I'm sharing a response from a chatroom conversation about anxiety and depression. I made a post in which I described Directed Thinking, which I described as hard work, but worth it, and said drugs were unnecessary when dealing with emotional pain and disturbances. I also said many drug companies and some doctors didn't have our best interests at heart due to financial gain. I provided two of your book titles. One person asked if I was a scientologist. Another said I was ignorant. Of course, I was accused of being insensitive. This response sort of touches all bases:
My daughter's suicide attempt was in fact the result of her being OFF her medications (unbeknownst to us) at the persistent urging of her ignorant and arrogant boyfriend, who felt that by simply trying harder, she could kick her anxiety and depression. He undid years of stability and achievement with his ignorance.
Pharmaceutical companies are businesses, whether they market insulin or anti-depressants or high blood pressure medications. Free market enterprise is not a conspiracy; it's a fact of our society and economy. There are compassionate and professional doctors in every field; they help their patients kick smoking, free themselves of debilitating migraines, or help them overcome panic disorders. To dismiss an entire branch of medicine as a conspiracy between pharmaceuticals and physicians is patently absurd.
This woman has obviously been through a lot with her teenage daughter's depression, but she'd rather insist that her child is "ill" and needs medicine, than entertain the notion that behavioral changes and a shift in perspective could help her.
If a young teen has been on anti-depressants for a few years and has been labeled Mentally Ill, depressed, and told that she needs drugs to function, I would imagine it would be harder for her to change and incorporate Brainswitching in lieu of drugs. You "gotta wanna," as you say, but for now she's steeped in the "culture of depression" and meds.
Thanks for your detailed reply. I am so happy that you found some assistance through nutrition therapy and herbal medicine after your back injury. It sounds like it took some experimentation, but you hit on the right mix eventually.
I would not describe the anxiety that resulted from your injury and treatment as "mental illness." I think of it as an expected, unpleasant side effect that humans often encounter after something traumatic, and I consider surgery a trauma to the body. The initial injury also limited you in many ways, so that was also difficult, if not traumatic, understandably impacting on your well-being and emotional state.
As you have said in your books, we can not control the advent of depression, (or anxiety) but we can control our responses to it. You did not write yourself off as mentally ill and start taking anti-depressants. You saw yourself as one going through a normal, but painful adjustment and responded by tweaking your self-care routines.
From your writings, and those of Thomas Szasz, I gather that there is a line in the sand between physical and mental illness. While a mind/body connection is surely at work, that is different from declaring emotional states to be actual illness in need of medication. Have you made some changes to your approach since you wrote Depression is a Choice?
This is what I told the woman before she responded. Was I off base, cruel, or just wrong?
Thanks for reading this.
This is what I wrote in the chat room: I'm not branding all drug companies and doctors conspirators, just the drug companies that manufacture psychotropic drugs and the doctors who prescribe them. If you believe that these companies and doctors are compassionately going the extra mile for humanity by selling their wares, be my guest.
I never once used the word simple or easy. Finding refuge in the thinking part of the brain rather than in the emotional part, takes effort, discipline, and a huge commitment, but I do believe that with effort, discipline, commitment (& motivation & practice) everyone *is* capable of exercising control over their minds!
This is the part, ironically, that I think people don't want to hear. While the typical protest to my stance is, "It's not easy...how dare you suggest it is!" When I elaborate on just *how* not easy it is, the hairs stand up on the back of necks.
I think the real issue is in accepting and embracing how NOT EASY it is to live medication/drug/alchohol free and deal with the pain of life, which, btw, NO one escapes from!
Even if your hormones, chemistry, DNA, family history, IQ and income are ideal, and you are married to your soul mate, and in love with the beautiful visage staring back at you in the mirror, I would still insist, life is painful for you at times and you are visited by depression and anxiety at times.
Can we allow ourselves to believe that life is instrinsically hard and even if we have, and do all the "right" things, we're still going to find ourselves feeling disturbed, anxious, depressed? Let's explode the myth that we are unusual creatures, much less sick, ill and in need of medication, for having these feelings.
I do happen to believe there is something noble, to use your choice of words, to bear the inevitable pains of life with dignity and grace. To truly bear them, learn & grow from them, is indeed ultimately the task which gives meaning to our existence.