Living in an Age of Melancholy: When Society Becomes Depressed

Douglas Bloch
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“Depression is not just a private, psychological matter. It is, in fact, a social problem … The fact that depression seems to be “in the air” right now can be both the cause and result of a level of a societal malaise that so many feel.”

– Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

 

In a recent Ted Talk, “Depression is a Disease of Civilization.” professor Stephen Ilardi advances the thesis that depression is a disease of our modern lifestyle. As an example, Ilardi compares our modern culture to the Kaluli people — an indigenous tribe that lives in the highlands of New Guinea. When an anthopologist interviewed over 2,000 Kaluli, he found that only one person exhibited the symptoms of clinical depression, despite the fact the Kaluli are plagued by high rates of infant mortality, parasitic infection, and violent death. Yet, despite their harsh lives, the Kaluli do not experience depression as we know it.

Ilardi believes this is due to the fact that the human genome of the Kaluli (as well as all humans) is well adapated to the agrarian, hunter gatherer lifestyle which shaped 99% of people who came before us. Then two hundred years ago, we saw the advent of the modern wetern-industrialized culture which created a “radical, environmental mutation” that has led a mismath between our genes/brains/bodies and modern culture. As Ilardi concludes, “We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, socially isolated, fast-food laden, sleep-deprived, frenzied pace of modern life.”

Evidence to support this idea comes from a study of 9,500 adults which found that people born near the end of the 20th century were three times more likely to develop depression than those born earlier. A person born in the 1930s was likely to have his or her first depressive episode between the ages of thirty and thirty five. If you were born in 1956, your initial episode occurred between twenty and twenty-five. This phenomenon — the early onset of depression and the greater prevalence of depression in young people — is reflected in a three hundred percent increase in the youth suicide rate in one generation.

When changes of this magnitude occur within a fifty-year period, social forces are clearly at work. Myrna Weissman, epidemiologist of Columbia University, blames such societal factors as an increase in stress, fewer family and community ties, and even nutritional deficiencies. Buddhist psychologist John Wellwood, whom I quote at length, provides his own compelling analysis of depression in our time:

Our materialistic culture helps foster depression. Not only do we lack a living wisdom tradition to guide modern society, but we find it more and more difficult to achieve even the ordinary worldly satisfaction of adult life: finding rewarding work, maintaining an intimate long-term relationship, or imparting a meaningful heritage to our children. Our sense of personal dignity and worth is quite fragile in a society where stable families, close-knit communities, commonly held values, and connection with the earth are increasingly rare. In a society such as ours where the motivating ideal is to “make it” through social status and monetary success, depression is inevitable when people fail to find the imagined pot of gold at rainbow’s end.

Furthermore, many in the psychiatric profession seem determined to view depression as an isolated symptom that can be excised from the psyche with the help of modern technology. The fact that drugs have become the treatment of choice indicates that we as a society do not want to directly face the existential meaning of this pathology. If we believe that depression is primarily physiological and treatable by drugs, we will not confront the ways in which we create it, both as individuals and as a culture. The view that depression is an alien force that descends on the psyche actually interferes with genuine possibilities for healing.

The theme of disconnection lies at the heart of the societal imbalance described by Wellwood. People who are depressed describe themselves as disconnected—from their bodies, their emotions, their spirits—i.e., from their core selves. The roots of this disconnection are to be found not only within the individual, but within society and its institutions. Here are just a few examples of how the values and lifestyles of Western culture promote and foster disconnection.

We Are Disconnected From Our Feelings

In our intellectual culture, feelings are devalued and considered a sign of weakness. Family therapist John Bradshaw describes the “no-talk, no feel” that is prevalent in family systems. Children are raised to suppress their feelings, especially those of anger and sadness. But when we are conditioned to lose touch with our so-called “negative” feelings, so too do we lose touch with our joy.

We Are Disconnected From One Another

Mother Teresa called America “the loneliest place in the world.” This loneliness is created by many factors: the dissolution of extended families (the number of Americans living in extended families has gone from 80 percent in 1945 to three percent in 1990), the breakdown of traditional communities, and our hurried way of life. Instead of true community, we now have pseudo-communities like malls (where children frequently hang out) and the Internet. While people on the Internet may sometimes experience community, sitting in front of a computer terminal for long periods, like watching television, can be isolating. Thus, one study found that the more time a person spends on-line, the more likely he or she is to experience symptoms of depression.

We Are Disconnected From Time

In her seminal book, The Overworked American, Harvard psychologist Juliette Schor documents that the average American works an extra 163 hours a year (or the equivalent of an extra month) compared to thirty years ago. As a result of the decline of leisure, we have less time to devote to our families and to our children. Child neglect has become endemic to our society. Children are increasingly left alone to fend for themselves while their parents work. Even when the parents are at home, overwork may leave them with little time or energy for their kids.

We Are Disconnected From Our Sense of Morality

In 1991 and 1992, the Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics conducted a survey of the ethical behavior of 8,965 young adults. They found that six in ten high school students and one in three college students admitted to cheating on exams in the previous year. Moreover, one in three high school students took something from a store without paying. (An extreme example of this behavior recently occurred in my neighborhood; the student-body president of the high school where I tutor was sentenced to 12 years in prison for committing 19 armed robberies. According to his friends, he did it to gain “thrills and excitement.”) The authors of the study concluded that such a precipitous decline in ethics has been caused by two factors—a pervasive cynicism about the need for ethical conduct in order to succeed, and the failure of parents, schools and businesses to consistently impose natural consequences for unethical behavior.

Moral and ethical values are usually imparted to children in their families. When parents abdicate responsibility for raising children, their children are more likely to be influenced by the pernicious violence and nihilism that infects much of the entertainment industry—i.e., video games, music, and TV.

We Are Disconnected From Curiosity and a Sense of Wonder

Anyone who has spent a day with a five-year-old child knows that children possess an innate love of learning. Somehow, between kindergarten and the sixth grade, this natural curiosity gets stamped out. In his acclaimed book Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, award-winning teacher John Taylor Gatto asserts that public schools (which he calls “jails for children”) suppress the self-knowledge, curiosity and solitude that are essential to learning—replacing them with emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem and fear of self-expression. Gatto poses the question, “How can we restore children’s love of learning and put them back in touch with their special genius?” In searching for an alternative to public schools, he prescribes a combination of independent study, community service, large doses of solitude, and learning through apprenticeships.

We are Disconnected From the Earth

Nowhere is our disconnection more evident (and more dangerous) than in our relation to Mother Earth. In his book, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, Al Gore diagnoses our ecological problem as being a symptom of a dysfunctional, addictive civilization. Gore writes:

I believe that our civilization is addicted to the consumption of the earth itself. This addictive relationship distracts us from the pain of what we have lost: a direct experience of our connection to vividness, vibrancy, and aliveness of the rest of the natural world. The froth and frenzy of industrial civilization masks our deep loneliness for communion. The price we pay is the loss of our spiritual lives.

We Are Disconnected From Our Spirit

As Gore says, the ultimate disconnection in this culture is the disconnection from our spirit. This is why Mother Teresa repeatedly stated, “The main problem facing the Western world is that of spiritual deprivation.” In trying to fill that inner void, we vainly turn to alcohol, sex, drugs, workaholism, compulsive gambling, and a host of other addictions. Yet no amount of money, status, power, or sensual pleasure can create the connection to the deeper spiritual self that alone grants us peace.

Many of the ills I have listed are, I believe, a misapplication of capitalism as practiced by the corporate culture. The threefold human crisis of deepening poverty, environmental destruction and social disintegration can be traced to economic models that make growth the ultimate goal and that treat people as mere means. While the profit motive is not inherently evil, when money is worshipped as a false god (i.e., when it becomes an all-consuming priority, to the detriment of living systems and the natural world), evil deeds result—the exploitation of young children in overseas sweatshops; the oppression of American workers in electronic sweatshops; the unequal distribution of the earth’s resources, so that twenty percent of the earth’s people are chronically hungry or starving, while the rest of the population, largely in the North, consume eighty percent of the world’s wealth; the marketing of fast food to children teenagers; the inhumane treatment of farm animals in factory farming; the decimation of the rainforests; and ultimately, the destruction of the earth’s biotic capacity to produce life.

There is, however, another way. Business can move towards sustainability and create a real ecological economic system. In his visionary book, The Ecology of Commerce, Paul Hawken writes:

The ultimate purpose of business is not, and should not be, simply to make money. Nor is it merely a system of making and selling things. The promise of business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through service, creative invention and ethical philosophy.

Hawken argues that we have the capacity to create a new and different economy, one that can “restore ecosystems and protect the environment, while bringing forth innovation, prosperity, meaningful work and true security.” Among other things, Hawken’s “restorative economy” would:

  • Reduce absolute consumption of energy and natural resources in the North by 80 percent in the next half century (the technology already exists to accomplish this).
  • Provide secure, stable and meaningful employment for people everywhere.
  • Honor market principles.
  • Exceed sustainability by restoring degraded habitats and ecosystems to their fullest biological integrity.
  • Be fun and engaging, so that people eagerly participate in cultural transformation.

Paul Hawken and other visionaries such as E.F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful), David Korten (The Post Corporate Era: Life After Capitalism) and David Suzuki (The Sacred Balance) lay out clear and practical road maps that can lead us to sustainability.

The theme of this article is that we can no longer afford to view depression solely as a problem of the individual. The health of the society and the health of its individuals are inextricably linked. To end the worldwide epidemic of depression, we must combine individual psychological therapies with new social and economic systems that respect the earth and more fairly distribute the worlds resources. Such models already exist. What we need is the political will to implement them. If we can do so, we will be able to create a more equitable culture that optimizes the mental and emotional health of each of its ciitizens.

❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁

More about Douglas’ approach to healing can be found at
Healing From Depression

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Douglas. Thanks much for this piece. I have to agree that much of today’s “mental illness” can be attributed to modernity. We have become increasingly fractured, living alone or in isolated family units, often disconnected from meaningful work or sense of place.

    Also, just as a sedentary high stress indoor lifestyle with a diet of processed foods, sugar and caffeine has led to an epidemic of obesity, metabolic disorders and chronic illness, I believe that modernity has also led to a large increase in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and increased the propensity towards uncomfortable extreme states.

    Instead of addressing the perils of this relatively new lifestyle (past 100 years), we are mostly using strong pharmaceutical drugs to try and cover up these symptoms. The drugs themselves often lead to worsening health and disability.

    Though few would like to live in a tribal setting such as the Kaluli, we would do well to examine why they are more mentally and emotionally healthy. We should address why we have become so disconnected from one another, our bodies and our environment.

    By the way, Douglas. I just met you at the Rethinking Psychiatry symposium in Portland in May. You gave me your book. It was a pleasure to meet you. Thanks for the good words here.

    • I think that tribal societies also have better ways of dealing with emotional distress should it occur. There are plenty of rituals accompanying every event in individual and social life and extreme states of mind are seen as important and transformative events (like shamanic crisis). In the modern day society there is no time and patience for letting people process their experiences (like grief) or to allow them to be disruptive.
      It’s like pressing a cover on a vessel with boiling water while more wood is added to the fire. It has to burst.

  2. “Provide secure, stable and meaningful employment for people everywhere.”

    No, the principles of the off grid movement are the way to go.

    The need for “employment” is the key element of the “slave system” that causes a constant survival anxiety by making survival depend on money.

  3. Mother Teresa called America “the loneliest place in the world.”

    I read an interview of a person over 100 years old who was asked: What is the biggest change you have seen during your life ? Answer: Television “people went inside their houses and never came back out”.

    I love when a good storm knocks the lights out, you get to meet that neighbor who has lived 5 houses down for 10 years for the first time.

  4. “I have no one to meet
    And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming”
    ~Mr. Tambourine Man, Bob Dylan

    I’m not against doing what one loves to do, but…working 9 to 5 at a dreary job for some global corporation, perhaps working two or three jobs, and not being able to make ends meet even then. If you don’t work, at a conventional job that is, that’s dysfunction, causing one to stick out like a sore thumb, and therefore, according to psychiatry, any number of pathological conditions. I would say, if I couldn’t think for yourself, that’s kind of depressing.

    What was it Mr. Cummings said about another universe?

  5. “the average American works an extra 163 hours a year”

    For most Americans 1/3 to 1/2 of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; This translates to 15 years of working over your life time just to pay for it and because of it 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. http://thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement/

    Anyone every watch a typical house being built from start to finish ? It takes less than a dozen men less than a month to pop it together with modern tools.

    Why does it take 15 years of labor to pay for it ? Gov’t bull crap, tax, insurance, permits and fees.

    All these grandiose ideas like “Provide secure, stable and meaningful employment for people everywhere” never ever work and always include forms of coercion by the govt “providers” the people farmers.

    “Create a more equitable culture” ? Start by restoring freedom and get Govt out of our lives.

    • I don’t know I can articulate this with my benzo brain, CC, but in my town, we’re upgrading the water system. Whadda know, they’ve run into cost overruns. You know who pays for all this, the necessesary upgrading of crumbling infrastructure? The rate payer. The ratepayer in my town mostly consists of little old ladies and the folks who work in town at the local shops.

      In my mind, this is what government is for; to foot the bill for the greater public good. After all-water is life. Government need to quit spending 76% of the budget on imperialist adventures overseas. The military is the largest consumer of fossil fuels. It’s just another aspect of our sick modern society.

      • “upgrading the water system” II

        Do we really need these fancy water systems so the suburbanites can play their narcissistic games of “my grass is greener than yours” ?

        Suburbanites: The most prevalent vermin in the USA, recognized by the following characteristics:

        -Pretending that they have lots of money, but are actually broke after spending it all trying to impress people with their McMansions, SUVs, over watered laws etc.

        -Love of crappy chain “restaurants” such as Applebee’s, Chili’s, The Olive Garden, IHOP, etc.

        -Severely lacking in social skills and intelligence, due to their refusal to interact with anyone other than their elementary/middle school classmates from 15-20 years ago.

        They are more often of the conservative school of thought surprisingly, whilest somehow simultaneously perpetuating their frivolous zoning laws.

        In suburbia if one decides to “go green” and stop watering and mow their lawn every month instead of every week then they’d get a nasty letter from the city council and possibly a fine.

        I despise suburbanites.

          • I don’t live at all in suburbia-I live in a small town in a sparsely populated county. The small town serves the very rural area surrounding it.

            No one waters their lawn here; we can’t afford it. Most of us realize the river can only provide so much. I can’t set up a rain barrel here in my apt. complex (over 80 years old made from old growth redwood)-kinda funky and the logistics and the financial resources just aren’t there. You have no idea who you are talking to CC-you have no idea what my life is like. Back off.

            If there is a government, I think it’s sole purpose should be to finance things that individuals cannot. Roads, postal service, you know-infrastructure. We can’t go back to tribal life as much as I would love that.

            When I lived in the woods, and had land I did have my own water system-no utilities and no telephone. But unfortunatly, I didn’t get any of that in the divorce.

    • Copy cat ,I really enjoy and learn from your posts but the Idea of totally getting Govt. out of our lives seems to me would leave a power vacuum that the robber barrons would step into and then we would have even less chance for freedom. I think balance where the govt . is responsive to the people and where corporations are not legally people and have no vote is better. I like the idea of democratic socialism better. There are common areas that belong to us all that corporations are taking over. There must be some limits on how much an individual can control and to the size and influence of corporations and cartels. I don’t know everything but I see that too much power corrupts .
      Fred

      • Right now in our democratic socialism the govt and the robber barrens work hand and hand. Do you think most people would buy that expensive car insurance if the govt wasn’t forcing ? The bank is the collection agency for property taxes.

        Eli Lilly and mental health courts ! Right here look no kidding http://flpic.org/

        I am really not good at this politics , easy to call me out on small govt ideas and then catch me saying to build some housing to solve the homeless problem or where the hell is the 250mph high speed rail ?

        I just like the freedom party, those ideas click.

    • “get Govt out of our lives”
      The problem is when there is no government it’s even worse. Governments like to self-organise and if the government is not there you’ll have a religious organisation, mafia, you name it doing the same thing in a probably more brutal way. I think societies without governments are a nice utopia but in fact the best we can get is a government increasingly responsible for it’s actions and to the people. The general population in the Western world has much more freedom and protection than ever before in the written history, the question is how to expand that rather than let the power grabbing corporations and 1%ters take it away completely.

  6. “Reduce absolute consumption of energy and natural resources”

    What a joke. Want to put solar panels on “your house” the one you “own” ?

    http://solarpermit.org/ hosts the National Solar Permitting Database, a free, online database of information related to solar permitting requirements of cities and counties across the country.

    The govt promotes it but in fact they themselves are the greatest enemy of the green revolution.

    • Permits & Fees: Local permitting and inspection fees can add well over $2,500 to your solar costs. All in, permitting costs can total between $3,000-$6,000. Then we add the cost of having a “licensed installer” cause the govt believes home “owners” are to stupid to work on their “own” home…

      Wouldn’t it be great to live in a free society and be able to just go online buy parts and start building your system without forking over $3,000-$6,000 to the nanny state that “knows whats best” and “keeps us safe” ?

    • For less than the cost of Govt hassles,inspections, intrusions, paperwork and “licensed installers” you can cut the cord to the earth destroying fossil fuel grid power forever, right now today. Right here http://www.wholesalesolar.com/products.folder/systems-folder/OffGridPackages.html

      I just want to vomit when I see liberals on T.V acting like they are the champions of the green revolution. I have to stop I made my point but damb !!

  7. Douglas ,Thanks for this insightful article and thanks to the commenters as well.
    As Stephen Ilardi points out in the video inflammation is a big problem.
    The brain has a separate immune system. Multiple vaccinations too close to birth time, too many too close together, turn on the brains immune system so that it can’t turn off , causing brain inflammation . Not even speaking of the deadly putrifications in the vaccines and mercury compounds that they don’t announce like in the flu shot which they are trying to push on everyone which actually take away your immunity against more serious viral attacks. See Russell Blaylock M.D. retired and innovative neurosurgeon . He’s seen the results in autopsies .He’s got over 90 videos on youtube .
    Over 75% of the population have various amounts of 50+% mercury from dental amalgams not to speak of the mercury in 53% of the packaged food (from caustic soda which is used to clean food packing machines) in our grocery stores. Also in fish and from else ware. One in 6 people have trouble excreting mercury from their system. It does gets into many parts of the body including the brain. I would estimate that mercury alone effects negatively in various degrees the moods of at least 13,500,000 people in the United States alone.I was one of them that almost died from it. We are not even speaking of aspertane (a popular deadly sugar substitute pushed through and owned by Rumsfield the double talking war monger under Bush the younger.
    Early this year 2014 at the last minute Dow Chemical got the U.S. President to sign a rider to a farm bill pushing through the ok to use sulfural fluoride on produce we eat inspite of the EPA warning that in tests it has caused holes in various parts of the brains of mice, rats ,cats, and dogs.
    In effect whether by purposeful eugenics , naked greed or both ,and other contributing causes ,we are being poisoned .And many poisons will change your mood and health status and give the real quacks in the APA ,AMA, and the ADA a cash flow opportunity to work on you including drugging you with even more poisons.
    Traditional Naturopathy,is the main field that offers solutions to some of these problems. Eat farmers market organic food, exercise , and if you can , grow your own organic produce.Concerning inflammation read the book ” The Body Ecology Diet” by Donna Gates with Linda Schatz .Having friends is important. There is more to say but that’s enough from me for now. Thanks, Fred

    • Vaccines don’t cause brain inflammation – they cause a limited immune response which primes the immune system in order to teach it to fight off a real attack. The immune system of a newborn is constantly subjected to assault by microbes and viruses before it has a chance to mature (that’s why newborns, especially not breastfed are very susceptible to infections) and vaccines allow kids to develop immunity without the danger from a real pathogen. Vaccines are not 100% safe but they are probably the single most important invention of modern medicine, maybe next to antibiotics so I’d not fear monger about them.

      • B,
        Who should we believe on the subject of vaccines you or Russell Blaylock M.D.Retired and Neurosurgeon Like I said 90+ videos on youtube. http://www.RussellBlaylock.com
        Definitely vaccines given as many doctors give them too many ,too close together is a major cause of brain inflammation. Have you seen the results of autopsies of brains as Blaylock has . Presenting truth is not fear mongering . Believing false dogma can kill or disable your children if you act on it.(Google) TheTruthAboutVaccinesAndModernMedicine
        You are 100% wrong about the benefits of vaccines. Fred

        • “Who should we believe on the subject of vaccines you or Russell Blaylock ”
          In this case I’m afraid – me. The vaccines per se do not cause autism and they do not cause brain inflammation. That’s been well scientifically proven and no amount of videos on youtube are going to change that. In fact anti-vaxx fear mongering has already caused measles outbreaks in US. The fact that some areas of medicine are based on bs doesn’t mean all of them are. Vaccines are a sole reason why nobody is dying of smallpox nowadays and polio is almost eradicated (safe for a few places where the vaccinations are hindered by wars and terrorism) and you should appreciate that.
          http://www.iflscience.com/search/node/vaccine

  8. Thanks for this. I always appreciate it when the causes of widespread despair are identified as having originated in the collective rather than solely in the individual, who is often blamed and pathologized for having strong feelings about one’s place in a humanity that in so much trouble right now.

    I look forward to checking out the links about alternative economics. I think that I might disagree with one point that is made in the article: “Many of the ills I have listed are, I believe, a misapplication of capitalism as practiced by the corporate culture.” I don’t think that deepening poverty, environmental destruction and social disintegration are a side-effect of capitalism, any more than weight gain is a side-effect of psychiatric drugs. In the recent and popular book “Capitalism in the Twenty-first Century” by Thomas Piketty, the author shows how inequality is the expected outcome of capitalism. Capitalism is doing what it was designed to do and what it always has done – exploit the majority of people and ravage the earth for the benefit of a tiny, unaccountable minority. Similarly, capitalist markets distribute goods and services on the basis of who can pay the most for them, rather than who needs them the most, so I don’t think markets should be romanticized either. Having said that, I definitely appreciate this article and I agree that people ought to be thinking about all the social and environmental reasons that despair is so prevalent.

    • I cannot understand all the capitalism bashing on a mental health website !

      How is that possible with the number of people here who have studied human behavior ??? How is that even possible ?!!!

      The connection between work and reward, remember that ? Motivation ect. People are selfish and always will be. The nanny state gives me free doctor visits, so today I am motivated to bust my ass work and ‘get er done’… Not in a million years.

      Always in these debates the socialists use emotion to stir people up (rich people suck) but they can’t seem to get the logic right.

      “exploit the majority of people and ravage the earth for the benefit of a tiny”

      Where do these ideas come from ? YES ! The 1% rich have some nice houses, maybe a car collection , perhaps a plane or maybe two , I don’t think it is possible for them to eat much more of their fair share without getting to 500lbs and obese.

      But rich people are greedy scum ! O.K so we take all their money and distribute it “fairly” , great idea !! But wait, what happens now when everyone has a big pocket full of money but the stores don’t contain more things ? Want to buy a $10 bag of chips anyone ? or a $300 pair of “cheap” sneakers ?

      These ideas never work for a reason.

    • I know socialism stuff is so “kind, genital and caring” so I am also very curious what we do with the greedy people who attempt to enrich themselves and their families and break ‘anti capitalism’ laws, what will the punishment be after outlawing free trade among people for the good of all ?

      Will we use the police force and “justice” system ?

      Just how do we enforce compliance to this collectivism ?

  9. I’m going to sound negative hear, so bear with me. This man sounds no different than my previous psychiatrist who insisted I had a life-long brain disease. His constant referencing to it as being in illness, and that it will cause brain damage, is what always made me want to just give up, because it’s such a hopeless message. When I come to Mad in America, I always love seeing alternative ways on how to deal with depression or other forms of extreme mind states, in a way that differs from conventional psychiatry. But, I have to say, this article is perpetuating the biological and conservative view of “mental illness” in the sense of it being completely biological. THe one difference is we have an expert focusing on the psychosocial aspect, but that doesn’t mean it’s any different from what the people at the APA have preach. I’ve seen plenty of mainstream thinking psychiatrist that wouldn’t disagree with that premise.

    I’m glad other users found this talk exciting, for me I found it utterly depressing. After I got down watching it I thought to myself, “maybe I need to get on s0me medications (the same medications that have hurt me in the past) “because I’m worried about my “depression” causing brain damage.”

    Maybe i’m off base somewhere, but I don’t see how this belongs on a site that claims it’s motto is “Rethinking psychiatry” It seems very well-suited on Nami’s page, or another APA sponsored website, but here?

    Again I apologize for the negative response, I don’t mean to say anything that might come off as hurtful to others. I did find outside of the TedTalk that the author raises some good points, and it was well-written. I suppose, it really hit home to me, because this is the same message that caused my intense hopeless depression when I used to be strong supporter of biological psychiatry.

    Best Wishes,

    • I’m not sure what you’re complaining about. I mean except for calling depression an illness he clearly identifies the causes of this state as being life-style dependent and not at all due to inherent biological failure of an individual. Surely his talk is a bit simplistic as for the reasons and solutions to people feeling depressed (having to fit in a short time) but I can’t see how he makes you feel “I thought to myself, “maybe I need to get on s0me medications (the same medications that have hurt me in the past) “because I’m worried about my “depression” causing brain damage.” If anything it should make you leave your meds and sign up for a kayaking club to get some exercise and meet new people.

      Personally, I think people concentrate too much on a language and not enough on the content and proposed solutions…