Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Sunday, February 7, 2021
"Look into the eyes of the dead and dying ..you'll end up on a ventilator toooo. Wahahhaaaa!"
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
It's been a common refrain over recent months; "Lockdowns are causing a mental health crisis."
This in turn has led to calls for more help and funding. Whenever I see this debate appear I always wonder though; just where are we heading as a society?
Obviously people require help for emotional and mental problems, so I would never argue against it. Who would? However, I still nevertheless fear that as a society we may be making a rod for our own back.
For a start I'm uncomfortable with the way we're medicalising what are often simply normal human emotions.
As humans we feel the full spectrum of emotions. From euphoria to depression. For all manner of reasons. It's what we would call the human condition. Life is complex and so are we.
In days gone by most people would eschew being labelled as having a "mental health" condition. Not wanting to be attached to the negative connotations that such a label would bring. These days however people embrace such labels. You only need to look at people's Twitter bios to see countless examples.
I'm not against this per se. Or against people discussing their fears and problems openly. In fact, as stated above, I think it's perfectly natural for humans to have such experiences and to discuss them. Life can be a rollercoaster. I just fear that we're medicalising the human experience in a way that will ultimately dehumanise us. I also worry that such mislabelling will lead to problems simply not being solved.
For instance, return to the problems caused by lockdowns. If you're depressed or anxious because you've had your freedoms curtailed is this a problem of your brain and body? Or is the issue the circumstances you are in?
If you're labelled with "depression" this implies that the problem lies with you. Since this problem is within yourself then it's you that needs the counselling, medication and whatever else is offered as a solution. However, if the root cause of the depression is the circumstances in which you're living then the problem can only truly be solved by changing or improving those circumstances.
It's like if you take a wild mouse and put it in a cage. If the mouse starts becoming withdrawn and behaving erratically when placed in this captivity is the problem the mouse, or is the problem the cage?
You can perhaps medicate or train the mouse to cope with being caged, but it'll always be a poor and clumsy attempt at making a bad situation more bearable.
Of course, the causes of mental and emotional problems are often a fine tapestry, but still, I feel this is what we're essentially doing to ourselves. Tailoring the human spirit to fit poor circumstances. Instead of tailoring the circumstances to better fit the people. In the process relegating what once would've been viewed as deep spiritual and philosophical experiences to something akin to a medical ailment.
In many ways we're doing a similar thing with lockdowns now. Instead of tailoring health care to fit a free society we're tailoring society (along with its joys and freedoms) to accommodate a health care system.
This leads me nicely to my final point of concern, and that's what happens once such a system of mental health care is fully in place. Over the last year we've seen coercion used and basic rights overturned in the quest for public health and safety. Will we eventually see similar things in the quest for mental hygiene? When we have an army of well-funded 'professionals' ready to safeguard our mental health will we see the communal mind being cleansed with a similar zeal?
..and more to the point what happens if individuals want to refuse or opt out of such 'help'.
This returns us to the labels that people are so readily accepting at present. There may be benefits to accepting such labels, but what about the potential drawbacks? What if such labels are used against a person?
What happens if such a system of psychiatric intrusion becomes a tool of the state, or of a certain political faction? Or if society en masse simply becomes zealous and hysterical? What are the safeguards to stop things from going too far?
Though it's obviously wrong, mean and immoral to label an enemy or opponent as "mad" it is nevertheless quite common. To paint someone as 'mentally unfit' is a well used and effective tactic. If you've already self-certified yourself as having mental issues then it would no doubt make it even easier for an opponent to do this.
What if people are wrongly barred from certain professions or activities because of such labelling? Or worse still what if someone is wrongly sectioned or forcibly medicated?
You'd like to think such things would be highly, highly unlikely, but that likeliness is only proportional to our continued vigilance ultimately. History shows us this.
When the Coronavirus Act was passed last year that contained changes which meant only one doctor's signature would be needed to detain a person under the Mental Health Act. Instead of the usual two.
This is mildly concerning. Normally in a free society a person's liberty can only be removed in a courtroom before a jury. So sectioning in of itself is an aberration from this process. Making such a thing easier and less accountable should therefore be a worry to most people.
Once again, it obviously goes without saying there are people out there with serious mental issues that require serious help and treatment. So I don't want to downplay the problem, nor doubt the intentions of anyone pushing for solutions. It is potentially a very slippery slope though. Especially given how mechanical and materialistic our view of human life has now become.
Things once deemed of the spirit and soul. The rainbow-like range of human thoughts and emotions. All reduced to mundane labels with bullet-pointed remedies.
Are we sleepwalking dimly into dystopia.