Sometimes Depression Is The Cure

Katherine Phelps

I want people to stop calling all depression a mental disease. For some people it is. Some people have medical issues that bring it about. But in many cases it's not a disease, it's an alarm bell.

Our culture has some serious problems and we are all feeling social dis-ease. Your emotions are telling you something.

I know of a kid whose parents had an acrimonious divorce. When he started having problems with staying focused at school and regularly crying, did the family go into counselling, did they send him into counselling? No. They saw a doctor who diagnosed the child as ADHD and put him on Ritalin. I had a friend whose husband was emotionally abusive. When she had troubles with depression, she saw a psychiatrist and was put on anti-depressants. At no point did anyone advise her to consider talking to her husband, going to family counselling, or leaving him. I know of many unemployed, underemployed, and underpaid people who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. Are they simply depressed or perhaps do they have real needs that are putting tremendous amounts of stress on their lives.

Our culture pushes inappropriate and unachievable values and expectations. It always has, but it is getting worse because money is to be made in insecurity. Keep people frightened and isolated and you can get them to buy anything. Keep them frightened and isolated and they no longer have the means to protest. Tell them the feelings they are having from this abuse is a disease and you might convince them that buying pills will solve their problems, rather than addressing the circumstances.

Many disfunctional families will have a member who feels something is wrong. Everything inside of them wants to either change the situation or to escape. This can be especially acute in the children of such families. The disfunction existed before the child was born, but because the child is acting out, they are pinpointed as "the problem" by other family members. Those of you who are escapees perfectly understand that your removal from the situation did not necessarily fix a thing. The problem was bigger than you.

Depression in our society is bigger than a few individuals. Remove those individuals or chemically remove their feelings, and you haven't fixed a thing. Certainly, people need to be responsible for their own feelings, but part of that responsibility is to address the feelings, locate what is causing the feelings, AND take care of the issues at large.

To those of you who suffer from non-medical depression: you are not the problem, you are the solution. Find others who share your difficulties and make your voice heard. You have a right to be respected for the quality of your character rather than your physical appearance. You have a right to a secure existence with sufficient food, clothing, housing, and medical assistance. You have a right to healthy relationships at home, work, school, and in public. Do not allow yourself to be forced into a lonely corner and be told it's all in your head. Form a community and make change.

2012 October 15

Holding 4th

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