Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Comments by Darryl

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • Thank you for your article. I think spirituality has been a fad since the 80s–but largely ignored in medicine and in mental health. I especially appreciate how you note the integrity between “spirituality” and material/physical.

    Let me take a minor issue with you–coming from a Judeo-Christian point of view (my M.A. is in biblical text). It’s a minor issue and you will see there is more agreement than not. But you say: “Predicated on the belief that technology and science are the objective bottom line of truth, American religions adhere to this split between the material and the spiritual, allowing the material (aka the body and the planet) to be controlled by the dominant corporate forces without consideration. ”

    Now actually, we may have no disagreement here. Americanism, Scientism, and the Western mindset truly is this way. However, traditional Christianity as represented by the New Testament writings and the Hebrew scriptures do not adhere to American traditional religion. Man is not a soul “shackled to a corpse” nor is the body a tomb (both from Socrates–Western mindset). Traditional Christianity (which is middle Eastern, not western) sees human nature as a triune being: body, soul, and spirit–an integrated whole. It also presents the earth not as something to be dominated but cared for (J. R. R. Tolkien, a devout Catholic was appalled at the way forests were being destroyed and nature plundered in mid-20th century England–you can see it reflected in his novel The Lord of the Rings–especially in The Two Towers).

    My father (who died peacefully at age 91) was a devout Christian and a Pharmacist. He denounced “Big Pharma” years ago and took no medications for the last 15-20 years of his life (he did supplement with vitamins and managed 65 acres of pine trees). He was a friend of the land and understood the healing properties of the body. While he never read “The Blue Zones” that was pretty much his lifestyle.

    All of this to say I believe truly traditional Christianity has more in common with your views than you might think. Please though: I am not trying to proselytize you! Just pointing out the similarities. Although I would (if you ever have the time) encourage you to explore some of the writings by Theologian N. T. Wright (Suprised by Hope, When God became King) and Richard Rohr (Falling Upward, the Divine Dance, Breathing Underwater) which you might find intriguing and encouraging. No doubt you are familiar with the writings of Thomas Merton who explored the similarities between eastern religions (especially Buddhism) and contemplative Christianity.

    There are some major differences to be certain between Judeo-Christian theology and other Eastern religions. For instance there is an understanding of resurrection versus reincarnation. The ultimate hope is not the destruction of the physical but restoration and resurrection (the earth “set to rights” and healed along with our bodies–that “integrated whole” of body, soul, and spirit thing).

    The natural result is that physicality and material is seen as holy and precious–something to be cared for, not plundered (opposed to western modernistic thought).

    Again, thank you for a great article.

  • Joanne, a wonderful article. I feel like I’m probably repeating myself. My father practiced pharmacy for 50 years and had a D. Pharm degree. He would agree 100% with the thrust of your article. When the first school shootings began taking place his first reaction was, “I wonder what psychotropic drugs the kids were on, or which ones they were coming off of…”

    This man, my best friend, died at age 91 in my own home. Up until a few months before he lived on his own and worked outside on his 65 acres of land. He never took prescription drugs.

    As a minister, I have seen people who have run away from grief through all kinds of ways. Our culture has taught us that embracing our pain is to be avoided at all costs. When asked, “How is she doing?” of a grieving mother, folks usually respond with “not too well” or “she’s doing good” based on their own comfort levels of the person’s grief expressions. My constant refrain is, “I cannot understand what you are experiencing, but I know you must experience it.” Loss is a raw wound in our hearts and we must allow the healing process (grief) proceed as it should. In the end, we will not “get over it” but we will have a scar–we can function with a scar. It will throb at odd moments. Pain may even revisit. It will always remind us of our loss–and we should never, ever forget that loss. We should never ever try to run from it. That loss has been integrated into our hearts just like scar tissue is integrated into our bodies. It will stay with us as long as we live.

  • I’m rather late to the discussion. Please forgive me for not reading the comments!

    I find it interesting that a growing number of Psychiatrists and psycho-pharmacologists are questioning the DMS-V and the use of anti-psychotics/anti-depressants, etc. One of the leaders in the opposition to such drugs was the late Dr. William Glasser, a psychiatrist himself. Of course there’s Drs Peter Breggin and David Healy to name a couple of others in the field.

    So the criticism includes a healthy dose of self-critical psychiatrists. I wouldn’t call it so much “anti-psychiatry” as “peer review”. Clearly there is a place for traditional talk-therapy psychiatry–why must questioning the use psycho-pharmaceuticals and the DSM-V be considered “anti-psychiatry”? I dare say, there are many more psychiatrists who privately consider the the DSM-V to be only marginally useful.

    And psychiatry is not the only field where there are healthy questions and criticisms. I think Dr. Lieberman is being overly sensitive and certainly exaggerating his case. There have been a lot of questions about current practices in fields such as cardiology and oncology–and (fancy this) most of the criticisms are related to the use of drugs.

    Is it so much anti-psychiatry, -oncology, or -cardiology as it is a deep concern that the Western world is relying to much on pharmaceuticals as the end of all problems physical and mental?

    My father had a Doctorate in Pharmacy and was in retail pharmacy for over 50 years (he died at the ripe age of 91 and had not been taking any drugs for over 15 years)–he had become quite disenchanted with the pharmaceutical industry. He, too, questioned the use of psycho-pharmaceuticals and other medications such as statins. He maintained vigorous health–both physical and mental and did not succumb to the ravages of age until the last few months of his life. He stayed current in the literature and managed his own little farm–including operating a tractor as late as his 90th year. So I give his opinion a lot of credibility.

  • As is often the case, we react and we over-react. I certainly understand the importance of avoiding the glorification of suicide. But honestly, when we report or talk about car accidents and children who have lost their lives in accidents, does that motivate other teens to go out and stage their own fatal car crash? Of course not! Why do we think talking about suicide or honoring our dead encourage suicide and talking about fatal car crashes (that may even involve alcohol use) doesn’t encourage similar risky behavior?

    You avoid the problem by allowing and encouraging it to be discussed openly; by helping kids be honest with their feelings of depression and self-destructive thoughts. This is mental health 101, isn’t it?

    Honestly discussing suicide does not glorify it and does not encourage it. And to shame parents who are already going through untold grief that no one deserves to go through? What kind of monsters must we be to further subject grieving families to such abuse…and make no mistake about this–shaming families of suicides is abuse!

    Let grieving people grieve. Love them. And be ever vigilant of those who might have self-destructive thoughts or behaviors (and encourage them to avoid drugs–prescribed or not–as an answer to their depression).