A total of 70.9 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in England in 2018.
NHS Digital figures show that the number of drugs issued – for conditions like depression and anxiety – went up from 67.5 million in 2017. The total is almost double the number dispensed in 2008. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/health-47740396)
If you, as a patient, present at your GP surgery and express feeling down, tearful, restless, agitated or irritable, empty and numb, finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy, after a 5 minute consultation, the doctor will likely diagnose the problem as being DEPRESSION.
He writes a prescription, ‘Here have some meds’, and sends you on your way.
Medication, whose primary function is not to treat, but to keep people operational in the wrongness of a world that doesn’t work.
Within our current society, the optimum conditions for personal wellbeing, are systematically being eroded away, by an increasingly capitalist, money orientated, consumer driven, external validation focussed, social media led reality. The focus being on ‘net worth’ rather than ‘self-worth’. Judged on what you DO rather than WHO you are.
Our leaders are not leading. Our education is not educating. We are becoming more and more automated. Our society is not equal. Discrimination exists. Poverty is reality for more than a few.
Abraham Maslow believed:
‘Human beings at birth are secure and with good self-esteem….and then societies do something to this ‘Natural Personality’-twist it, shape it, repress it, condition it’.
Society as we know it does not work.
The increasing mental health issues are a stark reminder that our society does not support the required conditions for psychological health, personal growth & self-actualisation, for development of ‘fully functioning’ people, instead creating psychological entropy & emotional distress.
“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society” Krishnamurti.
To be ‘well adjusted’ is fine, if that society meets your individual needs and that:
· you agree that that system is the system that we should have
· the world you’re participating in is the world that you want
· the direction in which you are being led is the direction that you want to go.
But to aim to be ‘well adjusted’, to a society that does not support your individual needs, personal growth or well-being, can result in individuals managing the pain of the psyche in 1 of 3 ways:
1.They appear to be ‘well adjusted’.
They go through the motions, sleepwalking, zombie-esque.
Wearing social masks, morphing & shapeshifting, according to what they believe others want them to be.
They aim to ‘fit in’, people please, lose the ability to think for self, keep personal opinions hidden for fear of rejection, judgement or disapproval, until they no longer have an opinion and can’t remember how to think for themself.
Driven by collective societal values rather than unique core personal values.
Become indoctrinated, lobotomised, conditioned, accepting, passive, homogenous.
2.They ‘check out’.
Avoid. Withdraw. Retreat.
Display little motivation or direction.
Attempt to manage overwhelming, powerful, intense emotions, with whatever can distract from, distort, remove , numb, anaesthetise or change their feelings.
Anger & aggression. Unable to tolerate and regulate intense emotional arousal.
Anti-social behaviour. Crime. Bullying
All 3 strategies are driven by the need to eliminate the emptiness & disconnection that the individual feels. Often these ways of operating are not within conscious awareness and are conditioned gradually over a long period of time, resulting in disconnection from ‘self’, others, and the wider world.
Neither option results in a favourable outcome. They are all attempts at finding ways to survive the pain of loss of ‘self’, that carry a high cost-Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Stress and other psychological distress might manifest as a result, and ultimately can lead to existential crisis.
Reconnecting to self, others, the world
Psychological distress offers vital communication. We must listen to it, instead of silencing it with medication.
Depression is not the problem, it is a symptom. It might be alerting you to a serious need for:
· Readjustment in how you are living your life & the choices you make.
· Realignment with your personal core values.
· Reconnection with your ‘Self’. Your inner world. Your feelings, emotions, passions, purpose & meaning. Reconnection with others, building & investing in authentic relationships. Reconnecting with your external world, and exploring nature.
This is where the focus needs to be.
Depression does not mean there is something wrong with you, or that you are ‘broken’, and need fixing.
Depression might actually be a healthy, accurate, necessary, natural alert in response to loss of ‘self’, as a result of an unnatural, unhealthy society you find yourself in.
There is something wrong with the way we are conditioned to live. The society in which we exist is broken. It needs fixing.
We may be moving toward the potential psychological breakdown of our population if we don’t act now, and start to recognise and admit that the way we are living is making us sick,
My next post will explore what we need, to thrive and grow, and be ‘fully functioning’, and how we can build a society which supports a more eudaimonic lifestyle.