Is depression unhappiness?

I noticed in my wandering about social media after the article by Giles Fraser, Taking pills for unhappiness reinforces the idea that being sad is not human that all sorts of people came out crying foul. How dare Giles minimize the horrors of depression by calling it “unhappiness.” Here is one such response. 

Well perhaps they have point. He maybe should not have called it unhappiness, though for me his argument remains cogent anyway. Depression is one variety of unhappiness in my book. Sometimes it’s really really severe unhappiness…it can be more aptly, perhaps, called despair. I, in fact, do not like the clinical term “depression” because, as Giles suggests, it takes us away from the very human experience of despair. Acute mental distress is no less human than unhappiness. In my mind there is no compelling reason to take drugs in most instances of acute despair either. It’s generally there for a reason. And if we are given the space to delve into we can learn a lot from the experience. This, of course, is not welcome news to many who have no interest in doing that and certainly no one should be made to do it if they don’t want to. Some of us, however, have a keen interest in learning about our minds and bodies and spirits and are interested in taking on this challenge.

So for me his argument holds. I took the psych drugs and ended up in a far far worse place for it. I’ve had to face ugliness most people don’t even know exists. I would have gratefully dealt with the issues I got drugged for by natural means when they came upon me had I had the opportunity. I was not given one. I actually looked very hard for one, but 30 years ago that sort of thing was truly not on offer for most people and given the amount of coercion that was applied by those offering “care” I succumbed to toxic and disabling treatments that after numbing me out for years ended up tossing me into hell regions of the body and mind that no one should have to ever face.

Now with the internets aid options are becoming more widely known since those of us who’ve learned to heal and thrive through natural means can communicate and share what we know.  It’s still very hard and often impossible to get information about healing naturally from our doctors, therapists and from social service agencies.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Is depression unhappiness? Of course it is and as stated above sometimes it’s glaring, painfully acute unhappiness which to get precise is also despair, anguish, despondency, misery, gloom, wretchedness…etc etc… I’d say calling all those states unhappy is pretty right on, no?

And they’re all pretty darn human feelings too. Otherwise they would not be part of our commonly shared language.

We have good reason to despair — to feel anguish and pain. We have a planet that we are poisoning. We have people populating the planet who like to harm one another. We have families who in their own pain and trauma pass on that pain and trauma to their children. We face tragedies of all kinds just by being alive. Being human is DIFFICULT. It’s also the most amazing adventure and it can be very very painful to wake up to just how amazing and outrageous this life we’ve been given is. It’s no small task for any of us.

For some people part of the process may require taking psych drugs at certain junctures. Okay, that’s fine, we all do what we need to do to get through the night, so to speak. But by the same token thinking about why it might not be a good idea is legitimate too. Enter: Giles Fraser, who has a legitimate perspective too. His perspective is especially worth considering since by taking the drugs one runs the risk of, at worst, being made far far worse off. Then there is a whole host of other serious adverse-effects possible that many people might not want to deal with if they understood that there are truly viable alternatives.  I’ve worked in the population of those gravely harmed by psych meds for a long time. It’s ugly. I’ve also worked in the mainstream mental health system for many years. A lot of people are harmed there too and don’t even realize it. I know that safer methods of healing are simply not on offer most of the time. I know that most psychiatrists, therapist and social workers are not even aware of how powerfully effective other means of healing can be. Not only are they not aware, but they deny that these safer methods exist. This must change.

So the argument against Giles being that depression is far worse than unhappiness makes little sense to me given I agree with him AND I have indeed felt great despair and devastation in my life. Indeed, I wasn’t happy at those times…just as Giles says. I now see it as having ripened and matured me. It is part of life. I celebrate the whole spectrum of emotions now.

In my case, however, the worst of these states were actually created by the very drugs intended to stop people from suffering. These drugs are often simply a lie. Being that I’m not a masochist I would have opted out of those drug induced iatrogenic hell realms had I known they really were not necessary. I could have skipped that part entirely had I realized there was an option.

And you know what folks? There are lots of options. And I know lots of people who’ve had horrible pain and suffering in their lives learn to live and thrive without the use of psychiatric drugs. See:  Drug free recovery from depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc…

Drug free healing and thriving is not the only way to go, but we deserve to know that it’s possible and be given meaningful options to accomplish such healing. Many people have learned to come through great amounts of despair and pain without choosing to take drugs that have gravely harmed 1000s of others of us.

At the top of this page is a drop-down navigation menu with many ideas about how to get started learning about natural means of care. It is by no means exhaustive. There are as many paths to wellness as there are human beings. I’ve personally found when it comes to well being (mental and physical) and prevention of illness EVERYTHING matters. Our relationships with others and the planet, the food we eat, and the air we breath…. how often we move your body and the thoughts we nurture in our minds and souls.

We’re holistic beings and we’re natural beings. Psych meds for me scrambled that up and made my issues far greater. I found out about how everything matters on my healing journey when I freed myself from the drugs.

So the answer to “Is depression unhappiness?” is a resounding YES. And it’s so much more too. It’s also despair, anguish, despondency, misery, gloom, wretchedness…etc etc… Some of us have found that facing that ugliness and getting to the other side is a valuable part of being human. Those of us who feel that way should be given the supports to do it without neurotoxic drugs.

 

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For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings. 

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters