We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A handful of pills and a few minutes of canned shrinkology is not enough to tend to a soul in turmoil and in pain. Take my word for it. People are complicated. For most people with troubles, sooner or later they have to face themselves, their flaws, and their self-defeating or destructive tendencies with honesty, and it is best done in the patient company of a decent soul who knows a thing or two about it all, and knows how to dig just deep enough to try to get to the heart of things; to gently drive a wedge through the devilish defenses to address the real "issues."
Some of us, or many of us, the Old Guard, are still here if you want to try to talk from the heart. Life itself is difficult enough, and having to struggle with one's own self just makes it harder for all.
I am thankful you are still out there, but it is hard to find you. Had to seek help for my teen...took till doctor #3 to find one that didn't think he needed to be on medication immediately. One even convinced his pediatrician he could be suicidal. We were just looking for some extra discussions about coping skills, beyond what we were telling him. So three psych doctors....fun times with a teenager and $5000 deductible to boot. Glad we found one, it only took three visits and one more long phone call. No drugs, but he would have prescribed them if necessary.
Please keep doing what you do. Drugs can be valuable, but not everyone needs them. Life is hard. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of help to get through.
Life itself is difficult enough, and having to struggle with one's own self just makes it harder for all.
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This well-meaning statement is wrong on so many levels.
1) Why are so many alone - bereft of the rich tapestry of family and community that supported previous generations in less comfortable times?
Maybe the unhappiness is a result of redefining "personal growth" and happiness along immature, selfish lines - and maybe psychology is part of the problem, with its (a) artificial mentors and (b) essentially self-centered worldview.
2) As in the famous joke - the light bulb must want to change. I'm sure you take your profession seriously - and certainly we humans hide our motives from ourselves quite well. But the work of successful therapy is done by the patient, trying to live differently in the time between the visits.
This is the real reason why many of us - untouched by professional pride - also sense something wrong with the pill-popping approach to psychology. You're supposed to change, grow, and mature.
Which leads to:
3) After struggling through several rounds of traditional therapy, I can honestly say I received at least as much benefit from self-help work based on cognitive approaches. Working with David Burns' "Feeling Good Handbook" did much more for me that months of traditional probing work.
Putting these points together: a lot of the unhappiness being treated is caused by selfish, immature attitudes. The tough-love, reality-based approaches like CBT aim directly at that - and are more efficiently delivered in short-term coaching that empowers people to solve their own problems.
It took me 30+ years to figure out why I had gotten so depressed as a young adult. Put simply, I’d had a confidence shattering situation where I did not have the moral support, resources, temperament, or wisdom to help me handle things. I compulsively spiraled into negative navel gazing which only made things worse.
But through self-disciplined baby-steppin’ goal-directedness, I overcame that funk and built a life for myself. But I never understood the “why” about that particular situation. And without a “lessons learned” I knew scars from that event were still influencing my life.
Then recently I had a “headslappingly simple” insight and could see that entire situation in all its cause-effect complexity. The exercise I used to achieve this, was to imagine that I could go back in my present form with all my present knowledge and advise that confused kid.
I followed this up by imagining that kid following my all advice, which made him popular, got him his degree quicker, get laid, and live young adulthood life to the fullest.
But then I developed an attitude towards my dad, who I now determined had been a sucky father. So I went into therapy to handle all these new feelings.
I tried CBT but when I went to hug him as advised I put a triangle choke on his lame ass and he passed out. Is there a thing such as waterboarding therapy which might speed things up a bit?
As you see, issues can be complicated and sometimes resolution leads to even more issues.