by Tara Isabella Burton
If the language of the internet is anything to go by, America’s collective mental health is in shambles. Before the midterms, some of us were suffering from “election stress disorder”; others have left Elon Musk-acquired Twitter as an act of boundary-setting. Our political lives have become saturated with the language and imagery of therapy. Our personal lives too: The language of “trauma” and “attachment styles” has become a common way to understand ourselves and our relationships.
Increased awareness of the importance of mental health is no bad thing, especially in the aftermath of a punishing pandemic. But in many cases, the prevalence of what The New Yorker’s Katy Waldman has termed “Instagram therapy” has exacerbated a broader cultural trend toward solipsism, masquerading as “self-care.” The idea of self-care, in turn, has been largely divorced from its links to activism and is now often used to frame individual pleasurable actions, like taking a bubble bath or canceling plans, as morally worthy, even necessary. The exhortation to take care of ourselves, to protect our mental well-being at any cost, has become a mantra for a newly dominant ideology. … (continue at The New York Times)