In the article I mentioned that many clients were coming to counselling sessions, talking out their problem and feeling better after a short while. They subsequently no longer needed the prescribed antidepressants. This led me on to think about this state of affairs more deeply.
Could this diagnosed “depression” simply be a normal reaction to events in their lives? As a society are we confused about how to handle these reactions? Of course we must accept that real depression is a debilitating black cloud that is hard to shift sometimes and, of course, some sadness is a chemical imbalance which can and should be treated with medication. But I believe that we, as a society, use the word as an umbrella to cover a multitude of feelings that are perfectly natural and normal.
Sometimes we are uncomfortable with feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, grief, and I often hear “I shouldn’t be feeling like this”. It is as if we expect to feel good always. Maybe we are bombarded with too many “perfect people” due to advertising and media. But while we are being conditioned by society as it is now, we are sometimes denying our genuine feelings which have been given to us for a purpose. They indicate that something needs attention, like a pain indicates that something is wrong with the body.
Feelings keep us safe and healthy. Pushed away or masked by antidepressants, before they have been properly explored, cannot be a healthy solution. Perhaps we expect a pill to cure all ills: it’s a quick fix after all!
But until society accepts our humanity, the lows as well as the highs, and everything in-between, we are in danger of denying our true selves.