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ramble.

There's a story on tv about keeping kids safe from abduction, abuse, and harm in general by teaching them how to react to strangers and people who may want to harm them and how to read the signals given off by people who are attempting to hurt them.
All of this focus on strangers.
Then they follow up the story with "and Remember that most instances of abduction and abuse against children are commited by people they already know," thereby negating the importance of the story they just ran.

I'm sort of baffled by the way people exaggerate statistics and standards. Why are more people depressed and on prozac now than ever have been? Becuase depression as a psychological condition (a psychological condition that could be treated by anything other than a "buck up, friend") is new.
Why there all these new conditions and diseases? Are we really a more depressed society? A more anxious society? Why are so many people on MAOIs and SRIs?
It isn't because there's been an explosion in depression. It isn't because we're just *such* a screwed up society that more of us are screwed up.
It's becuase these drugs are new. The conditions we treat today with medication and therapy were just the way people were 50-70 years ago. You aren't happy? So what? most people aren't happy. You contemplate killing yourself? so what? most people want to die. That's just how it was. There was a 'suck it up and move on' attitude that we've lost. It's because the clasification of anxiety disorders, depression, borderline personalities, dysphoric disorders and the like are brand spanking new. It's becuase we've all got this kooky idea that they didn't have 50 years ago... the idea that we're *supposed* to be happy like the sitcom families, in love like the r&b ballads, and satisfied with our lives and our places in them like the cards at Hallmark.

Where the hell did we get that idea?
Why do we all of a sudden feel like we're not only capable of, but *entitled to* constant fulfillment? Who filled our heads with that bullshit?
As far as I can tell, it started in the 60s. At the same time we started rallying for civil rights, pushing for equality, getting the idea that we had the ability and the *right* to participate in our government more fully by any means necessary we went too far and decided that "pursuit of happiness" somehow meant "right to happiness" and when no one handed it to us... well... we made drugs to do it for us.

That's simplistic, I know. But I think it's somewhere in the right arena. Or at least a decent theory...

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
mjfgates
Aug. 8th, 2002 02:58 pm (UTC)
arg.

Where the fuck ARE you, anyway?
maddening
Aug. 8th, 2002 03:04 pm (UTC)
Herm?
wha?

Speak more clearly, old man.
tigerlily401
Aug. 8th, 2002 03:34 pm (UTC)
Er...
Psychotropic drugs and therapy don't make you /happy/, they just set it up so you /can/ be happy if you want to. If you try hard enough.

People are just as capable of being unhappy when they're depressed as when they're healthy. You can't be HUMAN unless you are affectedby what surrounds you in some way or another. (Yaknow). It makes no sense to be nonchalant if your cat dies.

The difference between the clinically (chronically) depressed and not-depressed is that they don't react to things in ways they can control. Day to day stressors become huge obstacles, brushing your teeth becomes upsetting, even the people you love become endlessly annoying, etc etc etc. It's okay to be crazy (read: angry, insecure, sad) SOMETIMES, when the situation calls for it, but it's definetly not good to be so sad you just can't function as a human being at all.

Not unless you don't want to be.

There are people who think their emotional ups and downs are trippy, I guess. Kudos to them.

Personally, I'd rather be happy than sad.
maddening
Aug. 8th, 2002 03:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Er...
Yes, I know all that. Anyone who's seen a few episodes of Oprah knows all that. That wasn't my point.
My point was that depression, anxiety disorders and medical ways of treating them are *new* concepts.
That's why it seems like there has been a wild upshoot in the cases of depression and anxiety. We aren't a more depressed society, we just didn't know that it was psychologically unacceptable to feel depressed.

They're now defining clinical depression and feeling depressed for more than a month. Do you think in the 1930s that being depressed for more than a month would have landed someone in the psychiatrist's office?
no.
Why?
Becuase the concept that being depressed or anxious was a totally unaceptable state of being that was actually *harmful* or dangerous was just nonexistent. No one thought it was anything other than just another part of life.

The reason it's SO apparent and SO pervasive now is becuase we've decided that it's not "normal" to be anxious and depressed for years. We've decided that it's not healthy.

We might be right, we might be wrong... that wasn't what I was talking about.


tigerlily401
Aug. 9th, 2002 08:23 am (UTC)
Re: Er...
Oh. Then that's easy to reply to.

The reason why people know more about this is more than just self-help touchy feely hullabaloo, it's modern medicine evolving. It's safe to assume we know more about how the brain works and thus can identify stuff like depression much more easily, without all the stigma it used to have.
maddening
Aug. 9th, 2002 09:29 am (UTC)
Re: Er...
Again, I'm pretty sure I said that. That the drugs and the diagnoses are new, very new.

But I think that the reason who even thought to wonder if there might be a chemical reason for depression and anxiety is because we decided (or realized, if you prefer that word) that being depressed and being anxious wasn't a normal or healthy state for a person to be in.
That's a thought that wouldn't have occured to someone in the 50s. If you were depressed, you were just that sad, depressed guy. If you were anxious, you were just that worry wart everyone knew. There was no recourse for this and there was no *desire* for recourse because unless you were honestly acting insane no one thought to take you to a psychiatrist.

There had to be a shift in thinking to bring about the shift in medical treatment. There always is.

I thought this was a pretty simple statement. Heh. Guess not.

wrekehavoc
Aug. 9th, 2002 05:04 am (UTC)
i *think* i understand what you are saying - or maybe i don't. if the latter, then sincerest apologies. its early, and i am pre-coffee.

maybe people now do have an expectation that life should be happy. people back then may not have had the expectation that life must be a walk in the happy park. they just had the expectation that you were either "normal" or not normal. depression then was not "normal" or socially acceptable to the general populace. thus, clinically depressed people would either harm themselves or others. there have been plenty of people in the past umpteen centuries who developed addictions to various substances because they could not cope with unhappiness. being depressed is nothing new. and trying to cope with it is nothing new. its just the methods of coping with it have improved tremendously over time.
maddening
Aug. 9th, 2002 09:40 am (UTC)
Oh I'm sure that depression has been around for a long long time. I just meant that it wasn't seen as a treatable malady, a *specific* treatable malady, until the late 60s (right around the same time the psychologically community decided that homosexuality *wasn't* a mental illness and took it out of their diagnoses books. hehe.. yes, these are mutually exclusive).

My (badly written) point, or part of my point, was that there is a seemingly booming depression industry. It seems like all you have to do is say "I'm depressed" to a psychiatrist and you'll walk out with a lil bottle of prozac. There are news stories about the overprescription of anti-depressants and maois. My take here was that it wasn't really a boom. It wasn't really overprescribed and we aren't really a more screwed up or depressed society than we ever were.
It LOOKED like a boom in prescriptions because it was new. Of *course* there was a 200% increase in the prescription of prozac over the course of 6 months, it's not difficult to have 200% more than *zero*.

MY (yeah, I'm looking at it again... very badly written) point was that people are using those stats to damn the psychological industries when I don't think they necessarily need be damned for this.

To me, it's just like ADD. When ADD became an actual diagnoses, all of a sudden *every* kid had ADD. Tons of kids were wandering around with lil bottles of amphetamines and it was just an epidemic of pharmeceuticals. BUT... it's not trailed off, doctors are more choosy about who gets meds and what meds for ADD becuase they've learned more through the trial and error of the past several years.
It's the same way for prozac, welbutrin, paxil... and a wealth of other depression and anxiety disorder meds.



I think. Guh...sinus headaches aren't conducive to thinking.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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