Quote: To give an example: My depression was treated far more seriously by my WINZ case manager when I went onto the Sickness Benefit than it was by most of my friends when I told them I'd gone onto that benefit. Sad, and yet not fucking
Depression is a "basket" name/category of different origins, dynamics, and physiological substrata. Some medical drugs can nearly neutralize the physiological malfunctioning and help people to evade the most serious deficit in energy. The real psychological component that cause/trigger/maintain that kind of depression is the system flight from too strong emotional suffering (some times the result of loss of loved ones, love, self esteem, lack of love/attachment/affiliation (alienation), etc. more often the result of intensive effort to suppress anger.)
In a way, depression is the result of self suppression of emotion that unintentionally went to extreme, and than got stuck. In my work, the systematic allocation of attention to the various sensations one can easily become aware of, dissolve gradually the intense emotions avoided. It enabled people to get out of the depression they were in and gave them a tool to overcome a future wave of depression. (Searching for the cause of the specific depression is counter productive, as it may even harden to access and dissolve the underlaying process.)
The next kind of breakdown I had was maybe a year later. I was lying in bed, home alone, a bit stoned and bit boozed, when I heard someone in the house and saw torchlight under my door. I froze, then couldn't find my cellphone, jumped out my window and the neighbours called the cops. After this I was having anxiety attacks, couldn't sleep (again) and was prety paranoid. This time the doctor gave me lorazepam (new and improved valium) which turned out to be horribly addictive. Now, after 21 years of recurring depression I have finally learnt to recognize when I'm started to feel down. Usually it just takes a few weeks of long walks, writing and taking it easy to get back to my freaky old self. Lots of good sex and cuddles help too. And cupcakes. And staying the fuck away from doctors.There are three main neurotransmitters that are in the roots of most "mental problems" they are of the Katekhol-Amins family and interact with each other. Some times, when the psycho-somatic system tries to coupe with one of them, (rising or lowering) it sometimes also lower or rise one or two of the other three. As a result, some times when a person - with or without drugs, try to get out of depression by rising the Serotonin, it rise at the same time the Noradrenalin (related to energy, fear and panic) or the Dopamine (related to psychoses - the so called "paranoia", "schizophrenia", etc.).
The psychiatrist seldom can diagnose what is the real problem or how to treat one neurotransmitter without faking the system. (In one research I was involved it was found that giving patients who were depressed, an antidepressive drug that rise the efectivity Serotonin without rising the Dopamine, enabled the anti psychotic (anti-Dopamine drug that lower the Serotonin too, to "cure them").
The psychiatrist do lot of experimenting with each patient to try to feet the best drug... if it is available. It is very noneffective and prolongs the suffering.
Lucky us, the emotional system is capable to bring remedy to most "mental illnesses" as all of these are kind of psychosomatic ones.
By allocating lot of internal resources to the processes responsible to the internal balancing (by allocating lot of attention to the bodily sensations), nearly nothing stay stuck.
I dream about suicide a lot.
Sometimes, I dream about it in the night. I dream of taking pills, of jumping of a bridge, of walking in front of a truck. I wake up, scared shitless, not just at the dream, but at how I can't stop myself considering, while wide awake, if maybe it would be the best idea to just end it all.
Happy people do not think about ending it all. They seldom even get it intruding into their dream. Life in the alienated capitalist system is not good for human being. It make it hard for us to balance our basic emotions. Very often we are led to the negative region of at lest one basic emotion. In extreme cases we are slip into the unpleasant regions of most or even all our basic emotions, and stuck there for long.
The fact that many humans feel good at least part of the time, even in most of deleterious conditions, point to the huge power of our emotional system. I was in the "Ending it all" first time at the age of twelf. (I alredy started to black out when I changed my mind and loosed the belt of my neck.) The second time was while I was with a broken and gipsed hand in the army basic training for forced constripts. Lucky me I could not find a gun with ammunition the moment I searched for, and few days later was released from the regular army.
When circumstances are harsh, the most "luky ones" are those the system succeeds to diminish all the emotions and one is only out of all life energy. Most of the time the painful suffering continue or even increase after the other emotions were suppressed.
It took me years till I found that systematic allocation of attention to the head aches dissolve them. Only many years later when I passed the training as psychologist and tried to help a comrade of mine (member of our antiauthoritarian anticapitalist organization), I discovered what the people of the Easy of Asia found thosands years ago. The ones that allocate systematic attention to the emotional system are Yoga Vapasena, Kundelini Yoga, and the prolonged Humming of the Tibetan monks.
Yes, it is entirely possible (and even likely) that the current society does make mental illness more common. But, just like how even in an anarchist society cancer would still exist, influenza would still exist, likewise mental illness would still exist. You might think you're making a political statement when you say it, but what you're really doing is invalidating the feelings and experiences of your friends and family that suffer every day
The "mental ilnesses" are just "psychosomatics like all the other psychosomatic ones. Most of the psychosomatic eruptions are trigered and prolonged because capitalist system deleterious influence. The decrease of pollution will lower the Asthma and skin problems. The end of loading food with industrial additions like food colors and other will lower hyperactivity and other harms. The end of alienation and suppression of freedom will contribute their share. A caring community will observe the beginning of each illness and emotional problem and find a remedy before it become serious. For sure not all mental and physical disturbance will be eliminated, but the suffering will surely diminish immensely - both in numbers and intensity.
While being already university graduate of psychology, I encountered three most frustrating experiences. The first was when a member of our organization was flooded by emotion, with limited improvement by proffesionals. The other was when a Palestinian member of our organization was in training in a new profession but could not coup with it due to anxiety attaks. The third was when a fater of a dear comrade (the first political refusnic in Israel) and a friend started to have anxiety attacs, and I could not provide a remedy. (These days I know that the intense anxiety attack are very often occuring in the alienated capitalist system are so easy to resolve very fast by systematic allocation of attention to the bodily sensations. (During the years I was informed by people who used my self help technique they encountered in the internet, how they resolved varity of problems "without trying too hard".
And we do not have to wait till the revolution. Just yesterday, while waiting in the shade till start of the joint demonstration of Israelis and Palestinians against the separation fense and occupation in Bil'n, comrade complained about a strong head ache. I suggested to him to pay a concentrated attention to the head ache for few minutes. He followed the directive for few minutes, and got rid of the head ache.
I had more healthy strategies too. For the first couple of weeks, I meditated each morning. I took up drumming, thrashed the kit for an hour or two a day. I found great feelings of anger, fear and powerlessness, which can become quite self...
In the meditatation and in the drumming the comrade did paid increased attention to the anger and other emotions and this way been delf helped.
Since October, I have had a sore throat. I believe it is the pent up emotions I felt unable to face back then.
It is not the " pent up emotions" - it is "the unfinished businesses that staied put because of non attention. The "unable to face back then" was the evading of giving attention to the emotions at the time. They came in force to demand attention as the commrade thoaght in the sore throat...
and dancing around the house. I am not drinking or smoking pot this time, which means facing emotions I have been avoiding for years. Past hurts, of abuse and
The comrade discovered - like many of the peopled I trained in my technique, that "facing emotions" help to resolve long lasting emotional problems. These needed only short training in the new tactics we discovered to enhance that activity.
I am ready for growth and change. Time to process this stuﬀ and let go. Approach my family and begin our healing. Even realising this, articulating it in words, I have felt a great surge of energy, love and self acceptance. I feel more real and alive than I have in so long - this I realise is a taste of what it is like to live without depression. While I still cry every day, I no longer think about killing myself. I can see myself recovering, so I am able to play my part in the struggle. To support indigenous activists asserting their right to self-determination. To protect our mother, the earth. To challenge apathy and raise consciousness. This is my life work. I am ready.
I was never in such kind of depression/sadness that brings daily crying. However, when I found my way into "facing the pent up emotions" I experienced all the nice things mentioned above, and so did hundreds of people I trained during the 15 years I worked as self employed psychologist.
Not that long ago i found out that my dad's aunt was schizophrenic, the first generation, because my dad's sister also was diagnosed with this disease.
The above sentence is an obsolete claim. Even psychiaterists of the last 30 years already know this label is a "basket" with lot of diferent problematic mental processes thrown into it.
The common core of all these phenomena that have a legit place in this basket is a two high level of activity of the neuro transmiter Dopamine (LSD drug mimic for a short period such effects and thus take people to a trip away from sound sanity).
As the effects of two high levels of Dopamine can interact with the other neurotransmitors - we can have lot of combinations and variants of "schizophrenia" that differ qualitative from each other and from other psychozes that result from too high Dopamine but are not included in the schizophrenic basket. (The common "schizophrenia" is also interacting with the other mental and emotional processes and thus, people from entirely different cultures have entirely differnt schizophrenia/)
Just for ilustrations: People with usually adaptive life and emotions are sometime get into too high Dopamine level and psychozis simmilar to other schizofrenics. However, they are called "good premorbid" and when the Dopamine return to normal levels fast enough - with drugs usually, the person return to the previous life like after a bad LSD trip.
Not all "schizofrenics" have a depression of the low Serotonin kind at its root. Thus, you can have a kind of "schisofrenic" with too hapy delusions and temper.
You also have the angry "schizofrenics" with higher noradrenalin and anger emotion versus the depressed ones with low energy and retardation...) And you can have the ones with grandeur line that is usually related to injury of the self esteem.... and the paranoid one that it is based around the fea....
Like most other processes in the brain these all are psychosomatic ones. Concentrated attention along few monthes cal help to get rid of asthma, agzema, and also of too high or too low levels of neurotransmitors (or combinations of them.)
This do not exclude the fact that some people are more sensitive and can easyly develop such disturbances because of genetic hereditary.
Somebody should write a book called ‘ how to be happy in a sick society'. Although in truth, i don't think id like to see a tree fall, for this one.
I printed my book in Hebrew at 1993 and put it in Englis on the internet with the name: Focusing On The Emotions Of Daily Life - A Guid For Their Maintenance OR How To Change Without Trying Too Hard.
After few monthes of training you can be very often happy - especially when you are involved in the struggle against the sick social order. (Just immagine how hepy you can feel when a gust of friendly wind take the clowd of tear gas back to the soldiers who threw that on us in the Friday Bil'in demonstration... or when a comrade threw back a tear gas grenade and the coughing soldiers have to retreat.)
Like all emotion loaded mental processes any of them take/connect us with simmilar ones in our past. The nostalgic experiences are one aspect of it. When happy we remember better what happened in the past when happy, and so is about anger, fear, love, boredom, etc. Sometime a separation from a significant person bring back acute memory and feelings of all the history of separations we had in the past.
For me, I frequently feel like I'm not in my body, but watching it. I might be having a conversation, but that's not actually me, not my consciousness. While my body is doing these things, my consciousness is watching on, stuck in my brain racking over a conversa- tion I had a week ago, a month ago, at some point in my childhood - searching for a hidden meaning, thinking of a better comeback, analyzing why I said what I said. My consciousnes likely won't experience the conversation I'm taking part in until later in the day, week or month, when it processes it while my body (what would normally be perceived as "me") have long moved on.
The mental processes that locate you in your body, and locate the pains and other feelings in your body can make tricks when system is out of balance. Some time you have just the dream feeling. Sometimes you feel as if you are out of your body. some times you feel pains in part of the body which is not with you any more. Phantom pains of amputated hand or foot is the more dramatic. A tooth pain in a tooth that was uprooted long ago is more frequent but less attended to.
This experience I have just described, the turning of my life into a film I'm constantly watching, leads to an overwhelming feeling of loneliness.
The experiencing of the world around as a film is just another trick the mind can play on us. 11 years ago when participated in the second Zapatist encounter in Spain, we waited for an action and enjoyed smoking. I was given something to try and for an hour I experienced every vision as if I was looking at a big television screen....
For me it was pleasant as I was with comrades but being alone it may be very unpleasant. I understand how people go after extremes when they had found that it extract them from bad feelings. Becoming addict to various chemicals and to specific behaviors is very common.
And, despite the ever increasing knowledge of my condition, despite the fact that I now feel able to write about it, to talk about it, to begin to describe it, I still am stuck in the same place I started - totally disconnected from my own reality, totally alone.
Like the frustration you have when you are aware of the huge amount of human suffering due to the capitalist system, so is the awareness that most suffering of people in the developed countries and in our movement are very easy to solve.
I trained hundreds of people of the left and even some anarchists, and they all "lost" most of their suffering.
Sometimes I'm sad for no clear reason. Feeling sad about the world, and tending toward depression in general, has been a major motivating force for my activism, yet conversely, that same sensitivity can have a paralyzing effect which prevents me from being the non-stop activist I idealize. Learning to work with my depression, rather than against it has been necessary. I learn to try to flow with my moods, fighting the sorrow less, accepting the melancholy into my life as a teacher who keeps me in touch with the destruction of the planet.
Capitalist ideology prevent the distribution of scientific findings contradicting the egoistic, individualist, competition aspect of humans. However psychological researches show people prefer many times cooperation, socialization... and the pick is that the emotion of "caring for others" is only second the the pleasure versus suffering most important emotion.
You do not have to suffer yourself in order to be a revolutionary activists. Kropotkin, Reclus, Bakunin and other revolutionaries did not join the revolution because of an acute personal suffering but because they care for the needless suffering caused by capitalism.
I could have easily killed myself with all the rage, sorrow, loneliness and self- destruction I was carrying after Seattle. I wish there had been a network of people to help me process my experience with, and to put the protests in a historical global context. An activist support phone number would have helped. One night I called the local crisis line; it was alienating and not helpful.It is all based on capitalist system superstitious. Of course the presence of network of people who care is empowering and satisfy emotionally. However, one can easily process ones emotion all by oneself as the comrade who discovered few lines before the "facing of emotions" or as I coined it "focusing on the bodily sensations". To put the protests in a historical global context make your activity more effective but it is not essential to your emotional well being.
. Too high level of anger can lead to tuning down the whole emotional system like numbing and very low energy. It can be transformed from anger towards external source which is too dangerous to act on to anger towards oneself and thus can lead to suicide.
I watched the way feelings change and move, sitting with them until they pass and I get the energy to draw, dance furiously, masturbate, sing loud, indulging in joy and laughter wholeheartedly when it arrives, but letting sadness take me, too.
Here we see again some one who discovered focusing on the bodily sensation all by oneself and got the resulting benefits: "I watched the way feelings change and move, sitting with them until they pass" - this is the natural thing to do... but people who discover this forgotten human capacity, do not know how one can enhance these processes.
The plethora of "tricks" one can do to recruit the appropriate processes (Jan Piajet discovered around the early 1930s and called them "adaptation" and "accommodation".) One can find the "ticks that worked for hundreds of trainees in my DIY book on the internet starting at http://ilan.shalif.com/psychology/content1.htm