• Mon, Apr 1 2013

Why New York City Is The Hardest Place To Be Emotionally Healthy

New York City against the world? Yep, it makes sense.

New York against the world? Yep, it makes sense.

I have written more than a few times about my love affair with New York City. It’s a one-way, unrequited love, because as any New Yorker will tell you, New York City doesn’t love anyone back. The city is a rebel like that; a lover who refuses to hold your hand in public and, if it were human, would probably smugly respond with, “I know,” to any declaration of love thrown at it. Maybe that’s why we love it so much; it’s the challenge of it all.

I have also written about my need to leave the city as often as I can. I’ve realized that my love for New York is based on how many times a year I can abandon it, and take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to love it from afar and miss it more than I would my right arm, all so I can return again with the enthusiasm one has for their first love. NYC, in all its beauty and opportunity, is not an easy place to live. It’s both the real world and a fantasy, and nowhere in the middle of the two extremes.

Like anyplace that you have known too long and memorized too exactly, New York City is heavy with memories. It’s a place where most people have struggled at some point to prove their reason to have chosen such a place to live in the need to fulfill a dream or two. But those weighty memories of the good and bad times are a collective burden on your being.

It’s hard not to recall the day you walked out of your job on Broadway, broke up on East 2nd Street one night in June, or the precise crack in the sidewalk that you were standing on when your sister told you she was pregnant for the first time. Yet I don’t think any of us would want it any other way; there’s a level of beauty in the struggle.

But with any fight, even the ones that eventually redeem us and make us better, comes the emotional ups and downs that bring us to the brink of breakage. It’s the type of situations that makes us feel like this:

Identity. Crisis.

Identity. Crisis.

No one wants to feel like their face is falling off.

In all its bustling and fast moving – they don’t call it a New York minute for nothing – it’s hard to stay on track emotionally. Why do you think we’re all in therapy and have a pill for every single one of our ailments? It’s certainly not because we have the time for such things; it’s because we need it to keep moving forward.

We’re also alone in our struggles. Although the majority of us come from someplace else and share that common thread, the need to keep moving and stay one step ahead makes for difficult relationships with people. I would never knock the friendships I have with those that I’ve met since moving to the city, but I can confirm, and so would they, that making time for each other is tricky. We may understand each other when it comes to the instability that New York serves us, but it’s not as though you can get on the phone with your closest NYC friend and hash it out at any given time – the subways and police sirens make this near impossible, not to mention all the fucking social obligations that everyone has.

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  • Angee

    Amen, sister. I’m counting down the days till I can experience the pain, and worthwhile joy, of living in the turbulence of NYC, the apple of my eye <3

  • MR

    Never worked there and never will. But yes, it is a fun place to live. My brother and I already agreed to keep our mom and dad’s brownstone, as a place to go spend a couple of months a piece during the year. I have my own real estate position, a large half a brownstone size condo I lease now to cover its maintenance costs and taxes, but am just riding the Nyc real estate market for the next 8 and half years and will then sell it and use the sale proceeds to buy another place outside of Nyc. Where is still to be determined. Nyc is a very different place than it was in the ’70s and even the ’80s for that matter. I can’t get used to it or stand it for more than short periods at a time now.

  • Sean

    Well said Amanda. From your articles (and those of everyone here at the Gloss) it feels like there’s a seductive glitz and pseudo-warmth to New York that makes you feel like you’re at the centre of the universe, and yet it quietly consumes you from the inside.

  • fee

    i was about to say: what a ignorant dumb person u are.
    But then i think to myself she really don’t knows it better.
    And thanks for being an example what the internet called a ” FIRST WORLD PROBLEM”

    if you realy think NY is tough u are welcome to visit the people all around the world they work for your clothes, they digging holes in mines to get minerals out for your mac/pc/cellphone and so on… visit the womens center in Deli (india) ore just go to south america and visit a small town in the woods.
    If your think they have no fealings no dreams no wishes they don’t want to escape the whole live from there suffering. Then you realy can say NY is a tough place to be, emotional and physical.

  • http://thekimberlydiaries.com/ the kimberly diaries

    totally agree… that’s why rich people have country/hamptons homes. You have to leave to stay sane!