Classic Blog: ‘Neutralising Suffering: How the Medicalisation of Distress Obliterates Meaning and Creates Profit’ by Joanna Moncrieff

jmoncrieffThere is so much great content on Mad in America. Here’s a piece from British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff, one I wholeheartedly endorse. In fact, this blog is essential reading. The original article has all the references.

‘People have used psychoactive substances to dull and deaden pain, misery and suffering since time immemorial, but only recently, in the last few decades, have people been persuaded that what they are doing in this situation is rightly thought of as taking a remedy for an underlying disease.

The spread of the use of prescription drugs has gone hand in hand with the increasing medicalization of everyday life, and a corresponding loss of the previous relationship that people had with psychoactive substances.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Mary Barton was originally to be named after Mary’s father John Barton, a working class factory hand addicted to opium. The novel depicts the unimaginable poverty and exploitation of industrial Manchester that made opium-induced oblivion an appealing escape.

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‘Is Depression Who I Am or What I Have?’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about separating your feelings about being depressed from your sense of self worth.

‘7 Steps to Creating a Healing Affirmation’ by Douglas Bloch

Depression counselor and survivor Douglas Bloch talks about seven steps you can follow to create your own healing affirmation. Douglas’s Healing channel on Youtube is an excellent resource.

“Transcend Depression Through Serving Others” by Douglas Bloch

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Douglas Bloch’s YouTube channel on healing depression is an excellent self-care resource, as are his website and book Healing Depression.

‘In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how giving of your time to help others can draw you out of depression and transcend the “prison of self.”‘

‘The Importance of Hope in Healing From Depression’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how hope can be your best ally when recovering from depression. Please check out Douglas’s website and book on healing from depression, which are top-quality resources.

Guest Blog – ‘A Deeper Well: Art Therapy and Depression’ by Karen Adler

05072011133“Someone once asked me, ‘Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?’

I replied, ‘Why do you assume I see two roads?’” Author unknown.

The above quote sounds all very Alice-in-Wonderland’ish but it was taken from a website entitled ‘Depression, Suicide & Self-Injury Quotes’. And it startled me out of an assumption I have long held to be the truth.

The basic assumption is that the person who continues to choose the hard road through life actually sees an alternative – that there are two roads, not just one.

In relation to depression or any maladaptive behaviour which continues to hold sway over a person’s life long past the time when that behaviour had value and relevance, I have come to believe there is choice involved.

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‘Three Things You Should Know about the Suicidal Mind’ by Douglas Bloch

I love this excellent video. Please share.

Author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch shares what factors make people suicidal and how to find a way to hope and recovery. More information.

‘How Depression Can Bring Blessings in Disguise’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video. author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how depression and anxiety can bring unexpected blessings in their wake.

‘Am I Having a Breakdown or a Breakthrough?’ by Douglas Bloch

A new video is out from Douglas Bloch who I’ve blogged about a number of times on this website. This video is very interesting. I agree with what Douglas says. This is such an important message… and gives people extra hope.

‘In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how depressive breakdowns can be seen as rites of passage that lead to a breakthrough and a new birth.’

“The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.” Laurens van der Post

‘My Story: How I Was Healed From Depression’ by Douglas Bloch

It was great to recently hear from Douglas Bloch who asked if I might include his Story as posted on his website. Great idea, Douglas!

‘In his book, Prayer is Good Medicine, physician and researcher Larry Dossey maintains that praying for oneself or others can make a scientifically measurable difference in recovering from illness or trauma. It is one thing to understand such a healing intellectually; it is another to know it from experience.

Such an experience came to me in the fall of 1996 when a painful divorce, a bad case of writer’s block, and an adverse reaction to an antidepressant medication plummeted me into a major depressive episode.

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‘Back in the Dark House Again: The Recurrent Nature of Clinical Depression’ by Douglas Bloch

dblochOne my favourite bloggers is in a dark place at the moment. He’s had the courage to write about it on Mad In America and what he has to say will help other people. My thoughts are with Doug, a truly caring and inspirational person.

“There is not one of us in whom a devil does not dwell.
At some time, at some point, that devil masters each of us.
It is not having been in the dark house,
but having left it, that counts.” Teddy Roosevelt

Eighteen years ago, in the fall of 1996, I plunged into a major depression that almost killed me. On the evening of my admittance to a psychiatric hospital I saw the above quote from a documentary on Teddy Roosevelt. For the next ten months, it informed my experience, as I did everything I could to leave the dark house I was in.

Eventually, I was healed without medication and wrote about my experience in my memoir, When Going Through Hell…Don’t Stop: A Survivor’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety and Clinical Depression.

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‘There’s Nothing Selfish About Suicide’ by Katie Hurley

Robin Williams‘I am a survivor of suicide.

I don’t talk about it a lot these days, as I’ve reached the point where it feels like a lifetime ago. Healing was a long and grief-stricken process. There were times when I felt very alone in my grief and there were times when I felt lost and confused.

The trouble with suicide is that no one knows what to say. No one knows how to react. So they smile and wave and attempt distraction… but they never ever say the word. The survivors, it seems, are often left to survive on their own.

I experienced endless waves of emotion in the days, weeks, months and even years following the loss of my father. The “what ifs” kept me up at night, causing me to float through each day in a state of perpetual exhaustion. What if I had answered the phone that night? Would the sound of my voice have changed his mind? Would he have done it at a later date, anyway? Survivor’s guilt, indeed.

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Caring Genius: Robin Williams

10373822_745460812179402_1533181977224733816_n“Robin Williams, the most astonishingly funny, brilliant, profound and silly miracle of mind and spirit, has left the planet.

He was a giant heart, a fireball friend, a wondrous gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back. Fuck ’em!'”  Terry Gilliam

Unknown-2“His kindness and generosity is what I think of. How kind he was to anyone who wanted to connect with him. And he could not help but be funny all the time. He would do something as long as it would keep you laughing,”   Ben Stiller

Climbing out of addiction and depression: Margo Talbot at TEDxCanmore

Great talk and pics and one hell of a recovery!

‘Current research suggests that addiction and depression are symptoms of emotional distress, not causes of it, forging the link between childhood trauma and mental illness. Margo Talbot’s journey supports these studies.

Diagnosed Bi Polar at age twenty-two, Margo spent the next fifteen years in suicidal depression before discovering the healing power of presence as the antidote to emotional trauma. Being present to our thoughts and emotions, not running the other way or masking them. Where best to practice the art of presence than the frozen world of ice climbing…

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‘How to Beat Panic Attacks: 3 Simple Mindfulness Techniques’ by Krista Lester

PauseFound this interesting blog on the Tiny Buddha website.

‘“By living deeply in the present moment we can understand the past better and we can prepare for a better future.” Thich Nhat Hanh

When I was in high school, a hit-and-run car accident changed my world. My boyfriend at the time lost his nineteen-year-old brother to the accident. I had never met his brother, but it didn’t matter; a dark veil had been cast over my life.

In the days, weeks, months, and years following the accident, I sank into a deeper and deeper depression. I started to have panic attacks and I cut myself daily, trying to feel anything other than terror and despair. I sought treatment, met with therapists, tried dozens of medications, and routinely turned back to alcohol when nothing worked.

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‘Living in an Age of Melancholy: When Society Becomes Depressed’ by Douglas Bloch

“Depression is not just a private, psychological matter. It is, in fact, a social problem … The fact that depression seems to be “in the air” right now can be both the cause and result of a level of a societal malaise that so many feel.” Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

dblochIn a recent Ted Talk, Depression is a Disease of Civilization, Professor Stephen Ilardi advances the thesis that depression is a disease of our modern lifestyle. As an example, Ilardi compares our modern culture to the Kaluli people – an indigenous tribe that lives in the highlands of New Guinea. |

When an anthopologist interviewed over 2,000 Kaluli, he found that only one person exhibited the symptoms of clinical depression, despite the fact the Kaluli are plagued by high rates of infant mortality, parasitic infection, and violent death. Yet, despite their harsh lives, the Kaluli do not experience depression as we know it.

Ilardi believes this is due to the fact that the human genome of the Kaluli (as well as all humans) is well adapated to the agrarian, hunter gatherer lifestyle which shaped 99% of people who came before us.

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‘Emotional Unmanageability’ by Veronica Valli

A nice short blog from Veronica Valli to reflect upon at the start of the week.

ID-10084481-300x198‘Unmangagbility and alcoholism are talked about a lot in recovery circles. When unmanageability was explained to me, it was described an outside occurrence; unpaid bills, DUI’s, divorce, car crashes, damaged furniture, broken bones etc.

That wasn’t something I related to, my life was a little chaotic but by no means unmanageable. My inner life was another story, that was then I realized in relation to alcoholism it is emotional unmanageability that causes the real problems.

To some degree, the alcoholic may be able to create some sense of order in their outside world. They may be able to work and pay their mortgage, for instance. This is how some alcoholics can convince themselves they don’t have a problem; because they have a job and a car they believe things can’t be that bad.

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Myth of the chemical imbalance

Here is the second ‘Unrecognised Fact’ from the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry.

Psychiatric drugs have often been prescribed to patients on the basis that they cure a ‘chemical imbalance’. However, no chemical imbalances have been proven to exist in relation to any mental health disorder. There is also no method available to test for the presence or absence of these chemical imbalances.

‘Overcoming the stigma of depression’ by Douglas Bloch

dblochAn excellent article on stigma and on how people with depression can feel shame. Stigma and shame are roadblocks to depression.

“The last great stigma of the twentieth century is the stigma of mental illness.” Tipper Gore

One of the roadblocks to recovery for those who suffer from depression is our culture’s tendency to stigmatize depression and other mental health disorders.

After my first hospitalization, I remember the dilemma I faced in trying to explain my three-day absence to my employer. If I told the truth – that I was being treated for anxiety and depression – I stood a good chance of losing my job. Instead, I reported that I had been treated for insomnia at a sleep clinic.

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‘Neutralising Suffering: How the Medicalisation of Distress Obliterates Meaning and Creates Profit’ by Joanna Moncrieff

jmoncrieffThere is so much great content on Mad in America. Here’s a new piece from British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff, one I wholeheartedly endorse. In fact, this blog is essential reading. The original article has all the references.

‘People have used psychoactive substances to dull and deaden pain, misery and suffering since time immemorial, but only recently, in the last few decades, have people been persuaded that what they are doing in this situation is rightly thought of as taking a remedy for an underlying disease.

The spread of the use of prescription drugs has gone hand in hand with the increasing medicalization of everyday life, and a corresponding loss of the previous relationship that people had with psychoactive substances.

Read More ➔