Book Review:  Depression Delusion, by Terry Lynch, MD, MA

In this truly remarkable, and meticulously researched, volume, Dr. Lynch annihilates psychiatry’s cherished chemical imbalance theory of depression.  Every facet of this theory, which the author correctly calls a delusion, is critically analyzed and found wanting.  Example after example is provided of psychiatrists promoting this fiction, the factual and logical errors of which are clearly exposed in Dr. Lynch’s lucid, seamless, and highly readable prose.

The book runs to 343 pages, and is laden with factual details, case studies, alternative perspectives, and hard-hitting commentary.  Dr. Lynch does not sit on the sidelines, nor does he seek any kind of collegial compromise with the chemical imbalance theory, which he unambiguously denounces as a groundless and destructive falsehood.  Here are some quotes that I think will convey something of the content, style, and cogency of this vitally important work.

“The world is engulfed in a mass delusion regarding depression.  The widespread belief that brain chemical imbalances are present in depression has no scientific basis.  In fact, this is a fixed belief that meets all the criteria of a mass delusion.  If you are one of the millions of people who believe that biochemical brain imbalances are known to occur in depression, then you too have become seriously misinformed.” (p 1)

“Despite the obvious complexity of the brain, some psychiatrists and GPs profess an understanding of this organ that is highly inconsistent with current scientific knowledge.  Their comments smack of a level of arrogance that in my opinion is downright dangerous.” (p 65)

“The brain chemical imbalance delusion has dominated medical, psychological and public thinking about depression for the past fifty years.  Parties with a vested interest see nothing wrong with this.  Nor do the vast majority of the general public, for whom the depression brain chemical imbalance idea feels as familiar and logical as raised blood sugar in diabetes.  There are two main reasons why psychiatrists and GPs have embraced the biochemical imbalance delusion with such enthusiasm.  This notion portrays doctors and their drug treatment in a positive light, as real doctors treating biological abnormalities consistent with the treatment of diseases generally in medicine.  Secondly, having observed for thirty years how my medical colleagues in psychiatry and general practice work, I do not believe they know any other way of understanding or responding to depression other than as an assumed biological abnormality.  I remain unconvinced that there is sufficient breadth of vision within mainstream psychiatry or medicine to see or to move beyond the rigidly held belief that depression is primarily a biological disorder.  Yet, the majority of the experiences categorized as depression are primarily emotional and psychological or have a significant emotional input.” (p 77)

“It is misleading to state that the brain chemistry of depression is not fully understood, when in truth it is really not understood at all.  It is also misleading to state that ‘research suggests’ that ‘depression is caused by an imbalance’ of brain chemicals.  It is drug companies, doctors and researchers who suggest this, not the research itself. As outlined in detail earlier the research itself does not suggest this at all and indeed contradicts this notion.” (p 149)

“In twenty years as a medical doctor, I have never, ever heard of a patient anywhere having their serotonin levels checked.”(p 153)

“Low serotonin cannot ever be identified since brain serotonin cannot be measured and we do not know what serotonin levels should or should not be.” (p 165)

“Providing societies with an apparently trustworthy rationale for avoiding the reality of human distress has resulted in increasingly costly mental health services within which recovery is a far rarer outcome than it should be.  Since the core issues are repeatedly side-stepped, they are not addressed or recognized within these mental health systems.  It is not surprising that the costs of such systems keep increasing with little hard evidence that these systems are providing value for money in terms of recovery.” (p 237)

“The most beneficial position for psychiatry is therefore the one that currently pertains.  By nailing its colours to the biological mast, psychiatry has successfully set itself apart from talk therapies.  As long as no biological abnormalities are reliably identified, there is no threat that their bread and butter will be removed from them to other medical specialties.  Maintaining the myth that biological solutions are just around the corner satisfies the public and maintains psychiatry’s position quite satisfactorily from psychiatry’s perspective, albeit between a rock and a hard place.  This position has no solid scientific foundation, but as long as the public do not realize this and psychiatry does not attempt to encroach on the territory of other medical specialties such as neurology, psychiatry’s position is secure.”  (p 277)

“When basic principles of correct reasoning and science are applied to the brain chemical imbalance idea, the flaws and inconsistencies of this belief become obvious.  When the depression brain chemical imbalance idea is rigorously examined, we find that like the emperor, it has no clothes.  These flaws and inconsistencies were known prior to Prozac coming on stream in 1988.  They were dismissed because they risked ruining a great story, from which many groups could profit enormously.” (p 342)

For those who wish to pursue topics further, there is a reference list at the end of each chapter.  There is also a comprehensive index and table of contents which make it easy to find specific sub-topics.

Pharma-psychiatry’s chemical imbalance theory of depression is one of the biggest and most destructive hoaxes in human history.  Dr. Lynch’s Depression Delusion might well be the work that finally lays this hoax to rest, and exposes the self-serving deceptiveness that has become a routine part of psychiatry’s endeavors.

Please read this book, keep it close to hand for reference, and encourage others to read it also.  Ask your library to buy a copy.  The spurious chemical imbalance theory is now so widely accepted that it will take enormous efforts to dislodge it.  In any debate on this matter, Dr. Lynch’s book will, quite literally, put the facts at your fingertips.

  • Rob Bishop

    Excellent! A magician friend told me fooling people is based on the fact people eagerly fill in gaps in knowledge with assumptions. Because the cause of depression, anxiety, addiction, etc. is not common knowledge, people seek to understand them, and the chemical imbalance theory / disease defect model is very alluring because it’s our nature to think something is wrong with us. People don’t understand the self-hatred based psychological motivations of the 600 lb. lady, so “Cortisol” or “genetics” sounds reasonable to explain obesity. Our past doesn’t cause depression, it’s our interpretation of it that creates emotional turmoil. BTW, I don’t think “talk therapy” is an accurate term for methods such as CBT. I think “thought therapy” is more accurate… methods of discovering how our habitual thinking patterns lead us down the road of misery.

  • I’ve asked you this question before, Phil: Given that talking therapies have no better record of successful outcomes than psycho-active drugs, then what is the way forward? Do we abolish licensing and training of psychological healers altogether? And make no mistake: as recently demonstrated amply in the replication studies headed by Brian Nosek, most of the published results of cognitive and social psychology are just as much intellectual garbage as those of financially self-interested pharmaceutical companies.

  • all too easy

    Phil has “evidence contrary to Baughmanism inability to recognize disorder.”

  • Phil_Hickey

    Red,

    I don’t particularly push talking therapies as a kind of alternative “treatment modality”. I do support and encourage the notion of people helping each other in naturalistic time-honored ways. But this kind of natural mutual
    support and assistance has been seriously undermined by psychiatry’s spurious contention that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are actually illnesses that need specialist help and drugs. When I was a boy, parents, teachers, and indeed, all significant adults in our lives encouraged us to identify and tackle our problems. Today that advice has been eclipsed by admonitions to “get meds”. Young people are bombarded with this message, and our cultural resilience has been significantly compromised as a result. Nothing good can happen in this arena until this destructive philosophy is thoroughly exposed and eliminated.

    Best wishes.

  • So do you advocate for the abolition of all external interventions and the closure of schools of psychiatry and psychology? I was a boy at about the same time you were. I survived physical battering and emotional abuse at home without therapy, but paid a heavy price in insecurity and mal-adaptive behaviors for growing up alone. I got some useful coping tools from a therapeutic relationship in my late 20s. Many people do. And a good many who don’t find SOME way to deal better find themselves in prison or the grave. So please follow your premise through to a more detailed and principled answer to the question “what should be done for, with, or by people in crisis?”

  • Growing

    I don’t read Phil’s response as extremely as you have paraphrased Mr Lawhern. I read it more as pointing to a general attitude that attributes human beings with the potential for great personal strength and resilience in spite of what has happened to them.And that the key to unlocking this potential, where it has been stifled, is through the wise care and guidance of other human beings. May I suggest that at least some hint of the solution will be found amongst those who have recovered from diagnosed mental illness, specifically to the point where no medication is required for their “condition”. Peter Bullimore of Hearing Voices Network UK is one such who underwent extreme treatment for his diagnosed schizophrenia for many years. Now living a meds free, whole, peaceful and contributing life, he states categorically that he does not believe in the “illness” we call schizophrenia. To quote him, based on his own experience of recovery, “I can tell you that the light inside a human being never ever, ever, ever goes out. It is the job of those who would help to fan that light so that the individual who has lost sight of it can see it in themself”. Many, many “recoverers” can relate to what he is saying and know that this flame of our immeasurable and undeniable humanness is not inflamed by chemicals, but rather by finding affinity in authentic, wise and loving human connection.

  • There are people who “recover” from serious emotional and cognitive crisis. But there are hundreds of thousands in our prison systems who haven’t and won’t. In our real-world society, poverty is a known contributor to traumas which deeply damage many. Poor families most often lack the resources to help, even if they are not actively a part of the In the real world, when people in crisis seek outside help, either they or a third party must pay for the assistance (they sometimes as you and others point out, pay for measures that harm rather than assisting). They should have some reasonable expectation that the assistance they are paying for actually works to some good end. Otherwise we might as well sign up with the neighborhood Shaman and let him or her shake their rattles and dance about the camp fire.

    You and Phil can talk around this fundamental issue for as long as you want. But I see no practical or efficacious outcomes from your idealism. Where is even the barest outline of a conversion strategy from where we are today to where we want to be generations from now?

    As matters now stand, the idealists would have us invest faith that all will turn out well if we simply back off and abolish the psychiatric profession. I see no material difference between such a faith and that invested sixty years ago when psychiatrists promised to explain us to ourselves and heal us through “insight” — or thirty years ago when the same lot promised magic pills for every disturbed state of mind, without effort or change on the part of the recipients.

    I am not myself a religious person. But a quotation from James the brother of Jesus seems to me particularly apropos: ” What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and
    one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but
    you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

    You speak of the works of the Hearing Voices movement. But I see no evidence that such work can be generalized to people with less evident or disabling difficulty — or even to the majority of those who hear voices.

    Your faith is touching — but it is dead.

  • correction: “actively a part of the trauma in the first place.”

  • Rob Bishop

    Although I’ve seen studies that indicate CBT is more effective than drugs for depression and anxiety, I think that maybe comparing apples to oranges.
    There are many hundreds of chemicals that are very effective in significantly reducing depression and anxiety, but there is no evidence any of them correct a
    biochemical abnormality.

  • Rob Bishop

    CBT is very effective in defeating addiction. It’s a common and popular method, and I’m surprised you’re not a bigger supporter. Addiction,like anxiety and depression, is created and maintained by ignorance and lack of cognitive skills. Society has become so passionate about the disease model, people ridicule the mere suggestion that addiction can be defeated, even though millions have done it. Always interested in your, or anyone’s thoughts…

  • cledwyn bulbs

    There are a number of a delusions pertaining to the issue of depression that I think need to be addressed. One is that happiness is possible. Now, allowing for the unlikely possibility that by some dispensation of Nature such people exist who actually live in a state of abiding bliss, I would say that happiness is a biological impossibility, that no man experiences pleasure without its necessary interplay with pain and outside of the undulating pattern a man’s moods trace.

    In the scales of human experience, pain and pleasure aren’t even in equipoise. Instead, every drop of honey wrung from Mother Nature’s mostly poisonous bosom, that is, every pleasure we experience, to borrow from Schopenhauer, are like alms tossed to a beggar, granting us an all too fleeting respite from the misery and tedium which constitutes the general pattern of our existence.

    Illustrative of the immense nullity of things is that most of this pleasure rests not on our experience of the world itself but is merely a distortion of memory, a figment of the imagination, for whilst viewed in the cold light of the present life is almost always ugly and depressing, its skies always overcast, filled with rain-clouds showering their shite upon us, in the distance behind and ahead of us, nostalgia in the one case, and hope in the other, clear the skies, allowing the sun to shine through and spread its golden tresses over everything thereunder, infusing everything with the warmth of its rays; yet unrefracted through the prism of Hope, that is, of the expectation of pleasures that never come to pass, and without the alchemical transformations of nostalgia, life, as lived in the present, is rarely anything other than painful, ugly and tedious.

    Yet even if man were not predestined to be miserable, even if unhappiness were not a necessity, and merely contingent, the very fact of being forced to co-exist with many others ensures man’s misery, for men cannot co-exist with each other without driving each other nuts, for self-love sows the seeds of discord amongst men; and man in society must also suffer perpetually the torments of Tantalus, of constantly having before one the objects of desires that cannot be fulfilled (yet even if one could attain the many of the objects of desire, it does nothing to extinguish the flame thereof, man’s desire for pleasure, which lies at the heart of all desire, being limitless, and therefore setting no limits to its objects).

    Yet so unbearable do most men find their own company that they are nevertheless drawn, like moths to the flame, towards a society that can only make them miserable.

  • all too easy

    Former CBS News journalist, Mike Wallace, credits antidepressants with saving his life. Millions of people have had similar wonderful, life saving experiences with these break through medications.

    Antis demand that the world recognize that people respond negatively to these drugs, while they never acknowledge the fact that the overwhelming majority of people enjoy immense gratitude for the relief they have found through using them.

    Note how warped their thinking is. They have a form of mental myopia that blocks facts from reaching the part of the brain that can think. I don’t believe they are to blame. They have a genetic predisposition, it appears, that causes blindness. It is not a moral thing. It is not that they don’t want to wake up and get a grip. Rather, more and more, as I continue my research, it becomes clearer that they really and truly, absolutely cannot
    process information properly.

  • Rob, there is ample published work to demonstrate that several of the drugs advertised as treatments for mild to moderate depression are in fact ineffective even when they aren’t outright dangerous. The whole class of SSRI meds is disqualified, pretty much unconditionally. For the background on this, I’d recommend “Psychiatry Under the Influence — Institutional Corruption, Social Harms, and Prescriptions for Change” by Bob Whittaker and Lisa Cosgrove. Also of concern is the 30% incidence of Tardive Dyskinesia in people treated with powerful neuroleptic drugs for long periods for disorders called imprecisely, “psychosis” or “schizophrenia” — often over their objections.

    Psychiatry is now in a deserved credibility crisis. The missing piece that I lobby to have considered is ALTERNATIVES that offer reliable relief to people who seek it. I hear nobody talking in a meaningful or detailed way about those alternatives. And for all of its horrid excesses, I consider proposals for the abolition of mainstream medical psychiatry to be irresponsible when they lack any such alternatives.

  • Rob Bishop

    The meaning of “happiness” is often a cock-eyed fantasy. A useful definition of happiness is an absence of misery, which is certainly possible.

  • Cledwyn, your premise seems a mere re-tread of Nihilism or perhaps the views of Kant and Hegel. Of course, human joy and misery exist in a dialectic. By the very structure of our languages, we cannot know one complex of feelings in isolation from the other. Good and evil have no objective meaning except in comparison to each other. That premise is close to the roots of the entire dualistic understanding of existence. But we also know by observation, that it is possible for the individual to choose ways of behaving that promote human joy in ourselves and others. To claim otherwise is to reject any notion of meaning or healing in human existence. I for one am not prepared to do that. And I HAVE known mys share of pain and misery in 71 years of life.

  • all too easy

    “There are a number of a delusions pertaining to the issue of depression that I think need to be addressed. One is that happiness is possible.”:

    Here is a perfect example of the kind of absurdity to which I refer. It can simply be nothing else except a lesion/injury to the brain that explains this typical example of bizarre thinking.

    “Now, allowing for the unlikely possibility that by some dispensation of Nature such people exist who actually live in a state of abiding bliss, I would say that happiness is a biological impossibility, that no man experiences pleasure without its necessary interplay with pain and outside of the undulating pattern a man’s moods trace.

    Clod Hopper begins his verbose, overly complex treatise asserting that some people are wacky enough to believe happiness is possible. Prima Facie idiocy. Of course it’s possible.

    But in his subparfunctioning brain, this is what he’s thinking, “Now, allowing for the unlikely possibility that by some dispensation of Nature such people exist who actually live in a state of abiding bliss, I would say that happiness is a biological impossibility, that no man experiences pleasure without its necessary interplay with pain and outside of the undulating pattern a man’s moods trace.”

    A person with a functioning brain spots immediately that the two statements have nothing to do with each other. But, to Cloddy, a well meaning but dimwitted bore, he sees nothing of the kind. Uninterrupted bliss and “happiness is a possibility” are identical. This is my point. This is what my extensive research is suggesting. These subparbrain functioning dullards have brain lesions or other injuries that prevent them from seeing the whole picture. They are right-handers batting as lefties. They are legally blind and don’t know it. They are cognitively dyslexic and are constantly swimming upstream.

    I have now accumulated sufficient factual data to publish a breakthrough postdoctoral dissertation that will go a long way to explain the exact nature of their ridiculous ideas! Neurologists will be thrilled and will undoubtedly begin looking for this brain abnormality immediately.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Growing,

    Very well stated. Thank you.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Rob,

    It’s the notion of a “treatment modality” that I don’t push – the notion that people should seek out the expert to “fix” them. There are some excellent ideas in CBT and in psychology generally, but I think we should be giving them away, rather than trying to build a cadre of experts around these concepts.

    At the present time, every teacher and social worker in the
    country has been taught the chemical imbalance theory, not only of depression, but also of every conceivable human problem. And in my experience, the great majority of them have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker, and have become great emissaries for psychiatry. I would like to see these and other professionals learn a different story: one of hope, empowerment, and effective problem-solving. I dream of a day when teachers will be outraged at the notion that a distractible or disruptive child should be put on drugs. At present, tragically, teachers are the primary sources of referral for stimulant drugs. One psychologist practicing CBT can help a small number of children and parents, if he can get to them before the drug falsehood has taken hold. But that same psychologist teaching teachers can help a whole schoolful of children. But nothing good can happen as long as psychiatry holds sway. Psychiatry’s narrative, pushed as it is by virtually unlimited pharma
    funding, drowns out every other perspective.

    Best wishes.

  • Growing

    At risk of labouring the point Mr Lawhern, I would respectfully suggest that you do not understand the real “work” that is required to achieve “authentic, wise and loving human connection”. I was greatly helped to understand it myself through the work of psychiatrist Scott Peck in “Road Less Travelled” as were millions of others, judging by the sales of the book.

  • Growing

    I share your dream on this Phil. The tools of human resilience and human potential are indeed intrinsic human rights and based in universal truth which no-one should monopolise or deem exclusive. Anyone who truly realises their profundity would pass them on as broadly and as freely as practical.

  • Rob Bishop

    I don’t support the use of SSRI meds for depression. My obtuse poorly made comment was akin to “If the world WAS flat…” (I like to joke that booze alleviates anxiety quite well, which is why it’s a $400 billion industry in the US) Yes, alternatives are the key. We need education about the causes of anger and depression, the underlying motivations of intoxication, the thinking habits that create anxiety and contribute to suicide, etc. These subjects are not even discussed let alone taught.

  • Rob Bishop

    I better understand your viewpoint now. I totally agree that education is the huge challenge. Empowering kids to deal with mental challenges in a rational problem-solving manner should become part of the fabric of our society. I am not a pessimist, but it seems unattainable given the current forces that exist. I appreciate those who work towards change, such as yourself.

  • Rob Bishop

    I read a wide variety of books but have not heard of Scott Peck’s, “The Road Less Traveled”. I browsed some reviews of this popular book and it sounds great. It will be going on my reading list!

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’stard

    One problem on this issue, and this can be generalized to other subjects of import whereupon people feel impelled to air their ignorance (which ignorance, it would seem, is more productive of certainty and conviction than is its opposite, for lacking a profound understanding of a subject, its complexity and the many different perspectives that converge thereupon, perspectives that it would seem proliferate ad infinitum, a man who stands in a relation of ignorance to a subject is more easily seized of the rightness of his views thereupon, for it seems so much simpler to he than it does to one well-versed, all of which partially explains the Dunning Kruger effect), laying down the fruits of which with all the force of the Pope issuing edicts ex cathedra; one problem is the obsession with these simple all-explaining causal propositions under which the various qualitatively and causally distinct forms of depression find themselves unfortunately subsumed, that is, with the particularism of those advancing said propositions.

    This can be partly explained by the simple fact that human misery is not something people are inclined to think deeply about (for nature is inclined towards life, and the symbols and expressions thereof) in the main, whereas for pessimists, artists, certain kinds of philosophers and other suicides manque, whose almost every thought the spectacle of the suffering with which the world abounds lays claim to, due to either great personal suffering or their having crossed an epistemological point of no return; for these people, curiosity into this suffering whereof I speak, its causes, nature, and its (if any) purpose, never ceases.

    For people not inclined to dwell on such things, simple mono-causal explanations perform a great service.

    So it is little surprise that human misery is little understood, or that explanations thereof find themselves improperly extended to cases that lie beyond the sphere of their legitimate application.

    In truth it would be impossible to comprehensively catalogue all the causes of this vague entity we call depression, clarity about which would be well served by a typology acknowledging the various different feelings and experiences associated therewith, which often vary so drastically from case to case that any similarity between different cases can be said to be merely nominal, for the label is sometimes applied to the man rendered listless and almost abulic by life and contemplation thereupon; sometimes to the man overwhelmed with unbearable feelings of self-loathing; sometimes to the man overwhelmed by the tragedy of existence and given to lachrymal effusions etc..

  • Phil_Hickey

    Rob,

    “…part of the fabric of society.”

    What a great way to put it! That’s exactly the point. Not some arbitrary add-on, but an intrinsic part of how we relate to one another, at a personal level and through our institutions, such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, etc.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Cledwyn,

    “In truth it would be impossible to comprehensively catalogue all the causes of this vague entity we call depression…”

    How true. It’s about as varied as humanity itself.

  • Arby

    I read “The Road Less Traveled” and his lesser known “People of the Lie” (trigger warning on that book) over 25 yrs ago.

    What I have found is that very few are doing the extent of the “work” which you are describing. I very much wish someone was teaching people how to care for others instead of complaining about psychiatry. It makes an already broken system even more broken.

  • Arby

    I am much more cynical than you are. Most true believers are such not because psychiatry has hypnotized them but because it is the easy way out and absolves them of having to deal with it.

  • all too easy

    I miss Rob bishop following me night and day. Not to worry. His clone, juan the devil, is taking over. Delightful stalkers.

  • Rob Bishop

    That we’re the cause of our own anxiety and depression via faulty thinking habits is now called “blame”. It’s viewed as terrible to claim people cause their own misery, because it’s “blaming” them and saying it’s their “fault”… Same with addiction, obesity, etc.

  • Arby

    I’m not sure what you are trying to say here. Some people cause their own misery yet many don’t.

  • Rob Bishop

    There’s a school of thought that misery is self caused, especially regarding the subjects discussed here. Pain is unavoidable in life, but suffering comes from our self. Which is great news, because that’s the one thing we can all change.

  • Arby

    What?

  • Arby

    When do you insist the person change and when do you insist the situation changes?

  • Rob Bishop

    There are commonalities in all cases of depression. For example, negative thinking and self-absorption are mandatory prerequisites for depression. Without them, depression cannot exist.

  • Rob Bishop

    A situation never causes us misery. It’s always our interpretation of a situation that drives our suffering. That’s an example of our faulty thinking – that we are victims of events. When we can not accept reality and insist things must be different (“That shouldn’t have happened!”… “Things should be different!”) we create our unhappiness.

  • Growing

    I see it being taught in genuine recovery programs, Arby, though admittedly these are not widespread. For example, I’ve learnt a lot myself about authentic, wisely loving connection through the Grow program. From what I understand of Intentional Peer Support, I think a similar message is imparted there. And excitingly, it also seems to be an underlying principal in Open Dialogue, which is gaining recognition at a more clinical level. Individual therapists who understand this humanistic approach would also be applying it through to their work, regardless of their model of practice.

  • Arby

    You’ve lived a charmed life haven’t you?

    Your perspective has some utility but count me with M. Scott Peck. It is not suffering that harms but avoiding it. Never to deal with the events/situation by the mythical denial of it’s all in my head is not helpful

    Btw, I don’t suffer from depression. Three psychologists, a MMPI and my own insight say so. And the CBT I went through for sleep hygiene/sleep apena and for dealing with the fallout from somatic fatigue was not applicable per the psychologists. They tried and abandoned it well before I was going to.

    I see the good and bad in all things and my thoughts don’t run as dark as you see here. Only when I see something discouraging do I call it that.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Arby,

    There’s a measure of truth in what you say. Personal change is difficult, and, in general, it is easier to change our ideas than change our habits.

    What psychiatry does, is capitalize on this very prevalent
    human factor by giving everyone an “easy way out” of any and all problems. Except in the long run, it isn’t easy!

    Best wishes.

  • Rob Bishop

    My “charmed life” has included incest, addiction, anxiety, and depression. All negative emotions are born in the mind, and discovering what fuels them is to discover how we disturb ourselves. To blame feeling bad on undesirable situations is ignorance. For example, when we get angry, we blame our reaction on others and events, which is silly and infantile.

  • all too easy

    They work. Antidepressants. Therein lies your problem. Terribly sorry old chap.

  • all too easy

    What?

  • all too easy

    You kill me cloddy. Try stand up. You are that hysterical. Honestly.

  • all too easy

    Stop with the split infinitives already. It should read, “to catalogue comprehensively”. Do it again clod and I’m calling your mother.

  • Arby

    It was a toss up. Odds were good that you didn’t live a charmed life if you’re hanging out here, however, I know many people with the positivity bent who have had very good lives.

    You speak a lot about blame but that is not what I am thinking at all. I consider responsibility. As in the the responsibility of those who harm others and the responsibility of their victims for their own reaction. And understanding why someone feels the way they do is a far stretch from giving them a pass on blaming others.

    Anyway, if this outlook helps you cope I won’t continue to dispute it. I would just like you to realize that although it worked for you it does not mean it is the approach that works for everyone and that it can be quite insulting to some.

  • Arby

    Psychiatry capitalizes on this situation but at the same time they are also a prisoner of it. A golden whipping boy within our modern society.

    If psychiatry didn’t exist no doubt it would be invented, and for the very same the reason it is here with us now.

  • Rob Bishop

    That we’re responsible for how we feel is insulting to some
    people, and they interpret it as blame, as in “I’m not to blame for my depression or getting drunk every night. I have a chemical imbalance and alcoholism genetics that run in my family” Many people are very reluctant (even terrified) to investigate how they disturb themselves. People mock and ridicule self-help and therapy and other methods of reducing suffering. The ego is strengthened by misery – there’s a part of our psyche that loves suffering. Look at violence and misery we call “entertainment” on TV!

  • Rob Bishop

    Being “insulted” is another common irrational cognitive habit that causes us misery. Reacting negatively to an opinion is ignorant and foolish. “Insults” sometimes result in murder… irrational mental habits are very powerful. This subject should be part of a high school education! Did any of us learn the cause of anger in college?

  • cledwyn o the corpses

    A lot of people who are depressed, and many other categories of mental patient, myself included, are just corpses manque, envious of insensate matter, nostalgic for nothingness, so weighed down by the fever dream of human consciousness, the whole world has taken on the aspect of an advertisement for suicide, in which every abyss winks seductively at us; every noose beckons us; every razor blade showers us with blandishments; every unpopulated, freshly dug grave invites us in; yet either the crippling sense of the nullity and pointlessness of all human action sabotages our suicidal desire, or its fulfillment is smothered at birth by Nature’s treachery, by the existential slave mentality (which mentality animates philosophical optimism, the modern-day cult of positivity, and various other avatars of this debased psychological servitude afflicting the white-washers of the scandals of creation, who endeavor to dignify their egoism and apologism for Nature’s brutal regime through their elevation both to the level of moral duties and as a standard for the judgement of a man’s so-called mental health, so that anyone who speaks out in opposition to all of the foregoing is either branded wicked and ungrateful, or mentally diseased!) that keeps men firmly tethered to an existence that degrades and humiliates them.

    The disease of life triumphs over its only cure, resists its most effective treatment; every atom of our unfortunate being revolts at the threshold of death and hope and desire reassert their grip on the human heart, whereupon the world under their aspect loses momentarily the sinister coloring of our pangs and torments, and the hint of void with which our ennui paints it; appearances reconstitute themselves, and the trumpery takes effect once more (susceptibility to which goes by the name of sanity in the madhouse of human society); and once again we drink greedily from the goblet of life, filled with the pus freshly squeezed from the finest boils nature has to offer.

    Such is the fate of many depressed people; imprisoned in the shadowy borderland separating the land of the living from that of the dead, yet like asylum seekers, denied entry thereinto.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’stard

    Yet the ranks of people seeking escape from the torments of consciousness are steadily amassing, as can be seen with all the seemingly billions of people seeking states of pharmacologically-induced torpor and oblivion. It is a poor compliment indeed, to all those who breathe the mephitic air of life into others, that this gift is so unbearable, so unwanted, men seek respite from it by taking drugs.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’stard

    Leopardi once said, to paraphrase, that when we are young (that is, when our illusions are still in full bloom and yield pleasurable fruits), we assume that when some misfortune overtakes us, in conveying it to others they will think more kindly on us, that it will certainly elicit their concern; yet the responses thereto run pretty much the whole gamut of thereof from derision, to disgust, to outright hostility, to sympathy, and to indifference. Yet true sympathy is rarely encountered.

    This is largely because of self-love; in proportion as we love ourselves do we seek pleasure, for which reason it is this pleasure that is the point of orientation to which a man mostly directs his behavior.

    Whence the callousness and indifference for great human suffering, and the isolation of its “carriers” (an apt metaphor, for such people are viewed by others, in truth, with all the sympathy and compassion felt for a pathogenic agent, notwithstanding the pretense society likes to make of limitless compassion for such people, which compassion is felt in inverse proportion to the force of its avowal), for human beings are immensely suggestible to the emotions of others, and nothing is more repellent to man the pleasure-seeking animal than the misery of others.

    Which repellence has largely given rise to all sorts of doctrines and theories, such as the voluntarist framing of misery; the theory that the suffering of the individual balances his guilt in the scales of existential justice; and the pathologization of human suffering, the medical and scientistic framing of wretched and tormented flesh, all of which keeps the “diseased” specimen at a comfortable distance, reducing him to a mere statistic, a microbe under a microscope.

    Of course, the world is full of people, self-appointed spokespeople for les miserables, who love suffering humanity, and all its categories, in the collective and in the abstract, yet this love, when it is put to the proof through confrontation with some unit thereof quickly abandons the individual, and the instinct for pleasure takes over; for people gather like flies around a honeypot when a person seems happy and the winds of Fortune and Circumstance are blowing with them, but when the jar has been emptied, they fly away, like the proverbial summer birds on the approach of winter. Only a financial incentive can cancel out this force of repulsion, which is why, for the most part, only those who are paid to do so will listen to society’s lepers.

    So men learn that misery must be hidden in polite society; such is the extent of insincerity to which the steadily accreting proprieties of society have compelled man, even emotions now partake of the universal hypocrisy!

    Every gesture, every look, every smile, every muscle, conspires to conceal, to dissimulate depths of despair, despondency and disillusionment, and so well practiced are men in this deception, they end up deceiving themselves.

    The person conscious of his misery, of the canker at the core of his being, barred from commerce with his fellows, nevertheless sometimes goes abroad amongst them in his coxcomb, sublimating his misery into buffoonery, for it is only by providing amusement for others does he gain reprieve from his punishment for the improper proclamation of his pain and his all too lucid pessimism prohibited under pain of social exclusion and subjection to psychiatric sanctions.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    Obviously that should just be “thereof”

  • Rob Bishop

    We cling to misery because it’s such a familiar comfortable state of mind. It takes knowledge and effort to transcend this strong tendency. We must begin to discuss our attraction to depression, anxiety, and addiction, and the irrational cognitive habits that create anger and rage. The prerequisite for owning a gun should be having knowledge of the psychological processes that lead to violence. The Disease Theory Movement promotes the acceptance of a myriad of behaviors and mental states they’ve deemed “mental illness” via ads on TV, radio, and billboards. There’s a massive campaign underway…

  • all too easy

    For once, try to see everything from a positive perspective, in a positive light. See if you can manage to bail out of your self-pity and the joy you find in being as negative, disappointed, blue and doggedly miserable as you hope to convince the world you are. Try for an entire minute to describe something nice and good. Try not to impress the world with your suffering for a few moments. See if you can surrender you ego driven need to be the most injured and damaged poor slob in the history of the world. What da you say, old boy? Give it a go. You can return to your former agonizing self any time you must.

  • cledwyn goodpuddings

    To see how miserable men really are, how heavily the obligation to breathe weighs on our shoulders, just look at the misery into which man awakens, the presentiment of our daily doom, and contrast this with his ascension to the altitudes of bliss that precedes his fall into unconsciousness.

  • all too easy

    Speak for yourself.

  • Red,

    Intensive psychotherapy is arguably much more effective in the long term – i.e. years – than psycho active drugs. There are pretty strong metaanalyses by Liechsenring, Knekt, and showing that prolonged/frequent therapy is usually quite helpful compared to both non-treatment and treatment by drugs alone. Here is an example for “schizophrenia” from Gottdiener:

    http://psychrights.org/research/Digest/Effective/BGSchizophreniaMeta-Analysis.htm

    And here’s Leichsenring –

    http://www.centerforselfdevelopment.com/pdf/000004-effectiveness-of-long-term-psychodynamic-therapy.pdf

    If you have studies showing that long-term person to person contact is not more helpful than drugs going beyond mere opinion, please share.

  • One of my formative books was by Martin L. Gross in 1978: “The Psychological Society — The impact — and the failure — of psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and the psychological revolution” (Random House, NY, 1978). In this book, Gross quotes extensively from multiple studies dating from 1950-1978. Some of these studies evaluated self-reported improvement rates among depressed or anxious patients admitted voluntarily for six months to inpatient treatment centers, versus others placed on a wait list for admission to the same centers. Inpatients were treated by individual or group psychotherapy, either Freudian or Adlerian. Some were seen twice a week, and others more often. After six months in residence, about half of the inpatients reported feeling improved. Unfortunately for your premise, Edward, the same proportion of those placed on a wait list without “treatment”, reported the same degree of “improvement”. See particularly, the extensive list of references from professional literature, for his second and sixth chapter.

    Though the book is no longer in print, you may be able to find one of the two editions via Amazon or a good used book store. It is well worth reading for the thorough job it does in debunking classic psychotherapy as largely unhelpful and sometimes outright damaging to patients.
    Regards, Red

  • It sounds like your thinking needs an update, Red. More recent large-scale studies of psychotherapy do not support your premise at all. Quoting one old book from 1978 isn’t very convincing.
    The large scale studies I cited, which are recent and rigorous, show clearly that clients in long-term psychotherapy do significantly better about 75-80% of the time compared to those with similar problems who don’t get psychotherapy… unfortunatey for your premise.
    And why would I want to order some 40 year old outdated book when there’s better recent studies on psychotherapy’s efficacy available?

  • A significant majority of recent studies in social and cognitive psychology don’t replicate, Edward. You can look that up in the recent publication of a major reexamination of results from a hundred major published papers. And the older work referenced by Gross hasn’t been refuted. People in intensive six-month programs of in-patient psychotherapy do no better than people on a wait list. Whether therapy for several years helps or doesn’t I can’t say with confidence. What I can say with confidence is that darned few people can afford it.

  • Red, of course they don’t replicate, they are quasi-experimental studies of human subjects… studies of human beings are subject to so many poorly controlled external factors that they will never be reliable, and if “replicated” it will likely be by chance. Since psychology is not a true science, the best we can do is look for trends and patterns among large numbers of similar quasi experimental studies.
    It doesn’t matter whether or not that old book has been refuted. It’s one single study. You can always find one study to back up a viewpoint. Who knows what unknown factors affected that study’s data?

    If there were a large number of similar studies indicating that people getting psychotherapy were no better or worse off than those not getting it, that would be more interesting. The point I am making is that the large majority of recent large-scale long-term studies of psychotherapy, as indicated in the metaanalyses I linked to, show that people are on average much better off with psychotherapy than without it.

    On the other hand your point about psychotherapy being unaffordable is quite correct. It is too bad because the level of disability and long-term unemployment could probably be lessened a fair amount if intensive psychotherapy were significantly cheaper or free.

  • Edward, don’t be deliberately obtuse, please. This isn’t just one book. Gross’ work summarizes the findings of over a hundred different references in language accessible to lay people. And it’s far from being the only one of its type. Much of the misadventure which is the modern (and equally failed) brain chemical imbalance theory, can be seen as a reaction to the abject failure of methods applied by Freud and his students to produce consistent results.

  • Dude, I’m not being deliberately obtuse. You said it was “a book.” And it is dated.
    Apart from a few hardcore advocates, few modern therapists work in a style at all reminiscent of psychoanalysis and Freud. Psychodynamic psychotherapy, schema therapy, family therapy, and others have moved on from Freud’s early ideas.
    As for abject failure of methods applied by Freud to produce consistent results (measured how?), I have no idea what you mean.

  • Rob Bishop

    Many claim that mindfulness practice is effective in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety. Also, neuroplasticity is very interesting – how we can change our cognitive functioning by changing our thinking and perspective… Any thoughts?

    http://www.nicabm.com/nicabmblog/mindfulness-seeing-the-impact-of-mindfulness-in-the-brain/

  • Phil_Hickey

    Rob,

    Thanks for coming in.

    In general, I think any attempt to develop naturalistic solutions to human problems is a step in the right direction. But I am always a little wary of new-sounding techniques. I think the primary cause of depression is lack of joy, and the remedy is to help the individual to identify and pursue activities that will bring joy. Of course, this isn’t easy. If it were, there would be no depressed people! But the underlying concepts are relatively straightforward:

    – collaboratively identify the activity/activities;
    – encourage pursuit of the activities; and, of course,
    – abstaining from activities that bring misery/sadness

    I’ve nothing against the idea of therapists drawing from the ideas/ experiences of others in the development of their art/skills. But ultimately, it’s not quantum physics. A person who truly loathes his job, for instance, is probably never going to find joy as long as he stays in that job. But perhaps he’s scared to move? Perhaps he’s afraid he won’t be able to find another position, etc. The art of therapy, in my view, is for the therapist to get inside the client’s head, so to speak, and feel the client’s sense of entrapment, and from that perspective, to jointly explore solutions.

    It can be challenging, of course, but it’s not high tech. Most of the concepts involved are very ordinary, and can be expressed in everyday language: fear, anxiety, sadness, grief, loneliness, habits, etc…

    And, of course, one can’t help a client with a problem unless he tells us about it in the first place. So if I don’t know that he hates his job, then anything else I do is likely to be futile. But he’ll only tell me this if he feels a sense of trust. This is the great error of psychiatry: the notion that they can “treat” depression without knowing what the person is depressed
    about.

    I’m not sure if I’ve addressed your questions. Feel free to come back.

  • Rob Bishop

    I agree, the art of the therapist is to help the client discover the causes of their disturbances and to jointly explore solutions. Many people are very reluctant to look within themselves to uncover what creates their pain. Delusion keeps some from recognizing their misery. Those that see it often believe they can’t change. Suffering can become very comfortable. Peace of mind is new for me, and I sometimes yearn to return to my miserable days. I’ve been in therapy for 4 years and it’s taken a lot of work to dismantle the fierce self-loathing I’ve experienced my whole life. Therapy can be a rational tool for discovering what makes us tick and teaching mental strength and emotional resilience. Mindfulness meditation can shine an atomic light on what’s going on in our head that fuels our misery. You’re right, it’s not rocket science, but it is a battle. There’s forces within us that resist shedding the pain we carry, and we often need a guide to help us cut a path through the dark and scary jungle. People turn to religion for this reason… looking for a solution. Therapists aren’t always essential. I read a book 10 years ago and stopped doing drugs, once I understood the cognitive mechanisms that drove my behavior.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Rob,

    Yes. Paradoxically, suffering can become very comfortable.

    It’s heresy to say it, but is has often crossed my mind that
    people who lack formal qualifications are often every bit as effective in this area as people who have degrees and licenses.

    I’m wondering what the book was. Jack Trimpey’s “Rational Recovery”?

    Best wishes.

  • Rob Bishop

    Yes, I read Jack’s book. I appreciate Trimpey’s passion that AA’s promotion of powerlessness and The Disease Theory is harmful, but I wish he’d tone it down, as it turns some people off and can obfuscate his core message. Someone who has defeated an addiction or depression might be as qualified to help suffering people as “professions” who hold degrees and licenses. In some cases, when the “professional’s” solution is prescribing drugs, maybe more qualified. There’s a huge population of people who have defeated addiction, anxiety, and depression, without drugs but we don’t hear from them, do we? But famous movie and sports stars are lined up to be in ads promoting acceptance and anti-stigma of “mental illness” and how drugs have made their lives bearable. There’s an excellent new book out by Marc Lewis called, “The Biology of Desire. Why Addiction is Not a Disease.” It’s fascinating. He’s a neuroscientist and professor of developmental psychology. His website gives an overview http://www.memoirsofanaddictedbrain.com/

  • bulbous1

    I think most theories of depression can be classified as delusional, at least in their indiscriminate, procustean application to what are, I would surmise, a broad range of etiologically, quantitatively, and sometimes even qualitatively distinct problems.

    Foremost in this regards I believe are theories – put forward as facts by those who believe in them – that founder on the rocks of experience in postulating agency where people cannot legitimately be said to possess any, and in improperly extending the area within which men can be said to be responsible for a thing to the very suffering visited upon them, of which theories that suggesting the existence of purgative and preventive properties in “healthy” cognitive strategies are an example, which is not to gainsay the ameliorative properties such strategies possess in some cases, but to actually stop us or purge us of suffering? No, I emphatically disagree. Show me a man who claims he doesn’t suffer, and I’ll show you a liar and a fraud.

    Suffering is rarely a choice.

    Such a theory is but the latest avatar of the ongoing faith in man to overcome his limitations, be it through his overrated powers of ratiocination, through knowledge, or through the exertion of the will. It is also basically of a piece with philosophies that deny the weakness and frailty of men, the mere vaporings of human pride and megalomania, of men who when circumstances so allow it, and at a comfortable remove from the great trials and tribulations of life, puff themselves out with their empty talk, then blubber and cower like frightened schoolgirls when circumstances put it to the proof and punctures their pride.

    Nietzsche, with his theory of “the superman” and his philosophical contribution to the cult of strength, furnished a brilliant example as regards the latter when, his brain being ravaged by syphilis, he broke down at the sight of a horse being beaten by its master, thereby affording a fair measure of just what a gulf separates man’s pretensions from the reality of human frailty and weakness, to which all flesh is heir.

    Such is the punishment Fate metes out to those who give themselves such absurd airs, knocking men from their perches in the sky when their pride gives wing to their imagination.

    My grandad had always prided himself on his stoical forbearance in the face of the provocations of life, on strength in the face of adversity, which he perhaps observed when working in the mines and in the crucible of war; but as old-age began to overtake him, something as trivial as the rudeness of a doctor was enough to bring him to tears.

    We should be very wary of those who presume to judge others for suffering, in fidelity to their pride and the absurd philosophies it brings forth, those who, to borrow from La Rochefoucauld, always have the strength to bear the burdens of others and make their sacrifices; or those who, in imagining themselves on the morrow overcoming the obstacles Fate places in their path, forget the adversities that once laid them low; or those who claim to stand majestically aloof from the suffering that is our common lot and judge those who don’t.

    The superstitious belief in

  • all too easy

    People without a vested interest see the same things. Trying to pin all of this on duplicitous, greedy hypocrites leads you to all kinds of error filled conclusions.

  • all too easy

    Biochemical/electrical defects in the human brain which lead to various disabling disorders make perfect sense. While Phil and his co-conspirators find fault with all things psychiatric, they have nothing to offer either a child or an adult afflicted with the inability to focus ones attention consistently, and therefore prefer to let those kinds of people suffer intense pain while efficacious treatment is available, safe and tried and true.

    Do no harm folks.

  • Rob Bishop

    Neurologists refer to our “negativity bias” as the natural tendency to focus on negative and anxiety producing thoughts. We’re naturally attracted to focus on negativity. Anxiety is a highly adaptive survival trait that’s been critical for our species survival. The fear and anxiety many animals exhibit isn’t due to biological defect or chemical imbalance. It’s a survival instinct.

  • bulbous1

    The cult of positive thinking are particularly bad, who believe that, through the improper usage of our powers of ratiocination, a man is able to magic away the misery that monopolizes his moments, no matter how miserable he may be, be it owing either to the accident of parentage and the particular cast of mind to which it predisposes, or to the attritional process whereby a man’s faith and resilience are steadily eroded by the habitual experience of seeing all his hopes and dreams come to nothing, all his illusions shattered; who, unlike some, heeds the sage counsel of experience, tutoring him always to expect the worst.

    Some people seem to believe in the simplistic equation, positive thoughts = positive emotions.

    Yet some people – in whose company I find myself – are like epicureans of the negative, like your Becketts, Bergmans and Ciorans, who, owing to their taste for the terrible, come to delight in their own despair, lulling themselves to sleep at nights with apocalyptic reveries, addicts of the horrible, for whom curiously enough anything with a whiff of optimism and hope about it only serves to further depress them, such is the note of absurdity and insipidity it strikes, so that if the world really were to undergo some sort of alchemical transformation, they’d really have to kill themselves.

    From which it follows that positive thoughts are not always, as the cult of positive thinking would have us believe, the incubators of positive emotions.

    The cult of positivity encourage us to love life and be grateful. Such is the creed of slaves.

    Like Steven Pinker, they preach at us from their ivory towers to view every moment of sentience as a precious gift, including the worst forms of suffering, the which suffering is supposedly itself a gift, for it increases awareness, which is, of course, scant remuneration for a man’s misery, inasmuch as it only serves to set in motion a vicious cycle, for the knowledge imparted by our ordeals merely contains within it the seeds of further suffering. Some gift.

    I imagine saying such a thing in one of the favorite contemporary or historical haunts of misery would raise a few chuckles!

    In a world that doesn’t deserve to be known, and that ought forever to fester in darkness; where light is as frankly scandalous and indecent as the hell it illuminates; awareness is no gift.

    Some might say, if that’s the case, why go on learning?

    Silly question.

    Why does a man with dropsy go on thirsting for more of what ails him? Or even better, why does anyone go on living?!?

    And they talk about the gift of life.

    Yet life isn’t a gift, but an absurd, meaningless martyrdom, to which we are consigned to suffer, for sod-all. It is like a parody of the Passion, its stages so many stations of the cross… terminating in our crucifixion… when we die…for sod-all!

    It’s the Passion-farce of lowly circus clowns, with which a cruel and ironical Fate amuses itself, making a mockery of all our plans, setting us up for a pratfall every time we dare to hope, puncturing our pretensions for its sport.

    And the positive people emphasize the importance of trusting others, indispensable to the proper running of society, since without trust, how would the powerful be able to dupe the weak, itself indispensable to the proper running of society? It would be a dark day indeed for those who trade on the trust men myopically repose in their fellows; a very dark day indeed for all the quacks and mountebanks feeding on our trust, all the varieties of whores beguiling us with their meretricious charms, all the base and servile flatterers of the mob sending swine into a swoon with their buncombe; in short, the entire gamut of confidence-men in every age ploughing the soil and scattering the seeds of trust, reaping the rich harvest of wealth and power it affords.

    The world is a big hunting-ground for con-men. Trust men? They cannot even trust themselves. Like a lamb disporting itself gaily under the gaze of wolves, is the trusting man to the world.

    Cledwyn Bulbs, laureate of pus-poetry and author of “How not to Overcome your Suffering”, to be found in any Self-Harm or Self-Helpless section of your local bookshop.

  • Rob Bishop

    Self-hating castigation creates depression, which discharges accumulated anger.

  • bulbous1

    Continuing where I left off, believers in the power of positive thought are essentially a part of a wider group whose philosophy stresses the central role of agency at pretty much all levels of human life – to my mind, to a frankly delusional extent – and whilst it is perhaps possible that Nature reserves to a man a small degree of latitude wherein he may make free choices, at the very least I think it can be said that they err in the extending of the area of responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions, to more and more aspects of human life.

    One such example was Jean-Paul Sartre, who believed that a man is responsible not only for his actions, but for his feelings also, in support of which he adduced an experience in which his depression, through conversation with a friend, seemed to disappear, thence proceeding to the conclusion that he could choose whether or not to feel depressed. I think a more convincing explanation here is that just as the water temporarily displaced by a passing ship immediately rushes back in, so feelings of depression, temporarily displaced by some more immediate concern, rush back into the forefront of consciousness directly the distraction passes.

    The way I see it, a man is but the outcome of the reciprocal interplay between his peculiar psycho-physical constitution, and the innumerable chance events and circumstances that, taken together, largely form the lines along which the development of the individual proceeds, such as the society into which a man is born and the dialectic struck up therewith; or the education the individual receives, both at the hands of others, and of himself.

    Moving on, rather than telling people they are to blame for the suffering from which no man can escape, it would be much better to teach people how to turn their suffering to good account through creative activity, assuming this is possible.

  • all too easy

    So says the fellating phallus. Take this Boob’s rants and ravings with that in mind, or with a fellating phallus firmly planted in your imagination, your choice.

  • Cledwyn’s Pus Poetry

    Continuing, the belief that suffering is a choice is a sinister mockery of the misery of humanity, another variation on the age-old theme of victim blaming, and of kicking people while their down.

    It is absurd to say that a person who is being raped, or tortured by the state, or in serious distress because they are in agonizing pain from the disease that is ravaging their body, can will away the negative feelings attending such experiences, and their aftershocks.

    And what about people who are on psychiatric drugs? Can they just think away the their emotional effects?

    Alas, the world seems simple in proportion as the mind that perceives it is itself so.

    There is an article on the internet putting forward this absurd belief, written by yet another person who has the strength and courage to bear other people’s burdens. The article is written by one Kathy Gottberg, a writer of self-help books, the shame of literature. She traces her suffering when she sprained her ankle to her own negativity, and thence proceeds to the absurd conclusion that all suffering is freely chosen, as if the same thing applies to the thoughts attending a minor injury as to a person undergoing the most extreme forms of suffering.

    She says that life is a bigger mystery than most of us will ever comprehend, and obviously she is one of the illuminati. She claims that the beginning point of wisdom is knowledge that we are the agents of our own suffering, which she stipulatively defines as ‘the story we tell ourselves about ourselves’. Using her faith as a vehicle for her egomania, as we are all apt to do, she says that acknowledging this is a huge step towards becoming smart, which she capitalizes for greater emphasis, the suggestion being that that is what she is.

    She also believes in the ‘the law of attraction’, that most recent development in the history of victim-blaming, and the incurable madness of the species.

    In contemporary soteriology, all we have to do to reach the promised land is think positively.

    Now, maybe positive thinking works for some people, but it doesn’t for others. Personally, I think that thinking positively about life constitutes a form of intellectual and moral abasement, but that’s just me.

    One reason why it doesn’t work is because the attempt to suppress negative thoughts only renders them more salient; ironically, trying to think more positively when one is of a negative cast of mind only makes things worse.

    “Try to pose for yourself this task; try not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.”

    Dostoevsky

    “What a swarm of the pseudo-“delivered” stares down at us from the pinnacle of their salvation!”

    E.M. Cioran

  • Cledwyn’s Pus Poetry

    I think any analysis of depression that doesn’t stress the reciprocal relations between mind, body and experience will never suffice to explain why people are depressed, though even then we must proceed with humility, since a precise identification of all the ingredients that go into making a man what he is and a full understanding of the peculiar mold into which their mixture is poured is, alas, a veritable impossibility, owing to the unbridgeable abyss that opens up between any two lives and, omitting other reasons, the many terrae incognitae of the human heart and human experience.

    Of course, nothing could be more alien to the thinking of man than these latter considerations, god as he is unto himself, the omniscient narrator on life who in his egomania sees the frontiers of his mind stretching as if to infinity and beyond and whose intellect, if he is to be believed, sends forth such shafts of light as penetrates to the innermost recesses of human experience and illumines the innermost depths of the human heart, from which delusions of grandeur derives the comical yet insufferable arrogance with which men generally express themselves (and which seems to increase in proportion as his knowledge decreases).

  • Cledwyn’s Pus Poetry

    Always thinking positively about things only serves to impair your ability to make rational decisions. No wonder people are breeding like rats; it’s because they are too busy indulging their feelings at the expense of their intellects.

    This obsession with positive thinking takes on an even more sinister complexion when one observes just what a toll it takes on the reasoning capacities of its most fanatical practitioners, but also their humanity, of which all this victim-blaming crap about suffering being a choice is an example.

    Every age has its panaceas, and those who peddle them. How much simpler life would be if we could inoculate ourselves against suffering by thinking positively about it!

  • Cledwyn’s Pus Poetry

    That should be “NOT just what a toll…”, and ” but also ON their humanity”