Depression and How to Treat It

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Are you depressed; feel down, unable to cope? If that is so you have few choices of available treatment. Where do you go? A priest or counsellor? That would be an excellent idea but finding a competent counsellor who can help you is more difficult than you imagine. You might look desperately through a phonebook or visit the internet but in vain. Finding someone who can actually help you is not that easy, no matter what their clinic blurbs say. A priest may simply decide it is not his area, but a medical problem and suggest that you visit your GP. Your GP might overreact, and probably will if they are a locum psychiatrists or young and new to the job. Remember, a GP knows very little about mental illness/health. You would know considerably more than him/her. What they know is the psychiatric viewpoint which considers us to be mechanisms that can occasionally malfunction. As with all mechanisms a screw here, a bit of oil there, will suffice to keep you on track, going to work, looking after the kids, robotically doing what is expected of you.

Let us look at the last assertion more deeply. The doctor will assuredly write out a prescription. That’s what they do, whether for cramps, headaches, stomach ache. They reach for a prescription pad and solemnly and quickly dispose of you with a timely ration of dangerous drugs. If you have depression, they tell you the drugs will take time to take effect. After a month you should feel better. The cure lies in the doctor’s assurances and testimony. The drugs he gives you, from recent studies, have only a placebo affect. Over time, they may cause you to become anxious and very, very depressed, exhibiting an array of unusual behaviour. You may be given additional drugs to fend off the effects of the first. You humbly believe whatever the GP tells you, doing what you are told.

Over time, you become an emotional wreck. Worse, you find yourself on a register for the mentally ill introduced by the reactive governments of the earlier part of the century. So you feel worse, but are too drugged up to notice, and now officially you are mentally ill and subject to kindly requests to attend a surgery for routine mental health surveillance.

Of course you will be sent off to a medical specialist, a psychiatrist, whose knowledge of emotions, life, and human nature is on the level of a ten year old. But, they will know about drugs. They will speak with you for ten minutes and provide, from such limited acquaintance, a diagnosis. Although there are a number of attested mental illnesses, most diagnosis falls (60%) under Personality Disorder. What this actually means is one or several of the below: 1) the psychiatrist has no idea 2) he/she cannot relate to you or doesn’t like you 3) you are from another culture 4) he/she has something better to do that day. You will probably never know what it is.

Perhaps you instead visit a psychotherapist. You would immediately have problems finding one to suit you out of the humanists, Jungians, Freudians, etc, etc. Besides which they will cost you a fortune. The silence of the treatment room may irritate you, or you may suspect the therapist is a fool.

What if your depression concerns only the complex, hurried, muddled existences we tend to lead, devoid of family support, faith, or certainty. What if it is the result of poverty and continued worry over bills? In this society, poverty is a crime. The poor person is marginalised. How do you resolve it if the problem is external? Are drugs ever an answer, no matter how energetically doctors force them on us? It is doubtful that many diagnosed cases are genuinely mentally ill, but exhibiting temporary behaviour as the result of stress. In such cases, the majority, community measures would be advantageous and not the unthinking care of GPs and psychiatrists. Changing lifestyles, jobs, finding suitable support networks, taking a holiday, or finding counsellors outside of the mental health field will resolve many of your issues.