Therapy Before Pills Is Great, But Why Wait Till People Are Depressed to Teach Them How to Self-Heal?


From Zac Fine/Medium: “Another way to see depression is as a message from a deeper knowing within us. Far from being broken, the depressed version of us is fundamentally OK, feeling what we are supposed to be feeling, and furthermore we already have all the resources we need to feel better. Sure, we can’t access them right now because the way we are living is mis-calibrated, but we can re-calibrate by developing curiosity about our inner signals, getting to know ourselves, and learning to trust our instincts. Too often this inner trusting is drilled out of us in childhood . . .

Given that we are not brought up to trust our instincts, the temptation is to medicalise melancholia as something to do with brain chemistry and just take the pills. This misses the thing that make us human: the ability to feel deeply. The vagus nerve is the most evolved part of our autonomic nervous system and it enables us to experience awe, joy, creativity and loving connection with ourselves, other humans and the universe. Some regard it as the most advanced technology on Earth because it holds the key to our highest potential.

. . . In many cases taking pills to numb out robs people of the opportunity to develop self mastery and heal through this expansive process. Life gives us certain moments — which register in our guts (connected to the vagus nerve) — to break through and grow. Or we can turn away. Red pill or blue pill. As Alan Watts said, all life moves from lower order to higher order. You never know what the higher order will look like . . . The transition from lower to higher orders can seem scary and even impossible. That’s the point.

This is the moment that you, as an infinitely intelligent organism, are being called into initiation. It’s an invitation to step into a purification process. A bit like finally deciding to find and delete all those hidden data folders on your computer that were clogging up the hard drive. We all have a backlog of unprocessed data that we are carrying in our bodies. It takes up bandwidth and reduces our ability to feel present and alive. Confronting the backlog can be scary. Like any initiation, it is uncomfortable, even painful. It involves introspection and shedding layers of identity and old stories about ourselves. Probably, too, coming to terms with grief around losses that we haven’t let ourselves feel yet.”

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