Sunday, May 25, 2008

post-modern Depression

Have you seen the documentary on Depression currently being aired on PBS? After the Bill Moyers Journal expose of the pharmaceutical industry , I was appalled that PBS would so blatantly embrace "big pharm". Their first line of defense against cognitive/behavioral issues was these dangerous drugs, which the psychiatric professionals interviewed admitted they don't really understand but just experiment patient by patient. They seemed oblivious to the torture they imposed or that they were taking advantage of confusion and misery. They even touted electroshock. Yet, when we saw the results in the lives of the people whose stories they were following, the best result was for a young black man who refused to take drugs and transformed his life by engaging with an older woman activist and working for a community support group, along with talk therapy to work out his early life traumas and resultant ptsd. The white well-off parents of depressed teens talked about how they hated to send their kids away for treatment and now the kids are back home and doing better on daily drug cocktails (as if combatting HIV), but you can see what was destroying these kids was lack of intimacy in their lives so they always felt they had to play a role to be acceptable. Nothing at all was mentioned about complementary or alternative therapies, such as expressive therapies, though it was pointed out that regular exercise helps keep depression at bay. What they did keep emphasizing: "This is a disease and therefore treatable." I may have it wrong, but I didn't know there was treatement for every disease, even postulating these basically faulty software issues to be "disease", but I digress. Of course, the major point was that poppa Psychiatric Association knows best, and what we know is you gotta take your medicines, no matter what the ill-effects, because we have more medicines for those.

These issues are very disturbing. I would hope they would be, to anyone. Reminds of that quote which I can't quite place about if you don't like my answers, stop asking such dangerous questions. In this case the dangerous questions are constantly being asked by real life circumstances. We who hear do feel compulsion to answer disturbingly. If we hide from all disturbance of our status quo and our self-taught lies, how are we to change the horrific realities?

So sad that we have to go through pain to understand how pain is gone through. No need to leap into homilies or even thoughts of healing in the first throes of emotion. If we allow the emotion to feel its way all through our being, we can merge and go forward, having grown. It doesn't have to be a lesson in the sense of schooling. It is what we learn because that is how we are made. But the pace of modern life, the expectations of us all and within us all, doesn't allow for time to go through, to fully experience.

I have been thinking about the idea of dignity in relation to understanding depression as a result of powerlessness. I am postulating that here in Western society this powerlessness is more often against the social world than the world of nature. Looking over my life experiences, and those reported by others, there seems to be a strong bias in our methods of education and socialization toward shame, expectation of ambition toward specified areas of success, class structure based on denying personal power which acts oppressively in ways to exacerbate internalized aggression and hatreds. There is a tamping down of what could be creative resources in individuals. The value of keeping young children still and quiet for most of their day discourages energy and natural enthusiasm. In such a frame, rampant depression makes sense as the norm. It is our denying of the dignity of each and all of us that sickens us societally and individually. So, it is not just about maintaining dignity in the face of mental illness, but even more fundamentally about the desirability of promoting the value of dignity as a prime preventive measure, to maintain sanity defined as the meta condition of health.

I wrote the following poem after watching the Depression documentary, to help calm my anger:

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing
your intimate secrets
guilty despair
"How can anything matter?
I am unacceptable -- too dark,
no fun to be with."
It is not a birthday without
cake and good wishes.
I am incurable without
a get well card,
outside courage
from caring hearts.
I have no rhyme, no rhythm,
no choir to enchant me
into soft eiderdown healing.
Smelly potions,
shocking wires,
disconnection from
harried soul
cannot weave wholeness.
Kind touch, accepting and
reveling in shared humanity
gives a loving pattern
for integration,
re-merging body and soul
healthy fulfillment.
Take a creative leap!
Multi-hued singing fountains
rejoice to new found dancing.

(c) May 22, 2008 Laurie Corzett/libramoon

* I see, know, give to any willing to receive

1 comment:

steve said...

Well I think it is just a postpartum depression. It is depression that women sometimes get after giving birth due to the changes in their hormones.


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