselves at risk for exasperatedsymptoms of mental illness.By stepping outside their comfort zones, patients can slowly raise their confidence and increase the status of their mental health.
Similar to our current tendencies to hyper personalize our lives, it is becoming more and more common for people to move based on the lifestyles of those around them. By creating these specialized communities comprised of people with similar interests and beliefs, we assume that we are creating asort of sanctuary, or safe haven, for ourselves. It is very possible, however, that this community is actually isolating us from meeting other people and exposing ourselves to exciting opportunities. Roberts elaborates, "At a time when community can be so hard to find, places such as Portland and Austin and Orange County may have figured out how to create a sense of shared purpose. On the other hand, thanks to that same success in finding communities that match our preferences, the country as a whole is gradually losing some of its social cohesion." (Page 118). Essentially, while we think that we are creating unity, we are actually slowly splitting our country into pieces. By sending "cultural refugees" (Roberts, page 116) to Portland and conservatives to Orange County, we are eliminating our desire to be well rounded and motivated.
By segregating ourselves by interests, we are losing a sense of community throughout the entire country. When diversity is removed from our neighborhoods, thosewho exist outside of the majority mightfeel as if theyare social outcasts rather than just unique individuals. For instance, a homosexual vegan living in Los Angeles exists as part of a minority, and therefore, might feel secluded from the larger group of conservatives. Psychologymight be interested in the effects these micro communities existing within larger groups of commonalities have on mental health.The few individuals who falloutside of the common interest might feel a variety of emotions ranging from humiliationto rejection.This lack of association could be a factor in the rise of depression that we are currently seeing in America.
Feeling a lack of belonging is a major trigger of loneliness which is another major symptom of mental illness. In today's society, people feel that they need to be in constant contact with other people in order to measure their self-worth. "Sherry Turkle, a sociologist and clinical psychologist who has spent decades researching digital interactions, argues that because it is now possible to be in virtually constant contact with others, we tend to communicate so excessively that even a momentary lapse can leave us feeling isolated or abandoned." (Roberts, Page 133). Many people who suffer with anxiety, depression, orother mental illnesses claim the worst symptom is the feeling of loneliness. The idea of cell phones and social media is to maintain constant contact and help alleviate some of these feelings of isolation, but instead, it has done the exact opposite. Constant contact has provided us with social interaction at ourfingertips. Because of this,self-worth is now based on the number of followers we have on Twitter orhow many times our phones ding per minute. When ourphone is quiet, and our follow count remains low, we feel worthless. It is important for psychologists to study the effects of technology on our mental health in order to curb the rising number of people suffering from mental illness.
Making matters even worse is the fact that mental illness is still not completely accepted in today's society. Although awareness and understanding continues to grow, those who struggle with mental health are sometimes shunned, creating shame inthose who are suffering, which thenheightens their negative emotions.Robertsagrees saying, "Discomfort, difficulty, anxiety, suffering, depression, rejection, uncertainty, or ambiguity - in the Impulse Society, these aren't opportunity to mature and toughen or become. Rather, they represent errors and inefficiencies..." (Page 130). Once we begin to experience overwhelming feelings of isolation and rejection, we feel even more humiliated because mental illness is viewed as a weakness.Itis vital to our society that we begin to recognize these triggers and view mental struggles in a positive light.
Overall, Paul Roberts has paid great attention to the finer aspects of human life in America. His close attention to detail has helped to open our eyes to the ways in which we complicate our lives withpersonal possessions and complex belief systems. There are so many aspects of our behavior that Roberts has noticed that could be used by psychologists to help alleviate the rise of mental illness in the United States. Over personalization, isolation, and constant contact lead to feelings of loneliness and segregation which aggregate any minor symptoms of mental illness that may have already been present. It is vital to our country's mental health that we pay great attention to these issues and work to create solutions.