A Doctor Cures His Bipolar Diagnosis Without Psychiatry: Review of ‘I’

Magdalene D'Silva, BA/LLB, LLM, MA
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Just as psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, MD1 and US presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson are rightly questioning the pharmaceutical gaslighting of US citizens’ political-economic and social despair, more and more conventional medical doctors seem to be turning renegade against their profession by finding non-pharmaceutical treatment options for their patients and themselves. Modern Western medicine has brought great benefit to humanity via curing disease in hundreds of millions of people. Yet there are valid challenges to pharmaceutical scientism in some medical fields, including biomedical psychiatry.

An example of such a challenge comes from a former practising member of the conventional Western medical profession, in the form of a small, self-published book: I (2016). Written by US radiologist Jeffrey Fidel, MD, I is Fidel’s account of his “awakening” recovery experience,2 when he defied a long-term psychiatric diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and quit a cocktail of prescribed psychiatric drugs cold-turkey. Quitting psychiatric drugs so suddenly triggered a year or so of intense mental anguish for Fidel, from what sounds like a series of psychoses caused first by the drugs he had taken for years, and then by the effects of withdrawing from them.3 While Fidel eventually triumphed over the sheer hell of taking his brain off psychiatric drugs without support, abruptly quitting them without such supervision and support is not something he (or I) recommend for anyone.

Fidel’s book starts with a brief account of the life events that led to his decision to defy his diagnosis and stop the drugs: the end of his marriage, the death of his beloved dog, and voluntarily leaving his medical practice. Instead of agreeing to yet more biomedical “mental health treatment” for his pain, Fidel rejected it entirely. I then details what happened to Fidel when he quit psychiatric drugs and embraced an alternative, non-medical healing approach. The latter, in his case, was not the gaslighting merry-go-round of secular, cognitive-behavioral “talk” therapy,4 but a set of philosophical and spiritual teachings known as the Tao Te Ching and Hua Hu Ching (credited to the ancient Eastern philosopher Lao Tzu). These teachings are somewhat similar to the mystical traditions of other mainstream religions, such as early Christianity and Buddhism, which are being revived by non-sectarian writers5 in stark contrast to today’s secular/capitalist, self-help-oriented “McMindfulness.”6

As I noted, Fidel experienced a year or so of severe mental anguish and hallucinations when he quit psychiatric drugs.7 He thus seems to have endured what author David Forbes (in his critique of secular Western mindfulness) has described as “…trying to cling to a self that lacks a permanent and separate identity; it’s something to face, not something from which to escape.”8 The title of Fidel’s book, I, thus symbolizes who he realized he really is — without the myriad false-self role identities (known in non-sectarian spirituality as “ego”)9 he was socialized to adopt to fit into his family of origin, education system, society, and the political economy at large. Fidel says, for example, that he:

“… ‘believed myself to be an intelligent and diligent physician,’ an ‘animal lover,’ a ‘piano player,’ a ‘snow skier,’ a ‘husband,’ and a ‘father,’ etc. I (my mind) believed that becoming better at these activities would ‘make me happy…’ .”

When Fidel abandoned conventional psychiatry, psychiatric drugs, and the psychiatric label identities that come with them, he realized that:

“…In the end, though, none of these activities, by themselves, would complete the Being that I am. I (my mind) thought that it had ‘made it’ on the outside by achieving high levels of expertise in these various activities…”

And:

“…my mind acquired the belief that it was not acceptable to cry in public. This created a conflict within my mind every time I wanted to cry. In order to compensate for this conflict, my mind repressed the rest of my being from carrying out its once-natural response…”

A crucial part of Fidel’s book—which seems consistent with emerging knowledge about the impact of childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences (‘ACEs)10 on later teenage and adult psychiatric distress—is his discussion of a similar emotional-mental psychic crisis he experienced earlier when finishing his formal medical school training. At that time, Fidel had learned to switch his mind on and off at will. When his thinking mind was “on,” he was consumed by thoughts of worthlessness, depression, and suicide.

Fidel also writes that he forgave himself, others (his parents?), and his childhood trauma experiences11from his heart (not his thinking intellectual mind):

“…I forgave myself for not being able to live up to the standards of perfection…”

At this point, Fidel’s book could perhaps have done more to clarify what type of forgiveness he actually experienced, because “forgiveness” has diverse religious interpretations12 as well as various spiritual and therapeutic meanings.13 What is perhaps most important to note, however, is that for Fidel, his act of forgiveness quieted all the suicidal voices in his head. This raises serious questions about whether negative suicidal voices in the heads of other people are not so-called biomedical brain disorders or chemical imbalances after all, but rather the unresolved memories of adverse childhood experiences/childhood trauma.14

Interestingly, Fidel also describes a hallucinatory experience of meeting a vengeful, perfectionistic, parent-like, religious/theological “God” that his mind invented when he was enduring psychiatric drug-withdrawal symptoms. This experience lead to what seems to be his turning point, as listed in a short paragraph under the heading “My Insight”: Here, he connects his hallucinatory experience of a vengeful, parental “God” with his own real childhood trauma experiences of needing to be perfect as a condition of his parents’ love.

Thus, when Fidel quieted his cognitive, thinking mind (without resorting to cognitive-behavioural “talk” therapy), a new, more loving “voice” suddenly emerged from what Fidel says was his heart. Fidel’s mind then surrendered all the other voices and concepts of false-self role identities. For a further time, though, the false identities in Fidel’s mind still fought for their own survival via more hallucinations, which he recognized as such.

Fidel’s initial application of the Eastern spiritual teachings he chose to practice (including abstinence from sex, pornography, alcohol, and meat consumption) temporarily became a new “enlightened” false-self role identity. This meant that for a time, Fidel thought he was more spiritually advanced than other people and so became intolerant of anyone he “felt could not understand me” because he “had unconsciously created a new mental/spiritual drug: the belief in spiritual advancement.” Fidel admits he created more months of suffering for himself by becoming even more “mind-identified” and describes states of disassociation in which his mind split from his physical body.

Fidel says that by listening to the voice of his “heart,” his “being,” as who he really is, he effectively disidentified from the thoughts and voices in his head. Fidel also realized that conventional society and how he (and most of us) are socialized to exist requires a duality, or split, in our psyche and our sense of self. When Fidel resolved the split between his “false self” (the socialized, mind-made labels and identities that helped him to fit into society) and his “true self” (a self that exists, but without any identity label), his intense suffering from psychiatric drug withdrawal symptoms resolved.

The rest of Fidel’s book reads like a meditation, reflecting practically, scientifically, and philosophically on the spiritual (but not religious) teachings he applied. Fidel today claims to be a fully fit and healthy human being who now gives talks and interviews about his experiences and offers his views on the current state of conventional biomedical psychiatry as a form of (scientized) intellectual defense against suffering.15 He also offers support services to others who are suffering and makes public YouTube videos that share what he has learned.

Patients who are dissatisfied with biomedical psychiatry, dissenting psychiatrists/ psychologists, and scholars of divinity-spirituality or medicine-science might all find Fidel’s short book an interesting case study on how to heal the human mind (heart) and soul— without psychiatric drugs. Mainstream journalists, whose field tends to defend mental-disorder labels and psychiatric drugs, might also consider reading Fidel’s book and then interviewing him to obtain the unique perspective of a conventionally trained physician-turned-patient who successfully healed his own bipolar diagnosis without psychiatry.

For those who are considering quitting the biomedical-model mental health system and pharma drugs, emulating Fidel’s example could be very difficult or outright dangerous without supervision and empathic support. Fidel has said in online interviews that when he decided to quit psychiatric drugs and reject his long-term bipolar diagnosis, he did seek assistance from a psychologist who apparently would not help him and, given the current psychiatric zeitgeist, others may face similar lack of support.

Fidel thus ended up totally isolated and alone during his ordeal of self-managed recovery from psychiatric drugs. This raises a legal/political question: Has a pharma-influenced mental health system become so pervasive that citizens are denied fully informed consent and freedom of choice to undertake alternative, non-drug-based approaches to recovery? There is also an ethical question: Is psychiatric drug withdrawal obstructed by conflicts of interest in mental health systems, the ‘psy’ professions, and society at large?

Fidel’s book does not say whether he had the financial means to survive independently without a conventional job while he endured the effects of psychiatric drug withdrawal. Fidel also has a young son, who was presumably cared for by other people (?) during Fidel’s recovery period. Other readers with dependent young children who lack the financial means and personal networks may find unsupported psychiatric drug withdrawal as Fidel did it to be unfeasible.

To some readers, the prose in I may seem abstract, as Fidel focuses on expressing the state of peaceful awareness he discovered and now experiences as normal. Fidel’s writing style thus has a poetic, almost loving energy and rhythm to it, perhaps because it is an unembellished self-portrait of his experience of applying original, spiritual mindfulness teachings to his psychic distress.

While I might benefit from a more detailed sequel or revised edition to reach a wider audience, in its current short form it shows that for Fidel, a bipolar diagnosis was not permanent and did not require psychiatric drugs to overcome. I may thus offer a balm of honest relief and real inspiration to anyone who is experiencing intense emotional pain, mental suffering and/or suicidal thoughts, and who is considering tapering off psychiatric drugs.

I also shows the possibility (or real probability) of healing that can happen when a human being relinquishes psychiatric drugs and mental-disorder labels and identities. For Fidel, there was (and still is) enduring peace and genuine lasting recovery at the end of the psychiatric tunnel.

Show 15 footnotes

  1. Kelly Brogan MD, Own Your Self: The Surprising Path beyond Depression, Anxiety, and Fatigue to Reclaiming Your Authenticity, Vitality, and Freedom (Hay House 2019).
  2. See e.g. Steve Taylor Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening (New World Library 2017).
  3. Consider Joanna Moncrieff The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Anti-psychotic Drugs (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), Robert Whitaker Anatomy of An Epidemic Chapter 9 ‘The Bipolar Boom’ (Crown Publishers, 2010) 172-204.
  4. Despite being considered the “gold standard” of psychotherapy, open online public forums show public skepticism of cognitive behavioral therapy as a form of gaslighting abuse. See https://www.reddit.com/r/CBT/comments/aedmjg/cbt_or_gaslighting_yourself/.
  5. Consider Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (Namaste 1997) and A New Earth (Penguin 2005), Steve Taylor Spiritual Science (Watkins, 2018), Fr Richard Rohr The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent Books, 2019).
  6. Consider David Forbes, Mindfulness and Its Discontents (Fernwood Publishing 2019), Jeremy Carette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (Routledge 2004), Edgar Cabanas and Eva Illouz, Manufacturing Happy Citizens: How the Science and Industry of Happiness Control Our Lives (Polity 2019).
  7. See Robert Whitaker, above n 2, 179-182.
  8. David Forbes, above n 6, 23.
  9. Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth Chapter 4.
  10. See e.g. Nadine Burke Harris MD, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).
  11. Dr Fidel MD, interview 1 March 2017 ‘Wisdom from Within – From Bipolar to Liberation’ Savvy Broadcasting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfn-UXdbVxs
  12. Consider Maria Mayo’s critical analysis of different interpretations of ‘forgiveness’ in The Limits of Forgiveness: Case Studies in Distortion of a Biblical Idea (Fortress Press 2015).
  13. Julie Juloa Exline, ‘The Thorny Issue of Forgiveness: A Psychological Perspective’ (2013) 13(13) Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal
  14. Consider Bessel Van Der Kolk’s Psychological Trauma (American Psychiatric Publishing, 2003), The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain And Body In The Transformation Of Trauma (Penguin 2015) and Richard Benjamin, Joan Hailburn and Serena King, Humanising Mental Health Care in Australia (Routledge 2019).
  15. Dr Fidel MD, above n 10.

58 COMMENTS

  1. “I also shows the possibility (or real probability) of healing that can happen when a human being relinquishes psychiatric drugs and mental-disorder labels and identities.”

    I’d call it a certainty. But it doesn’t stop with ditching the drugs and labels, that’s only step one. There are layers of healing to do, it’s a process, and it’s important to specifically be on a healing path. Healing & change is hard work and it requires flexibility in thinking, letting go of old beliefs and considering new perspectives. This is a big change and some will embrace it while others will be resistant to making that kind of core shift. Different paths, outcomes, and realities happen from this particular variable–allowing vs. resistance.

    What is also certain is that is *impossible* to heal while on psych drugs and identifying with a diagnosis. These only create the illusion of “chronic disorders” and related issues, along with undue suffering, totally and completely needlessly.

    Were people/society/professional industries to stop labeling and drugging and also to stop calling for it as a solution to anything, we’d decrease undue suffering tremendously and go in a much better and way more reasonable direction, where people had a chance to actually grow into who they are and evolve as creative human beings.

    There are all kinds of wise and effective ways to deal with life challenges on all levels, and with total and absolute certainty, this would not include psychiatric practices, which only seem to make matters much, much worse, to the point of tragedy. How much more evidence do we need?? At this point, I believe it’s rather overwhelming in favor of proving what a dangerous and extremely harmful racket this is.

    • “I’d call it a certainty. But it doesn’t stop with ditching the drugs and labels, that’s only step one. There are layers of healing to do, it’s a process, and it’s important to specifically be on a healing path. Healing & change is hard work and it requires flexibility in thinking, letting go of old beliefs and considering new perspectives. This is a big change and some will embrace it while others will be resistant to making that kind of core shift. Different paths, outcomes, and realities happen from this particular variable–allowing vs. resistance.”

      Keep speaking your heart-truth, Alex. It’s a wonderful example for those of us walking a similar path.

  2. I agree, “bipolar” is definitely NOT a “lifelong, incurable, genetic mental illness,” as our “psy” industries fraudulently proclaim. For goodness sakes, the symptoms are created with the antidepressants and ADHD drugs, which makes it an iatrogenic illness, not a genetic one.

    https://www.alternet.org/2010/04/are_prozac_and_other_psychiatric_drugs_causing_the_astonishing_rise_of_mental_illness_in_america/

    I, too, healed myself from “bipolar,” by getting off the psych drugs. My “bipolar” was also a distraction diagnosis, used by “psy” professionals to deny and cover up child abuse. Although it was to cover up the abuse of my child, prior to my mentally coming to grips with the fact my child had been abused, instead of the rape of myself personally. But distracting child abuse survivors with psych stigmatizations, to profiteer off of cover up child abuse, is the number one actual societal function of both our psychologists and psychiatrists, historically and today.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    My healing journey also functioned as a spiritual “awakening.”

    “when he decided to quit psychiatric drugs and reject his long-term bipolar diagnosis, he did seek assistance from a psychologist who apparently would not help him and, given the current psychiatric zeitgeist, others may face similar lack of support.”

    Yes, i actually lost two family PCPs, and had a third one tell me to have my family change insurance groups, and refuse to help my family. So I was worried I wouldn’t even be able to find a family physician. We changed insurance groups. I had to avoid handing over my, and my abused child’s medical histories, and not discuss the situation with our fourth PCP, in order to even keep a family physician.

    “Fidel thus ended up totally isolated and alone during his ordeal of self-managed recovery from psychiatric drugs.”

    Me, too. “Physician heal thy self,” right?

    “This raises a legal/political question: Has a pharma-influenced mental health system become so pervasive that citizens are denied fully informed consent and freedom of choice to undertake alternative, non-drug-based approaches to recovery?”

    Yes, I’m quite certain we’ve been there for decades now.

    “There is also an ethical question: Is psychiatric drug withdrawal obstructed by conflicts of interest in mental health systems, the ‘psy’ professions, and society at large?”

    Yes, and we have a real lack of ethics problem by doctors who try to silence people who’ve been weaned off the psych drugs, and walked away from their scientific fraud based psych labels.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

    One of my subsequent, forced treatment doctors was actually convicted by the FBI for a lot of unneeded hospitalizations, against a lot of patients, for profit.

    https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/oak-brook-doctor-sentenced-two-years-prison-connection-kickback-scheme-sacred-heart

    And I will say, between the massive in scale cover ups of child abuse, massive in scope psychiatric iatrogenic illness creation, and all the cover ups of these crimes and iatrogenesis. By the way, here’s your medical proof that the “bipolar” and “schizophrenia treatments” create both the negative and positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via NIDS and anticholinergic toxidrome.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-induced_deficit_syndrome
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

    We have serious legal and ethical breaches by our – now getting desperate, but also outlandish, and even more criminal, due to their dangerous paranoia to cover up their sins and crimes – “psych professionals.”

    The lawyers do need to step in at some point, and actually take cases against the psychiatrists and psychologists. We all do need a return to the rule of law in America, and on this planet in general. Why have you lawyers been refusing to take cases against these criminal, child rape covering up, “mental health” workers for so long?

  3. brains lie- hearts do the truth- its as simple as that, if you lose the connection with your heart gut- your brain really takes over- and its a liar- the me me me center, the more you stay in your head, alone, the more you fall into the me me me section, hearts do, you you you, and that’s all their is to it, basically its about balance. Nothing wrong with doing me- just not too much- and yous where its at- way more peace in you you you, than me me me. so its getting out of your head that counts the most, which is why the focus should be on not focusing on whats in a lying me me me head, it doesn’t count, cause it was born out of a jungle of the me me me trap, that’s very understandable, cause it came out of a trap, that heads get into, when they lose the focus and the connection of the love inside, the heart that keeps them safe, if they only knew or realised, and which is why its all about information for most people- in regard to MH care, around the 70% mark according to the WDS 2019- so society really knows its all about, what you don’t know, and need to know, and what you do know, that’s hurting you, to heal, be well, stay well, feelings are everything, feelings are about the love, thinking’s bullshit, on its own. That’s why my brain will never hurt me, i know its a liar, and its only interested in itself. and naturally thinkers think- with their best asset- its all about thinking- feelers feel with their best asset- that its all about feelings- two different people.-, but i treat my brain like the thing it is- it doesn’t treat me, nor does anyone who thinks it matters, cause i know it doesn’t matter, and man am i glad about that, and lucky.

  4. “God heals, the Doctor just collects the fee” Ben Franklin.

    Hi Magdalene,
    I have been struggling to find a lawyer in Australia who knows what a burden of proof is. Our Chief Psychiatrist has rewritten the protection in our Mental Health Act from “suspect on reasonable grounds that a person requires an assessment by a psychiatrist” to “suspect on grounds the referrer believes to be reasonable” This to me removes the section that identifies what are “reasonable grounds” (s.26) and thus enables arbitrary detentions. This along with the ability to spike citizens drinks with benzodiazepines and then plant weapons on them for police to find and make referral to Mental Health professionals concerns me.
    It also concerns me that the hospital where this was done has sent a set of “edited” documents to the Mental Health Law Centre where they remove the evidence of the criminal offences (conspire to stupefy and commit an indictable offence namely kidnapping) and give the appearance that I had been their patient for more than 10 years. At this point the MHLC threw me under a bus and well, the people worried about what police might do attempted to unintentionally negatively outcome me.

    Anyway, point being do you know any lawyers who know what a burden of proof is? Because they might be able to explain to our Chief Psychiatrist what one is and he can then do his duty and provide expert legal advice to the Minister (who also doesn’t recognise the protections contained in the Act), and protect the rights of citizens, carers and consumers. Something that must be difficult given he doesn’t know what these rights are. Don’t these guys have to pass amendments through parliament before they rewrite the laws these days? Or do they just continue with their negligence and fraud and continue to slander me as being ill for speaking the truth?
    Eight years today and I haven’t seen my daughter and grandkids as a result of these criminals.

    • What I find humorous about the whole situation is that police can not accept that I was nobodys “patient”. Because this means they assisted in kidnapping and torturing a citizen for a mental health professional. Even worse that they sent me away because they don’t have a copy of the criminal code in a large police station, only for me to end up escaping an attempt on my life in an ED. I always was a bit like Bugs Bunny lol.
      My second bite at police results in me being threatened with arrest for having documents proving what i’m saying (after a referral back to the criminals failed). I’ve spent longer with police over a piece of hose than over these matters. My Incident Report comes back as “insufficient evidence” which is strange coz a lawyer called my documents “proof” of a crime. Still, because the Community Nurse conspired to pervert the course of justice, and compound or conceal evidence of a criminal offense (he talked a Doctor into signing off on the spiking by writing a prescription for the benzos, 12 hours after it was done) I guess they can say there is “insufficient evidence”, they should know, they helped to get it back for the hospital (or so they thought whew).
      So whats the chances of them admitting error? About zero because their reputation is at stake and they don’t wish to look like the fools they are. These Organised Crims are running them in rings. Trick cycling i’ve heard it called. Get the police to commit your crimes for you and there no chance of anything being done about it.

  5. I am glad you reviewed this book. We need more survivor stories reviewed because (on a practical level) doing so increases awareness that the book exists, increases exposure, and potentially increases book sales. I know that saying so sounds selfish but I’m remembering how I had a book published about ten years ago and for the most part, couldn’t even get my friends to help out. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve ever been through.

    I will definitely check this out. I’m glad to see another person rejecting CBT and rejecting that packaged “mindfulness” that therapists love to sell. It is NOT for everyone, contrary to what the mindfulness salesmen claim. I found that mindfulness was just one more way to blame the victim. It turned me off.

  6. Hi Magdalene,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on Dr. Fidel’s book..I’m this close from buying it. I’ve been trying to get Robert Whitaker or someone else in MIA to do a book review on Dr. Steven James Bartlett’s book “Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health: the need to look elsewhere for standards of good psychological health”
    I sent this book to Robert a few years ago but it seems he’s a very busy man. Anyway, I believe Dr. Bartlett is a must read for anyone who believes in the MIA mission. In this, perhaps you or someone you know could do a book review on Bartlett’s book. I’ll even send a hard-copy -free of charge- for anyone interested.

  7. Hi Magdalene,

    This is important information for people who are bombarded with pharma direct-to-consumer advertising, suggesting that there is a “chemical imbalance” or the theory that “it’s genetic” even though no direct, causal evidence exists for that conclusion (save for Fragile X, Rett & Down syndrome).
    I hear this often from client’s that I see and this has prompted me to research and write this article
    https://adaptivetherapy.com/chemical_imbalance_myth.html

  8. YES THIS IS THE THING THAT IS AGAINST THE choices of GOD!!!! Why do listen to corrumpt and unGODly psychiatry when it is lies lies all lies against US and against GOD. We know that the “medicine” is poisen and will rot the brain and allow the evil people of the world to control the thoughts and create halucinations. Bipolar and psychiatry are lies and not of GOD, but GOD is of truth and can heal all. Psychiatry tried to FORCED to take these poisens, but have cleansed my body of them thought the FAITH of GOD for 20 years and am now healed though HIS grace. Doctors Fidel and DSliva know the TRUTH of GOD and tell the TRUTH, but lying psychiatry will not listen to GOD. Thank you for these TRUTHS which are of GOD. Thank you. Read Psalm 91

  9. I believe that, when it comes to depression, sadness, and all manner of despair and suffering, we lose sight of the fact that, since childhood, we were all culturally conditioned by narratives and we unwittingly internalized them as absolute truths. As ego developmental psychologist Dr. Susanne Cook Greuter said

    “The ego’s task is to turn experience into a coherent narrative about the world and make us thereby feel safe, important and to belong. How does it do that? It does so by telling a culturally influenced story about who we are and why we’re here and for what purpose. When we are not able to tell a good story about ourselves, our past and our future we feel lost and anxious. Ego is all about denying our mortality therefore facing and embracing this is a part of late stage realization. Human development moves from the newborn’s unconscious union with the mother to a conscious union with everyone and everything. As we grow up we construct meaning by learning the vocabulary and the scripts available to us from our languages and our cultures. Languages divide the seamless experience into separate objects with distinct boundaries and evaluative attributes. We are so totally immersed in a sea of symbols that we hardly notice the way it lose us into the dream of knowledge. The idea of a separate self in western cultures is just one result of this phenomenon. It is ironic that concepts such as purpose and soul as well as ego are symbolic abstractions that do not exist outside of language and our agreed-upon definitions. Yet we treat them almost always as if they were palpable real thing”

    In his book, “The Struggle for Your Mind: Conscious Evolution and the Battle to Control How We Think” Dr Dennis Kingsley said that

    “Throughout our lives we are subjected to indoctrination by a systemic structure of processes and institutions. Within this conditioning environment beliefs almost “grow” into us. And once they are a part of our socially constructed selves they are sustained, reinforced, and protected, often unconsciously, by psychological processes of perception. With few rare exceptions, all people are brought up within specific culturally defined environments (or templates). A person’s dominant social milieu then attempts to offer a variety of accepted socio-cultural norms of thought and behavior. These may operate through various forms, such as personal faith, religion, science, language and emotions, denial and doubt, happiness and fear, safety and security (identity and belonging), well-being and materialism. Once ingrained, a person is liable to perpetuate such traits, believing them to have been obtained through “free thought.” In the end, we reinforce beliefs that have grown into us, accepting and defending them as our own. So when we say, “I don’t believe,” what we often in fact mean to say is, “I automatically reject everything my brain is not wired to receive.” The end result is that for most of us we only believe those things we want to believe or that fit within our perceptual paradigms and/or experiences”

    So the question arises, is there a difference between biological, psychological, and existential depression? If so, I believe it is the latter that underlies the others and if we continue assuming its a difference that makes no difference, all manner of human suffering will continue. Would it be true to say that what Dr. Fidel actually did was to question his own existence in a profound way? i.e. all that he knew about himself and his place in the world? As Magdalene said “he was socialized to adopt to fit into his family of origin, education system, society, and the political economy at large” As I understand it, this was a narrative he unwittingly adopted as so many of us do believing it would make us happy. In this, Dr. Fidel reminds me of Dr Josef Breuer depicted in the film “When Nietzsche Wept” based on Irvin Yalom’s book by the same name. Free to watch here https://vimeo.com/127137268 As historically inaccurate though it may be, the film nevertheless dramatizes the truth about our false self and how it torments us in countless ways. And as painful as it may be in letting go of all that we believe ourselves to be, in the end it is also liberating. It is what Dr. Jung referred to as legitimate suffering.