Tech, Now + Beyond

There’s something about simple tech that helps me get through panic attacks

Yup, that’s right, I’m the girl who needs iPhones and MacBooks to prevent mental breakdowns.

I have to admit it: I’m a sucker for minimalist tech.

Take Apple products. There’s something about their design that makes me feel at peace. The simple palette of neutral colors exudes an effortlessly elegant cool, the kind of cool you find while resting under the shade of a big tree. It sounds ridiculous, that a product made in a factory can make me feel so calm, but being surrounded by minimalist tech is the primary way I deal with my depression and anxiety.

It sounds ridiculous, maybe even too good to be true, so let me explain.

We are surrounded by technology. Every day we interact with our phones, computers, tablets and smart watches to the point where it becomes as natural as breathing. From the moment we wake up we are bombarded with notifications. Social media, work emails and even little things like weather updates can make us feel overloaded with information.

We spend hours scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, and not only for recreation. Many of our jobs, especially people who need to market themselves in order to find work, require us to be interactive on social media almost 24/7.

But when it has to be done on a brightly colored, chunky and flashing screen, it can feel even more like you’re being boxed into a tight room with little air to breathe.

So when I wake up in the morning and roll over to pick up a sleek black phone ready to deliver my to-do list for the day in an easy-to-read fashion I feel a little less stressed.

When I sit down at my desk to write and see an even keyboard of white letters on black keys, a distinct black border around a plain white wallpaper, and finally a neatly organized dock of just the things I need, I feel serene.

And I haven’t felt calm in a long time. Since I was diagnosed with Polycystic-Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), my depression has increased drastically. The imbalanced hormones coupled with the hustle of everyday life makes it impossible to get out of bed in the morning. So much of my life is spent fighting an internal battle between giving up and forcing myself to go on, and there are days when I feel empty and unable to do either.

Since my depression got worse, so did my anxiety. So many people, from doctors to people I spent time with, told me that my depression was ‘simply’ hormonal. I was being told to deal with it quietly, and that made me feel panicked about whether my feelings are even valid.

And beyond this, I and other millennials are feeling completely burnt out by work or lack of it.

So when it comes to implementing small things that can make big differences for my mental health, buying the minimalist tech I need has reached the top of my list.

And I get it, I understand that being able to buy something like an iPhone when capitalism is demanding more and giving less is a upper-class privilege. The same way that I accept this privilege, I accept that I need to do this in order to survive and be able to achieve in life.

It’s either save up for an iPhone or face another day of panic attacks over missed deadlines and uncontrollable crying in the shower.

Of course, work expectations are the key issue here.

More and more millennials are expected to smile through their unpaid internships while bills loom dangerously overhead. Even our parents put pressure on us to be as good as them at getting jobs, a house, a husband and children while not understanding how difficult these things have become.

We are expected to lose weight, get promotions, win awards, update Instagram and maintain our relationships all while having to beg our parents for one more month of allowance. These stresses compounded on top of one another make giving up the more tantalizing option.

So even though in my heart I know that should not give into consumerism I also know the care I give myself in unwrapping that certified pre-owned iPhone 6.

Even though I know the issue here isn’t really flashy, colorful technology, I also know that I can’t fix the labor market all on my own.

Instead, I am trying to find my way in this dizzying world, one day at a time.