It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, as my time, energy, and focus have been allocated towards my new job. Finally, I have been blessed enough to have the opportunity to work in my field of study. It’s been a remarkable thing to work in the same place where everything began—the same psychiatric hospital in which I spent far too many days and nights; the place I’d sworn to myself five years ago that I’d never revisit.
However, I do have a confession to make—and it’s one that is only ever cautiously disclosed in the presence of those people who are open minded and ponderous. I’ve almost entirely lost all faith in the field of psychiatry. I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but it’s true—I’ve come to believe that the modern application of psychiatry is perilous; a nearly complete and utter hoax manufactured by pill pushers seeking insurance claims and reimbursements. I’ve grown irritated and saddeningly incredulous of how psychiatry is practicalized in terms of addressing mental health challenges (not taking away from those who have or had befallen to these—and I don’t doubt that certain maladies require pharmacological intervention (as it necessarily applies to things like *true* psychosis)).
Self-deprecating thoughts (.e.i, “I hear voices telling me that I’m ‘worthless’”) have transformed into “auditory hallucinations.” Lamenting what ought to have been a healthy childhood and family dynamic (or just even just an intact family unit) is now “clinical depression”—symptomatic of an unalterable brain disease should the enduring sadness last a whopping two weeks or more. Fear of failure is now “generalized anxiety disorder” (and if you’re lucky enough to have private insurance, the use of benzodiazepines (which, if you didn’t know, have an extremely high dependency rate) is almost always an option). Being bored and flighty means that you have “ADD.” Incredulity is instead “paranoia.” Being a hostage to the inner-critic (particularly if you’ve been programmed to believe that you’re fundamentally “bad” by abusive caretakers) – procuring the lens through which you experience the world – is symptomatic of a delusional belief system. So on and so forth. For some, mental illness is the problem—for others, what we precipitously define as mental illness is really symptomatic of soul-crushing beliefs about one’s self and a legacy of misfortune.
The current edifice of mental health is almost entirely premised on labeling clients with “mental illnesses”—the consequences of such largely and profoundly outweigh any intended therapeutic benefits. It’s not hard to understand why—diagnostic inflation is the direct result of diminished personal responsibility on behalf of consumers, and, as mentioned above, instead calls for psychotropic intervention to mitigate “symptoms” and unpleasantries. Again, I want to emphasize that I do believe that medication is necessary to properly treat some clients—but, if we are being honest, there’s a tremendous discrepancy between what’s reported in the literature, and what constitutes real mental suffering as a result biological misfortune. Clients are identified by their “illnesses”, which shaves off the responsibility of practitioners to do meaningful therapeutic work, and instead empowers them to prescribe drugs while circumventing any accusations of unscrupulous conduct—as well as line their pockets with insurance cash outs and co-pays. Conversely, insurance companies often minimize mental illness so as to avoid paying for treatment. None of this is new information—I’ve done a fair amount of research to confirm what I already knew.
Sad to say, we have come to a place in present society where alternative conscious and subconscious experiences are regularly pathologized—in part due to the fact that human beings have an innate proclivity for categorization in lieu of discernment and understanding. It makes sense, really—and for many, it provides an overwhelming sense of relief because it’s so often the case that identifying the problem is half the solution. While feelings of loneliness and being defective are momentarily tempered, it is so often the case that the unintended consequences of resignation from the prospect of hope lead to confusion and defeat.
Ultimately, I feel blessed and wholeheartedly cherish the opportunity to work in mental health—to make even the most infinitesimal difference when and where I can, and give to those afflicted with the deep scars of emotional pain the slightest modicum of hope. That being said, I must emphasize my personal and professional limitations, as being effective in the workplace doesn’t really afford the time, nor mental breathing room requisite for really giving patients my undivided time and attention. That aspect of the mental health system has sadly left a bitter taste in my mouth. I don’t really care to explain or put any mental energy into justifying my stance on things. It is my belief that true differences can only be made within the context of therapy, which is expensive and requires an inordinate amount of patience and motivation—and the motivation component – while it is the most integral part of healing – isn’t enough if the financial and other resources simply aren’t there. Again, it would be imprudent of me not to reiterate that those mental illnesses that ARE organically occurring in nature do benefit from (and often necessitate) pharmaceutical intervention for rapid stabilization and to mitigate their symptoms over the course of time. In less severe cases (situational depression, for instance), such treatment ought to be implemented as a last resort and should ALWAYS be coupled with talk-therapy. While it goes without saying that my understanding of these things calls for frequent reassessment, one can only hope that the future of mental health will someday call for a higher standard of evaluation and diagnosis.