It's no secret that some of the world's most renowned artists (both visual and literary) had or probably had some form of mental illness. Hemingway wasn't exactly Mr. Happy most days, and Van Gogh... well, he snipped off a part of his freakin' ear.
That being acknowledged, I wonder what would happen if these "disturbed" individuals had lived in today's society, where depression *must* be immediately controlled? Would they have ingested copious amounts of Prozac and Lithium, warned that their feelings were "wrong", encouraged by friends and family to "get over it"?
Would our culture of "gotta-fix-it-now" have medicated away some of art and literature's biggest names?
Honestly, I don't know.
But I have noticed a rather interesting trend among people (at least in America). They expect everything to be great 100% of the time. That means if you're feeling out-of-sorts, you need to do something to get better. You need to see a therapist, you need to take an antidepressant, you need...
What if all you need is to wait a few days for the feeling to pass?
Now, before you assume that I'm anti-medication, let me assure you I am most definitely not. I have a great respect for what responsibly prescribed drugs can do for individuals. However, I also am concerned that we're not allowing ourselves to learn how to take the bad with the good.
Case in point:
My son (almost four) awoke one morning and said, "I feel sad today."
What was my first inclination? To "fix" his "problem", of course!
I tried to talk him out of it. I tried to make him see how positive his life was. I tried to make him laugh. But he still, as he put it, "felt sad."
Suddenly, it occurred to me that he was just experiencing what a lot of us do--a "down" kind of morning. He wasn't shaking and crying in a corner; he was just naming the way he felt, which is actually very advanced.
Once that realization hit me like a two-by-four, I switched tactics and gently told him, "You know, I sometimes wake up feeling sad, too. It's weird, huh?" And he smiled and responded, "You do?" Then, we talked for a while. But I never told him to get over it, just tried to help him work through it.
Again, I'm not belittling those with serious mental health issues, and I'm not suggesting we stop all medications.
I'm just concerned that perhaps we're dulling some intense emotions rather than learning how to work with them.
Think I'm full of cow pies? I'd love to hear your opinions!