Thursday, March 6, 2008

“Not Good Enough!”

Hello, and welcome to another edition of me ranting about what’s wrong with the world.

I went out for a drink with a very close male friend of mine today, we’ll call him “Spike,” and we got onto the topic of depression.

His chief complaint seemed to be that far too many doctors like to play a game of name with their patients when they come in complaining of depression. They’ll take the ten minutes that they have for your annual visit, and say “you have a ____ disorder,” and then they write you some prescription for the rest of your life. I’ve been hearing the same sorts of things in the news lately – that 1 in 5 kids are clinically diagnosed with depression. Doesn’t that seem a little odd? And of course, guess who benefits from their misfortune? The pharmaceutical companies.

A number of skeptical scientists have done their own studies and found that placebos seem to have the exact same effect on depression as prescription drugs, but the really interesting thing is that they’ve found that these so-called prescription drugs are placebos. I remember shouting at my radio when I heard this, as though someone were listening, “duh!”

Parents, why do you listen to doctors when they tell you your child is clinically depressed? Do you know how often they do that? It blows my mind when parents put their own child through these ordeals, in the name of combating a “chemical imbalance in the brain.” Wake up, people! The human body is basically a great big sack of chemicals. Everytime there’s anything wrong with you, technically, it’s a chemical imbalance. That doesn’t mean you should stir more chemicals in. You’re just adding a chemical addiction to their already difficult life. I’ve known so many people, particularly females, whose young lives have been distorted and somewhat ruined by iatrogenic chemicals.

You want some real cures for depression? Get more sleep! Eat better, and/or when you’re hungry. Hunger and sleep deprivation make people unhappy. Get some exercise! As they say, a healthy mind needs a healthy body.

Maybe part of the problem is that in the old days… you remember the old days, right? When we rubbed sticks together to create fire and when instead of courting our woman and buying them wedding rings we were tying them to trees so they couldn’t run away? In the old days, we were far too cold or hungry to be depressed. I can just picture it.

“I’m depressed, Madge. I feel like I’m losing touch with my inner child. And for a wife, you don’t hug me enough.”

“God dammit, Frank! Go kill something! The kids are starving! And untie me from this goddam tree! We have six kids, I’m clearly not going anywhere!”

And Spike was complaining about his own winter depression. Personally, I don’t get depressed about winter. Here’s my trick. I just take a moment to fantasize about how nice it’s going to be when I move away from this frosty hell-hole, and it puts a big smile on my face. And if that doesn’t work, I think about two chicks making out. Either way, it doesn’t take very long for me to restore my content, though somewhat offensive demeanor. Spike went on about how he acknowledged that he knew he wasn’t doing anything to battle his depression; he isn’t exercising, and he isn’t eating right. And now he finds himself dwelling in the world of regret, and this is where I get to the title of today’s entry.

He talked about how he’s lonely and wants some companionship. He brooded about his ex-girlfriend, and how she left him because he didn’t have any ambition, and smoked weed all the time. Of course, he still has no direction in his life, and he still smokes weed all the time, so if he gets a girlfriend, he can foresee the same pattern repeating itself. Of course, it doesn’t help that his ex-girlfriend is being nailed by his roommate now for some strange reason. Honestly, I don’t think she’s particularly attractive, nor is she terribly bright, and I’ve no idea what he ever saw in her anyway. And I mean, come on. It’s not like her life went anywhere either.

And I feel sorry for the poor bugger, I really do, because the best sex Spike ever had, was with my ugliest girlfriend. That’s why I don’t even hold that particular betrayal against him. He’s got an ego made of glass. And this ugliest, (though I wouldn’t say she’s ugly), cheating girlfriend of whom I speak, she broke up with me citing the exact same reason Spike’s ex gave him. She claimed she need someone who was going somewhere in life. I mentioned none of this to Spike, of course, but he got me thinking, and on the way home, it occurred to me, this business of people dumping “losers” seems to happen an awful lot.

Funny story: The father of one of my female friends dumped a girl once because he though she was a “loser.” Turns out she was Shania Twain.

So, the question is, what is with this obsession with “going places” in life? Obviously they don’t mean literal places, because that isn’t particularly hard to do. I’ve been to Jerusalem, but somehow I don’t think anyone’s impressed.

So, what is the point? Is it pointless careerism? Because that’s what our world seems to be oversaturated with. Surely you’ve seen all the banners advertising “be the top 40 under 40” or some such careerist non-sense. No wonder everyone’s depressed! Everybody’s obsessed with being on the right career track to be CEO. You know how many people get to be CEO, or a big music star, or the next dot com billionaire? A hell of a lot fewer than there are people working at McDonald’s, or as secretaries, warehouse workers, or any other nameless dead-end job that offers no future, so the pressure of succeeding in life continues to haunt them, even as they toil their asses off full-time. These are full-time workers who all went to university, hoping somehow that their educations would pay for themselves, and get them somewhere in life. Then they become insurance adjusters.

The words that came to mind while walking home, and running all of this through my head was, “not good enough.” My ex broke up with me because I’m not good enough. Parents and teachers tell their children they are not good enough. Bosses tell their employees they are not working hard enough. Woman hate their bodies because they don’t feel thin enough, or pretty enough. Mediocrity is not to be tolerated. Average is not good enough. Whoever first decided we should all live in fear of being a regular joe obviously didn’t excel at math. Most people are going to be average. That’s just a truism. So what kind of sadomasochistic society is this that normal people are actually supposed to be disappointed in themselves?

Wake up, people! Depression doesn’t come from a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s coming from in imbalance in society.


Ema Nymton said...

I couldn't agree more with you on this one. I'm sick of people whining about being depressed. So many of my friends have moaned about their depression to me that I've had to come up with a point system to tolerate it. I assign them what I call "bitch points", and they get a certain amount of bitch points on any particular topic that's getting them down, but once they've spent all their bitch points the no longer get any sympathy from me.
I just don't abide by people who refuse to do anything about their situation. So Spike is feeling down about his life? Well, guess what: only he can change it.

I really only made this comment to try out my atrociously clever pseudonym.

Malice Blackheart said...

That’s a good way to do it. How do you decide how many bitch points someone gets at the outset, or is everyone treated the same?

PS: I’m not sure I get it. Is it that it anagrams to “any moment” or “tampon y-men”?

Rusty Shackleford said...

I think a lot of the depression(and other problems) people have nowadays comes from tv and internet. People relate more to tv shows than each other. And consider the psycho somatic effects of watching drug commercials that list off symptoms, at least up here in the U.S. they can do that. I think that the advertising laws might be different in whatever country you are blogging from, if you are blogging from a different country.
But anyways, having a constant pipeline of garbage pumped into your home telling you that what you are feeling is wrong, that you should order more and eat more and buy more garbage to fill the hole of wrongness inside you isn't going to cure itself. That would be bad for business.

ema nymton said...

I think part of the problem, too, is that people are really bored with their lives a lot of the time. Much of our lives these days is routine, and that's all that dwells in the foreseeable future (for many of us, anyway). It's easy to see how this can make people feel stuck in a rut. Sometimes it just seems like nothing changes, except maybe the world getting a little worse every now and then.

Oh, and my pseudonym is clever because it's not my name.

Anonymous said...

Depression is not whining, if someone is whining and then they "change their life" and suddenly they are all better then they never had depression. Some People get depressed and some people have depression they are very different and I think that to lump it all into one category is very ignorant. when you have clinical depression it is not effected by life circumstances, or diet any other reason you can think of it is unending and relentless. I agree with you that people whining about being "depressed" is annoying specifically when it can be solved so easily. I just hope you can not lump us all into that category, for some people it's not that easy.

Malice Blackheart said...

Yes, exactly. Some people have depression and some get depressed. There's a huge difference, and this is my point.

The false positive rates for clinical depression are completely through the roof. I know tonnes of people, even in my own family who've been diagnosed with it, even though they're obviously fine.

So they believe their doctors, and they take the antidepressants, and they don't help. They still get depressed, because DEPRESSION IS NORMAL. "I must need something stronger," they say, "or a higher dose."

My auntie Flo gets depressed because she doesn't have any friends, she never got married or had children, even though she desperately wanted to, and she doesn't get enough sleep because of her job. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why she's depressed, but she takes meds anyway, because doctors tell her too, and she doesn't have a mind of her own.