07 May, 2012

Mental Health Month: Magic Bullets

"I wish that I could feel so free and wise
As to satisfy the justice that I crave
The sun will set again, the sun will rise
In the darkness I will have to try to be brave"
-"You Lost Me There", Blues Traveler

Oh, how glorious it would be if they found a new Prozac that actually worked or if a philosopher found that one philosophy that everyone else had forgotten. Oh, how we could then quickly fix everything and everyone would be happy forever without ever having to suffer again.

We all, intuitively know(I think) that our problems aren't going to be fixed by simply taking a pill, converting our religion, changing our diet or finding a guru. No doubt the things that need changing are not always clear, but to think that if you just think happy thoughts you will be happy denies the importance of depression, to think if you just eat better food ignores the importance of place and social relations and to think that drugs will fix your problems ignores the problems that these quick fixes often create.

Magazine covers proclaim the great new food or diet cure-all, exploiting our wish to be happy. Those who call themselves gurus, in particular are very good at exploiting human desires and although some of them have some good things to say, in general, I think we all need to be skeptical of any one solution to a problem.

It is tempting to want these quick fixes and I think sometimes we need them. But I implore everyone to explore and figure out what works for them and to be brutally honest and know that there is hope. There has to be.

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