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On Depression and 'Mental Illness'


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First, do me a favor by listening to this:

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Take a little time to look around you. Every morning you climb out of bed as you hear the alarm clock. You fix yourself a cup of coffee and get ready for the day ahead. Then you go to work at your job or learn something practical in school. You pay for things with money, which you have to get by working for other people - people that are 'superior' to you. You are constantly told what you can and cannot do. You're expected to follow these rules no matter what you think of them. It's not your choice. Sure, you can lobby for a certain law to be passed and then all of a sudden it's 'ok'. For the most part, every day is the same.

 

None of this bothers you because you're an established individual in society. If not, well, there's always a future. You can always hope and work for that nice house, hope that you'll meet that special someone that you can 'keep for yourself'. You'll find a 'meaningful' job that serves society in some special way, something that just keeps the gears rolling as always. You see the things that people are doing to the world, to each other, but think "eh, there's nothing I can do except continue my meaningful work" And people in general are thinking, "well, society has gotten this far, our scientists should be able to figure out something that'll enable people to live really healthy, forever. They'll get rid of all this pollution, violence, and poverty... somehow. We can place our faith in our politician's hands to make everything better... eventually."

 

Everything has to be practical, huh? Everything needs to look good in front of conscious logic. You're just one person in the world, what would ever be the reason to change your way of life, or do something 'unreasonable' or 'drastic' just because you feel like it? You're fine as you are, right? I mean you've got everything you need to breath and you wouldn't want to risk any of that. You're content to live a life of peace and focusing on your immediate surroundings.

 

Until your spouse dies in a car accident. Or your house goes up in flames. How about all of a sudden you had a close encounter with death. You almost died, and now you start to see things you never saw before. For a short but peculiar time, nothing matters at all except what you feel. All of a sudden you wake up to how short life is, and you wonder, why was I living a life that didn't even feel real? Why am I living like this? Why do I even feel so apalled by it? It made sense, didn't it?

 

This is when you begin to experience symptoms of depression. You can't see any reason for doing anything. You feel empty. You're restless and can't fall asleep at night. You think about too much. You're starting to realize things that are absolutely horrifying. Something really doesn't feel right.

 

You decide to go to a psychologist to tell him what you're experiencing. He explains to you that it's a mental disorder, simply a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be solved with drugs and regular counseling. The same would go for anyone who was 'seeing things', 'hearing voices', or experiencing anything else that wouldn't be considered 'normal' by the majority of society. Eventually, you'll get back to living your life just the way you were living it before ---

 

living without action from feeling

 

Literally everything that we do is dictated by reason, dictated by science. What if I asked you to just forget about all that for a moment and listen to what your emotions are saying to you? What do they make you want to do? Maybe something drastic. Maybe something that seems pointless or irrational in the face of logic. But why should logic be more important than the spirit?

 

We (Americans) live in a country where suicide is a considerable cause of death in any age group. Depression affects people by the millions and the numbers are only growing all the time. When I looked up the definition for depression in the dictionary, this is what I found:

 

A psychiatric disorder showing symptoms such as persistent feelings of hopelessness, dejection, poor concentration, lack of energy, inability to sleep, and, sometimes, suicidal tendencies.

 

Well, I came up with my own definition:

 

An allergic reaction to society or an unfulfilling state of existence.

 

Society isn't really changing (at least for the better), whatever people might think. By 'treating' people for things that we label mental illness while continuing as we always were is covering up a huge and horrifying reality. And for some reason people just don't want to give it up, they're so insanely obsessed or engulfed in this lofty dream that American (and other) society has come to embrace.

 

Did you ever notice how in indigenous cultures there seems to be no depression or mental illness floating about? These people are living so much closer to themselves and nature it's not even funny.

 

All these systems and orders, all these things that people put in place to make them feel as though they have a sense of control... it's doing nothing but making us mechanical drones. (with pangs of emotion towards suicide every once in a while for those who are more allergic to this type of thing.)

 

Now, I think most of the people here (including myself probably) would go through this and still not seriously consider traveling off the beaten path or challenging the rules our government has laid down for us. But I have made an oath to myself that I will try my hardest to live true to myself, no matter how many rules that means I'll need to break. And I'll respect myself for that, even if that means ending up in an insane asylum. Because I'll have lived a way that 99.99 % of the world is too frightened to.

 

So, are you a pig

in a cage

on antibiotics?

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Hmm... very definite line of thought that you have going there. I would hate to think that only .1% of the world isn't doomed to mass conformist insanity...

 

But just think... with the 30 minutes that it took you to work up the rage over a problem that you can't fix and write this post, you could have devoted the time to finding a solution to one you can....

 

I always believe that positive proaction no matter how small is much more effective than negative speculation....

 

(even though I do agree with some of your sentiments, I just think someone with your obvious depth of thought would count time thinking of ways to improve society as time well spent rather than using that same time to tear it down)

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But just think... with the 30 minutes that it took you to work up the rage over a problem that you can't fix and write this post, you could have devoted the time to finding a solution to one you can....

 

Very true... but I felt I needed to define the problem before I thought of ways to fix it.

 

P.S. I don't think logic should be destroyed, but I believe emotion/spirit/love holds more importance

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We (Americans) live in a country where suicide is a considerable cause of death in any age group. Depression affects people by the millions and the numbers are only growing all the time.

 

So true... I've heard that people in some european countries (namely France) live in a state of much more relaxation than here in the US. I mean, they DO work, but they don't over-work. Here in the US people live in such a stressful and competitive environment, which generates stress, and workoholism (sp?). Always want a bigger car, at the expense of playing ball with your kid... I'm not saying I personally have experienced a LOT of this (although I have indeed experienced it...), and I'm not saying a kid shouldn't be grateful for the roof over their heads. But man, in some cases it's extreme how the father won't spend enough time with their kids...

 

 

Now, I think most of the people here (including myself probably) would go through this and still not seriously consider traveling off the beaten path or challenging the rules our government has laid down for us. But I have made an oath to myself that I will try my hardest to live true to myself, no matter how many rules that means I'll need to break. And I'll respect myself for that, even if that means ending up in an insane asylum. Because I'll have lived a way that 99.99 % of the world is too frightened to.

 

This is kinda what I was talking about a while back when I asked about people who've followed the dream they had as 15 year olds and succeeded... Cause I've heard of TONS of people say "Blah blah, when I was 15 I thought my parents were so wrong. When I was 20 something I realized they were right". I didn't get many replies, as you might've supposed already, but there was one particularly good one, tho, about someone who followed their dreams from when they were 15 y/o and for a second haven't felt regret to this day. Anyway, I dunno what you mean about breaking the rules... Just don't do something like committing a crime, please. But if you plan on grabbing life by the you know what, then I wish you the best of luck.

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Literally everything that we do is dictated by reason, dictated by science. What if I asked you to just forget about all that for a moment and listen to what your emotions are saying to you? What do they make you want to do? Maybe something drastic. Maybe something that seems pointless or irrational in the face of logic. But why should logic be more important than the spirit?

 

I couldn't agree with you more. How does that quote go... "many people lead lives of quiet desperation." Like you said, people go through the motions, but don't always do what will make them the happiest.

 

I have met some very remarkable people in my life. One woman escaped her abusive boyfriend and moved to costa rica with her baby boy to become a volunteer coordinator in a rain forest reserve. i know another man who had an average job, until his beloved wife died of cancer, and he felt a calling to become a prison and hospital chaplain. He often counsels people who are about to die, and he has found a lot of value and importance in this.

 

And then I've met tons of people who just quit their jobs, sold everything, and traveled around the world for a year, with one backpack alone. I think that is such an awesome experience. just to go and experience countries at your own place, without worrying about getting back to work.

 

so, i agree - if you don't want to get a 9-5 desk job, wash, rinse, repeat everyday, think big! find something that you would like to do, and go and do that. I think doing stuff you love will help ward off depression.

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Gecko:

 

I like the Radiohead reference (assuming that you know that is, in fact, a Radiohead track). Anyway, I agree with much of what you said. I also disagree with "vandgsmom" as I don't believe in ignoring the problem at hand and trying to find a solution to a easier problem for the sake of proaction. That is exactly the way of thinking that gets every human being in their "quiet" and "desperate" lives.

 

Ironically, I don't believe there is a solution to the problem. This is THE human dilemma: we are animals that are conscious of our own death. We are walking/talking pieces of meat that will eventually feed the worms of the earth. Society has always provided its inhabitants with a veil of illusion that allows them to escape this dilemma and pretend that they are something more. Religion used to be the leading illusion but now modern society has replaced God with consumerism. We buy our escape. We buy our immortality. We buy our illusions.

 

This is a depressing fact and renders all meaningless. Understood with the correct mindset, however, it can be quite liberating.

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....Ironically, I don't believe there is a solution to the problem.....

 

Hmmm.... so let me get this straight.

 

You don't believe there is a solution to "THE" problem....So instead of refocusing on "A" problem that you can do something about, you decide to liberate yourself by accepting this as an infinite unchangeable truth and wallowing in the vast collective iconoclastic self-pity of the angst-driven, anti-american, non-conformists.

 

That is your big contribution to the earth? How is that any less damaging than the consumercentric big business conglomerates that market coffins and nikes on the same aisle? At least they are contributing to the economy... What exactly are you doing except spreading negativity?

 

In what I posted, I did not "Ignore the problem at hand" any more than you dismissed the problem at hand as unsolvable and refused to find one that was. The one point we do agree on is that we cannot fix the world. Where we differ is that I think we all can fix something. We all can be proactive somewhere. We all can make a difference.

 

I think giving up on fixing the world is tantamount to giving up on life itself. I would certainly take a quiet life over a life without meaning anyday....

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That is your big contribution to the earth?

 

There can't be any contribution with everything rendered meaningless. The person who leads a life of "quiet desperation" and makes millions of dollars at a job he hates has no more meaning than the tree-hugging hippy (sorry, couldn't resist) who backpacks around the world to become more cultured.

 

I'm not making a political statement. I'm saying that societies provide "meaning" and it just so happens that our society, or the Western society, provides meaning through consumerism. That's the product of the human dilemma.

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whatever happened to looking at the glass half full? Yeah as humans we know we're going to die, big deal...just more reason to live your life to the fullest. I've got a tip for everyone, RELAX...stop taking everything so seriously. Get your business dealt with, then chill. One of the problems is that ya'll think you have to live up to something when in fact you don't. Do what you want to do, when you want to do it...you've really got nothing to lose. Just don't go around hurting people, cause then you get in the way of others doing what they want to do. I don't know, I'm just over everyone complaining about depression and how crappy life is. THAT'S the problem here. We all want to complain, but we don't seem to want to do anything about it.

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I dunno what you mean about breaking the rules... Just don't do something like committing a crime, please.

Just don't go around hurting people, cause then you get in the way of others doing what they want to do.

Right, hurting people isn't really on the list of options if you want a positive outcome. You have to let them do what they want, as well, (unless that's hurting other people) because their beliefs have the same chances of being valid (or completely inane) as your own. The problem is when a separate group of people have control over your life.

 

Do what you want to do, when you want to do it...you've really got nothing to lose.

Right, and this means I should only have to work within the boundaries of society until I have enough support to challenge it.

 

The only successful opposition to the government that wouldn't result in the rise of another limiting social system would be a sort of Satyagraha:

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Telling them they have no power over you without giving them a reason to kill you. (even if they do)

 

The thing is, I do think there is a solution. Those who have experienced it know how powerful it is: love. It's the only way to break down all these systems and superficiality that plagues people. You have to even love your 'enemy': because you must understand, you are ultimately the same as them, they're another living breathing soul, and the only war you're fighting is to have them realize the same truth that you've discovered.

 

We all want to complain, but we don't seem to want to do anything about it.

And I am willing to work towards this dream. I just need to get up on my own two feet and find some direction first...

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Why do you assume that all passion comes from the symbollic part of the mind??

 

According to Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, the least of all necessary needs of the body was the physiological. The needs to eat, sleep, etc were only fulfilled in order to accomplish the highest level of need of any sentient being ; self-actualization.

 

Ask yourself: why do we have natural instinct like animals, yet the ability to reason, elocute, plan, and carry out changes to our worlds??

 

Answer: Because we were meant for something more.

 

I can understand religious debates; political debates are a given; debates on prolife and prochoice and racism etc all go hand in hand with different people living in the same world... it just makes us a healthier society to change with the times...EVEN a debate on the meaning of life I get...

 

BUT--- Not a debate on whether life even HAS meaning?!?

 

Go through the steps: satisfy your physiological needs, your saftey needs, your needs for love and belonging, then your esteem needs... after that, you can work on self-actualization and possibly you will get what I am talking about.

 

You try to speak with an illusion of such depth that you have become a tiny little fish swimming in a dark ocean; convinced that the world encompasses only what you can see, and never knowing that to IT you are the one that is insignificant.

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Life only has meanings you ascribe to it. If that is nothing... then for you... life is nothing. When you realize that something is better than nothing... purpose and passion begin to take root. That's the meaning of life... to live... not just survive.

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We all want to complain' date=' but we don't seem to want to do anything about it.[/quote']

 

Well, I dunno if he's just complaining. His writing was very truthful and even inspiring, I think, and after all, this is an site made for advice-giving. If only everybody could grab life by the... horns... the way he describes, and people weren't just expected to fit certain mold, which only creates so much stress in the process. I mean, when you think about it, everthing that's the norm is only the "norm" because it has been indoctrinated into our minds that way (there are things that are just natural, though... but who decided to call the color of this font black? or noir, or negro? We didn't choose it that way), and were not that far away from becoming drones or a single collective consciousness or similar to ants and bees... I mean, I think it's very hard to define what's wrong and what's right. So I doubt everyone (or probably anyone at all) will agree with me. But I mean, I for one, dunno what I'm gonna do... There are only a few things that I truly love, and these are things that wouln't put food on my table, and I can't change the world for it to work for me (you have to be realistic...). Yet, the idea of working so hard to graduate from college just to end up working in a cubicle earning a mediocre wage compared to the millions I'd be making for some huge company makes me cringe. Don't quote me, cause I've had a long streak of being wrong recently, though.

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