May 1, 2020
Don't Worry, Be Satisfiedby Ballard Quass
the feeble ambitions of modern psychiatry
As a veteran addict of mind-fogging anti-depressants, I sometimes ask myself why so many of my fellow addicts seem to be happy (or at least satisfied) with the psychiatric status quo. Why would they be satisfied with a psychiatric pill mill that shunts them off onto a handful of highly addictive synthetic medicines when Mother Nature has already grown for them a large store of psychoactive medicines that can work psychotherapeutic wonders when administered thoughtfully?
Of course, there's the obvious answer to this question, namely that said addicts are not permitted to access Mother Nature's medicines thanks to the drug war and so the question is moot -- but that still doesn't explain why these depression sufferers don't view this situation as an intolerable obstacle to their mental health and do not protest the drug war accordingly. For the vast majority of such sufferers never connect the dots between the drug war and their own personal lack of treatment options. Instead, they make a virtue of necessity and turn the Big Pharma pill-choosing game into a lifelong quest to find the addictive golden grail that works best for them, a quest to be discussed at social get-togethers, where fellow depressives mingle and share their own idiosyncratic list of the Big Pharma pills (and pill combinations) that seem to be "working" for them.
I have recently concluded that this blase acceptance by patients of the anti-patient status quo has at least the following three causes:
1) Just as we can't know what we can't know, we can't feel what we can't feel. I unwittingly ingested a psychedelic at age 19. The result was so mind opening that I began crying: I began crying because I saw that the world was so full of possibilities that I had hitherto overlooked. Now, the point is this: Had you asked me if I was depressed before the "trip," I might well have said no -- but after that trip, my depression was so obvious to me that it made me cry for the lost hours and years that I had spent failing to take advantage of the opportunities right in front of me. In other words, one can be depressed as hell but not realize the fact until they clearly SEE what that depression has been hiding from them: namely hope and possibility.
2) Psychological health surveys ask the wrong questions. They rely on self-reporting about mood. But if a person has never experienced true happiness and understanding (see point one above), they cannot report their mood objectively. They are prone to report their mood as satisfactory merely because they do not have any idea what it's like to experience true psychological happiness. They're like a car buyer thinking that a beat-up car is in great shape, merely because he or she has never seen a car in perfect condition. A far better question to ask in a psychological examination would be: "How many of your important goals have you accomplished in the last year?" That's how I first realized through rational introspection that my own depression was bad: not by thinking "oh, I feel sad," but by reckoning up the myriad "brilliant ideas" that I had come up with over time but failed to follow through on despite having had plenty of time to do so. My depression, it turned out, was bad indeed, because it had stopped me from taking the actions that I needed to take in order to realize my most important goals in life. To paraphrase the book of Matthew: "You will know them by their LACK of works," at least when it comes to the depressed.
3) Psychiatric nostrums are designed to help us survive, not to thrive. Anyone who reads the horror story of psychiatry's early years in America will realize that the psychiatric goal, for well over a century, has been to render patients "docile," not to render them happy or fulfilled. This is why treatments like insulin shock therapy and frontal lobe lobotomy were both hailed as miracle cures in their time. The raves were not coming from patients: they were coming from the psychiatric establishment itself, whose staff were finding their jobs easier once their psychiatric patients were rendered peaceable. As author Richard Whitaker points out, there is an eerie continuity in this philosophy when it comes to the modern psychiatric go-to drugs of benzodiazepines and anti-depressants. Benzodiazepines were never meant to help one solve a problem or find insight: they were meant to induce satisfaction with (or at least tolerance for) the status quo. The same can be said for modern anti-depressants. This brings to mind "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin. Westerners think of that story as a satire about women's place in society, but today it reads more like non-fiction. One in 4 American women are addicted to mind-fogging Big Pharma antidepressants, medications that conduce to exactly the sort of emotional flat-lining and bland acceptance of life that Levin skewers in his book.