Depression is the healthy response

This article by Bruce Levine argues that many if not most diagnoses of depression, ADHD, ODD, etc. are actually the psychopathologization of anti-authoritarians. This excerpt really rings true to me:

Many people with severe anxiety and/or depression are also anti-authoritarians. Often a major pain of their lives that fuels their anxiety and/or depression is fear that their contempt for illegitimate authorities will cause them to be financially and socially marginalized; but they fear that compliance with such illegitimate authorities will cause them existential death.

It's scary to think that some of our best and brightest are probably being medicated into mediocrity, but I posted the above excerpt for all my friends who wrestle with these issues. Kissing the boots of some jackass has always felt like a small death to me, but I've had the support from family to deal with it in a healthy manner. My mom always told me that getting through the public school system was a game I had to play, since she knew I found it intolerable and incredibly dumb.

I never realized at the time how much such a simple acknowledgement of my reality helped me. There was little she could do about the bureaucratic hell of public schooling, but she could at least let me know that I wasn't crazy. What drives people over the edge isn't the madness of the world so much as denying the madness. Surrounded by people playing a shallow and insincere part, one comes to believe that the elusive happiness we seek is a matter of submission and giving up.

That's why those winks and nods from other folks, signalling that they see the fnords too, mean` so much. If you have the strength to acknowledge what's going on, it doesn't mean you're crazy -- it means you are needed more than ever. We must support each other by simply bearing witness to the reality around us, so that people can keep that inner fire alive and avoid the existential death of surrender and conformity.

Written on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 | Tags: mental_health, authority