Monday, September 24, 2018

Comments by ajewinisrael

Showing 30 of 30 comments.

  • Thank you so much for this. I’ve gained a lot from your insightful comments and experience. I’m sure others have too.
    “Seeing the issues as the enemy, not the person.” I have to keep that one at the forefront of my mind. And yes, to work on my own stuff so that I don’t keep getting triggered.
    Thank you also, madinamerica, for providing this forum. It’s the only place where I feel among the like-minded who understand what it’s really like.

  • Why can’t we just call “it” emotional distress?
    Perhaps because being immobilized by distress is seen as pitiful and weak and to be condemned? Whereas being immobilized by real illness is seen as deserving of sympathy and assistance.
    Therefore, communicating distress is done via symbols and codes such as alien implants, CIA spying etc.
    Yet the fact that all the hype about eliminating “the stigma of mental illness” has been shown to be a sham – there is still the stigma, and perhaps it has even become greater – shows that deep-down, people know that “mental illness” is not the same as a broken leg (or a broken brain, even).
    Just as being highly sensitive is seen as a defect in most of the Western world, so too are the consequences of that sensitivity. We usually don’t value the depth that sensitive people bring to the world – we instead value the “get up and go” people who are the big movers and shakers and achievers.
    If we want to really help people in distress, we will have to learn to value their unique contribution. There are cultures who already do, and they are the better and healthier for it.

  • I can identify so much with your feelings. Yes, the most painful part of my 19-year-old marriage has been the lack of reciprocity. Even when my husband starts to look like he is feeling empathy toward someone else, he just ends up turning the focus back to his own distress. Because the victim role is very hard to let go of, and so there is always the temptation to stress that he is the bigger victim – the other person isn’t suffering nearly as much as he is.
    But I know that I also have to look at my own codependency issues when it comes to being vulnerable and showing my own distress, rather than continuing in the “rescuer” role.
    That’s why healing has to happen within relationships, and none more productive than marriage. And I also wish that there was more help and concrete advice for people in my situation, who end up de facto being therapists 24/7 without the knowledge or tools. If anyone can recommend any good books I would be very grateful. Thank you

  • Sadly, i have to agree that the vast majority of the public will not easily let go of the lie that there is such a thing as mental illness.
    Before the biological model, we had thousands of years of the devil model. What both have in common are the belief that the sufferer is a victim of something that has no logical connection to the person. The devil indiscriminately attacked people (because, after all, Christianity says that everyone is a sinner) and so too, “brains just go wrong sometimes.” Nothing about poverty, discrimination, social problems, unemployment… In other words, no sense of “here’s something society as a whole should address because if people are suffering, then it’s OUR fault too.”
    Likewise, NAMI which stands up for poor, suffering parents of “schizophrenics” and protects them from”unfair, totally unfounded” allegations that their poor parenting could in any way have something to do with what their children go through in later life.
    Why would anyone want to let go of a no-fault-no-blame theory and adopt a take-responsibility policy instead?
    And, by the way, that goes for the “mentally ill” as well. It’s so much easier to be a helpless victim. Whether you end up taking pills or not. Those who fight back and take responsibility for their lives and health are the tiny minority.
    Having written all that, it’s not all doom and gloom. We have a saying in the Talmud, that “a person who saves one life is like one who saves an entire world.” This can be interpreted on many levels. Even one person saved and given the hope that he can become a co-creator of his own life is an immense accomplishment.

  • A reply to Stephen Gilbert – sorry, there was no reply button under your comment:
    I just left the capsules empty – they’re so tiny, the weight difference isn’t so noticeable.
    Yes, I think he is very afraid of becoming “normal” with all the connotations of responsibility in the real world. I guess it depends on when the person “broke down.” For him it was at age 16 so there isn’t really a sense of self to return to. No memories of a time when he felt competent. Really, it was probably the fear of entering the adult world that precipitated that first crisis.

  • Not sure about that.
    I experimented on my husband (for his own benefit) by withdrawing him from ziprasidone (an “anti-psychotic”) without his knowledge, by gradually reducing to zero the amount of powder in the capsules. (He wouldn’t have agreed to try by himself, as he’d been so filled with fear by the medical profession and his family at what they saw as the inevitable consequences if he stopped the drugs.) He never suspected a thing and there was no recurrence of the psychosis for which he’d been prescribed the stuff.
    He was symptom-free for 1 1/2 years and then I decided I’d tell him what I’d done, thinking that it would give him confidence in his ability to live drug-free.
    Instead what happened was a slow spiral back into psychosis, albeit accompanied with environmental factors that contributed to this.
    Now he’s back on meds and unbeknownst to him, back on a hidden withdrawal. I’ll have to plan this one better and have a good crisis plan ready in case it’s needed.

  • I agree that starving oneself is excellent distraction from life. But I think there is more to it than that.
    I was anorexic for many years and came to understand that at the root of it was a belief that I didn’t really deserve to exist. I have my own theories how that belief arose. Once I saw that, so many things became obvious, like my desperate search for validation and acceptance by others, and still feeling inferior and inadequate despite whatever recognition I did get.
    Not all anorexics think they’re fat – I didn’t, for one. And it’s not so much about control either, because at some point, it becomes obvious that the not-eating has taken control of you, and even if you want to get out, you don’t know how.
    I wanted someone to force me to eat, because then I would know that it was okay to do so – that I was “allowed” to eat. But my parents chose to focus on how much I was making them suffer by starving myself. (Go figure.)
    It wasn’t until years later, when someone showed me compassion, someone who owed me nothing, that I felt something change, felt that I was a person of significance, that I didn’t have to be anything special in order to have a right to exist.
    The truth is that I still have challenges in this respect, but I have come a very long way.
    If anyone would ask me what can help an anorexic to heal, I would say just one thing: unconditional love and acceptance. A big hug, and, “Please don’t do this to yourself. I care about you.” I’m not saying that the results would be overnight transformational, but without that, forget it.

  • “…those who are the angriest, cruelest, “craziest” or most difficult to be around are usually those who are suffering the greatest…”

    I disagree. I think those trying to make a relationship work with people acting out their trauma via anger, cruelty, or craziness are those who are suffering the most.
    I’m the wife of someone who uses his “past suffering” as his excuse to remain sick all his life – sick meaning “mentally.” In other words, when life gets “too much,” he goes psychotic. How much of that is a conscious decision I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s there.
    Why are others sometimes so intolerant of the “mentally ill” (and I don’t for a moment believe there is such a thing)? Because of the suffering they impose on others when they decide that they aren’t managing, so someone else will have to step up to the plate and accept more than their fair share of hardship, in compensation.
    I don’t believe that stoicism is the answer either. But there is more to the picture than just the trauma. I could become depressed and stay in bed all day and just think, “Whatever happens with my kids, happens – I can’t cope anymore.” But I don’t, because I take responsibility. Sometimes that means a stiff upper lip, and sometimes it means looking for a good therapist. Sometimes it could even mean medication (though I don’t see myself ever taking that route), because a mother on valium is still better than no mother at all.
    Suffering trauma does not absolve an adult of responsibility.
    And of course the psychiatric labeling just makes this issue worse.

  • But who’s going to find out about this newly-discovered danger? In my experience dealing with the shrinks “treating” my husband (for the consequences of withdrawal from psych drugs, misdiagnosed as “schizophrenia”) they never mention side effects. If challenged, they might admit to the few mentioned in outdated pysch manuals and if really pressed then they admit to the existence of nasty things like Steven-Johnson’s syndrome (cleverly labeled a “skin disease” but actually affects the “skin” of internal organs too) but then quickly reassure you that they never had a patient develop it.
    After all, if you’re stupid enough to think that the “tiny risk” of any of these nasty side effects outweighs the considerable danger of re-occurrence of psychosis then obviously you are crazy…

  • My thoughts too, based on my experience, and Laing too seemed to think that the good obedient child was more likely to have problems along the road. I understood from his writings (Divided Self) that although the teenage years make evident the problem, the problem started way back in the formative years i.e. conception to age two or three. If the self isn’t formed properly then (yes, because of faulty parenting) then there is no strength for rebellion later. Open rebellion is so much healthier than rebellion turned in, attacking the fragile self – not just psychosis but also anorexia and probably other examples too.
    It’s particularly tragic because these are the children who so longed for acceptance throughout, tried their best to be good, and then in the end, still can never measure up and on top of everything, when they finally fall apart under the strain, are blamed for bringing disgrace, expense, worry etc. to the family and told that they’re crazy.
    Jewish tradition teaches that parents are supposed to look at the things in their children that bother them the most, and see them as reflections of their own imperfections – i.e. the parents are the ones who are supposed to change as a result. This is also true between spouses.
    So, i am not so quick to exonerate parents and say, “Poor things, they did the best they could.” Maybe they did, but when the tragic results become evident and they still don’t examine themselves to wonder how such a thing happened, then they deserve, to my mind, a measure of condemnation.

  • or maybe because being hospitalized is the last straw on the camel’s back, all the straws bearing the title, “You are defective – you are unworthy.”
    In my personal experience with anorexia, a big breakthrough in understanding where it came from was when I realized that I felt unworthy of being on the receiving end of life, which, I am convinced, comes from my parents, primarily my father, and their ambivalence as to whether having a child was worth the expense and trouble.
    I was threatened with hospitalization if I didn’t put on weight, though in the end, it turned out to be an empty threat. I was then 17. A turning point that directed me toward recovery came a few years later when I experienced the feeling of being cared about for no other reason than that I was a fellow human being.
    There’s much more I could write, but I think the key is unconditional acceptance. Needless to add, that is emphatically not found in a hospital environment.

  • No, we don’t want “the mad” to be somewhere else. We want the rude, inconsiderate, and selfish to be somewhere else. Mad people can be considerate, caring, and worry about the welfare of others even in the depths of psychosis. I know – my husband was. He was definitely mad, but never let his children see it.
    A psychotic person is for sure scary to be around, but it’s the personality traits of the psychotic person that determine whether they are actually a threat to others, not their state of “sanity” (whatever that is). Unfortunately – tragically – mad people are generally portrayed as uncontrollably violent and that simply is not true.

  • Hi Mickde1,
    I’m very hesitant to give advice to anyone (except stay well away from doctors). I’m not any kind of professional in these matters.
    I tried giving my husband 5HTP for a while (and it’s always me giving him things to try as he doesn’t know english so I’m the one doing the research and suggesting things) and it definitely did lift his mood – but that’s not always a good thing.
    In any case, the serotonin link to certain results has been pretty much disproven – various research has linked it to both depression and the opposite, so I wouldn’t get too excited about some kind of substitute for the meds. You’re not looking to substitute for them – you’re looking to strengthen your systems after years of ingesting poison, and to ultimately address the underlying emotional issues – NOT biophysical issues.
    And, after years of ingesting poison, the person is usually left ultra-sensitive to lots of things that don’t affect others so much, such as sugar, caffeine, mild stresses. Learning to avoid triggers is very important, and to identify a downward spiral as it begins is also crucial, so you can step in to stop it before it gets out of control.
    Getting enough sleep, nutritious food – that’s advice for everyone. And a good nutritionist who understands the damage wrought by the psych-poison and can see what needs to be addressed in you specifically.
    I wish you all the best, and remember that there will always be ups and downs. We’re living in tough times, but the struggle to keep our heads above water and live ethical, moral lives and try to make the world a better place is infinitely valuable, even if it seems that we’re not really doing anything significant. Treasure each day as an opportunity to give, to help, to refine one’s character, to conquer the negativity and find the bright side to even the darkest moment.
    Good luck!

  • “it can heal when we find our power and lose the victim identity.” Thank you for this. I think it expresses the problem in a nutshell. I wonder if you could give me advice on how I could help my husband move away from his chronic victim identity which underlies his recurring episodes of psychosis. Each time it happens, it’s always, “they” made me crazy because “they” were doing or not doing x,y,z. Any suggested books to read on how to move beyond perpetual victim status? Ideas on how to motivate a person to take his life into his own hands? I know it’s really impossible to give general advice for specific cases, but sometimes it can still help. Thank you

  • Thank you for a fascinating article.
    I’m trying to understand what it sounds like to me, that the left brain “wants” to make sense of the world and will do so regardless of truth. I came across something perhaps a little similar with my husband, who is convinced that he was being monitored by hidden cameras because of the “evidence” that he found – overheard snippets of conversation etc. that he interpreted as being connected to his life. Right now he believes that the cameras have “stopped.” I gently try to suggest from time to time that his impressions of being monitored or not depend quite a lot (well, totally, but I don’t say that) on his state of mind at the time, but he so far refuses to accept it. I think it’s also scarier for him to think that he is “crazy” rather than that he is an innocent victim of surveillance.
    I’d appreciate any advice on how to help him, as all the “experts” I’ve consulted with have been almost totally useless or worse. Thank you

  • “I’m scared about being a crazy dad.”
    My husband was a very crazy dad, and we have a bunch of kids, oldest one 15 during the last psychotic episode so definitely aware enough to see that something was “weird.”
    And yet, when my husband was supposedly crazy, he wouldn’t come home, telling people that, “i can’t let my kids see me like this.” Doctors don’t like to hear that kind of thing because it kind-of upsets their preconceived notions of what being crazy means. My husband knew exactly what was going on, even a lot better than other people, because he saw at a depth that is closed-off to “sane” people.
    So, in short, what i’m trying to say is don’t be worried about being a crazy dad. If only “sane” people worried about getting angry at their kids, neglecting them emotionally, and all the other stuff their kids suffer from. From how you write, it sounds like any kid you have would be getting a great father.

  • I’m glad that lithium hasn’t been so disabling for you. It’s interesting for me to see how it affects different people in different ways. My husband took lithium (with an antipsychotic) for 20 years before tapering off slowly. The slow taper probably helped some but he still became very delusional, gradually over a year after stopping, and went on something else, something milder (just 20mg of ziprasidone) for a year or so before stopping that too. But everyone’s different and it doesn’t have to be like that for you – especially as I see from your writing that you’re not experiencing what my husband did on lithium, which was that he couldn’t express his emotions even though he felt them acutely, which was a certain kind of torture.
    Afterward, I thought that made sense to me, because lithium is an anti-convulsive drug and one of the aims of drugs for epilepsy is to separate the left and right hemispheres of the brain so that seizures don’t affect the whole brain, but only part. If so, then it made sense that a person could feel in the right brain and not be able to translate it into words in the left brain. And lo and behold, when my husband came off the lithium, he felt like a million dollars, suddenly able to be a normal person. Despite 3 psychotic breaks since, he won’t go back on the drugs. Somehow, we’re going to have to figure out another way.
    I wish you all the best with whatever decision you make – that you should be able to fly high and even get burned sometimes and deal with it and grow from it.
    Yudit

  • what’s also missing is how people diagnosed as schizophrenic are treated by those around them who are aware of their diagnosis.
    When people are looked upon as subhuman, defective, sick, incapable etc., it tends to bring out the worse sides of them, rather than the better ones.
    when people are force-fed drugs that inhibit their higher modes of expression and make them feel like prisoners in their own bodies, sometimes the only way to react strongly and effectively to others is physically.
    Not that i’m excusing violence in any way, but all those who somehow imagined that categorizing “mental illness” as biological would reduce stigma should pause for thought (not that they will – of course they won’t)

  • does anyone know anything about using stuff like kava kava instead of benzos for mania/acute psychosis, with the intention just to calm things down and take the dangerous edge off?
    i have found that GABA used at the first hint of spiraling into psychosis can be helpful but once things are in full swing, it’s probably too little, too late
    thanks
    Yudit

  • I wonder if one of the reasons why CBT is getting critical treatment (if such is indeed the case) is that it implicitly promotes the idea that something is wrong with the “mad” person that needs correcting.
    However nice and sympathetic the CBT therapist is, the message getting through is still almost inevitably going to be, “There is something wrong with your brain and I’m going to fix it for you.”
    In other words, the “mad” experience is essentially meaningless – just another example of faulty wiring – and the person who went through it is left demoralised, perhaps depressed – certainly not inspired to do anything positive with the experience which is just a waste of time of his life.
    My impression from most articles on MIA is that those who work so hard on this site are endeavoring to present an alternative picture of madness that is inspirational, empowering, optimistic, and intensely meaningful.
    That’s certainly what I’ve got out of your articles – and I wish you much continued success.

  • The problem about idealizing is very real. A lot of this article and the comments is about reconciling ourselves to the fact that this world does not seem at all ideal. People seem to have an innate need to look for justice and truth in the world and the desire to see it embodied in a person is understandable – but it’s never going to happen, since we are all “beings in the process of becoming.”
    I think a good therapist would be one with the least ego possible, who would turn his clients back to themselves at every opportunity and let them go through self therapy with a little gentle prodding when necessary. Needless to say, most of us have experienced the opposite where the “professional” was too eager to flout his professional skills.
    As i read the comments here and the replies of the author, one thing that encourages me a lot – something very beautiful, actually – is that people want to forgive each other, to find the good in one another, not just because it’s a more comfortable existence that way, but because instinctively, intuitively, we all want to create a better world for ourselves and each other. Forgiveness is an incredibly complex subject and for a person without a belief in some kind of Divine Providence i think that real forgiveness will forever remain elusive (and hard to attain even with belief), but the aim to get there is something very special and precious.
    There’s so much trauma in the world, so much suffering – but there are also so many people who want to make the world better. it’s a privilege to be a part of that

  • Right, very true. And yet, there is still a need for balance – or would you want a therapist to be constantly mulling over his client(s) and trying to think up the best way to help them – if this is the case, then of course it would interfere with everything else going on in the therapist’s life.
    So I can very much see your point: Perhaps the ideal therapist really would be someone like that, totally devoted to his client (how many clients could he have, if he was so devoted?). After my own (usually disappointing) experiences with different sorts of therapist, one of my main complaints has been that after stopping therapy for whatever reason, that was the total end of the relationship, and although they knew that I was still grappling with a challenging situation, they made no attempt to keep the lines of communication open – eg. an occasional phone call (even once a year!) just to ask, “How are you doing?” How hard would that be? But how many therapists do that? In my experience, none. Some probably pride themselves on the fact that they keep things businesslike, and i think that many are trained that way.
    Anyway, (a belated) thank you for the article which raises many important points. I was about to write, “Maybe you should write a Users’ Guide for Hiring a Therapist” and then it occurred to me that someone who works through all the points you raise, would already be well along the way to self-therapy and could probably do the job better alone. It’s really a minefield out there.

  • Right. I would add that in my experience, having kids opens a person up to levels of compassion for others that people without children don’t easily access.
    I would also question many people’s motivation for those who don’t have children. Maybe they have “stymied their own growth” by giving of their precious time to others who are dependent on them – but isn’t that part of what being a compassionate human being is all about – giving of oneself to others? One could argue the opposite: A therapist who is so focused on his personal growth that the idea of having children and dividing his attention and strengths with others is anathema, will view his clients simply as another way to achieve that personal growth, by providing him with a feather in his cap, or, if the therapy isn’t “successful,” as a drain on his resources and a pain in the neck.
    If the therapist really is good at what he’s doing – helping others to reach their potential – I would have thought that he was doing mankind the greatest service by having children who will hopefully follow in their parents’ footsteps.
    As an aside, I’ve found as a mother that when I’m using a fuller range of my strengths and capabilities i.e. not just those that are demanded by being a mother (although most are!) then my children gain from my increased satisfaction with life and joie de vivre. So I don’t agree that children/spouse suffer from a parent being devoted to his job, as long as it doesn’t go overboard. I would say the opposite – that it’s complementary.

  • I too once thought that getting off meds should mean getting off everything and that the body can readjust given time and the right conditions (whatever they are – if they’re even possible…).
    I learned the hard way that it’s not always so. My husband came off meds after a very slow taper off “only” 2 drugs and became psychotic. Maybe if he could have taken a “time-out” from all the stresses and demands of everyday regular life he could have managed the transition without supplements – and maybe not, who knows? But for many people, taking that time-out just isn’t possible in any case.
    Today, my husband is stable and med-free thanks to the supplements he takes (particularly, high doses of B-vitamins and some amino acids, also mineral supplements and other vitamins). After years (in his case, 20 years) of being on psych-meds, most people need help for their bodies to adjust, to help their livers flush out the junk, to help their systems find their way back to equilibrium.
    Medicine of some kind or another has been around for as long as humans have, so what’s the problem in taking supplements, especially for a person in such a weakened condition? Especially when today’s food is so nutritionally depleted, all of us need a little help to keep things going.
    I would add that my husband’s nutritionist diagnoses him rather than his “disease” using a variety of methods including TCM, iridology, Bach flowers… I wouldn’t trust anyone who diagnosed the “disease” rather than the person.

  • Thank you for this truly beautiful piece.

    Although perhaps in the ideal world mature love is like maternal love, I’m not sure that we can expect that of our spouses in this real and imperfect world. From my own experience, I would say that love between spouses is more far-reaching and potentially transformative than maternal love. Without maternal “good enough” love as a basis, it’s much, much harder to get through life, but love within marriage is about more than providing support and comfort. The way I see it, marriage is about finding completion with another person and specifically by seeing one’s own imperfections mirrored in the other person and rectifying oneself and thereby the relationship too.

  • In the description of the problems, maybe not. Perhaps the solutions are more clearly specified though: “We have to rid ourselves of rule by experts, we need to stop ‘othering,’ we have to stop imprisoning, and beyond that, we need to fundamentally alter how we live with one another.”
    All those kind-of come down to 1 thing: We have to take responsibility for our own lives and not look to blame anyone else (or our “defective brains”) for the aspects of life we don’t like. Too many of us don’t want to do that.
    So, either we blame other people and abuse them in a variety of ways, or we blame ourselves/others and become addicts (food, drugs, damaging behavior) in order to dull the pain, or we blame our brains (i.e. we blame G-d, or randomness, or evolution, or whatever) and drug ourselves, or we blame ourselves and sink into depression etc….
    If people don’t know about a different way to approach life i.e. how to constructively engage with their emotions, no amount of psychiatry-bashing is going to help them taper off, even if the drugs are making things worse.

  • it sounds nice but hopelessly naive. I, too, once believed that talk therapy or variations were all that were needed, along with a gradual taper. It isn’t so. My husband (who doesn’t know English, or else he could be writing this) was on a very gradual taper off just 2 drugs (risperdal and lithium) with a wife very supportive of his process, but he still became psychotic, and it wasn’t even immediate – it was several months after being drug-free that it started up. What he needed to get that under control was a lot of nutritional support along with the emotional side of things. If someone doesn’t get the physical help he needs (sometimes even temporary use of tranquilizers) then things could get even worse, if they go psychotic and think, “oh no, i really am mentally ill – proof is that psychotherapy isn’t working for me.”
    I write “hopelessly naive” and I hope that I’m not being overly charitable and that the author doesn’t have some hidden agenda here, which some of the reader responses suggest might actually be the case.

  • Exactly! And, when (if?) these poor kids get off the drugs, then the brain damage they sustained as a result will look very much like all those phony disorders. The destruction of the frontal cortex that happens as a result of the psych drugs causes symptoms like lack of impulse control, difficulty in making decisions, doing the same stupid thing over and over despite seeing that it only makes things worse, feeling incapable of dealing with life in all its complexities… I should know – my husband was on these legal drugs for 20 years until I got him off them, and I’m still dealing with the fall-out 5 years later. I would appreciate advice from anyone who knows about what can help to heal his brain from all it has been through.

  • “The ‘therapist’ must engage with the remnants of shared rationality that persist despite the retreat into madness, and lead the person gently back into contact with the “real world” (Hegel, 1978, section 408).”

    Presumably Hegel had seen at least some examples of how this could work in practice. Question is, why on earth should it work? Why should the person who retreated into madness in order to escape from the world suddenly be amenable to returning just because somebody leads him back?
    Maybe, it’s the simple fact of a person who cares, gently helping him.
    Maybe, it was simply the lack of someone who cares giving gentle help that led the person to despair of the world in the first place.

  • “I have taken many patients off of antidepressants, all of whom had had their necessary mourning stunted. After dealing with the pain of death, they were unanimously furious at being numbed and blocked from grieving.”
    I would also be furious if someone knocked on my door after a tragedy and suggested I take a pill to help me deal with things.
    But doctors are not knocking on doors. They are sitting in their offices waiting for patients to come to them. The real question is, why are bereaved people going to a doctor in the first place? What do they expect the doctor (or psychiatrist) to do – give them therapy? Did they think that a pill exists that can help them deal with pain without numbing them? What do they want?
    Pushing the issue away from psychiatry and into psychology is only part of the answer. The underlying problem is that there is often no longer any social/religious structure for people who need to go through a grieving process. How did people manage two hundred years ago pre-Freud? Most likely, a lot better than they manage today.
    The deceit that is today part and parcel of psychiatry is indeed something that should be battled and hopefully overcome. But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that many people do seek unhealthy ways to deal with the fact that, as the author writes, “A lot of life is painful.” If they weren’t doing that, then many psychiatrists would find themselves without clients. (Unhealthy ways meaning, that they seek to numb the pain rather than deal with it in a constructive way. Looking for a pill to lift their mood, rather than numb them, for instance, is little different. In short, they don’t want to do the hard work themselves.)
    Furthermore, I believe that many people find themselves referred to or heading of their own accord to psychiatrists after psychotherapy failed them – either they just didn’t see the results they wanted, or they ran out of funds for endless sessions, or whatever other reason. Again, what were people doing 200 years ago? Who would have thought, back then, to go to any sort of doctor to deal with grief – which is, after all, a normal part of life?
    What we are missing today is not so much organized religion, but the deep faith that underpins it, the faith that the Supreme Being is running the world with total precision and, crucially, with the ultimate good of all of creation in mind.
    I think that many people instinctively rebel at any approach to dealing with grief whose underlying message is, “Stuff happens. Move on.” Sure, the brain/consciousness can be rewired to exclude the missed person from the picture and enable the resumption of normal functioning. But we aren’t just boxes of wires and circuitry! Life isn’t just about being able to function – and the life of a person who does not seem to be functioning at all still has value.
    The author writes, “Where is it written that we should be spared the pains that life brings?” I would ask him, “Where is anything at all written to guide a person through the maze that is life?” Each person must find his own answers. Without them, a pill to numb the feelings suddenly seems ever so appealing.