What if?




What if depression wasn’t an illness, it was a response to trauma? On the 3rd of May 2017 I posted this question on social media where it received massive attention from the public at large, as well as from some very prominent social identities.  The question is not entirely new the Anti-Psychiatry Movement of the 1960s and in particular R.D. Liang attempted to link mental illness to various expectations and inequities within society. Human behaviour runs along a axis of duality,  life/death, love/hate, rich/poor, happy/sad, loyalty/betrayal, expectation/disappointment and a host of accompanying emotions that underscore human values and behaviour.  As a result of these dualities a society can only mark its successes against those who are unable to succeed in a socially accepted way.   Those who do not match the necessary standards for societal normalcy are generally cast aside, treated as sick or unwelcome and in need of behaviour modification.  Often they are medicated and/or locked away in hospitals designed to alter their mental framework. The emphasis on changing behaviour far outweighs the need to explore what causes the behaviour in the first place and as society becomes more and more oriented towards material achievement, the numbers being left behind or locked away either mentally of physically grows exponentially, this in turn feeds its own industry of capitalist achievers who exist on the misery of those perceived as inadequate or misplaced. Further, those who complain are also at risk of being labelled the disorderly.  There is undoubtedly a lot of mental suffering that needs to be ethically and compassionately addressed.  While there are constant announcements of better medicines and therapies designed to cure mental disorders, they do not work for everyone and there are huge numbers of individuals falling through the  cracks.  What if  mental difference was caused by the repression of pain, how might we better resolve this problem?