Americans could learn a thing or two from Harrison Ford. In a rare interview with the Hollywood Reporter last week, the media-shy actor shared how, at 80, he knows exactly “who the f-ck” he is.
When pressed on prior therapy sessions he disclosed in 2002, he offered some honest thoughts. “My opinion is not of the profession, it’s of the practitioner,” Ford said. “There are all kinds of therapy. I’m sure many of them are useful to many people. I’m not anti-therapy for anybody — except for myself. I know who the f-ck I am at this point.”
The Hollywood Reporter pressed him on his own analysis, saying: “Your fans online have done some armchair diagnosis, looking at things you’ve said about being shy in social situations and some of your talk show appearances. Some assume you’ve wrestled with social anxiety disorder. Are they onto something?” Then came Ford’s reply:
Sh-t. That sounds like something a psychiatrist would say, not a casual observer. No. I don’t have a social anxiety disorder. I have an abhorrence of boring situations.
Ford is onto something. We don’t have a mental health crisis as much as we have a lifestyle crisis. That’s not to deny that people are seriously suffering, which is as fundamental to the human experience as pleasure. But everyone seems oblivious as to why they suffer.
In his old age, Ford has completed the journey of self-discovery, one that fewer and fewer people seem able and willing to take. Instead, a wave of apathy has taken over a population that’s succumbed to the pursuit of cheap and immediate dopamine hits through weed, porn, Netflix, and Instagram, powered by a processed, ready-to-eat diet. And it’s made everyone sick. People generally aren’t happy when they’re sick.
Americans are lonelier and more depressed than ever. They’re are also being prescribed more drugs than ever, yet suicides have risen 30 percent since 2000, while life expectancy is on a steady decline. Clearly, something’s not working, especially when 1 in 10 Americans is affected by depression despite antidepressant use at an all-time high. One study from a team of researchers in Saudi Arabia published last year found antidepressants don’t even raise the quality of life over time.
Our ruling class of elites profits most when we’re chronically fat, sick, and depressed, so they keep us hooked on pills engineered by Big Pharma, eager to capitalize on every ailment from anxiety to obesity. A culture allergic to personal responsibility and honest self-reflection (or really any self-awareness) seems to ignore the possibility that anxious and depressed people might have their own mentality to blame for at least some of their problems.
A groundbreaking study published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry last summer exposed antidepressants as having little more effect than placebos, leading some psychologists to reject the assertion that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. The findings suggest our high rates of depression aren’t merely a consequence of biology and instead are one of circumstances and our approach to those circumstances. Victimhood never did anyone any favors.
Many blame the heightened prevalence of mental illness on the culture’s destigmatization of even talking about mental health. That might explain some of it among older generations, but not the children by this point.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Monday confirmed the children are not all right. According to the CDC, teenage girls are suffering the worst of our “mental health crisis.” Federal data shows almost 3 in 5 teen girls, 57 percent, said they felt persistent sadness or hopelessness in 2021. Just 10 years ago, that number was 36 percent.
Teenage boys also saw a sharp increase in sadness or hopelessness, from 21 percent in 2011 to 29 percent 10 years later. Should it come as much of a surprise when kids and teens also report far too much screen time compared to their parents?
The confident Harrison Ford judges himself by his own standards. Younger people seem to have trouble with this, basing their own self-image and self-worth on their peers in a society where everyone is performatively trying to cultivate an Instagrammable lifestyle.
Most Americans probably don’t need more pills and therapy sessions at this point. They need to get away from their screens and go outside.