Why are so many of my most intelligent, insightful, caring friends diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders, and other psychological issues?
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Is this not also true today? And I too have had very dark periods in my life. People say I am smart and capable of good thinking. But I am capable of very dejected thinking. Like Helen Keller,
I, too, have been profoundly humiliated and brought to realize my smallness amid the immensity of creation. The more I learn, the less I think I know; and the more I understand of my sense-experience, the more I perceive its shortcomings and its inadequacy as a basis of life. Sometimes the points of view of the optimist and the pessimist seem so well-balanced to me that it is only by sheer force of spirit that I can keep my hold upon a practical, livable philosophy of life. But I use my will, choose life, and reject its opposite, nothingness.
And yet I am not as strong as Helen. My will is incapable of pulling me from the dregs of thought that sometimes overtake me. Without God, I would surely be overcome.
Before I digress too far, I will say this:
I am afraid for my friends. Medication has not brought peace of mind, and the process strips them of the confidence they need to reach their full potential.
I look at them, and I want to hug them and tell them it's OK, that they're not second-class "problem" people, but that they're really and truly special people with beautiful minds, people who care deeply, people who can change the world. Because whatever their personal hurdles, I truly see great promise in the glint of their bright eyes-- promise which dims with each discouraging setback.
And me? I withdraw from most measurements of my personality or ability. I don't want to find out that I too have problems. I am content to be abnormal, and I know I'm not perfect. But I use my will, trust in God, attempt to live a better life, and reject its opposite: nothingness.
He notes that, sure, it's possible to work out a normal life around some mild issues, but that some people really do struggle with major problems. Denying them can sometimes cause a lot of emotional pain to themselves and others. He says, "Medications are like a chemical prosthesis. To NOT take what might help could be tantamount to having a leg missing and refusing to wear a fake. "
He also says that it's possible to find the right balance that doesn't dull the mind yet deals with the issues, if it's combined with regular talk-based therapy. The trick, according to him, is to find the right clinician, someone who has read the literature and really knows what he/she is doing.
He also suggests the book, Against Depression, by Peter D. Kramer.