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Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Spiritual Solution

What do Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and Celexa have in common? In fact, what do all of these mood altering substances have in common? Two thirds of all these substances are consumed right here in the United States.

(This piece is going to be a little long. I am hoping it is well worth your time.)

That number absolutely shocks me. So much so, that I think we can draw a couple of inferences and so help me- an assumption or two.

I think it's a safe bet to say that mood altering substances are over prescribed. And bear in mind other mood altering substances are available. Beer, wine, and liquor. Pot and other illegal narcotics. So what is the problem?

We are in the midst of a pandemic. A widespread pandemic wherein our society believes that the only solution for our mental problems are drugs. And while I can't deny that there are people sufficiently depressed, people who benefit from their effects, I also can't deny the obvious. Most of these people have no spiritual solution for depression. None. If they did, the consumption of mood altering substances would not be so glaring or so widespread.

So what happened to us? Why can't we find better methods of managing depression?

Quite frankly, we have lost our way. We have become a nation of self absorbed human beings without a spiritual connection to our communities and to our fellow men. We are divided. Exclusive. Special, according to our loved ones. And we have been marketed a panacea to cure our problems by a medical industry that needs to sell alcohol and drugs to grow profits. Capitalism. And our doctors, those that we trust, are complicit. They are the conduit through which drug companies can legitimately convince us that we need to buy their products. And we do.

I don't use mind altering substances any more. A couple of weeks ago, I went through a fairly severe bout of depression. It simply didn't leave. Ultimately I saw my doctor for the results of a blood panel and discussed some of my symptoms. Part of that discussion focused on my depression. As my doctor asked me about suicidal thoughts, I said that they didn't exist. Unconvinced, she offered up the possibility of an anti-depressant. Hours later, it dawned on me that suicide was a perfect excuse for over prescribing medication. I mean, what doctor wants to live with the thought that they mis- diagnosed a suicide? Or worse yet, get sued by a family of a suicide victim? That fear is real.

And it dawned on me that doctors have consumed the kool-aid. They are motivated to over prescribe these medications rather than be burdened by the potential death of a patient. They might not be the villains, the drug pushers or marketers, that I have always thought that they were.

So what changed over the years? How did we survive for so many years without mood altering substances?

We had a spiritual solution. We believed in a power greater than ourselves, some call that God. And we believed in each other. We didn't work so hard to separate ourselves from each other or our core values. What's wrong with us that we must label ourselves "special?" What's wrong with a common thread, a humility and ego that doesn't need to be better than others? In our society today, without a spiritual solution, you may think taking that prescription from a trusted doctor makes a lot of sense. A quick and easy cure.

It's not. Overcoming life's hurdles, even those associated with death, can be managed with a spiritual life and an intuitive belief in something greater than ourselves. We can accept death, even our own. We are so arrogant and terminally unique. Thinking that we know everything and desperately trying to find chemical solutions to our problems when we can't think our way out of an emotional logjam.

We practice contempt prior to investigation. We believe in drugs, but we can't believe in God. And with those miniscule minds that we possess, those depressed minds, we alone think we were blessed with the answers and if we can't find them...they must not exist. Nobody could possibly tell us something we don't already know.

Could they?

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